the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Grant's Commentary on the Bible Grant's Commentary
by L.M. Grant
With a deep, peaceful joy Paul writes his Epistle to the Philippians, from circumstances which would in themselves tend rather to misery and discouragement. Imprisonedin Rome, he considered himself the Lord's prisoner, placed there by Divine wisdom for the carrying out of God's will and work. Hence, his joy comes from the highest source: his loneliness and bondage but give occasion to the more constant, real fellowship of the presence of God, and his cup runs over.
The Philippians too, had known him at the beginning as persecuted for Christ's sake, and how real a comfort to his soul it was that this only increased their attachment to him, rather than frightening them. This attachment had been unwavering from that time, until now, eleven years having passed since he had first visited them with the Gospel. This we can easily understand would increase the joy with which he writes to them.
The epistle is plainly pastoral, refreshing, encouraging, rather than correcting, or setting forth the doctrines of Christianity. Experience consistent with the doctrine is more properly the subject here, - not indeed the experience of every Christian, but the experience normally begotten by the knowledge of Christ. Paul himself appears as the example of this experience; and who can fail to see that this is intended to decidedly stir our souls to follow his example?