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January 1975 · Vol. 4 No. 1 · pp. 274–86 

Love's Widening Horizons

D. Edmond Hiebert

The “Letter to the Philippians” was a friendship letter in the fullest sense of the term. It radiates the cordial warmth and deep affection of intimate friendship. In no other letter does Paul lay bare as fully his unrestrained love for his readers as in this letter. The Philippians freely reciprocated his love. And in accepting their expressions of love Paul had no fear of being misunderstood. Paul was unwilling to receive monetary aid from the Corinthian Church in order to avoid misunderstanding (2 Cor. 11:8-12), but he had no such fears in receiving the tangible expressions of love sent by the Philippian saints.

Paul’s “Letter to the Philippians” contains his thanksgiving for another gift which they had sent him (4:10-18), but that gift was not the immediate occasion for writing. The letter was called forth by the fact that Epaphroditus, who had brought their offering to Rome and there had become seriously ill, was now returning to Philippi (2:25-30). Paul used the occasion to pen this friendship letter to his beloved brethren at Philippi.

Paul begins his letter by giving expression to his intimate fraternal relations to the Philippians (1:3-11). In verses 3-5 he states his thanksgiving to God for them, in verses 6-7 he asserts his abiding confidence in them, in verse 8 he expresses his personal longing for them, while in verses 9-11 he formulates an expression of his prayers for them. Since as a prisoner Paul could not go to see them (1:13-14), he poured out his pastoral heart in fervent prayer for them. He not only told them that he was praying for them (vv. 3-4), but also challenged them by giving expression to the contents of his prayers for them.

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Phil 1:9-11 ASV).

The opening formula, “And this I pray,” not found elsewhere in Paul, connects this prayer with what has already been said and prepares for its expression. “And” marks the prayer as a continued expression of his personal relations to the Philippians. The connection is not to be restricted to verse 8 as a confirmation of his longing for them. “This” relates back to verses 3 and 4 where reference was made to the fact that his remembrance of them was associated with prayer for them. But in his formulation here “this” looks forward to the {275} substance of those prayers as now expressed. Standing emphatically before the verb, this demonstrative pronoun stresses the nature and content of his prayers for them. The present tense of the verb denotes that repeatedly he is offering up this prayer on their behalf. The Greek verb “pray” (proseuchomai) is always used of prayer to God and is the most frequently used term for invoking deity, but it does not indicate any narrow limits as to its contents. 1 While his prayer here is intercessory, the term is not confined to such prayers. His petition was an expression of his heart-felt desires for his readers as Paul stood in personal communion with God. As the expression of his own concern for them, his uttered prayer “ranged through the treasures of heaven, and sought its richest bounties” for them. 2 Such a ministry of prayer is one of the highest forms of spiritual service we can render to those near and dear to us. This prayer is the crowning testimony of Paul’s loving interest in his readers.


“That your love may abound yet more and more” states the fundamental essence of his prayer for them. But its very formulation indicates his high aim for them. His chief concern is for their continuing growth in love.

1. Love’s presence. The very statement of the petition graciously acknowledges that love in a good measure is already present. He recognized that they already had abounding love. He appreciated the concrete evidence of that love in their lives. It had expressed itself in their fellowship with him in the furtherance of the Gospel from the very beginning of their Christian lives (1:5) and had resulted in their unique record in regard to “fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving” (4:15). Their repeated gifts to Paul to aid him in his missionary ministry were proof of vital love in their hearts.

Paul knew the importance of love in the Christian life. His prayer points to “the queenly position of Love among the graces.” 3 It stands at the very heart of the Christian life. Paul knew that all the other virtues were empty and useless without love (1 Cor. 13). He saw that love “is the grand sanctifying, ennobling, beautifying principle of the Christian soul.” 4

The term for “love” (agape) has aptly been called “the characteristic word of Christianity.” 5 It is the most common term for love in the New Testament, but it was almost totally unknown in pagan circles. 6 The New Testament writers selected it to convey their high and unique conception of love. It is a love that is rooted in, and can only be understood in the light of, the self-giving, active love of God toward mankind. It is not simply a warm emotional feeling evoked by the attractiveness of the object loved. It is rather an attitude of will which deliberately desires the welfare of the one loved, even though unworthy of such beneficence. It is the outgoing of the entire being in the desire to benefit the one loved. 7 It is revealed by the actions it prompts. It is a love that is foreign to the unregenerated heart, but is poured into the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). In the words of Blair, “As the believer gravitates closer to Christ and {276} becomes more fully committed to this love, it becomes more and more understandable and wonderful.” 8

