1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
[If there be therefore any consolation] The "if" does not
express any doubt here but, on the contrary, is to be considered as a strong
affirmation; as there is consolation in Christ, as there is comfort of love,
and so on.
[If any comfort of love] If the followers of Christ, by giving proofs of their ardent love to each other in cases of distress, alleviate the sufferings of the persecuted
[If any fellowship of the Spirit] If there be an intimate relation established among all Christians by their being made mutual partakers of the Holy Ghost;
[If any bowels and mercies] If you, as persons whom I have brought to God at the hazard of my life, feel sympathetic tenderness for me now, in a further state of suffering;
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
[Fulfil ye my joy] Ye ought to complete my joy, who has suffered so much to bring you into the the posession of these blessings, by being like-minded with myself, having the same love to God, his cause, and me, as I have to him, his cause and you.
[Being of one accord] Being perfectly agreed in laboring to promote the honor of your Master; and of one mind, being constantly intent upon this great subject; keeping your eye fixed upon it in all that you say, do or intend.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
[Let nothing be done through strife] Never be opposed to each other, never act from separate interests; ye are all brethren and of one body, therefore let every member feel and labor for the welfare of the whole. And, in the exercise of your different functions, and in the use of your various gifts, do nothing so as to promote your own reputation, separately considered from the comfort, honor and advantage of all.
[But in lowliness of mind] Have always an humble view of yourselves and this will lead you to prefer others to yourselves, for, as you know your own secret defects, charity will lead you to suppose that your brethern are more holy and more devoted to God than you are, and they will think the same of you, their secret defects being known only to themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
[Look not every man on his own things] In the service of God do nothing through self-interest, nor arrogate to yourselves gifts, graces and fruits which belomg to others; ye are all called to promote God's glory and the salvation of men. Labor for this and every one shall receive the honor that comes from God; and let each rejoice to see another, whom God may be pleased to use in a special way, acquiring much reputation by the successful application of his talents to the great work.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
[Let this mind be in you] Christ labored to promote no separate interest. As man he studied to promote the glory of God and the welfare and salvation of the human race. See then that ye have the same disposition that was in Jesus; he was ever humble, loving, patient and laborious; his meat and drink was to do the will of his Father and to finish his work.
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
[Who, being in the form of God] The apostle is simply speaking of what Christ was before he took the form of a servant. As Jesus himself stated, "I and my Father are one." John 10:30.
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
[But made himself of no reputation] He emptied himself - did not appear in his glory, for he assumed the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of man. And his being made in the likeness of man and assuming the form of a servant is proof that he had emptied himself - laid aside his heavenly glory.
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
[He humbled himself] Laid himself as low as possible. (1) In
emptying himself - laying aside his glory. (2) In being incarnate - taking
upon himself the human form. (3) In becoming a servant - assuming the lowest
innocent character, that of being the servant of all. (4) In condescending to
die, in which he was not naturally liable, as having never sinned, and
therefore had a right in his human nature to immortality without passing
under the empire of death. (5) In condescending, not only to death, but to
the lowest, most ignominious kind of death, the death of the cross; the
punishment of the meanest of slaves and worst of felons.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
[Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him] If by his humiliation he has merited pardon and final salvation for the whole world, is it to be wondered that the human body, in which the fullness of the God-head dwelt, and in which the punishment due to our sins was borne upon the tree, should be exalted above all human and created beings? According to Ephesians 1:20-21 the man Christ Jesus is exalted to the right hand of God, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but in the world to come. Before his birth Gabriel stated that his name should be called JESUS; giving for reason, he shall save his people from their sins. The qualifications of the Savior of the world were so extraordinary, the redeeming acts so stupendous and the result of all so glorious, both to God and man, that it is impossible to conceive of a higher name or title than that of JESUS, Savior of the world.
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
[That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow] That all human beings should consider themselves redeemed unto God by his blood and look for an application of this redemption price. All created beings, human or otherwise, shall bow before him.
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
[And that every tongue should confess] That all those before mentioned should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, or absolute governor, and thus glorify God the Father.
Please notice that EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue shall confess. As for humans, some shall bow in thanksgiving for their salvation and some as they stand in judgement because, although Jesus has already redeemed them, they have issued an almost incredible insult to God by refusing his gift. Please read John chapter 3.
Historical information drawn from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from Amazon.com
This page updated 10/12/2006Copyright (C) 1999,2004,2006 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved