Philippians 4:15
Now you Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but you only.
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(15) Now ye Philippians know also.—Properly, But ye also yourselves know. The mention of the proper name is always emphatic (comp. 2Corinthians 6:11); here it evidently marks the dignity of their exclusive position of benefaction.

In the beginning of the gospel.—At the beginning (that is) of the gospel to them and their sister churches in Macedonia. The time referred to is his leaving Macedonia for Athens and Corinth (Acts 17:14). At Corinth we know that he received offerings from Macedonia: “That which was lacking to me the brethren who came (when they came) from Macedonia supplied” (2Corinthians 11:9). His language to the Thessalonian Church (1Thessalonians 2:9; 2Thessalonians 3:8) precludes all idea that any part of this contribution was from Thessalonica; we learn here that it was from no other Church than Philippi. It is probably to this gift that reference is made; though it is of course possible that some contribution may have reached him at the time of his actual departure in haste after the persecution at Berœa.

Communicated with me as concerning . . .—The metaphor here is drawn from commercial transaction. Literally the passage runs, had dealings with me on account of giving and receiving; “opened (so to speak) an account with me,” not of debit and credit, but “of free giving and receiving.” There is possibly an allusion (as Chrysostom suggests) to the idea embodied in 1Corinthians 9:11, “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?” (Comp. Romans 15:27.) In the one respect he had all to give, and they to receive; in the other the relations were reversed. But if there be such allusion, it is kept in the background. The prominent idea is of the Philippians, and of them alone, as givers.



Php 4:15-19 {R.V.}.

Paul loved the Philippians too well and was too sure of their love to be conscious of any embarrassment in expressing his thanks for money help. His thanks are profuse and long drawn out. Our present text still strikes the note of grateful acknowledgment. It gives us a little glimpse into earlier instances of their liberality, and beautifully suggests that as they had done to him so God would do to them, and that their liberality was in a fashion a prophecy, because it was in some measure an imitation, of God’s liberality. He had just said ‘I am full, having received the things which were sent from you,’ and now he says, ‘My God shall fill full all your needs.’ The use of the same word in these two connections is a piece of what one would call the very ingenuity of graceful courtesy, if it were not something far deeper, even the utterance of a loving and self-forgetting heart.

I. We may note here Paul’s money relations with the churches.

We know that he habitually lived by his own labour. He could call to witness the assembled elders at Ephesus, when he declared that ‘these hands ministered unto my necessities,’ and could propose himself as an illustration of the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ He firmly holds the right of Christian teachers to be supported by the churches, and vehemently insists upon it in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. But he waives the right in his own case, and passionately insists that it were better for him rather to die than that any man should make his glorying void. He will not use to the full his right in the Gospel ‘that he may make a Gospel without charge,’ but when needed he gladly accepted money gifts, as he did from the Philippians. In our text he points back to an earlier instance of this. The history of that instance we may briefly recall. After his indignities and imprisonment in Philippi he went straight to Thessalonica, stayed there a short time till a riot drove him to take refuge in Berea, whence again he had to flee, and guided by brethren reached Athens. There he was left alone, and his guides went back to Macedonia to send on Silas and Timothy. From Athens he went to Corinth, and there was rejoined by them. According to our text, ‘in the beginning of the Gospel,’ that is, of course, its beginning in Philippi, they relieved him twice in Thessalonica, and if the words in our text which date the Philippians’ gift may be read ‘when I had departed from Macedonia,’ we should have here another reference to the same incident mentioned in 2 Corinthians, chap. 11: 8-9, where he speaks of being in want there, and having ‘the measure of my want’ supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia. The coincidence of these two incidental references hid away, as it were, confirms the historical truthfulness of both Epistles. And if we take into view the circumstances in which he was placed in Thessalonica and at the beginning of his stay in Corinth, his needing and receiving such aid is amply accounted for. Once again, after a long interval, when he was a prisoner in Rome, and probably unable to work for his maintenance, their care of him flourished again.

In the present circumstances of our churches, it seems necessary that the right which Paul so strongly asserted should, for the most part, not be waived, but the only true way of giving and receiving as between minister and people is when it is a matter not of payment but a gift. When it is an expression of sympathy and affection on both sides, the relationship is pleasant and may be blessed. When it comes to be a business transaction, and is to be measured by the rules applicable to such, it goes far to destroy some of the sweetest bonds, and to endanger a preacher’s best influence.

