Philippians 1:21-30

Philippians 1:21-30
Proper 20A


21 For to me, livingA is ChristB and dyingC is gain.D 

Notes on verse 21

A “living” = zao. This is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
B “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
C “dying” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
D “gain” = kerdos. 3x in NT. This is profit, gain, advantage.

22 If I am to live in the flesh,E that means fruitfulF laborG for me, yet I cannot sayH which I will choose.I 

Notes on verse 22

E “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
F “fruitful” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.
G “labor” = ergon. From ergo (to work, accomplish, do). This is work, task, deed, labor, effort.
H “say” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
I “choose” = haireo. Related to “fruitful” in v22. 3x in NT. See note F above.

23 I am hard pressedJ between the two:K my desireL isM

Notes on verse 23a

J “am hard pressed” = sunecho. 12x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is to hold together or hold fast, to close or press together. It can also be to be struck by an illness, arrested, compressed as by a multitude or a siege. Figuratively, it can mean to compel, perplex, preoccupy, or generally afflict.
K “two” = duo. This is two or both.
L “desire” = epithumia. From epithmueo (long for, set one’s heart on, yearn, desire); {from epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is desire, a longing built on passionate emotion or urges. This can be a positive or a negative passion (lust or eagerness).
M “is” = echo. Related to “am hard pressed” in v23. See note J above.

to departN and beO with Christ, for that is farP better,Q 

Notes on verse 23b

N “depart” = analuo. 2x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld). This is to unloose in order to depart. So, it is depart in a literal or figurative sense, break up, return.
O “be” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
P “far” = polus + mallon. Polus is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent. Mallon is rather, more than, or better.
Q “better” = kreisson. 4x in NT. From kreitton (stronger, better, more dominant or nobler; better in the sense that it is mastered or developed); from the same as kratistos (strongest, noblest – high in dignity or honor; used to speak to a high ranking Roman; can also differentiate an equestrian from a senator); from kratus (strong); from kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised). This is better or stronger – holding an advantage.

24 but to remainR in the flesh is more necessaryS for you. 25 Since I am convincedT of this, I knowU

Notes on verses 24-25a

R “remain” = epimeno. 17x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + meno (to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure; to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition; to continue with hope and expectation). This is to remain, terry, continue, or persevere. It denotes persistence in pursing a goal or task.
S “more necessary” = anagkaios. 8x in NT. From anagke (necessity – something that happens that requires an immediate response; associated with pain or distress); {from ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + agcho (to press tightly or compress)} OR ana (see above) + agkale (the arm, particularly one that is bent to carry a load); {from agkos (a bend)}. This is necessary, essential, proper, intimate. It can be used to refer to close relatives.
T “convinced” = peitho. This is to have confidence, to urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust. It is the root from which the Greek word for faith is drawn (pistis).
U “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.

that I will remainV and continueW with allX of you

Notes on verse 25b

V “remain” = meno. Related to “remain” in v24. See note R above.
W “continue” = parameno. Related to “remain” in v24 & “remain” in v25. 4x in NT. From para (by, beside, in the presence of) + meno (see note R above). This is to remain beside or near, abide with, or continue. Figuratively, it’s persevere in. It could also be maintaining an ongoing close relationship or partnership.
X “all” = pas. This is all or every.

for your progressY and joyZ in faith,AA 

Notes on verse 25c

Y “progress” = prokope. 3x in NT. From prokopto (to advance, lead, proceed; to trailblaze while moving forward; other forms of advancing like time passing or profit increasing); {from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + kopto (to cut, strike, cut off; beating the chest to lament and so to mourn)}. This is literally moving forward by clearing a path or chopping things down that are in the way. It was originally used to refer to pioneer and marching armies. Figuratively, it was used for other progress, furtherance, or profit, whether subjective or objective.
Z “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
AA “faith” = pistis. Related to “convinced” in v25. From peitho (see note T above). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

26 so that, by my presenceBB again with you, your boastCC might aboundDD in Christ JesusEE because of me.

Notes on verse 26

BB “presence” = parousia. Related to “be” in v23. From pareimi (to be present, have come) {from para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + eimi (see note O above)}. This is presence, coming, arrival, advent. Properly, it was the term for an official visit of a king or someone else with formal authority. It is used specifically in the New Testament to refer to Jesus’s second coming.
CC “boast” = kauchema. 11x in NT. From kauchaomai (literally holding one’s head high – to boast proudly or to glory, joy, exult, rejoice; can be boasting in a positive or negative sense); perhaps from auchen (neck) OR from aucheo (to boast) + euchomai (to wish, request, pray to God). This is the reason for boasting or the boast itself. It could be confidence or reason for pride/glorying. It looks at the result of the boast.
DD “abound” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.
EE “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.