2. Love’s growth. While thankful that his Philippian brethren already revealed this love, Paul prayed that it might “abound yet more and more” (v. 9). The love they already had was a challenge to experience still more. Paul well knew that there were “realms of love yet unexplored by them, depths of love yet unsounded, possibilities of love yet unrealized, and his desire was that the members of this Philippian communion should advance into the fullness of the joy and energizing force of this love.” 9

The phrase “yet more and more” stands emphatically before the verb to stress the ever increasing measure of their love, “that your love yet more and more may abound.” The verb “abound” (perisseuo) means “to be present in abundance, to exceed a fixed measure, to overflow.” The term suggests the figure of a river in flood-time overflowing its banks. Thus Paul is not asking for new elements in their love but for an ever-growing measure of the love they already have. He is not willing to rest content with what they already have.

This holy dissatisfaction with present spiritual attainments is characteristic of Paul. He could never be content with anything short of the highest attainable (Phil. 3:12-14). He knew that a love that does not grow becomes stagnant and loses its vitality. To remain fresh it must have progressive development. He was therefore deeply concerned that his beloved Philippian friends experience continued growth in love. As Bengel remarked: “The inner fire in the apostle never says: now it is enough.” 10 His experience has demonstrated that genuine love “is a good of which there is no satiety.” 11

There is within all of us a natural desire to see things or people attain their intended development or stature. A failure to attain normal development is instinctively felt to be undesirable. J. H. Pickford tells of two fashionably dressed midgets boarding a street-car in downtown Vancouver. They were scarcely forty inches high, but their faces showed that they were at least thirty years old. As they found a seat, a hush of amazement came over the passengers. A young man who was sitting directly behind the little lady was so overcome that he turned to his companion and blurted out in what was to be a subdued whisper, “Dwarfs.” The little lady quickly turned around and with a look of indignation snapped, “Midgets, not dwarfs!” 12 Obviously even as a midget she did not relish the idea that she was the victim of a stunted development. A stunted spiritual development is no more desirable. God desires us to attain the spiritual growth he intended for us (Eph. 4:13-16). Yet it is to be feared that there are many believers whose love life is dwarfed and stunted. It is always a sad thing when the love of a believer falls under the blight of an arrested development. Paul desired that the Philippian saints should maintain a healthy, growing love.

3. Love’s scope. It is instructive to notice that Paul expressed no limiting object for the love of the Philippians. Yet various limiting objects of their love have been suggested by the interpreters. 13 Some think Paul has reference to their love for himself. Others hold that he {277} has in view their love for one another, while still others suggest that he means their love for the Lord and His service. But neither Paul’s statement nor the context justifies any rigid limitation on “your love.” The growing love for which Paul prays is not thus to be limited. True love cannot be confined to one narrow area but must operate in all areas of our lives.

4. Love’s guidelines. Paul at once indicates his awareness that such abounding love “needed to be brought within guiding limitations lest it work harm rather than bring blessing.” 14 To assure that it will not become a destructive flood, such love must be controlled by “knowledge and all discernment” (v. 9b) as the channels directing its flow. The suggestion of Daille that the preposition “in” (en) be taken to mean “by” to denote the means for increasing this love is possible but improbable in the light of the context. 15 It is better to understand the preposition as marking the sphere within which abounding love must operate. This indication of control upon the growing love prayed for makes it evident that “Paul had in mind a love which is not mere gush or frothy sentimentalism. The love which he sought to have these disciples come into was not a wild, unregulated and baseless emotion, but a love whose tap-root is intelligence.” 16 A misty, enthusiastic love, uncontrolled by knowledge and discernment, can go grievously astray. True love is not divorced from moral insight. It is not blind and properly performs its function in cooperation with the two guidelines which Paul mentions.

Love must be directed by “knowledge” (epignosis), which in the New Testament is always applied to the knowledge of things moral and spiritual. 17 It is primarily a knowledge that is related to God’s revelation in His incarnate Son and the sacred Scriptures. Christian love cannot properly function in ignorance of the divine revelation of God as embodied in the Scriptures. True love acts in harmony with God’s revealed will.

