Philippians 1:22-26

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

We have already seen -

I. PAUL'S OPENING GREETING - 1:1-2

We have also seen -

II. PAUL'S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER - 1:3-11

We are in the process of seeing -

III. PAUL'S CIRCUMSTANCES AND DESIRES - 1:12-26

Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.

Philippians 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.

Philippians 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will.

Philippians 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.

Philippians 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

Philippians 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

We continue with -

Philippians 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast with to die is gain in verse 21.

If I live in the flesh is a simple condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true. Since Paul did not really know whether this would turn out to be true, if should be understood in the sense of assuming that.

I live in the flesh suggests I live physically. It assumes that Paul might continue to be physically alive a little longer.

The conclusion of the condition is this is the fruit of my labour.

The content of this is I live in (the) flesh.

The fruit of my labour means that this may be what God has given Paul to do. It may be God's will for Paul to live in (the) flesh in the immediate future rather than to die and go to be with Christ. Paul's work on earth may not yet be over.

Yet is the word ordinarily translated and and may be understood in this sense here. It may instead introduce a contrast and be understood in the sense of but. Furthermore, it may be emphatic and understood as indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.

What I shall choose I wot not indicates that Paul is not certain what he would choose if the choice were up to him.

What I shall choose pictures Paul as pondering what choice he would eventually make. Of course, it was not really Paul's choice to make; but he would be content with either result.

I wot not is I do not know.

Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

For introduces an explanation of the reason he does not know what he will choose, whether it is to die and go to heaven or to continue living.

I am in a strait betwixt two indicates that Paul is between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

I am in a strait suggests I am in a difficult (or awkward) situation.

Betwixt two is by the two or because of the two, where the two suggests to live and to die in verse 21.

Having [i.e. because I have] a desire to depart, and to be with Christ indicates why Paul is in a strait betwixt two.

A desire to depart, and to be with Christ is Paul's specific desire; yet, Paul realizes that he is probably going to stay on earth a little longer. As a matter of fact, he lived another five or six years. Desire signifies an intense (or a strong) desire. It is the term ordinarily translated lust in the New Testament when used with a bad or evil connotation. Here, however, it is a good desire.

To depart implies to depart from earth and go to heaven. It is a military term used for striking a tent or breaking camp. It would be a familiar term for those who had been in the military. It is also a nautical term used for loosing a ship from its moorings and getting ready to sail (i.e. for setting sail). In either case, Paul is expressing his readiness to go to be with Christ.

And to be with Christ implies that Paul expects to spend eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ. This being with Christ will take place instantly upon his departure.

II Corinthians 5:1-9 - (1) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (3) If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (4) For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (5) Now he that hath wrought us [i.e. prepared us] for the selfsame thing [i.e. for this very thing] is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit [i.e. has given us the Spirit as a guarantee or has given us the downpayment of the Spirit].(6) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (7) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (8) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (9) Wherefore we labour [i.e. we make it our aim in life], that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him [i.e. well pleasing to Him] (emphasis added).

Back to Philippians 1:23

Which is far better implies which is much better indeed. Every believer who has lived faithfully for the Lord and served Him with his entire being over an extended period of time will have this same desire experienced by the Apostle Paul. He wants to go home to heaven to be with his Lord. Who can blame him! Nothing is better than this!

Philippians 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Nevertheless introduces a statement in mild contrast with what has been stated in verse 23. It is the word often translated but and should be understood in this sense here.

To abide in the flesh is to remain in the flesh or to stay in the flesh; and is understood in the sense of to continue remaining in the flesh or to continue staying in the flesh, implying to stay alive physically or to go on living physically rather than to be executed.

Is more needful for you is is more necessary for you Philippian believers. No servant of the Lord is indispensable, and the Lord can get along quite well without anyone's help; yet, He has placed some of His servants in particular places at particular times in order to accomplish particular tasks for Him. He is certainly capable of raising up someone else to take anyone's place at any time. However, God places people in positions where they are actually needed because He has made others dependent on them; and at this point in their Christian lives, the Philippian believers needed Paul. Within the will of God, they were dependent upon him.

Similarly, God has placed many pastors in churches where the people have special needs for their particular ministries. Likewise parents have children who are dependent on them. It is not as if someone else could not step in and meet the children's needs if something were to happen to the parents. Of course, God is capable of getting along without all of His servants; but God has chosen to work through them to accomplish His purposes. Similarly, He was working through the Apostle Paul at this time in these Philippian believers' lives.

Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.

And having this confidence is and having become convinced of this, and having been made sure of this, or and having become certain of this, that Paul's abiding in the flesh is more needful for the Philippian believers at this time than his departing and being with Christ.

I know is understood in the sense of I see, I perceive, or I recognize.

What Paul perceives is that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.

I shall abide is I will remain or I will stay. Its mood indicates that this is definitely expected to happen. There is no doubt about it.

And I shall . . . continue with you all is understood as and I will stay with you to help. It indicates that Paul expects to continue to live along with the Philippian believers.

For your furtherance and joy of faith indicates the outcome of Paul's continuing to live.

Furtherance is progress or advancement. Paul is expecting to stay longer in this life in order that the spiritual lives of the Philippian believers might be advanced.

(For your) joy of faith implies that their faith produces their joy. As Paul stays and assists these believers in their Christian lives, their Christianity should result in joy which they have already obtained; but there is more joy to be had. Similarly, the fruit of the Spirit is produced in the lives of believers and includes joy but there is always room for more of the fruit of the Spirit.

The appears before faith in the Greek text, indicating that it means joy of the faith and is referring to the faith which is Christianity.

Philippians 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Verse 26 provides the reason Paul expects that he will abide and continue with the Philippian believers.

That is understood as in order that or for the purpose that.

Your rejoicing is your boasting or your exulting.

May be more abundant is may abound and indicates that Paul desires it to happen. The same word translated may be more abundant in this verse was translated may abound in verse 9.

In Jesus Christ tells where their boasting or rejoicing should be. It signifies in the person of Jesus Christ and implies in all that He is and represents.

By my coming to you again indicates the reason their rejoicing may be even more abundant in Christ. It is because Paul intends to come to them again.