II. The lofty view here taken of such service.

It is ‘the fruit that increaseth to your account.’ Fruit, which as it were is put to their credit in the account-book of heaven, but it is called by Paul by a sacreder name as being an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God, in which metaphor all the sacred ideas of yielding up precious things to God and of the sacred fire that consumed the offering or brought to bear on the prosaic material gift.

The principle which the Apostle here lays down in reference to a money gift has, of course, a much wider application, and is as true about all Christian acts. We need not be staggered at the emphasis with which Paul states the truths of their acceptableness and rewardableness, but in order fully to understand the ground of his assurance we must remember that in his view the root of all such fruit increasing to our account, and of everything which can claim to be an odour of a sweet smell well pleasing to God, is love to Christ, and the renewal of our nature by the spirit of God dwelling in us. In us there dwells no good thing. It is only as we abide in Him and His words abide in us that we bear much fruit. Separate from Him we can do nothing. If our works are ever to smell sweet to God, they must be done for Christ, and in a very profound and real sense, done by Him.

The essential character of all work which has the right to be called good, and which is acceptable to God, is sacrifice. The one exhortation which takes the place and more than fills the place of all other commandments, and is enforced by the motive which takes the place, and more than takes the place of all other motives, is, ‘I beseech you by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice.’ It is works which in the intention of the doer are offered to Him, and in which therefore there is a surrender of our own wills, or tastes, or inclinations, or passions, or possessions, that yield to Him an odour of a sweet smell. The old condition which touched the chivalrous heart of David has to be repeated by us in regard to any work which we can ever hope to make well pleasing to God; ‘I will not offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God which cost me nothing.’

There is a spurious humility which treats all the works of good men as filthy rags, but such a false depreciation is contradicted by Christ’s ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ It is true that all our deeds are stained and imperfect, but if they are offered on the altar which He provides, it will sanctify the giver and the gift. He is the great Aaron who makes atonement for the iniquity of our holy things. And whilst we are stricken silent with thankfulness for the wonderful mercy of His gracious allowance, we may humbly hope that His ‘Well done’ will be spoken of us, and may labour, not without a foretaste that we do not labour in vain, that ‘whether present or absent we may be well pleasing to Him.’

The fruit is here supposed to be growing, that is, of course, in another life. We need not insist that the service and sacrifice and work of earth, if the motive be right, tell in a man’s condition after death. It is not all the same how Christian men live; some gain ten talents, some five, and some two, and the difference between them is not always as the parable represents it, a difference in the original endowment. An entrance may be given into the eternal kingdom, and yet it may not be an abundant entrance.

III. The gift that supplies the givers.

Paul has nothing to bestow, but he serves a great God who will see to it that no man is the poorer by helping His servants. The king’s honour is concerned in not letting a poor man suffer by lodging and feeding his retainers. The words here suggest to us the source from which our need may be filled full, as an empty vessel might be charged to the brim with some precious liquid, the measure or limit of the fulness, and the channel by which we receive it.

Paul was so sure that the Philippians’ needs would all be satisfied, because he knew that his own had been; he is generalising from his own case, and that, I think, is at all events part of the reason why he says with much emphasis, ‘ My God. As He has done to me He will do to you,’ but even without the ‘my,’ the great name contains in itself a promise and its seal. ‘God will supply just because He is God’; that is what His name means--infinite fulness and infinite self-communicativeness and delight in giving. But is not so absolutely unlimited a promise as this convicted of complete unreality when contrasted with the facts of any life, even of the most truly Christian or the most outwardly happy? Its contradiction of the grim facts of experience is not to be slurred over by restricting it to religious needs only. The promise needs the eye of Faith to interpret the facts of experience, and to let nothing darken the clear vision that if any seeming need is left by God unfilled, it is not an indispensable need. If we do not get what we want we may be quite sure that we do not need it. The axiom of Christian faith is that whatever we do not obtain we do not require. Very desirable things may still not be necessary. Let us limit our notions of necessity by the facts of God’s giving, and then we, too, shall have learned, in whatsoever state we are, therein to be content. When the Apostle says that God shall fill all our need full up to the brim, was he contemplating only such necessities as God could supply through outward gifts? Surely not. God Himself is the filler and the only filler of a human heart, and it is by this impartation of Himself and by nothing else that He bestows upon us the supply of our needs.