The word here used for “knowledge” is not the simple word for knowledge (gnosis) but the compound form (epignosis). The precise force of this term here has been the occasion for considerable debate. The common view has been that the compound form has an intensive or perfective force and denotes full or genuine knowledge. Thus Lightfoot defined it as “advanced, perfect knowledge,” and Vincent remarked that it “signifies here developed knowledge of truth.” 18 But other scholars, like Armitage Robinson, have questioned this intensive force of the preposition here and hold that the compound form “is knowledge directed towards a particular object” and should be understood in the sense of perceiving or recognizing. 19 In their discussion of the compound verb in 1 Corinthians 13:12, Robertson and Plummer remark, “It is difficult to believe that here the compound is not meant to indicate more complete knowledge than the simple verb: but it does not follow from this that the compound always does so.” 20 That the compound form does at times have the intensive or perfective force seems clear, and we accept that as the more probable meaning here. The view that their growing love is to be directed by an advanced or more intimate knowledge seems more in {278} harmony with the import of Paul’s prayer than the view that the term here simply means recognition.

Love also needs the guiding presence of “all discernment.” The word rendered “discernment” (aisthesis), occurring only here in the New Testament, “indicates the power of moral discrimination and ethical judgment.” 21 It is the ability of mind and heart to distinguish between things and arrive at a moral decision. It enables the believer to discern the true factors in any situation and to arrive at an intelligent evaluation. It is judicious insight born of experience. “All,” standing before the noun, indicates that this “keen perception,” as Weymouth renders it, 22 must operate in the varying and sometimes perplexing circumstances of life.

Love should be full and ardent, but it should not act under mere, uncontrolled impulse. Although as fellow believers we love each other, we so often tactlessly say or do the inappropriate or wrong thing. We have failed to exercise that discriminating love which enables us to do or say that which is right and appropriate under the circumstances.

The New Testament picture of Barnabas suggests that he was a man who possessed this quality of spiritual discernment in an unusual degree. He had a remarkable ability to detect the good in a situation. When Saul of Tarsus, three years after his conversion, returned to Jerusalem and all the believers were afraid of him, it was Barnabas who detected the reality of the transforming grace of God in his life and espoused his cause (Acts 9:26-27; Gal. 1:18). When he was sent to Antioch to investigate the new development in the Church in that city, Barnabas was quick to discern the presence of God’s grace among the Gentile believers and to give his wholehearted support to the new work (Acts 15:37-39). Happy are those who are thus alert to detect the presence of God’s grace in others and act to give it proper recognition and opportunity for further development.

Christian love needs the guidance of both “knowledge and discernment.” Lightfoot distinguishes them with the remark that the former “deals with general principles” while the latter “is concerned with practical applications.” 23 While believers often have a general knowledge of the basic principles of God’s will, they yet lack the necessary insight to give them practical application. They still lack the spiritual maturity and experience of “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).


Paul prays that the Philippians may experience abounding love guided by knowledge and discernment in order that they “may approve the things that are excellent” (v. 10a). Paul’s use of the second personal pronoun “Ye” makes clear that he desired this specifically for his readers. This enablement operates in the personal dimension.

“So that ye may approve the things that are excellent” states the contemplated result of the answered prayer for their abounding love. The original is capable of two different renderings. It may be rendered, “that ye may be testing the things that differ,” or “that ye {279} may be approving the things that are excellent.” In actual life the former is indeed the prerequisite for the latter.

The verb here rendered “approve” (dokimazein), a favorite word with Paul, has the basic meaning “to put to the test, to examine,” and carries the further implication of accepting or approving that which stands the test. The Greeks used it in reference to the testing of coins or metals to determine whether the coins were underweight or whether the metal was mixed with too much base alloy or was counterfeit. In a political context it was applied to candidates for office, to determine whether they were qualified for the position they sought. It was also used to indicate the examination by the priest of an animal intended for sacrifice to establish that it was fit to be thus used. That which stood the test was accepted or approved. Such approval was the intended result of the test.

The verb implies that the one applying the test had the ability to distinguish “the things that are excellent” (ta diapheronta). This term is the second element opening up the phrase to two different renderings. It is a neuter plural compound participle and is made up of the preposition dia, having the root meaning of “two,” and the present tense of the verb phero, meaning “to carry.” The compound form thus quite literally means “to carry two way” or “to bear apart”; they pull in opposite directions, hence, differ. The things that differ are unequal in nature and value. The recognition of the comparative values naturally led to the choice of the most valuable, hence the rendering “the things that are excellent.”

