Super ad Philipenses
Commentary on Philippians
4:18 Justorum autem semita quasi lux splendens procedit, et crescit usque ad perfectam diem.
4:18 But the path of the just, as a shining light, goes forwards and increases even to the perfect day.
1. In hac auctoritate describitur vita sanctorum ex tribus. Ex eorum arctitudine, ibi semita, quia Matth. VII, 14: arcta est via, etc.; Iob XXVIII, 7: semitam ignoravit avis, et cetera. Ex claritate, ibi lux splendens. Eph. V, 8: eratis aliquando tenebrae, et cetera. Iusti enim sunt lucentes, et ideo eorum via est lucida. Ex profectu, quia semper crescit. I Petr. II, 2: in eo crescatis, et cetera. Et hoc usque ad perfectum diem, scilicet gloriae. I Cor. XIII, 10: cum venerit quod perfectum est, evacuabitur, et cetera. E converso malorum via est lata, obscura, tenebrosa, et deficiens. Unde Prov. IV, 19 subditur via impiorum tenebrosa, et cetera. Et Matth. VII, 13: lata porta, et spatiosa via, quae ducit ad perditionem, et cetera.
1. In this text the life of the saints is described under three aspects: first, its narrowness, when it is called a path: for the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life (Matt 7:14); that path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon’s eye has not seen it (Job 28:7); second, its splendor when he says, a shining light: for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord (Eph 5:8). For the just shine and, as a result, their life shines. Third, its progress, because it is always growing: long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation (1 Pet 2:2); and this even to the perfect day; when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away (1 Cor 13:10). The way of the wicked, on the other hand, is wide, obscure, dark and failing: the way of the wicked is like deep darkness: they do not know over what they stumble (Prov 4:19); the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many (Matt 7:13).
2. Ex his verbis trahi potest materia huius epistolae. Erant enim Philippenses in Christi recta semita, tribulationes multas pro Christo sustinentes. Item, illuminati per fidem, infra II, 15: inter quos lucetis, et cetera. Item, proficiebant, ut patet per totam epistolam.
2. From these words we can gather the subject matter of this letter. For the Philippians were on Christ’s narrow way, enduring many tribulations for Christ. They were enlightened by faith: among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phil 2:15). Furthermore, they were making progress, as is clear from the entire letter.
Item, convenienter post epistolam ad Ephesios, in qua fit instructio qualiter servanda sit Ecclesiastica unitas, hi proponuntur in exemplum servandae Ecclesiasticae unitatis, qui optime eam servaverunt.
Therefore, after the letter to the Ephesians, in which an instruction was given on preserving Church unity, it was fitting that those who best preserved it should be held up as an example of preserving the unity of the Church.
Fides Pauli in Christo
Paul’s Trust in Christ
1:1 Paulus et Timotheus, servi Jesu Christi, omnibus sanctis in Christo Jesu, qui sunt Philippis, cum episcopis et diaconibus. [n. 3]
1:1 Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ: to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. [n. 3]
1:2 Gratia vobis, et pax a Deo Patre nostro, et Domino Jesu Christo. [n. 7]
1:2 Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [n. 7]
1:3 Gratias ago Deo meo in omni memoria vestri, [n. 8]
1:3 I give thanks to my God in every remembrance of you: [n. 8]
1:4 semper in cunctis orationibus meis pro omnibus vobis, cum gaudio deprecationem faciens,
1:4 Always in all my prayers making supplication for you all with joy:
1:5 super communicatione vestra in Evangelio Christi a prima die usque nunc. [n. 10]
1:5 For your communication in the Gospel of Christ, from the first day unto now. [n. 10]
1:6 Confidens hoc ipsum, quia qui coepit in vobis opus bonum, perficiet usque in diem Christi Jesu: [n. 12]
1:6 Being confident of this very thing: that he who began a good work in you will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus. [n. 12]
1:7 sicut est mihi justum hoc sentire pro omnibus vobis: eo quod habeam vos in corde, et in vinculis meis, et in defensione, et confirmatione Evangelii, socios gaudii mei omnes vos esse. [n. 13]
1:7 As it is right for me to think this for you all, because I hold you in my heart; and that, in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel, you all are partakers of my joy. [n. 13]
3. Dividitur autem haec epistola in salutationem et epistolarem narrationem. Secunda, ibi gratias ago, et cetera.
3. This letter is divided into a greeting and the letter’s message, which begins at I give thanks.
Circa primum tria facit: quia
In the greeting he does three things:
primo describuntur personae salutantes;
first, the persons who send the greeting are described;
secundo personae salutatae, ibi omnibus sanctis, etc.;
second, the persons greeted, at to all the saints;
tertio bona optata, ibi gratia vobis, et cetera.
third, the good things he wishes them, at grace be unto you.
Circa primum, primo ponuntur personae salutantes;
In regard to the first he does two things: first, he mentions the persons who send the greeting;
secundo earum conditio, ibi servi, et cetera.
second, their condition, at the servants.