Unless we have been initiated into this deepest and yet simplest secret of life, it will be full of gnawing pain and unfulfilled longings. Unless we have learned that our needs are like the cracks in the parched ground, cups to hold the rain from heaven, doors by which God Himself can come to us, we shall dwell for ever in a dry and thirsty land. God Himself is the only satisfier of the soul. ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that’--if I am not a fool--’I desire side by side with Thee?’

But Paul here sets forth in very bold words the measure or limits of the divine supply of our need. It is ‘according to His riches in glory.’ Then, all of God belongs to me, and the whole wealth of His aggregated perfections is available for stopping the crannies of my heart and filling its emptiness. My emptiness corresponds with His fulness as some concavity does with the convexity that fits into it, and the whole that He is waits to fill and to satisfy me. There is no limit really to what a man may have of God except the limitless limit of the infinite divine nature, but on the other hand this great promise is not fulfilled all at once, and whilst the actual limit is the boundlessness of God, there is a working limit, so to speak, a variable one, but a very real one. The whole riches of God’s glory are available for us, but only so much of the boundless store as we desire and are at present capable of taking in will belong to us now. What is the use of owning half a continent if the owner lives on an acre of it and grows what he wants there, and has never seen the broad lands that yet belong to him? Nothing hinders a man from indefinitely increased possession of a growing measure of God, except his own arbitrarily narrowed measure of desire and capacity. Therefore it becomes a solemn question for each of us, Am I day by day becoming more and more fit to possess more of God, and enjoy more of the God whom I possess? In Him we have each ‘a potentiality of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.’ Do we growingly realise that boundless possibility?

The channel by which that boundless supply is to reach us is distinctly set forth here. All these riches are stored up ‘in Christ Jesus.’ A deep lake may be hidden away in the bosom of the hills that would pour blessing and fertility over a barren land if it could find a channel down into the plains, but unless there be a river flowing out of it, its land-locked waters might as well be dried up. When Paul says ‘riches in glory,’ he puts them up high above our reach, but when he adds ‘in Christ Jesus,’ he brings them all down amongst us. In Him is ‘infinite riches in a narrow room.’ If we are in Him then we are beside our treasure, and have only to put out our hands and take the wealth that is lying there. All that we need is ‘in Christ,’ and if we are in Christ it is all close at our sides.

Then the question comes to be, ‘Am I thus near my wealth, and can I get at it whenever I want it, as I want it, and as much as I want of it?’ We can if we will. The path is easy to define, though our slothfulness find it hard to tread. That man is in Christ who dwells with Him by faith, whose heart is by love plunged in His love, who daily seeks to hold communion with Him amid the distractions of life, and who in practical submission obeys His will. If thus we trust, if thus we love, if thus we hold fast to Him, and if thus we link Him with all our activities in the world, need will cease to grow, and will only be an occasion for God’s gift. ‘Delight thyself in the Lord,’ and then the heart’s desires being set upon Him, ‘He will give thee the desire of thy heart.’

Paul says to us ‘My God shall supply all your need.’ Let us answer, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.’ Php 4:15-19. Ye know that in the beginning of the gospel — When it was first preached at Philippi; no church — No Christian society, as such; communicated with me — In the matter of giving me money, and of my receiving money from them; but ye only — I received money from no church but yours. Not because I desire a gift, &c. — I would not have you think that I commend your liberality merely out of respect to myself; but I desire fruit, &c. — I do it chiefly out of respect to you; that you may do that which may turn to your everlasting advantage. But l have all — So also the Vulgate reads the clause; but the original expression, απεχω παντα, according to Estius, may be translated, I have from you all things; that is, my wants are amply supplied by you; and I abound — I have more than sufficient for my present state; having received of Epaphroditus the things sent from you — Besides money, the Philippians may have sent to the apostle clothes and other necessaries: an odour of a sweet smell — A service wherewith God is well pleased. See Hebrews 13:16. “The same epithets were anciently given to all the kinds of sacrifices; not only in the peace and thank-offerings, but to the burnt-offerings and sin-offerings. See note on Ephesians 5:2. Here they are given to the present which the Philippians sent to the apostle; not because that present partook of the nature of any sacrifice or offering whatever, as is plain from this, that it was offered immediately to the apostle, and not to God; but merely to show how acceptable to God that work of charity was which the Philippians had performed to the suffering apostle of Christ.” — Macknight. But my God — Whose ambassador I am; shall supply all your need — As he has mine. He shall recompense you even in this life, as far as he knows will be for your good; according to his riches in glory — And he is well able to do it, being gloriously rich in blessings of all kinds.4:10-19 It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory.In the beginning of the gospel - "At the time when I first preached the gospel to you; or when the gospel began its benign influence on your hearts."