Discriminating love is thus faced with the challenge of making intelligent and worthy choices. And the present tense of the verb indicates that it stands under the constant necessity of making such choices. This gift of discrimination places believers under the obligation to choose those things which best please and honor God. Those who are committed to doing the will of God usually do not have too much difficulty in choosing between the good and the obviously evil. When once the true nature of a thing has been discerned, we at once know that we must choose the good and shun the bad. For a believer consciously to choose the bad is a violation of his Spirit-taught consciousness that he has been delivered out of the realm of darkness and has been transplanted into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love (Col. 1:13).

Far more challenging to the believer is the necessity of discriminating and choosing between that which is good and that which is the best. A multitude of things compete for our time and attention today, many of which are good and commendable in themselves. But it is possible to become so occupied and entranced with the good that we have no time for the best. Many a believer today is guilty of giving his time and effort to things of secondary importance when he might be devoting himself to the things that are of vital importance. Thus the good can become the enemy of the best! On the other hand it is always a gratifying sight to see young people resolutely choosing to devote their lives to the things that are spiritually excellent. One of the compensations of Seminary teaching is the joy of working with {280} young people devoting their time and energies to training for spiritual service in the furtherance of God’s kingdom and the things that have crucial significance for time and eternity. This challenge of choosing the best also operates in the practicalities of everyday life as touching our choice of friends, of books, of amusements, of places of service, or our personal ambitions. Spirit-taught choices in these matters will determine the spiritual quality of our lives. “Right choice marks the difference between carnality and spirituality.” 24

The ability to distinguish the things that are excellent is a mark of spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:14). It is an achievement through continuous spiritual effort to distinguish the things that differ. The ability is acquired through sedulous practice. But since this ability “depends upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whose never-failing influence consecrates the use of all our faculties, it is asked for by the Apostle as a grace from God.” 25 This ability not only to discern but also to give ourselves to the things that are excellent is a prayer which we do well to offer for ourselves as well as for our brethren.


The exercise of this Spirit-imparted ability to discern and approve the things that are excellent will have definite results in the realm of character development and personal usefulness.

1. As to self. The first result will be in the refinement of character, “that ye may be sincere and void of offence” (v. 10b). “That ye may be” states the contemplated result of the testing practiced. The stated result is not concerned with the objects being tested, “some being appropriated because they are genuine, others being discarded because they are spurious or do not measure up to the test, but with the Philippians themselves.” 26 The practice of testing and approving the things that are excellent has a reflexive action upon the tester himself; it results in his own character development. He thus becomes “sincere and void of offence.”

The English rendering “sincere” is somewhat inadequate since it may be understood to denote attitude, but in the original the reference is rather to an inner condition of character. The original word rendered “sincere” (eilikrineis) in common usage had the basic meaning “unmixed, unadulterated,” hence morally pure and unsullied. Its etymology is uncertain and three different derivations have been suggested. Lightfoot held that it probably was derived from eile (troop) and krinein, (to judge) to denote a separation or assortment of troops; thus the term conveyed the basic idea of disentanglement or simplification with a resultant unmixed condition. 27 Trench proposed that it was derived from eilein (to roll) and krinein to denote “that which is cleansed by much rolling and shaking to and fro in the sieve.” 28 He thus held that the basic thought was “the purged, the winnowed, the unmingled.” A third and popular suggestion is that the word was a compound of heile, the sun, and krinein and meant “tested by sunlight.” All three suggestions arrive at the same basic meaning but they come to it by means of different routes.

Probably the third suggested derivation is popular because it {281} readily lends itself to a searching application to Christian character. It at once brings to mind a common practice among potters in the ancient world. The production of pottery was an important industry in those days and pottery vessels varied greatly in quality. Cheap pottery was thick and solid and did not require special skill to produce, but the finest and most expensive pottery was thin and light in color. Made of fine clay, it was fragile both before and after going through the kiln. It often happened that this pottery became cracked in the oven and thus had to be discarded. But the unscrupulous potter would fill in the cracks with wax that blended with the color of the clay, thus making the cracks practically undetectable. But when the vessel was held up to the light of the sun the wax would immediately become discernible. The picture offers ready application to the inner reality of Christian character. Rainy states the application thus: “The test of this sincerity is that a man shall be honestly willing to let light shine through him, to evince the true character of his principles and motives.” 29 When our life is placed under the searching light of God’s truth, what does it reveal? Does it reveal a moral nature, so far as honesty and purity of purpose are concerned, that can be subjected to the fierce exposure without humiliation? Such was Paul’s prayer for his beloved Philippian brethren.

