Philippians 3:4b-14

Philippians 3:4b-14
Proper 22A


even though I, too, have reason for confidenceA in the flesh.B If anyone elseC has reasonD to be confidentE in the flesh, I have more: 

Notes on verse 4

A “confidence” = pepoithesis. 6x in NT. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is persuasion, confidence, trust. It is related to the Greek word for faith – pistis.
B “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).
C “else” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
D “has reason” = dokeo. From dokos (opinion). This is to have an opinion, seem, appear, think, suppose. It deals with a personal judgment. This is the root of the word “doxology.”
E “be confident” = peitho. Related to “confidence” in v4. See note A above.

circumcisedF on the eighth day, a member of the peopleG of Israel,H

Notes on verse 5a

F “circumcised” = peritome. From peritemno (to circumcise; literally cut around); {from peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + same as tomos or tomoteros (sharp or keener); from temno (to cut with a as with a single slice)}. This is properly, cut around, referring to the way that foreskin is removed and so this is to circumcise. It can be used or the rite or the people who are circumcised – in a literal or figurative sense.
G “people” = genos. From ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense.
H “Israel” = israel. From Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god)}. This is Israel the people and the land.

of the tribeI of Benjamin,J a HebrewK born of Hebrews; as to the law,L a Pharisee;M 

Notes on verse 5b

I “tribe” = phule. From phuo (to produce, spring up, grow, germinate; perhaps originally meaning puff or blow). This is clan, tribe, lineage. It is those who descend from a shared ancestor.
J “Benjamin” = beniamin. 4x in NT. From Hebrew Binyamin (Benjamin; meaning “son of the right hand”; Jacob’s son, his descendants, and their territory); {from ben (son, age, child) + from yamin (right hand or side; that which is stronger or more agile; the south); {perhaps yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm)}}. This is Benjamin, meaning “son of the right hand.” It is Benjamin or his tribe.
K “Hebrew” = hebraios. 4x in NT. From Hebrew Eber (the region beyond; Eber, the name of several Israelites including a descendant of Shem); from abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is Hebrew or Jew.
L “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
M “Pharisee” = pharisaios. From Aramaic peras (to divide, separate) and from Hebrew parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter). This is a Pharisee, a member of a Jewish sect active in the 1st century. Their name meant separate in the sense of wanting to live a life separated from sin. Whereas the Sadducees were part of the priestly line and inherited their religious position and responsibilities, Pharisees were regular people who studied the scriptures and offered guidance to regular folk. Sadducees were often wealthier and willing to sacrifice their identity to rub elbows with Roman society. Pharisees were often more concerned with what it meant to follow God without compromising what made them different as followers of God. Sadducees primarily believed in that which was written down (the first five books of the Bible) and Pharisees believed in the Bible and the traditions of the elders. Pharisees had a very wide range of interpretations and diversity of opinion. Their standard mode of religion engagement was lively debate with one another. To argue religion with another teacher was to recognize that they had something of value to offer.

as to zeal,N a persecutorO of the church;P as to righteousnessQ under the law, blameless.R

Notes on verse 6

N “zeal” = zelos. 16x in NT– 6x in a positive sense (zeal for God) & 10x in a negative sense (jealousy/strife). Perhaps from zeo (to boil, be hot, ferment, bubble, boil, or glow; used figuratively for being fervent or earnest). This is eagerness or zeal on the one hand or rivalry and jealousy on the other. The verb is meant to echo the sound of boiling water and so it depicts burning emotion that bubbles over. So, burning anger or burning love.
O “persecutor” = dioko. From dio (put to flight). This is chase or pursue in an aggressive fashion. By implication, it is persecute. It can also be used positively for eagerly pursuing something.
P “church” = ekklesia. From ek (from, out from) + kaleo to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is properly a calling out or an assembly. It was used to refer to a church.
Q “righteousness” = dikaiosune. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.
R “blameless” = amemptos. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + memphomai to blame, be disgraceful; be rejected due to doing bad things); {from mempteos (rejected because one has been condemned)}. This is blameless, without fault, irreproachable, free of defect. So, this is one who is morally pure.

Yet whatever gainsS I had, these I have come to regardT as lossU because of Christ.V 

Notes on verse 7

S “gains” = kerdos. 3x in NT. This is profit, gain, advantage.
T “come to regard” = hegeomai. From ago (lead, bring, carry, drive, guide, go). This is to think, suppose, have an opinion. It is to lead the way, what comes in front or first, initial thought, high esteem or authority. It can refer to one who commands in an official capacity. This word shares a root with the word “hegemony.”
U “loss” = zemia. 4x in NT. Perhaps related to damazo (to tame or subdue). This is damage, loss, or a failed deal. It can be a business matter ending in fine or penalty or loss.
V “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.

WMore than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing valueX of knowingY Christ JesusZ my Lord.AA

Notes on verse 8a

W {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
X “surpassing value” = huperecho. 5x in NT. From huper (by, under, over, above, under the authority of another) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is to hold above, surpass, governing, high quality or value. It is to have beyond, excel.
Y “knowing” = gnosis. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is knowing, knowledge, understanding, wisdom. It is direct knowledge – working knowledge that links theory and application.
Z “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.
AA “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

For his sake I have suffered the lossBB of all things, and I regard them as rubbish,CC in order that I may gainDD Christ and be foundEE in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faithFF in Christ, the righteousness from GodGG based on faith. 