When I departed from Macedonia - See Acts 17:14. The last place that Paul visited in Macedonia, at that time, was Berea. There a tumult was excited by the Jews, and it was necessary for him to go away. He left Macedonia to go to Athens; and left it in haste, amidst scenes of persecution, and when he needed sympathizing aid. At that time, as well as when he was in Thessalonica Acts 17:1-10, he needed the assistance of others to supply his wants; and he says that aid was not withheld. The meaning here is, that this aid was sent to him "as he was departing from Macedonia;" that is, alike in Thessalonica and afterward. This was about twelve years before this Epistle was written - Doddridge.

No church communicated with me - No church so participated with me in my sufferings and necessities, as to send to my relief; compare 2 Corinthians 11:8-9. Why they did not, Paul does not intimate. it is not necessary to suppose that he meant to blame them. They might not have been acquainted with his necessities. All that is implied here is, that he specially commends the Philippians for their attention to him.

15. Now—"Moreover." Arrange as Greek, "Ye also know (as well as I do myself)."

in the beginning of the gospel—dating from the Philippian Christian era; at the first preaching of the Gospel at Philippi.

when I departed from Macedonia—(Ac 17:14). The Philippians had followed Paul with their bounty when he left Macedonia and came to Corinth. 2Co 11:8, 9 thus accords with the passage here, the dates assigned to the donation in both Epistles agreeing; namely, "in the beginning of the Gospel" here, and there, at the time of his first visit to Corinth [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ]. However, the supply meant here is not that which he received at Corinth, but the supply sent to him when "in Thessalonica, once and again" (Php 4:16), [Alford].

as concerning giving and receiving—In the account between us, "the giving" was all on your part; "the receiving" all on mine.

ye only—We are not to wait for others in a good work, saying, "I will do so, when others do it." We must go forward, though alone.

He amplifies the present favour the Christians at Philippi had vouchsafed to him, by a thankful recollection of their former liberality.

In the beginning of the gospel; soon after he had preached and planted the good things of salvation amongst them, Philippians 2:22 Acts 16:12,13,40.

When I departed from Macedonia; comparing their first benevolence with other churches, when leaving of Macedonia, Acts 18:5 2 Corinthians 11:9.

No church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only; none of the rest of the churches had, for the spiritual things received of him in his ministration, distributed of their carnal or temporal, (though that was their duty beyond dispute, 1 Corinthians 9:7,11,13,14 Ga 6:6 1 Timothy 5:17,18), but they alone: which might at once commend their Christian liberality, and evince that he in preaching of the gospel was not mercenary, not having exacted a reward from others, but preached the gospel freely, 2 Corinthians 11:7. Now ye Philippians know also,.... As well as the apostle did, that they not only communicated now, but also had done formerly, and when none else beside them did; wherefore he not only commends them for their present kindness to him, but for their past favours:

that in the beginning of the Gospel; of the preaching of it by the apostle in the parts of Macedonia, particularly at Philippi; as soon as ever the Gospel was preached to them, they showed a grateful and beneficent spirit; of which we have an instance in Lydia, the first person we read of converted there, and also in the jailer, who was the next; see Acts 16:12; yea, not only while he was with them they communicated to him, but when he was gone from them:

when I departed from Macedonia; when he went to Corinth and other places, to preach the Gospel in other parts and to other people, they sent the brethren after him with presents which supplied what was lacking to him, and in which other churches were deficient; see 2 Corinthians 11:8; the Ethiopic version reads, "when ye went from Macedonia with me": but is not supported by any copy or other version:

