Philippians - 3:1-21

That I May Know Him

      1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not tiresome, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; 4 though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I yet more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. 7 However, what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death; 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I don't regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, think this way. If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the extent that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind. 17 Brothers, be imitators together of me, and note those who walk this way, even as you have us for an example. 18 For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who think about earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Philippians 3.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

This chapter Phil. 3 consists in the main, of exhortations to holy living, and to an effort to make great attainments in the divine life. It is full of tenderness and affection, and is one of the most beautiful appeals which can anywhere be found to induce Christians to devote themselves to the service of the Redeemer. The appeal is drawn in a great measure from the apostle's statement of his own feelings, and is one which the Philippians could not but feel, for they knew him well. In the course of the chapter, he adverts to the following points.
He exhorts them to rejoice in the Lord; Philippians 3:1.
He warns them against the Jewish teachers who urged the necessity of complying with the Mosaic laws, and who appear to have boasted of their being Jews, and to have regarded themselves as the favorites of God on that account; Philippians 3:2-3.
To meet what they had said, and to show how little all that on which they relied was to be valued, Paul says that he had had advantages of birth and education which surpassed them all and that all the claim to the favor of God, and all the hope of salvation which could be derived from birth, education, and a life of zeal and conformity to the law, had been his; Philippians 3:4-5.
Yet he says, he had renounced all this, and now regarded it as utterly worthless in the matter of salvation. He had cheerfully suffered the loss of all things, and was willing still to do it, if he might obtain salvation through the Redeemer. Christ was more to him than all the advantages of birth, and rank, and blood; and all other grounds of dependence for salvation, compared with reliance on him, were worthless; Philippians 3:7-11.
The object which he had sought in doing this, he says, he had not yet fully attained. He had seen enough to know its inestimable value, and he now pressed onward that he might secure all that he desired. The mark was before him, and he pressed on to secure the prize; Philippians 3:12-14.
He exhorts them to aim at the same thing, and to endeavor to secure the same object, assuring them that God was ready to disclose to them all that they desired to know, and to grant all that they wished to obtain; Philippians 3:15-16.
This whole exhortation he enforces in the end of the chapter Philippians 3:17-21 by two considerations. One was, that there were not a few who had been deceived and who had no true religion - whom he had often warned with tears, Philippians 3:18-19; the other was, that the home, the citizenship of the true Christian, was in heaven, and they who were Christians ought to live us those who expected soon to be there. The Saviour would soon return to take them to glory. He would change their vile body, and make them like himself, and they should therefore live as became those who had a hope so blessed and transforming.

The apostle exhorts the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord, Philippians 3:1. And to beware of false teachers, Philippians 3:2. Shows that Christians are the true circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, Philippians 3:3. And that himself had more reason to trust in the flesh than any of the Jews, Philippians 3:4-6. But that he counted all things loss for Christ, Philippians 3:7-11. He longs after a conformity to Christ in his death, and presses onward to the attainment of his high calling, Philippians 3:12-14. Exhorts them to be like-minded, Philippians 3:15-17. Warns them against certain persons who were enemies to the cross of Christ, Philippians 3:18, Philippians 3:19. Shows the nature of their heavenly privileges, and the resurrection and glorification of the human body, Philippians 3:20, Philippians 3:21.

In this chapter the apostle cautions the Philippians against false teachers, whom he describes as evil men, and exhorts them to walk as they had him, and other faithful ministers for an example. And whereas these judaizing teachers were for drawing them off from Christ, and weakening their joy and glorying in him, he exhorts them in the first place to rejoice in Christ, Philippians 3:1, and to beware of them, whom he describes as dogs, as evil workers, as the concision, Philippians 3:2, and opposes to them the characters of real saints, who are truly what they vainly boasted of, really circumcised persons in a Gospel sense, spiritual worshippers of God, joyful believers in Christ, and such as placed no confidence in outward things, Philippians 3:3, This the apostle illustrates in his own case, who had as much reason for trusting in such things as any man whatever, Philippians 3:4, of which he gives an enumeration in several particulars, Philippians 3:5, upon which he passes his judgment, and shows of what account, and in what esteem they were with him before, and now; that formerly they were reckoned gain, but now loss, Philippians 3:7, and which he explains as referring to every thing short of Christ, and in comparison of the knowledge of him, and which he preferred to everything; and this he confirms by his willingness to suffer the loss of all things for him; his ends in which were, that he might win him, and be found in him, without his own righteousness, that legal one the false teachers extolled, and with the righteousness of God which faith receives, and is the only justifying one; and that he might know more of him, feel more of his power, have more fellowship with him, and conformity to him, Philippians 3:8. His view in all which was, that he might attain to that glorious and happy state of the resurrection of the dead in Christ, Philippians 3:11, and to prevent mistakes, and anticipate an objection that might be made to him, as if he ascribed perfection to himself in the present state, he owns he had not arrived to it: all he meant was, that it was his desire to enjoy that which Christ had laid hold on him for; in order to which he buried in oblivion what was past, looking and pressing to things before hint, even to Christ, and the glory he was called unto, which was with him, Philippians 3:12. Next follow various exhortations, as to be of the same mind with the apostle in pressing after spiritual and heavenly things, to which he exhorts those that had a greater knowledge of them than others; and who, though otherwise minded, the apostle was persuaded would have, the same revealed to them, Philippians 3:15, and both he exhorts, according to their different attainments, to walk by the same rule and mind the same thing, Philippians 3:16, and to be followers of him, and of them that walked after his example, Philippians 3:17, giving this as a reason, because there were men who walked otherwise, to the grief of him, to the dishonour of Christ, and to their own shame and destruction, whom he describes as sensual and earthly minded men, Philippians 3:18, and to engage them to follow him, and others, and not such persons, he draws a character of them opposite unto them; that whereas the minds of those others were carnal and earthly, their minds were spiritual and heavenly; their conversation was in heaven, and they were waiting for Christ from hence, Philippians 3:20, and the blessedness they expect from him then, is the resurrection of their bodies, which is illustrated by the efficient cause of it, Christ; the subject of it, their vile bodies, as in this lifts, and in the grave; the exemplar and pattern of it, the glorious body of Christ; and the means by which it will be effected, the energy and power of Christ, who is omnipotent, Philippians 3:21.

(Philippians 3:1-11) The apostle cautions the Philippians against judaizing false teachers, and renounces his own former privileges.
(Philippians 3:12-21) Expresses earnest desire to be found in Christ; also his pressing on toward perfection; and recommends his own example to other believers.

SUMMARY.--A Warning Against Judaizing Teachers. Paul's Grounds for Boasting in the Flesh. All Counted As Loss Compared with Christ. The Great Aim to Attain to the Glorious Resurrection. Pressing Towards the Prize of the High Calling. Enemies of the Cross. At the Resurrection Our Present Bodies Changed to the Likeness of the Glorified Body of Christ.

*More commentary available by clicking individual verses.

Discussion on Philippians Chapter 3

User discussion about the chapter.

*By clicking Submit, you agree to our Privacy Policy & Terms of Use.