Notes on verses 8b-9

BB “suffered the loss” = zemioo. Related to “loss” in v7. 6x in NT. From zemia (see note U above). This is to damage, cause a loss, punish, forfeit, be damaged or cast away.
CC “rubbish” = skubalon. 1x in NT. Perhaps from eis (to, into, towards, among) + kuon (dog as a scavenger; figuratively, a spiritual predator) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop). This is dregs, garbage, dung. Perhaps it is rubbish cast off to dogs as scraps. It is something that is only to be thrown out. It is in itself a crass word.
DD “gain” = kerdaino. Related to “gains” in v7. 17x in NT. From kerdos (see note S above). This is to gain, win, or acquire. It is a word from the sphere of bartering and trading. Figuratively, it can mean trading up.
EE “found” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
FF “faith” = pistis. Related to “confidence” and “be confident” in v4. From peitho (see note A 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.
GG “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

10 I want to knowHH Christ and the powerII of his resurrectionJJ and the sharingKK of his sufferingsLL

Notes on verse 10a

HH “know” = ginosko. Related to “knowing” in v8. See note Y above.
II “power” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
JJ “resurrection” = anastasis. From anistemi (to raise up, rise, appear; to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect); from ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is literally standing up or standing again. It is used figuratively for recovering a spiritual truth. It can be raising up, rising, or resurrection.
KK “sharing” = koinonia. 19x in NT. From koinonos (partner, companion, partaker, sharer); From koinos (common, shared, unclean, ritually profane); probably from sun (with, together with). This is sharing in common so it is fellowship, participation, communion, and aid that comes from the community.
LL “sufferings” = pathema. 16x in NT. From pathos (passion, lust, suffering, something that happens to you, strong feelings); from pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is something that happens to you such as suffering, affliction, passion, or emotion. It can also be one’s capacity for deep feelings or enduring. Further, it can be hardship or pain.

by becoming likeMM him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attainNN the resurrectionOO from the dead.

Notes on verses 10b-11

MM “becoming like” = summorphoo. 1x in NT. From summorphos (similar or conformed to; behavior that mirrors inner essence; jointly formed); {from sun (with, together with) + morphe (form, shape, external appearance; an appearance that embodies inner essence; figuratively, the nature of something); {perhaps from meros (a part or share, portion); {from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion)}}. This is to conform to or embody that same inner essence. Figuratively, it can be to assimilate.
NN “attain” = katantao. 13x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among); + antao (to meet with personally) OR from kata (see above) + anti (opposite, instead of, against). This is to come down, reach, arrive. It can be to descend from a higher elevation to a lower one or, more specifically, go to the coast or from out in the waters back to the coast. Figuratively, it is arriving at one’s destination or receiving inheritance.
OO “resurrection” = exanastasis. Related to “resurrection” in v10. 1x in NT. From exanistemi (to raise, stand, produce, beget); {from ek (from, from out of) + anistemi (see note JJ above)}. This is a rising again – a thorough raising, a resurrection.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;PP but I press onQQ to make it my own,RR because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 

Notes on verse 12

PP “reached the goal” = teleioo. From teleios (going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one; reaching an end and so being complete or “perfect”; also full grown or mature); from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax).  This is finish, accomplish, bring to an end, complete, reach a goal, finish a race, to consummate. It refers to completing stages or phases to get to an ultimate conclusion. It can also mean consecrate or fulfill.
QQ “press on” = dioko. Same as “persecutor” in v6. See note O above.
RR “make…my own” = katalambano. Related to “obtained” in v12. 15x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, throughout) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to take hold of something with great intention for one’s own interest. It can be seize or arrest – grasping forcefully. Figuratively, it can also mean to comprehend, to win, to surprise, or to possess.

13 Beloved,SS I do not considerTT that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgettingUU whatVV lies behind and straining forwardWW to what lies ahead, 

Notes on verse 13

SS “beloved” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
TT “consider” = logizomai. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is this is to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense.
UU “forgetting” = epilanthanomai. 8x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares). This is to overlook, forget, neglect. It can particularly refer to the impact of not noticing something.
VV {untranslated} = men. Same as {untranslated} in v8. See note W above.
WW “straining forward” = epekteino. 1x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + ekteino (to stretch out, reach, lay hands on; also casting an anchor); {from ek (from, from out of) + teino (to stretch, extend, strain)}. This is to extend or reach forward for something.

14 I press on toward the goalXX for the prizeYY of the heavenlyZZ callAAA of God in Christ Jesus.

Notes on verse 14

XX “goal” = skopos. 1x in NT. From skeptomai (to peer out, consider, gaze carefully); perhaps related to skapto (to dig or excavate). This is a mark or goal like the marker at the end of a race. Figuratively, it can refer to goals or destinations, a watch or sentry.
YY “prize” = brabeion. 2x in NT. From brabeus (umpire). This is a prize. Originally, it was the prize given to the winner – one that recognized a triumph in public games.
ZZ “heavenly” = ano. 9x in NT. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew). This is literally up, upward, to the brim. Figuratively, it can refer to things above, i.e. of the heavens.
AAA “call” = klesis. Related to “church” in v6. 11x in NT. From kaleo (see note P above). This is a calling or invitation. In the Bible, this word always refers to a call from God.

Image credit: “Mosaic floor depicting various athletes wearing wreaths. From the Museum of Olympia”

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