no church communicated with me, as concerning giving and receiving,

but ye only; the phrase, "giving and receiving", is the same with avm wmtN, which is often used by the Jews for trading and commerce (e); and the allusion is to the keeping of accounts by men in business, by debtor and creditor, in a book, putting down in one column what is delivered out, and in the other what is received, whereby accounts are kept clear: the apostle's meaning is, that whereas he and his fellow ministers had delivered out spiritual things to this church, they had in return communicated their carnal things; so that there was a proper account kept, which was not observed by other churches, and which was greatly to the commendation of this,

(e) Vid. Kimchi in Psal. xv. 3. & Targum in Isa. ix. 4.

{9} Now ye Philippians know also, that in the {n} beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

(9) He witnesses that he remembers also their former benefits, and again puts away sinister suspicion of greedy desire, in that that he received nothing from anyone else.

(n) At the beginning, when I preached the Gospel among you.

Php 4:15 f. A courteous recalling of the fact, that in the very beginning of the gospel the Philippians had distinguished themselves by such manifestation of love towards Paul.

δέ] carrying the discourse onward: But what ye have done connects itself with a relation into which, as ye also know, no other church, but yours only, placed itself to me at the very first!

οἴδατε δὲ κ.τ.λ.] but it is known also to you, Philippians, that, etc. Hofmann very erroneously derives the object of οἴδατε from what precedes, and takes ὅτι in the sense of because. He makes the apostle say, namely, to the Philippians: That they had done well in helpfully taking part in his affliction they knew also, as other churches knew that it was well done; by experience they knew it, because it was not the first time that they had sent similar gifts to him, etc. This explanation is erroneous, because invariably where οἶδα (οἴδαμεν, οἴδατε, κ.τ.λ.) is accompanied, not with an accusative of the object, but with ὅτι, the latter conveys the contents (that), and not the reason or the cause (because), of the οἶδα (comp. Php 1:19; Php 1:25; Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:2; Galatians 4:13, and innumerable other passages); secondly, because the previously attested καλῶς ἐποιήσατε, while perfectly suitable to be expressed by the grateful apostle, was not so suited to be transferred to the consciousness of the donors, to which it was self-evident, and to be appealed to by them; thirdly, because the καί in the alleged reference to other churches would be very unsuitable, since the question here concerns merely a work of love of the Philippians, but other churches could only know generally that it was well done to aid the apostle, into which general idea, therefore, Hofmann insensibly transforms the object of οἴδατε, instead of abiding strictly by the concrete καλῶς ἐποιήσατε as its object; finally, it would be strange and not in keeping with the thoughtful manner of the apostle, to furnish the idea: “ye know that ye did well therein” (which οἶδατε is supposed to convey) with the altogether external specification of a ground for it: “because ye have already formerly and repeatedly supported me.” The contents attributed by Hofmann to οἴδατε needed no assignment of a causal ground, or—if any—one internal, ethical, and in harmony with the subtle delicacy of the apostle.

Observe, moreover, in connection with οἴδατε κ. ὑμεῖς, that in that which the readers also know (consequently in ὅτι κ.τ.λ.) the stress lies upon the negative οὐδεμία κ.τ.λ.

καὶ ὑμεῖς] ye also, as I.[191]

Φιλιππήσιοι] addressing them by name, not because he desires to assert something of them which no other church had done (Bengel: for in this case Paul would have written ὅτι ὑμεῖς, Φιλιππ.), but in his increasing earnestness. Comp. 2 Corinthians 6:11.