A further result mentioned is being “void of offence” (aproskopoi). This rare term has the basic meaning “without striking against.” The picture is that of stumbling because the foot strikes an obstacle while walking. The prefixed negative (the alpha privative) marks the absence of such stumbling. The term is capable of two different interpretations, depending on whether it is viewed as intransitive or transitive. If taken intransitively, the meaning is that we do not have in ourselves that which causes us to experience stumbling, allowing no obstacle to “throw” or defeat us. Then the meaning is that our character is not damaged by the adverse experiences of life. If the meaning is transitive, the thought is that we have nothing in our lives that causes others to stumble or be offended by the defects and inconsistencies which they discover in us. If the intransitive meaning is accepted then both “sincere” and “void of offence” relate to the inner character and relate “to each other as the positive and the negative.” 30 If the intended meaning is held to be transitive, then “sincere” may be thought of as the inward condition and “void of offence” as the outward effect.

Both interpretations have been advocated. Those who hold to the first view support it with the observation that “Paul is referring to the development of his readers’ own spiritual life.” 31 Hendriksen accepts this view and remarks that the picture is that of arriving at one’s destination “uninjured by any obstacles in the road.” 32 Way’s paraphrastic rendering has it, “unstumbling amidst obstacles.” 33 Vincent, however, holds that the transitive meaning is preferable and remarks, “The discernment of love is especially demanded in adjusting a Christian’s true relations to his brethren.” 34 The transitive meaning of the term used is clearly demanded in 1 Corinthians 10:32, “Give no occasion of stumbling.” And that meaning is certainly {282} applicable here. But actual Christian experience demands that both meanings are involved. Thus Willis comments, “If we walk without stumbling ourselves, then surely we will not cause others to stumble.” 35 In reality the two aspects cannot be separated, for in the day of judgment the evaluation of our lives will be determined quite as much by our relations to our fellow-men as to our own personal rectitude.

Paul prays for such a character result “unto the day of Christ” (v. 10b). Paul’s expression does not mean “till the day of Christ” (KJV) but rather “unto” (eis) or “in view of.” Their whole life must be lived in view of and in preparation for “the day of Christ.” The reference is not to the day of death but to that eschatological day when believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). For Paul that coming day was no mere article of faith in an orthodox creed but a powerful motivation for practical sanctification. Paul’s desire for his readers is that they may live purely and without offence in order that they may be so found in that day. May this hope also prompt us continually so to live that “we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

2. As to usefulness. Paul mentions a further result of discriminating love, “being filled with the fruits of righteousness” (v. 11a). “Being filled” renders a perfect passive participle and pictures Paul’s readers as being permanently filled with fruit, like a tree or a vine. The best attested textual reading has the singular, “fruit,” rather than the plural which the Textus Receptus uses. The singular suggests that all the fruit is of one kind. It is like a bunch of grapes, all hanging from one stem. “The results of grace are manifold, yet as to their material they are one; and each is necessary to the fulness of the rest.” 36 The perfect tense of the verb pictures a full harvest of fruit. Rainy remarks, “A tree that bears any fruit is alive. But one that is filled with fruit glorifies the gardener’s care.” 37 Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

That which fills the tree has the character of “fruit of righteousness.” The genitive “of righteousness” can be understood in two ways. It may mean either “the fruit which is righteousness” (appositional genitive) or “the fruit which righteousness produces” (subjective genitive). The latter seems intended here, being more in accord with “Paul’s habitual way of thinking and speaking to regard righteousness not as the outward fruit, but rather as the inward state out of which the fruit proceeds.” 38 While some have understood righteousness here to mean justifying righteousness, it is better to regard it as that rectitude of character which follows out of the believer’s right relationship with God. But in reality the latter cannot exist without the former. Inner righteousness of character will reveal itself in outward fruit in daily conduct.

This fruit is further described by the articular attributive phrase “which are through Jesus Christ” (ton dia Iesou Christou). It stresses that this fruit cannot be produced by the believer apart from the indwelling Christ. He is its mediating agent. He is the true Vine and the fruit produced by the branches can only exist through His life operative {283} in the branches. This fruit is not the result of our own exertion and activity, any more than the movements of the branch produce the fruit on it. Christians do not become fruitful branches because they are very busy for Christ, but because they remain in vital fellowship with Christ whose life in us produces the fruit.

