Hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
I. See in Paul's example, WHAT IS THE EFFECT THAT THE GOOD REPORT WHICH THE GODLY HEAR OF THEIR BRETHREN, USETH TO WORK IN THEIR MINDS. Commonly men suck in their own praises with very greedy ears, but they cannot with patience endure the praises of others, thinking that the praises of others is a close kind of dispraising themselves, and that so much is taken from them as is given unto another. Hence it is that the speech of those that are much in the commendations of others is so troublesome to us, in that thereby we feel ourselves stirred up to wrath, fretting, envy, and such like distemper of corrupt affections. But it is far otherwise with the children of God, who have the circumcised ears of Paul, that not only with patience, but with great joy, can hear the commendations of their brethren, and upon the hearing of them break forth not into fretting and fuming, but into a holy lauding of the Name of the Lord.
II. Observe, THAT THANKS ARE DUE TO GOD, NOT ONLY FOR THOSE BENEFITS WHICH HE BESTOWETH ON US OURSELVES, BUT ON OUR BRETHREN ALSO. And therefore if we pay him not this debt, he may justly charge us with ingratitude. For shall we confess it our duty to pray for our brethren, that they may be enriched with these graces; and shall we not think ourselves equally bound to give thanks to God, when He hath heard our prayers?
III. If in Paul's example others are bound to give thanks for our graces, then it is our part, who through God's mercies are possessed of any of His graces SO TO USE THEM THAT WE MAY MINISTER JUST CAUSE TO OUR BRETHREN TO GIVE THANKS FOR THEM.
IV. Paul saying that he heard of the faith and love of Philemon, PLAINLY SHOWETH, THAT THERE WERE SOME THAT RELATED AND REPORTED THEM TO HIM. By whose example we must learn to have a special respect of the good name of our brother, being always ready, as occasion shall serve, to speak of those good things that are in others.
V. Observe GOD'S PROVIDENCE, RECOMPENSING FAITH WITH FAME AND GOOD NAME. When faith shall open our hearts and mouths to extol God's name, God will open our brethren's, yea, sometimes our enemies' mouths, to extol ours (Hebrews 11:13). "By this" (namely faith) "our elders obtained a good report." This was the means whereby they became so famous. What marvel, then, if thou hast an ill name, when thou hast an ill conscience? Naughty faith and fame, cracked credit and conscience, commonly go together.
(D. Dyke, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;