Philippians 1:23
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

King James Bible
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Darby Bible Translation
But I am pressed by both, having the desire for departure and being with Christ, for it is very much better,

World English Bible
But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Young's Literal Translation
for I am pressed by the two, having the desire to depart, and to be with Christ, for it is far better,

Philippians 1:23 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For I am in a strait betwixt two - Two things, each of which I desire. I earnestly long to be with Christ; and I desire to remain to be useful to the world. The word rendered "I am in a strait" - συνέχομαι sunechomai - means to be pressed on or constrained, as in a crowd; to feel oneself pressed or pent up so as not to know what to do; and it here means that he was in perplexity and doubt, and did not know what to choose. "The words of the original are very emphatic. They appear to be derived from a ship when lying at anchor, and when violent winds blow upon it that would drive it out to sea. The apostle represents himself as in a similar condition. His strong affection for them bound his heart to them - as an anchor holds a ship to its moorings and yet there was a heavenly influence bearing upon him - like the gale upon the vessel - which would bear him away to heaven." Burder, in Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc.

Having a desire to depart - To die - to leave this world for a better. People, as they are by nature, usually dread to die. Few are even made willing to die. Almost none desire to die - and even then they wish it only as the least of two evils. Pressed down by pain and sorrow; or sick and weary of the world, the mind may be worked up into a desire to be away. But this with the world is, in all cases, the result of misanthropy, or morbid feeling, or disappointed ambition, or an accumulation of many sorrows. Wetstein has adduced on this verse several most beautiful passages from the classic writers, in which people expressed a desire to depart - but all of them probably could be traced to disappointed ambition, or to mental or bodily sorrows, or to dissatisfaction with the world. It was from no such wish that Paul desired to die. It was not because he hated man - for he ardently loved him. It was not because he had been disappointed about wealth and honor - for he had sought neither. It was not because he had not been successful - for no man had been more so. It was not because he had been subjected to pains and imprisonments - for he was willing to bear them. It was not because he was old, and infirm, and a burden to the world - for, from anything that appears, he was in the vigor of life, and in the fullness of his strength. It was from a purer, higher motive than any of these - the strength of attachment which bound him to the Saviour, and which made him long to be with him.

And to be with Christ - We may remark on this expression:

(1) That this was the true reason why he wished to be away. It was his strong love to Christ; his anxious wish to be with him; his firm belief that in his presence was "fulness of joy."

(2) Paul believed that the soul of the Christian would be immediately with the Saviour at death. It was evidently his expectation that he would at once pass to his presence, and not that he would remain in an intermediate state to some far distant period.

(3) the soul does not sleep at death. Paul expected to be with Christ, and to be conscious of the fact - to see him, and to partake of his glory.

(4) the soul of the believer is made happy at death. To be with Christ is synonymous with being in heaven - for Christ is in heaven, and is its glory. We may add:

(a) that this wish to be with Christ constitutes a marked difference between a Christian and other people. Other people may be willing to die; perhaps be desirous to die, because their sorrows are so great that they feel that they cannot be borne. But the Christian desires to depart from a different motive altogether. It is to be with Christ - and this constitutes a broad line of distinction between him and other people.

(b) A mere willingness to die, or even a desire to die, is no certain evidence of preparation for death. If this willingness or desire is caused by mere intensity of suffering; if it is produced by disgust at the world or by disappointment; if it arises from some view of fancied Elysian fields beyond the grave, it constitutes no evidence whatever of a preparation for death. I have seen not a few persons who were not professed Christians on a bed of death, and not a few willing to die, nay, not a few who wished to depart. But in the vast majority of instances it was because they were sick of life, or because their pain made them sigh for relief, or because they were so wretched that they did not care what happened - and this they and their friends construed into an evidence that they were prepared to die! In most instances this is a miserable delusion; in no case is a mere willingness to die an evidence of preparation for death.

Which is far better - Would be attended with more happiness; and would be a higher, holier state than to remain on earth. This proves also that the soul of the Christian at death is made at once happy - for a state of insensibility can in no way be said to be a better condition than to remain in this present world. The Greek phrase here - πολλῷ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον pollō mallon kreisson - is very emphatic, and the apostle seems to labor for language which will fully convey his idea. It means, "by much more, or rather better," and the sense is, "better beyond all expression." Doddridge. See numerous examples illustrating the phrase in Wetstein. Paul did not mean to say that he was merely willing to die, or that he acquiesced in its necessity, but that the fact of being with Christ was a condition greatly to be preferred to remaining on earth. This is the true feeling of Christian piety; and having this feeling, death to us will have no terrors.

Philippians 1:23 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity Paul's Thanks and Prayers for Churches.
Text: Philippians 1, 3-11. 3 I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 5 for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; 6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7 even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

A Prisoner's Triumph
'Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel; 13. So that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest; 14. And that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. 15. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16. The one do it of love, knowing
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Believer's Privilege at Death
'For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' Phil 1:1I. Hope is a Christian's anchor, which he casts within the veil. Rejoicing in hope.' Rom 12:12. A Christian's hope is not in this life, but he hash hope in his death.' Prov 14:42. The best of a saint's comfort begins when his life ends; but the wicked have all their heaven here. Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.' Luke 6:64. You may make your acquittance, and write Received in full payment.' Son, remember that
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

For There were Even in the Apostles' Times Some who Preached the Truth Not...
16. For there were even in the Apostles' times some who preached the truth not in truth, that is, not with truthful mind: of whom the Apostle saith that they preached Christ not chastely, but of envy and strife. And on this account even at that time some were tolerated while preaching truth not with a chaste mind: yet not any have been praised as preaching falsehood with a chaste mind. Lastly, he saith of those, "Whether in pretence or in truth Christ be preached:" [2404] but in no wise would he
St. Augustine—Against Lying

Cross References
John 12:26
"If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

2 Corinthians 5:8
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:24
yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

2 Timothy 4:6
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

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