It is its production of fruit that makes the vine-branch or the tree useful. The tree itself does not benefit from the fruit it produces; so the believer’s fruit looks toward the beneficial impact of his life on others. What we are must have an effect upon those with whom we come into contact. How fruitful are our lives in regard to their contribution toward others? Is all of our business for the Lord only an outward show or does it influence others toward holiness?

J. H. Pickford relates that he and his brother one early spring evening were walking down the streets of Vancouver. As they turned a corner he saw the street light throwing its beams on a tree filled with the most delicate pink blossoms he had ever seen. Entranced with its beauty, he asked his brother the name of the tree and was told that it was a Japanese cherry tree. Approaching the tree he sought to catch the fragrance of the blossoms but could detect nothing. His brother noticed his surprise and informed him that the blossoms had no fragrance and the tree bore no fruit. He comments, “I was struck with the thought: plenty of show but no scent; so beautiful yet so barren.” Yet there is no need that our lives should be like that Japanese cherry tree if we will allow Paul’s prayer for the Philippians also to be operative in our own lives. With Paul we cannot have much enthusiasm for a righteousness which fails to announce itself in righteous deeds.


The concluding words, “unto the glory and praise of God,” modify the entire prayer. The phrase sets before us the true goal of the entire Christian life. Our redemption has its origin and its end in God. The highest ideal of the Christian life is to bring “glory and praise” to God. The “glory” of God is the manifestation of His own infinite excellence. The glory of God is shown forth by the heavens (Ps. 19:1) and shines upon the believer in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6); it is a humbling and challenging thought that His glory can also be manifested by us through a life of growing love. The “glory” of God relates to His innate being; the “praise” of God is the recognition and acknowledgment of His majesty by God’s moral creatures. This conclusion to Paul’s prayer proclaims the thought that the spiritual results of our lives are to be so manifestly divine that God will get all the glory for them. “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16 ASV).


  1. Richard Chenevix Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, (1947 reprint), pp. 188-189; Heinrich Greeven, Proseuchomai, proseuche, in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 11, (1964), pp. 807-808. {284}
  2. J. H. Jowett, The High Calling, (1919), p. 17.
  3. Robert Johnstone, Lectures Exegetical and Practical on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, (1955 reprint), p. 38.
  4. Johnstone, Ibid, p. 38.
  5. C. F. Hogg and W. E. Vine, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians, (1959 reprint), p. 104.
  6. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (1957), p. 5.
  7. William Barclay, New Testament Words, (1964), pp. 18-22.
  8. J. Allen Blair, Living Victoriously. A Devotional Study of Philippians, (1956), p. 23.
  9. Frederick A. Noble, Discourses on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, (n.d.), p. 32.
  10. Johann Albrecht Bengel, quoted in Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Philippians, (1962), p. 21.
  11. Marvin R. Vincent, “A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon,” The International Critical Commentary, (1950 reprint), p. 11, quoting Chrysostom.
  12. John H. Pickford, Paul’s Spiritual Autobiography, (1949), pp. 25-26.
  13. See Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Philippians and Colossians, (1879), p. 26.
  14. Kenneth S. Wuest, Philippians in the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, (1942), p. 35.
  15. Jean Daille, An Exposition of Philippians, (reprint, n.d.), p. 23.
  16. Noble, Discourses on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, p. 33.
  17. Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon, p. 291.
  18. J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, (1898), p. 86; Vincent, Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, p. 12.
  19. J. Armitage Robinson, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, (1904), p. 254.
  20. Archibald Robertson and Alfred Plummer, “A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians,” The International Critical Commentary, (1953 reprint), p. 299.
  21. Gerhard Delling, Aisthanomai, Aisthesis, Aistheterion, in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. I, (1964), p. 188.
  22. Richard Francis Weymouth, The New Testament in Modern Speech, (5th ed., 1929), p. 463.
  23. Lightfoot, Ibid., p. 86.
  24. Blair, Ibid., p. 24.
  25. W. B. Pope, The Prayers of St. Paul, (1876), p. 263.
  26. R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians, (1937), p. 721.
  27. Lightfoot, Ibid., p. 87; H. C. G. Moule, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians,” Cambridge Greek Testament, (1923 reprint), p. 17.
  28. Trench, Ibid., p. 319.
  29. Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, p. 87.
  30. Lightfoot, Ibid., p. 87.
  31. Joseph Agar Beet, A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon, (1890), p. 40.
  32. William Hendriksen, “Exposition of Philippians,” New Testament Commentary, (1962), p. 61.
  33. Arthur S. Way, The Letters of St. Paul to Seven Churches and Three Friends, (1926), p. 153.
  34. Vincent, Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, p. 14.
  35. G. Christopher Willis, Sacrifices of Joy, Being Meditations on Philippians, (n.d.), p. 59.
  36. H. C. G. Moule, Epistle of the Philippians, p. 17.
  37. Robert Rainy, “The Epistle to the Philippians,” An Exposition of the Bible, Vol. VI, (1903), p. 121.
  38. J. Hugh Michael, “The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians,” The Moffatt New Testament Commentary, (1928), p. 25. {285}


