A COMMENTARY ON
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS
By FR. TADROS Y. MALATY
OUR CHRIST IS OUR LIFE OF PERPETUAL EXULTATION
This epistle is considered the sweetest of the epistles written by the apostle Paul. It is as though an essay sent by him to the church in all eras, and to every believer in all times, exhorting them to live perpetually exulting, despite any situation prevailing around them; through practicing the new life that knows no idleness, but is on an un-ceasing motion in Christ Jesus.
The apostle wrote this epistle to a congregation with which he had a special relationship of love, that made them provide him with gifts to spend on the message of the gospel; whether concerning his necessary needs, or those of the ministers accompanying him; even after his departure from among them to Corinth or to Thessalonica.
While in his first imprisonment in Rome, although the apostle was put under house arrest, guarded by Roman soldiers, for the duration of two years, he was banned from traveling to other countries, or cities, or even from going to other houses in the same city to preach the gospel. Yet, as he testified, his chains have led more to the progress of his ministry; were no cause to keep him from testifying to the gospel; nor to make him lose the exulting life in Christ Jesus:
(1) The apostle Paul found in his prison a chance to talk to the Roman guards and officials about our Lord Jesus, a unique chance to preach, which he could not let go. Realizing that he was imprisoned for the sake of the Lord Christ and His gospel, the guards got interested to know more about both; which led some of them to believe.
The word of God is so strong and capable to transform the hosts of evil of this world of darkness, to confess the greatness of God, and to reveal His exalted work; as it happened when God used the Pharaoh of Egypt, during the Exodus of the children of Israel; Herod, at the time of birth of the Lord Christ; those who mocked and scoffed the Lord during His crucifixion; and the guards on His tomb;
(2) The imprisonment provided the apostle Paul with the chance to write to the people beloved by him, about the perpetual life exulted in the Lord.
(3) Contrary to those who preached out of envy and ulterior motives, there were others, as well, who preached with faithfulness, love, and holy will. The apostle’s friends, disciples, and a multitude of believers, became stronger in faith, and more daring in preaching without fear, to partake of the apostle’s honor as a captive of the Lord Christ.
(4) His enemies worked hard to draw many heathens to faith, with the purpose of stirring up the emperor and the rulers against Paul, and to keep them from setting him free. Some others used the imprisonment of the apostle Paul to appear as though more diligent in preaching the gospel; with the assumption that by so doing, they would belittle his status. Anyway, even those who preached out of envy, in order to add more sorrow to the apostle, made him, on the contrary more exulted for the sake of the growth of the ministry of Lord Christ and the gospel (1: 16-18).
Father Tadros Y. Malaty