Philippians 3:1-11
Philippians 3:1-11
Avoid the two great errors made by billions on our universal quest for joy: seeking it in the wrong place and by the wrong means.
Published October 14th, 2021; Updated October 22nd, 2021
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Christ is our ultimate source of life and joy and He is also the means to enter into a relationship with Him.
The two great errors we can make as we seek lasting joy: 1. seek it in the wrong place 2. know where it is found but seek it by the wrong means Here Paul addresses both: there is nothing else in all of life that compares to knowing Christ. There is not even a close second, but all other things are "skubula" - dung - in comparison (Php 3:8). But many millions in the world stumble at this point. We can realize that God is our ultimate source of life and joy and then try to "clean ourselves up" in order to be with Him. But all our religious acts are a loss. We need the righteousness that comes from Him (vs 7 & vs 9).
Philippians 3:1-11
Finally, my brothers, 1 k rejoice in the Lord.
l To write the same things to you
is no trouble to me
and is safe for you.
Look out for m the dogs, look out for n the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.
For o we are the circumcision,
p who worship q by the Spirit of God 1
and r glory in Christ Jesus
and put no confidence in the flesh —
s though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh ,
I have more:
t circumcised on the eighth day,
u of the people of Israel,
v of the tribe of Benjamin,
u a Hebrew of Hebrews;
as to the law, w a Pharisee;
x as to zeal, y a persecutor of the church;
z as to righteousness under the law, 1 blameless.
But a whatever gain I had,
b I counted as loss
for the sake of Christ .
Indeed, I count everything as loss
because of c the surpassing worth of d knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake
I e have suffered the loss of all things
and [I] count them as rubbish,
in order that I may gain Christ
and be found in him ,
not having f a righteousness of my own that comes from the law ,
but g that [righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ ,
the righteousness from God that depends on faith —
h that I may know him
and i the power of his resurrection ,
and j may share his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death,
that by any means possible I may k attain the resurrection from the dead .
Is this really a conditional?
what is the relationship of the 3 "that"s? series or something else?
Although word "if" is used, it actually seems to be Csv type.
what in the world does this mean? and why did he say "any means possible"... how is that aligned with the gospel?
are these 'same things' what preceded or follows this verse?
wow, main idea of all of this seems to be to be on our guard. similar to Gal 2:4-5, 5:1
how (if there is any direct connection) does this relate to what follows?
This is what makes it a Progression
Paul's religious pedigree
Christ better than everything
Paul wanted to be crucified?
Is this purpose for vs 8 or vs 9?
Matt. 13:44 (unless the protagonist in this parable is God)
Luke 14:26
so the uncertainty here is not "if" but "how" Paul will get to the resurrection. εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ‘If, in some way, I may reach the resurrection from the dead’. Paul expresses his hope of a future resurrection in a rather unusual way: εἴ πως, which begins this conditional clause166 and may be rendered ‘if perhaps, if somehow’,167 seems to introduce a note of doubt or uncertainty. The apostle appears to make his participation in this resurrection, which elsewhere is presented as a certain hope for the Christian (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:20; 2 Cor. 5:1), contingent upon a process that is currently taking place on earth, namely his being conformed to Christ’s death. But εἴ πως is ‘an expression of expectation’168 and syntactically does not suggest that Paul harboured doubts about his sharing in this resurrection from the dead. It is one thing to say that he has not yet participated in it, but another to doubt whether he will.169 εἰ sometimes introduces conditional clauses of expectation and may be strengthened by the addition of ἄρα, ἄραγε, or, as here, πως; note also Acts 27:12; Rom. 1:10; 11:14.170 But why has this form of expression been used and what precisely does it indicate? With only a few exceptions171 most exegetes agree that Paul is not expressing doubt about his participation in this bodily resurrection. Apart from the syntactical question of εἴ πως (noted above), the suggestion of uncertainty is said to be discordant with v. 9 (where Paul looks forward confidently to the final day as one who is completely found in Christ and having God’s righteousness), flatly contradicted by 1:23 (where he expresses with complete certainty his hope of union with Christ after death), inconsistent with 3:20–21, and at odds with other statements that speak of his baptism into Christ as a foretaste of the final resurrection (Rom. 6:5; 2 Cor. 4:14; Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12).172 Thus, while numbers of earlier scholars thought that the expression reflected Paul’s ‘humble admission of his own frailty and unworthiness’ in reaching this final destiny,173 more recently it has been claimed that while the goal of the resurrection is certain, the way or route by which the apostle will reach it is unclear. On this view the element of uncertainty lies with πώς (= ‘somehow, in some way’): he might reach the resurrection through martyrdom (or by some other kind of death), or he might be alive at the coming of Christ (cf. Phil. 1:20–26). ‘The resurrection is certain; the intervening events are uncertain.’174 This exegesis has the merit of tying in with Paul’s statements elsewhere in the letter. Further, the more immediate context of vv. 12–16 makes it plain that Paul has not yet reached perfection.175 He forgets what is behind and strains forward to what lies ahead, God’s final goal. εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν κτλ. of v. 11 also draws attention to the end in view and at the same time makes it clear that Paul has not yet reached it. He like other Christians lives in the overlap of the ages; he, too, stands between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’, and consummated salvation is not yet his. He passionately longs to reach the final destination and, in no way presuming upon the grace of God, presses on towards that goal. He does so with confidence and encourages his Christian friends at Philippi to adopt the same attitude and approach (v. 15). O’Brien, P. T. (1991). The Epistle to the Philippians: a commentary on the Greek text (pp. 411–413). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
On balance it seems best to view τὰ αὐτά as denoting those things the apostle had already spoken about previously in his ministry among the Philippians, and about which he now writes in chap. 3:2–11. These include ‘his condemnation of Jewish boasts of superiority, his reminiscences about his life as a devout Pharisee, and the nature of righteousness through faith in Christ as opposed to righteousness based upon the law.’33 O’Brien, P. T. (1991). The Epistle to the Philippians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 352). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Christ better than religious pedigree
Brent Karding
You're right about the main point being to beware of falsehood. If you had continued on into the rest of the chapter, you would have seen that the theme continues there: continue on into maturity, he tells them, and avoid Christ's enemies.
Brent Karding
Indeed, I count everything as loss
Back up in 8a, I agree with Progression: your explanation makes sense.
Brent Karding
but that [righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ,
Good choice of Neg-Pos here.
Brent Karding
But whatever gain I had,
However, all of 7a-c can't have the Csv label when related back up to 4c-6b. Remember, the Csv proposition isn't the main point. Surely 7 is the main point of 4-7: "Even though I was circumcised on the eighth day (etc.)... I count all that as loss for Christ."
Jonathan Stamberg
I think I understand what you're saying. So 7a is the main point of 4-6?
Brent Karding
No, within verse 7, 7b-c must be the main point. Paul's emphasis wouldn't be, "I had gain," because his language is saying, "Even though I had gain, I counted it as loss."