  • Arndt, William F.; and Gingrich, F. Wilbur, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957.
  • Barclay, William, New Testament Words, Combining A New Testament Wordbook and More New Testament Words. London: SCM Press, 1964.
  • Barth, Karl, The Epistle to the Philippians. Translated by James W. Leitch. London: SCM Press, 1962.
  • Beet, Joseph Agar, A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1890.
  • Blair, J. Allen, Living Victoriously. A Devotional Study of Philippians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1956.
  • Daille, Jean, An Exposition of Philippians. MacDill AFB, Florida: Tyndale Bible Society, (reprint), n.d.
  • Greeven, Heinrich, “Prosecuhomai, Proseuche,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Vol. II, 1964, pp. 807-808.
  • Hogg, C. F. and Vine, W. E., The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, (reprint), 1959.
  • Johnstone, Robert, Lectures Exegetical and Practical on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, (reprint), 1955.
  • Jowett, J. H., The High Calling, Meditations, ETC. London: Andrew Melrose, 1919.
  • Kittel, Gerhard, editor, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Translator and Editor, Geoffrey W. Bromiley. (Volumes V-IX edited by Gerhard Friedrich). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1964-1974.
  • Hendriksen, William, “Exposition of Philippians,” New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1962.
  • Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Philippians and Colossians. Translated by John C. Moore, translation revised and edited by William P. Dickson. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1879.
  • Lenski, R. C. H., The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians. Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1937.
  • Lightfoot, J. B., Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. London: Macmillan and Co., 1898.
  • Michael, J. Hugh, “The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians,” The Moffatt New Testament Commentary. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1928.
  • Moule, H. C. G., “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians,” Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge: University Press, (reprint), 1923.
  • Noble, Frederick A., Discourses on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians. Manchester: James Robinson, n.d.
  • Pickford, John H., Paul’s Spiritual Autobiography. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1949.
  • Pope, W. B., The Prayers of St. Paul: Being an Analysis and Exposition of the Devotional Portion of the Apostle’s Writings. London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1876.
  • Rainy, Robert, “The Epistle to the Philippians,” An Exposition of the Bible. Vol. VI. Hartford, Conn.: The S. S. Scranton Co., 1903.
  • Robertson, Archibald; and Plummer, Alfred, “A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians,” The International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, (reprint), 1953.
  • Robinson, J. Armitage, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. A Revised Text and Translation with Exposition and Notes. London: Macmillan and Co., 1904.
  • Trench, Richard Chenevix, Synonyms of the New Testament. Grand Rapids; Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., (reprint), 1947.
  • Vincent, Marvin R., “A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon,” The International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, (reprint), 1950.
  • Way, Arthur S., The Letters of St. Paul to Seven Churches and Three Friends with The Letter to the Hebrews. London: Macmillan and Co., 1926.
  • Weymouth, Richard Francis, The New Testament in Modern Speech, An Idiomatic Translation into Everyday English from the Test of the Resultant Greek Testament. {286} Newly revised by James Alexander Robertson. New York: Harper & Brothers, (5th ed.), 1929.
  • Willis, G. Christopher, Sacrifices of Joy, Being Meditations on Philippians. Hong Kong: Christian Book Room., n.d.
  • Wuest, Kenneth S., Philippians in the Greek New Testament for the English Reader. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1942.
Dr. Hiebert is Professor of New Testament at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California.

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