ἐν ἀρχῇ τ. εὐαγγ.] glancing back, certainly, to the second missionary journey (Weiss); but the relative expression is used from the standpoint of the time then present, behind which lay the founding of the Macedonian churches about ten years back; a long past which seemed, in relation to the present and to the wider development of the church now attained, as still belonging to the period of the beginning of the gospel. Comp. Clement. Cor. I. 47. An epexegetical more precise definition of this expression—which does not betray the hand of a later author (Hinsch)—for the date intended is: ὅτε ἐξῆλθον ἀπὸ Μακεδ., when I departed from Macedonia, Acts 17:14. Paul, therefore, immediately on leaving that country, received aid from the infant church, when the brethren τὸν Παῦλον ἐξαπέστειλαν πορεύεσθαι ὡς ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν and ἤγαγον ἕως Ἀθηνῶν, Acts l.c. Doubtless the money which Paul subsequently received in Corinth (see 2 Corinthians 11:9) through Macedonian delegates was sent, if not exclusively, at least jointly by the Philippians, so that they thereby gave continued active proof of the fellowship εἰς λόγον δόσ. κ. λήψ., into which they had entered with the apostle at his very departure. But this receipt of money at Corinth is not the fact meant by ἐκοινώνησεν κ.τ.λ., in which case ἐξῆλθον would have to be taken, with Estius, Flatt, van Hengel, de Wette, Wiesinger, Weiss, Hofmann, and others, in the sense of the pluperfect (Winer, p. 258 [E. T. 343]); for the latter would be the more unwarranted in the context, seeing that Paul himself by ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγ. carries them back to the earliest time possible, and indeed afterwards (Php 4:16) to a period even antecedent to the ὅτε ἐξῆλθον. The aorist, however, has its justification in this purely historical statement of fact, although the imperfect also, but following a different conception, might—not, however (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection), must—have been used.

ἐκοινώνησεν εἰς λόγον δόσεως κ. λήψ.] entered into fellowship with me in reference to account of giving and receiving,—a euphemistic indication, calculated to meet the sense of delicacy in the readers, of the thought: “has entered into the relation of furnishing aid towards me.” On κοινωνεῖν εἰς, comp. on Php 1:5. The analysis of the figurative description is this: The Philippians keep an account of expenditure on Paul and income from him; and the apostle likewise keeps account of his expenditure on the Philippians and income from them. This mutual account-keeping, in which the δόσις on the one part, agrees with the λῆψις on the other, is the κοινωνία εἰς λόγον κ.τ.λ. It is true that in this case no money-amount is entered in the account of the Philippians under the heading of λῆψις, or the account of the apostle under the heading of δόσις; instead of this, however, comes in the blessing, which the readers were to receive from their gifts of love, according to Php 4:17, as if it were an income corresponding to this expenditure, and coming in from it. We are therefore not justified in adopting the view, that δόσ. and λῆψ. apply to Paul alone (Schrader), or that δόσεως applies to the Philippians and λήψ. to Paul (“Ego sum in vestris expensi tabulis, vos in meis accepti,” Grotius; comp. Erasmus, Camerarius, Casaubon, Castalio, and others, including Heinrichs, Storr, Flatt, Matthies, van Hengel, Rilliet, Ewald); for the words require the idea of an account under both headings on the side of both parties. Others, maintaining indeed this reciprocity, but arbitrarily introducing ideas from 1 Corinthians 11:11, comp. Romans 15:27, consider that the δόσις on the part of the apostle, and the λῆψις on the part of the Philippians, consisted in the spiritual benefits brought about by the preaching of the gospel (so Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Pelagius, Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide, Zanchius, Zeger, Estius, Hammond, Wiesinger, Weiss, Hofmann, and others); whilst others, again, import into the words the thought: “Quae a Philippensibus accepit in rationes Dei remuneratoris refert Paulus” (Wetstein, Rosenmüller; comp. Wolf, Schoettgen, and already Ambrosiaster). Rheinwald finds the λῆψις of the Philippians and the δόσις of the apostle even in the assumption that he also had assisted them, namely, out of the sums of money collected in the churches,—an error which is at variance with the context, and which ought to have been precluded both by the prominence given to the statement of the date, and also by the exclusion of all other churches, as well as by the inappropriateness of the mention just in this passage of such a λῆψις on the part of the Philippians.

On λόγος, ratio, account, comp. Matthew 12:36; Luke 16:2; Romans 14:12; 1Ma 10:40; Dem. 227. 26; Diod. Sic. i. 49; Polyb. xv. 34. 2. The rendering which takes εἰς λόγον: in respect to (Bengel, Heinrichs, Storr, Matthies, van Hengel, Rilliet, Lünemann), would no doubt be linguistically correct (Dem. 385. 11; 2Ma 1:14; and see Krüger on Thuc. iii. 46. 3), but is to be rejected on account of the context, as expressions of accounting follow (comp. Cic. Lael. 16: “ratio acceptorum et datorum”). For instances from Greek writers of δόσις καὶ λῆψις (Sir 41:14; Sir 42:7) as expenditure and income, see Wetstein. Comp. Plat. Rep. p. 332 A B: ἡ ἀπόδοσις κ. ἡ λῆψις. As to the corresponding משא ומתן, see Schoettgen, Hor. p. 804.