But anyway, I'm talking about the larger Concessive relationship that you put to connect 4c-6b to 7. 7 shouldn't have the Csv label, since it is the main point within verses 4-7.
Brent Karding
But whatever gain I had,
You're correct that 7a should have the Csv label when related to 7b-c.
Brent Karding
though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.
The Csv label needs to go with 4a, not 3d, because "though I myself..." is the conceded reality and 3d is the main point it supports.
Jonathan Stamberg
thanks! that makes sense
Brent Karding
To write the same things to you
It would be better to keep 1b-c as one proposition: "to write the same things to you" is a substantival clause, the subject of "is" in 1c.
Jonathan Stamberg
ok, thanks
Matthew Carver
I was very edified by your observation in the introductory paragraph that Christ is not only the source of our joy, but also our means to Himself as that joy.  As I read some of your dot notes in connection with this thought I was drawn to your thoughts on V8-11 in which the "means" part is especially highlighted--the wrestling over the meaning of V11 really brought it to a apex, "that by any means possible..." 

A agree that the question of V11 does seem to concern not "if" he will be raised, but "by what means" he will reach the resurrection.  It's sort of like he's saying, "I don't know what I'm going to have to endure in the process, the humility of counting everything loss, the rejection of a righteousness that it is my own, the sharing in His sufferings, and becoming like him in His death... but all of it is worth it to know Him and the power of His resurrection, to attain to the resurrection -- by any means possible."  

But I think you're saying that. I think your saying that its not just the negatives that become our means of knowing His surpassing worth, its also some of the positive things like: V10 knowing Him (the degree to which Paul had already come to know him), and knowing the power of his resurrection (currently in Paul's life), and V8 the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (that He is experiencing now). Do you think the current revelations of Christ that we experience now are also means to fuller revelation and the eventual resurrection?  

This seems to apply to me currently because the struggle that I am having in my life is not whether Christ is the source of joy, but rather, what kind of life am I going to have to go through in the process of gaining Him and knowing Him.  Like many, expectations of what life would look like have not lined up with reality, I'm left asking, "by what means is it going to take to attain the resurrection, or to know Christ in the full sense of His surpassing worth."  He is pressing me to lose my self-righteousness, count various hopes and desires as loss, and share in his sufferings, and I am obliged to respond to him "by any means possible Lord, I want to know you and attain to the resurrection of the dead, I will do it." 

I would love some of your thoughts, I was greatly edified, thanks for working hard on this passage.  
Jonathan Stamberg
Amen Matthew! I'm with you in how that path to knowing Him and being raised with Him is at times counter to how I thought it would look.
>>>Do you think the current revelations of Christ that we experience now are also means to fuller revelation and the eventual resurrection?<<<
This sounds like a good question you're asking, but I'm not sure I understand it.
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