4. Circa primum, primo ponitur persona principalis, cum dicit Paulus. Et interpretatur Paulus quasi modicus, in quo notatur eius humilitas. Is. LX, 22: minimus erit in mille, et parvus in gentem fortissimam.
4. In regard to the first he mentions, first of all, the principal person, when he says, Paul, which means ‘small.’ In this he indicates his humility: the least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation (Isa 60:22).
Secundo, ibi et Timotheus, ponitur persona adiuncta, quia fuerat eorum praedicator. Infra II, 20: neminem enim habeo tam unanimem, qui sincera affectione pro vobis sollicitus sit.
Second, the co-sender, when he says, and Timothy, because he was their preacher: for I have no man so of the same mind, who with sincere affection is solicitous for you (Phil 2:20).
5. Deinde cum dicit servi, etc., ponitur conditio eorum. II Cor. IV, 5: non enim nosmetipsos praedicamus, sed Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum: nos autem servos vestros per Iesum, et cetera.
5. Then when he says, servants of Jesus Christ, he states their condition: for what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants through Jesus (2 Cor 4:5).
Sed contra Io. XV, 15: iam non dicam vos servos, et cetera.
But this seems to conflict with John: no longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (John 15:15).
Respondeo. Duplex est servitus secundum duplicem timorem. Timor enim poenae causat malam servitutem, et de hac intelligitur dictum praemissum Io. XV, 6. Timor vero castus causat servitutem reverentiae, et de hac loquitur Apostolus hic.
I answer that there are two kinds of servitude, corresponding to the two kinds of fear. Fear of punishment causes evil servitude, and this is the kind meant in the above text from John. But chaste fear causes reverential servitude, which is the kind the Apostle has in mind.
6. Personae salutatae sunt omnes de ecclesia Philippensi. Et, primo, minores. Unde dicit omnibus sanctis qui sunt Philippis, quae est civitas quam Philippus condidit; et dicit sanctis, et hoc propter Baptismum. Rom. c. VI, 3: quicumque baptizati sumus in Christo, in morte ipsius baptizati sumus.
6. The persons greeted are the saints of the church in Philippi: first, the lesser ones; hence he says, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, which is a city founded by Philip. He calls them saints on account of their baptism: do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Rom 6:3).
Maiores autem tangit, dicens cum episcopis, et cetera. Quaestio est quare minores praeponit maioribus? Quia prius est populus, quam praelatus. Ez. XXXIV, 2: nonne greges pascuntur a pastoribus? Greges enim pascendi sunt a pastoribus, non e converso.
He includes the greater ones when he says, with the bishops and deacons. But why does he mention the lesser ones before the greater? Because the people are prior to the prelate: should not shepherds feed the sheep? (Ezek 34:2). For the flocks are to be fed by the shepherds, and not vice versa.
Item cur intermittit presbyteros?
But why does he not mention the priests?
Respondeo. Dicendum est quod comprehenduntur cum episcopis, quia in una civitate non sunt plures episcopi. Unde dicens in plurali, dat intelligere etiam presbyteros. Et tamen est alius ordo, quia ex ipso Evangelio hoc legitur quod post designationem duodecim apostolorum (quorum personas gerunt episcopi), designavit septuaginta duos discipulos, quorum locum sacerdotes tenent. Dionysius etiam distinguit episcopos et sacerdotes. Sed in principio, licet ordines fuerint distincti, non tamen nomina ordinum; unde hic comprehendit presbyteros cum episcopis.
I answer that they are included with the bishops, because there are not a number of bishops in a city; hence when he puts it in the plural, he means to include priests. Yet it is a distinct order, because we read in the Gospel that after appointing twelve apostles (whose persons the bishops manifest), He appointed seventy-two disciples, whose place the priests hold. Dionysius also distinguished bishops from priests. But in the beginning, although the orders were distinct, there were not distinct names for the orders; hence here he includes priests with bishops.
7. Deinde ponit bona optata, ibi gratia, et cetera. Et sunt duo quae includunt omnia. Primum est gratia Dei remittens peccata. Eph. II, 8: gratia salvati estis, et cetera. Ultimum est pax hominis. Ps. CXLVII, 14: qui posuit fines tuos pacem, et cetera. Et per consequens optat bona media, et hoc a Deo Patre. Iac. I, 17: omne datum optimum, et omne donum perfectum de sursum est, descendens a Patre luminum. Item, per meritum humilitatis Christi, et ideo addit et Domino Iesu Christo. Io. I, v. 17: gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est. Eph. II, 14: ipse enim est pax nostra, et cetera.
7. Then he mentions the good things he desires for them when he says, grace be unto you and peace. These two goods include everything: first, there is God’s grace remitting sins: for by grace you have been saved through faith (Eph 2:8); lastly, there is man’s peace: he makes peace in your borders (Ps 147:14). Consequently, he wishes them all the good things between the two: and this, from God our Father: every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (Jas 1:17), and by the merit of Christ’s humanity; hence he says, and from the Lord Jesus Christ: grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17); for he is our peace, who has made us both one (Eph 2:14).
8. Consequenter ponit epistolarem narrationem. Et
8. Then he begins the letter’s message,