****Philippians, Rightly Divided, Verse-by-Verse
Session 5 | Phillippians 1:24-30
Philippians 1:19-26 | To Live Or To Die
Verses 19-23 -- see session 5
Verse 24 -- Green
The word abide is to remain. This word argues against a rapture interpretation of verse 23, because at the rapture both the flesh and the spirit are taken to be with Christ (v. 23). Thus, again, his choice is between living and being martyred, and living is more needful for you.
A note on the Rightly Divided color coding. I have chosen green, which indicates the verse is not about nor to us, but could be applied. There are many situations in life even beyond end-of-life decisions in which a believer is faced with a decision between two, both of which have advantages. Paul's selfless example is relevant in such cases.
Verse 25 -- Black
Paul has confidence that his life is more important for the Philippians than his death (v. 24), and so he says I know that I shall abide.... For know, he uses the word οἶδα [oida] which is a perception word rather than a scientific word.
Verse 26 -- Black
Paul's plans included another trip to Philippi. We do not know whether these plans were fulfilled, but there is no reason to doubt they did. There is decent evidence that Paul eventually journeyed to Spain. He also had time for some of the events in Timothy, Titus, and Philemon to take place. It appears that Paul was in his house arrest in Rome during the writing of Philippians, and that he would likely later, after his travels, be put in a regular prison and die at the hands of Nero (tradition, not verifiable).
Philippians 1:27-30 | Interim Instructions to the Philippians
Verse 27 -- Green
“icing on the cake." What matters is that the Philippians stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Far from being an encouragement to water down their message, Paul wanted them to act according to their message, as it becometh the gospel of Christ. The only way in which these believers would have one spirit and one mind would be that they together trusted the Scriptures and Paul's teachings to settle their differences. They would come to a place of one spirit, with one mind by settling on the meaning of the words of Scripture.
Verse 28 - Green
In their striving together (v. 27) the Philippians are to be in nothing terrified by their adversaries. This is presumably some local pseudo-political adversaries in Philippi who were striving against the congregation.
Paul says that the confidence of the congregation is to them an evident token of perdition. The words evident token are“an omen."
Perdition is contrasted with salvation, and that of God. Since the Philippian confidence in no way produces spiritual salvation in them and spiritual damnation in their adversaries, I think it best to take both of these words in their more mundane, every-day usage. The context here is your conversationπολιτεύομαι [politeuomai“politics," namely their civic and public behavior. In this light, we are justified to take perdition and salvation“political" manner, as when we would speak of one politician as “doomed" and another as “saved."
“watering down" the perdition and salvation of the verse, ties it in to context and frees both from having to relate to the eternal state based on lack of being terrified by your adversaries, such a position being impossible theologically.
Verse 29 -- Green
The pronoun you is emphatic in the Greek, emphasizing that which had been given in the behalf of Christ to the Philippians (and not necessarily to all believers). The Philippians were in a political situation in which they must strive not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake“doctrine of suffering" should be placed on the Christian life generally. If one must suffer for their faith, they should do so. Prayerfully most will be spared the obligation.
Verse 30 -- Green
Once again, the context from verse 27 is political, and thus when the Philippians are having the same conflict which they had seen in Paul, we must go to the political conflict of Paul (and Silas) in the political conflict they had with the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16ff). Since Paul adds the words and now hear to be in me, we know he is not talking about the same circumstances, but the same type of political challenges. Paul had these challenges, the Philippian church had them, and many believers have struggled with them as well. When circumstances merit, we should do the same.