on Philippians 1 :10
That ye may approve things that are excellent - Εις το δοκιμαζειν ὑμας τα διαφεροντα· To the end that ye may put to proof the things that differ, or the things that are in are more profitable. By the pure and abundant love which they received from God they would be able to try whatever differed from the teaching they had received, and from the experience they had in spiritual things.
That ye may be sincere - Ἱνα ητε ειλικρινεις. The word ειλικρινεια, which we translate sincerity, is compounded of ειλη, the splendor of the sun, and κρινω, I judge; a thing which may be examined in the clearest and strongest light, without the possibility of detecting a single flaw or imperfection. "A metaphor," says Mr. Leigh, "taken from the usual practice of chapmen, in the view and choice of their wares, that bring them forth into the light and hold up the cloth against the sun, to see if they can espy any default in them. Pure as the sun." Be so purified and refined in your souls, by the indwelling Spirit, that even the light of God shining into your hearts, shall not be able to discover a fault that the love of God has not purged away.
Our word sincerity is from the Latin sinceritas, which is compounded of sine, without, and cera, wax, and is a metaphor taken from clarified honey; for the mel sincerum, pure or clarified honey, is that which is sine cera, without wax, no part of the comb being left in it. Sincerity, taken in its full meaning, is a word of the most extensive import; and, when applied in reference to the state of the soul, is as strong as the word perfection itself. The soul that is sincere is the soul that is without sin.
Without offense - Απροσκοποι· Neither offending God nor your neighbor; neither being stumbled yourselves, nor the cause of stumbling to others.
Till the day of Christ - Till he comes to judge the world, or, till the day in which you are called into the eternal world. According to this prayer, a man, under the power and influence of the grace of God, may so love as never to offend his Maker, to the latest period of his life. Those who deny this, must believe that the Spirit of God either cannot or will not do it; or, that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse from all unrighteousness. And this would be not only antiscriptural, but also blasphemous.
on Philippians 1 :10
That ye may approve things - Margin, "Or, try." The word used here denotes the kind of trial to which metals are exposed in order to test their nature; and the sense here is, that the apostle wished them so to try the things that were of real value, as to discern that which was true and genuine.
That are excellent - Margin: Or, "differ." The margin here more correctly expresses the sense of the Greek word. The idea is, that he wished them to be able to distinguish between things that differed from each other; to have an intelligent apprehension of what was right and wrong - of what was good and evil. He would not have them love and approve all things indiscriminately. They should be esteemed according to their real value. It is remarkable here how anxious the apostle was not only that they should be Christians, but that they should be intelligent Christians, and should understand the real worth and value of objects.
That ye may be sincere - See the notes at Ephesians 6:24. The word used here - εἰλικρινής eilikrinēs - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 2 Peter 3:1, where it is rendered "pure." The noun εἰλικρίνεια eilikrineia, however, occurs in 1 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 2:17; in all which places it is rendered "sincerity." The word properly means, "that which is judged in sunshine" εἵλῃ κρίνω heilē krinō; and then "that which is clear and manifest." It is that over which there are no clouds; which is not doubtful and dark; which is pure and bright. The word "sincere" means literally without wax (sine cera); that is, honey which is pure and transparent. Applied to Christian character, it means that which is not deceitful, ambiguous, hypocritical; that which is not mingled with error, worldliness, and sin; that which does not proceed from selfish and interested motives, and where there is nothing disguised. There is no more desirable appellation that can be given to a man than to say that he is sincere - a sincere friend, benefactor, Christian; and there is nothing more lovely in the character of a Christian than sincerity. It implies:
(1) that he is truly converted - that he has not assumed Christianity as a mask;
(2) that his motives are disinterested and pure;
(3) that his conduct is free from double-dealing, trick, and cunning;
(4) that his words express the real sentiments of his heart;
(5) that he is true to his word, and faithful to his promises; and,
(6) that he is always what he professes to be. A sincere Christian would bear to have the light let in upon him always; to have the emotions of his heart seen; to be scanned everywhere, and at all times, by people, by angels, and by God.
And without offence - Inoffensive to others. Not injuring them in property, feelings, or reputation. This is a negative virtue, and is often despised by the world. But it is much to say of a man that he injures no one; that neither by example, nor opinions, nor conversation, he leads them astray; that he never does injustice to their motives, and never impedes their influence; that he never wounds their feelings, or gives occasion for hard thoughts; and that he so lives that all may see that his is a blameless life.
Till the day of Christ - See the notes at Philippians 1:6.
on Philippians 1 :10
1:10 That ye may try - By that spiritual sense. The things that are excellent - Not only good, but the very best; the superior excellence of which is hardly discerned, but by the adult Christian. That ye may be inwardly sincere - Having a single eye to the very best things, and a pure heart. And outwardly without offence - Holy, unblamable in all things.