[191] To express this, Paul was not at all under the necessity of writing οἴδατε αὐτοί, as Hofmann objects. The latter would convey a different conception, namely: ye know without my reminding you (Acts 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:7).Php 4:15-19. THEIR EARLIER AND LATER GENEROSITY AND ITS DIVINE REWARD.15. Now] Better, But. He suggests, with the same delicacy of love, that their previous gifts would have sufficed, without this gift, to witness and seal their hearts’ cooperation with him. “You have done well in such participation; but indeed you had assured its existence before.”

ye Philippians know also] Better, ye yourselves too know, Philippians; ye, as well as I.—“Philippians”:—the form used by St Paul is “Philippesians”, one of several forms of the civic adjective. The same appears in the ancient “Title” (see above) and in the “Subscription” below. See Lightfoot here.

the gospel] I.e. his evangelization (of their region). For this meaning of “the Gospel” cp. 2 Corinthians 10:14 (and perhaps 2 Corinthians 8:18); Galatians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; and above, Php 1:5; Php 1:7; Php 1:12, Php 4:3.

when I departed from Macedonia] He refers to about the time of his advance into “Achaia,” Roman Southern Greece; just before and just after he actually crossed the border. For the narrative, cp. Acts 17:1-15. This is a reminiscence after an interval of about ten years.

communicated with me] Better, took its share with me. See last note on Php 4:14.

as concerning] Better, with R.V., in the matter of.

giving and receiving] I.e., their giving a subsidy to him, and his receiving it from them. The Greek phrase is a recognized formula, like our “credit and debit.” See Lightfoot here. To bring in the thought of their “giving temporal things” and “receiving spiritual things” (1 Corinthians 9:11) is to complicate and confuse the passage.

ye only] No blame of other Churches is necessarily implied. The thought is occupied with the fact of a sure and early proof of Philippian sympathy.Php 4:15. Οἴδατε, ye know) He shows that he was mindful even of former kindnesses: you know signifies remembrance in respect of the Philippians; knowledge, in respect of other churches.—Φιλιππήσιοι, Philippians) The proper name indicates an antithesis to the churches of other towns.—ἐν ἀρχῇ, in the beginning) of the Gospel preaching in your case. He had gone forth from them some time ago.—ὅτε, when) Join this with the following words, no, etc.—οὐδεμία, no) They might have said, We will do it, if others have done it: now their praise is greater on that account; that of the others, less.—ἐκκλησία, church) Therefore the church of Philippi sent to Paul in common.—εἰς λόγον, as far as concerns) This is a limitation.—δόσεως, of giving, of what has been given) on your part.—λήψεως, of receiving, of what has been received) on mine.—μόνοι, alone) in a manner worthy of praise. He hereby shows his need.Verse 15. - Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia. He reminds them delicately of their former liberality to show his love for them; he was not unwilling to receive kindnesses from them. He had always refused to accept contributions from the Corinthians; but the bonds which bound him to the Macedonian Churches were closer and tenderer. In the beginning of the gospel; when he first preached in Macedonia, ten years ago. The words, "when I departed from Macedonia," may refer either to some gifts not mentioned elsewhere, sent to him when be left Beroea for Athens; or, if the aorist be taken in a pluperfect sense, to the supplies afterwards sent to him at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:8, 9). No Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. Chrysostom understands this of giving worldly things and receiving spiritual things (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:11). But the context seems to restrict the meaning to temporal gifts: the Philippians gave, St. Paul received. Bengel says, "Poterant diccre, Faciemus, si alii fecerint: nunc eo major horum laus est: ceterorum, eo minor." When I departed from Macedonia

On his first European circuit, going by way of Athens to Corinth, where he was joined by Silvanus and Timothy, bringing a contribution from Macedonia. Acts 18:5; 2 Corinthians 11:9.

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