27 Only,FF live your lifeGG in a manner worthyHH of the gospelII of Christ,

Notes on verse 27a

FF “only” = monon. Related to “remain” in v24 & “remain” and “continue” in v25. From monos (alone, single, remaining, mere, desolate); from meno (see note R above). This is merely, only, simply, sole. It can also imply alone.
GG “live your life” = politeuomai. Related to “far” in v23. 2x in NT. From polites (citizen, townsperson); from polis (a city or its inhabitants; is a town of variable size, but one that has walls); probably from the same as polemos (war, quarrel, strife; battle, whether one time or on-going); {from pelomai (to bustle) or from polus (see note P above)}. This is literally to live like a citizen. Figuratively, it can be to conduct oneself as a citizen does.
HH “in a manner worthy” = axios. 6x in NT. From axios (related to weight or worth – deserving, suitable, corresponding, due reward); from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go). This is worthily or appropriately. It is when something is held to have the same worth as its real value.
II “gospel” = euaggelion. Related to “in a manner worthy” in v27. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel); {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (see note HH above)}. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.

so that, whether I comeJJ and seeKK you or am absentLL and hearMM about you,

Notes on verse 27b

JJ “come” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
KK “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
LL “am absent” = apeimi. Related to “be” in v23 & “presence” in v26. 7x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + eimi (see note O above). This is to be away or absent.
MM “hear” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.

I will know that you are standing firmNN in oneOO spirit,PP

Notes on verse 27c

NN “standing firm” = steko. 11x in NT. From histemi (to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast). This is to stand fast or be stationary. Figuratively, it can mean to persevere.
OO “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
PP “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breathe, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

striving side by sideQQ with one mindRR for the faith of the gospel 28 and in no waySS frightenedTT

Notes on verses 27d-28a

QQ “striving side by side” = sunathleo. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + athleo (to wrestle, compete; to contend as one does in competitive or athletic games). This is to compete with others or to cooperate/strive together. Figuratively, it can mean to labor with eagerly.
RR “mind” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
SS “no way” = medeis. Related to “one” in v27. From mede (but or and not); {from me (not, neither, never) + de (but, and, now, indeed)} + heis (see note OO above). This is literally not even one. It is nothing or never.
TT “frightened” = pturo. 1x in NT. Perhaps from ptuo (to spit); related to ptoeo (to scare, to drive to panic, to stoke fears so that another loses touch with reality, to startle); probably related to pipto (to fall in a literal or figurative sense); or petomai (to fly). This is to frighten or terrify.

by those opposingUU you. For them, this is evidenceVV of their destructionWW but of your salvation.XX

Notes on verse 28b

UU “opposing” = antikeimai. 8x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + keimai (to lie, recline, set, be appointed, be destined). This is to resist, oppose, or withstand. It can also be opposition, adversary, or enemy. This is to lie opposite or place against – being in irreconcilable opposition. Figuratively, it can be repugnant.
VV “evidence” = endeixis. 4x in NT. From endeiknumi (to prove, demonstrate, show by word or deed); {from en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known)}. This is a proof, sign, demonstration, display.
WW “destruction” = apoleia. 18x in NT. From apollumi (to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently; to cancel or remove); {from apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination)}. This is destruction, loss, something cut off, ruin, perdition. It can be any kind of loss whether tangible, spiritual, or eternal.
XX “salvation” = soteria. From soter (a savior, deliverer); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is deliverance, salvation, preservation, welfare, prosperity, safety.

And this is God’sYY doing. 29 For he has graciously grantedZZ you the privilege not only of believingAAA in Christ

Notes on verses 28c-29a

YY “God’s” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
ZZ “graciously granted” = charizomai. Related to “joy” in v25. From charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); from chairo (see note Z above). This is to extend grace or favor, to grant forgiveness, to pardon or rescue.
AAA “believing” = pisteuo. Related to “convinced” and “faith” in v25. From pistis (see note AA above). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.

but of sufferingBBB for him as well, 30 since you are havingCCC the same struggleDDD that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Notes on verses 29b-30

BBB “suffering” = pascho. Akin to penthos (mourning, sorrow). This is to be acted on for good or ill. It is often used for negative treatment. Properly, it means feeling strong emotions – especially suffering. It can also be the ability to feel suffering.
CCC “having” = echo. Same as “is” in v23. See note M above.
DDD “struggle” = agon. Related to “in a manner worthy” and “gospel” in v27. 6x in NT. From ago (see note HH above). This can refer to a gathering or contest – as an athletic competition such as a race. It can also refer to conflict, struggle, opposition or a fight. It is used figuratively in a positive sense – as fighting the good fight of faith. It is also used in a negative figurative sense for effort or anxiety. Properly, this word refers to a place where people gather, which implies the game or contest.

Image credit: “Triptych with Crucifixion, Madonna and Child, and Saints on Horseback,” 18th century. Photo by Sailko, 2018.

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