27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
28 And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
30 Having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
only (v.27) — whether Paul sees them again or not
conduct (v.27) = citizenship — the fulfillment of duties as a member of a city (community of believers) (Philippians 3:20). As Philippi was a colony of Rome, so the believers were a colony of Heaven with duties to discharge. The “middle voice” is used, indicating they were to recognize their responsibilities and hold themselves to them.
worthy (v.27) = is worth as much as, weighs as much as. Our manner of life should correspond with the gospel.
affairs (v.27) — things concerning the Philippians
stand fast (v.27) — to hold one’s ground in battle
spirit (v.27) — purpose, aim
mind (v.27) — soul, seat of the will
striving (v.27) = contend along with — primarily from athletics, but by extension any combined earnest effort — cooperation against common opposition, teamwork (The word “athlete” comes from synathleo — striving)
faith of the gospel (v.27) — teaching of the gospel
terrified (v.28) = startled — used of the shying of a timid horse
adversaries (v.28) = those in opposition — entrenched against
which (v.28) — their fearlessness
proof (v.28) = a showing, a pointing out — a legal term for proof obtained by an appeal to the facts. The opposition of the adversaries was evidence that they were headed for the wrath to come. It was also evidence that the believers were headed for salvation from God.
perdition (v.28) — destruction, ruin (loss of well-being, not loss of being)
salvation (v.28) — in contrast to perdition — the future deliverance, spiritual and eternal. Their courage shows (a token) the salvation that would be theirs.
to you it has been granted (v.29) — Their difficult circumstances were an honor given them by God. The emphasis is on “to you.”
on behalf of Christ (v.29) — for His sake (the fact of their believing on Him)
to suffer (v.29) — anything for the purpose of glorifying Christ has value. It is our privilege to believe on Christ and to suffer for Him (Colossians 1:24)
The words “it is given” are from the word used of God when He in grace freely and graciously bestows on believing sinners the gift of salvation. The words “in the behalf of” are the translation of the Greek preposition used of the substitutionary aspect of our Lord’s death on the Cross. It means not only for the sake of but in the place of Christ. It should be clear that we cannot share in His expiatory sufferings on the Cross, much less endure those in His stead. The sufferings to which Paul refers here are Christ’s sufferings for righteousness’ sake while on earth in His humiliation. He says in Colossians 1:24 that he fills “up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ” in his flesh “for His body’s sake.” Our Lord’s sufferings for righteousness’ sake which He endured as a result of human antagonism against Himself, ended with His death on the Cross. He has left with the Church the message of salvation, the preaching of which draws the antagonism of the world. Thus, as the saints suffer for righteousness’ sake, they substitute for their absent Lord not only in the task of preaching the message He has given them but also in suffering for His sake and in His stead. — Philippians in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 54.
conflict (v.30) — contest
saw in me (v.30) — Acts 16; 1 Thessalonians 2:2
now hear to be in me (v.30) — in Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. Paul lived in such a way that he could present himself as an example without boasting.