Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
(1) motives for it.
I. Love for those who HAVE LABOURED FOR US IN THE GOSPEL. Many can feel this love who are not yet capable of rising to a sense of love towards God. This lower affection may lead to the higher love of which it is a reflection.
II. THE DISCOMFITURE OF THOSE WHO ARE HOSTILE TO THE GOSPEL. This need not be opposed to love. The gospel is set for the fail of many as well as for their rising again. It is good for the wicked to be brought low, for only in thus failing is there any hope of their being finally saved.
III. A PEELING OF PRIDE THAT WE ARE CONNECTED WITH THE GREAT ONES OF THE CHURCH. The communion of suffering is ever part of the communion of saints. St. Paul is not here appealing to the highest motives, but to motives which are common to our human nature, and which may properly be used on the side of faith. Everything which is truly human is from God and is to be enlisted in his service. - V.W.H.
Parallel VersesKJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
WEB: Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News;