Commentaries on Philippians

Back to:

Bible Commentaries

Ephesians  ⇐ ⇒  Colossians


For more great commentaries on Philippians check:
Commentaries on the Epistles, Commentaries on the Whole New Testament
Whole Bible Commentaries



Order of Contents

Best  7
Commentaries  22
Early & Medieval  8
Chapters  3



The Best Commentaries on Philippians


Dickson, David – ‘…Philippians Analytically Expounded’  in An Expositon of All St. Paul’s Epistles...  (1659), pp. 124-34

Dickson was a prominent Scottish covenanter.

*** – ‘Dickson is a writer after our own heart.  For preachers he is a great ally.  There is nothing brilliant or profound; but everything is clear and well arranged, and the unction runs down like the oil from Aaron’s head.  In this volume the observations are brief.’

Fergusson, James – ‘The Epistle to the Philippians’  in A Brief Exposition of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians & the Thessalonians  (1656-1674; London: Ward, 1841), pp. 279-326

Fergusson was a Scottish covenanter.

*** – ‘He who possesses this work is rich.  The author handles his matter in the same manner as Hutcheson and Dickson, and he is of their class–a grand, gracious, savory divine.’


Devotional & Practical

Vaughan, Charles J. – Lectures on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians  (1862)  370 pp.

Vaughan was an influential, broad-Church, Anglican scholar.

***  “Deservedly esteemed.  Dr. Vaughan gives a literal translation of his text from the original Greek, and then expounds it, believing it, as he says, ‘to be the duty of every Christian teacher to assist his congregation in drinking not of the stream only, but at the spring of revealed truth.'”

“Twenty-one messages based upon a detailed exegesis of the text and containing some valuable expository thoughts.” – Cyril J. Barber




Johnstone, Robert – Lectures Exegetical & Practical on Philippians with a Revised Translation & Notes on the Greek Text

***  “A noble volume.  A real boon to the man who purchases it.” – Spurgeon

“A thorough, practical, and homiletical exposition which warns against the fallacies of churchianity, strongly defends the pre-existence and deity of Christ, and remains one of the leading expository works on the subject. Presbyterian.” – Cyril J. Barber

Lange’s Commentary – Commentary on Philippians

*** – Spurgeon

Lightfoot, J.B. – Epistle to the Philippians: A Revised Text with Introduction, Notes & Dissertations

***  “Deservedly regarded as a standard work.  The more instructed student will appreciate it.” – Spurgeon

“A thorough exposition which discusses every grammatical and interpretative problem imaginable. Particularly noteworthy essays on ‘The Christian Ministry’ and ‘St. Paul and Seneca’.” – Cyril J. Barber




Eadie, John – Commentary on Philippians  Reformed, Scottish

***  “A standard work.  Essential to the scholarly student.” – Spurgeon

“Expositions on several of Paul’s letters to the churches of the New Testament era followed [by Eadie], and it is significant that Dr. C.J. Ellicott considered them to be superior to anything in England up to that time.” – Cyril J. Barber

“Gives excellent definitions of Greek words, contains a very comprehensive discussion of the kenosis passage, and presents the writings of leading men of all schools of thought.” – Cyril J. Barber



O’Brien, Peter T. – The Epistle to the Philippians: a Commentary on the Greek Text  in The New International Greek Testament Commentary  (1991)  556 pp.



Commentaries on Philippians


ed. Tomlin, Graham – Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Philippians, Colossians  Buy

Ridley, Lancelot – An Exposition in English upon the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians  (1550)

Ridley (1576) was a reformed Anglican.



Airay, Henry – Lectures upon the whole of Philippians  (1618)

**  “Mr. Grosart says: ‘You will look in vain in this commentary for erudite criticism or subtle exegesis in the modern sense: but there seems to us to be an instructively true following up of the Apostolic thoughts, and a quick insight into their bearings and relative force.” – Spurgeon

Daille, John – An Exposition of Philippians  (d. 1670)

Daille was of the reformed tradition, though a hypothetical universalist.

**  “Written in a deliciously florid style.  Very sweet and evangelical: after the French manner.” – Spurgeon


Simple, Practical & Devotional


Eastburn, Manton – Lectures, Explanatory & Practical, on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians  (1853)

**  “Designed for family reading.  Moderately good.” – Spurgeon

Hall, Robert – Exposition of Philippians in 12 Discourses  (1843)

**  “Robert Hall does not shine so much upon the printed page as he did when he blazed from the pulpit.  These discourses were published after his death, from the notes of a hearer. They are good as sermons, but not remarkable as expositions.” – Spurgeon

Moule, H.C.G. – Philippian Studies: Lessons in Faith & Love  in The Expositor’s Library

“A beautifully written, deeply devotional treatment which expounds the affectionate character of this epistle and relates its message to the lives of believers.” – Cyril J. Barber

Neat, Charles – Discourses from Philippians  Ref  (Seeley, 1841)  331 pp.

*  “Strongly Calvinistic, and correct to a hair; but utterly devoid of originality either of thought or expression.” – Spurgeon

Noble, Frederick Alphonso – Discourses on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians  (1898)

“Sermons by a conservative Congregationalist.” – Cyril J. Barber

Toller, Thomas – Discourses on Philippians  (1855)

**  “A very favorable specimen of plain, popular exposition.  Nothing either deep, or new, or critically accurate; but sensible and practical.” – Spurgeon



Jowett, John Henry – The High Calling: Meditations on St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians  (1909)  260 pp.

“Recently reprinted meditations which contain excellent preaching values for the expositor.” – Cyril J. Barber

Meyer, F.B. – The Epistle to the Philippians: a Devotional Commentary  (1912)  260 pp.

“Textual messages, devotional and edifying.” – Cyril J. Barber

Erdman, Charles – The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians: an Exposition  (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1932)  140 pp.  ToC

“A devotional exposition of the theme of the epistle with good outlines based upon a grammatical analysis of text.” – Cyril J. Barber

Herklots, Hugh G.G. – The Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians: a Devotional Commentary  Buy  (1946)

“A devotional commentary.” – Cyril J. Barber

Adam, James Russell – The Courier of God’s Grace: Lessons for Today from the Epistle to the Philippians  Ref  Buy  (Revell, 1948)  175 pp.

“A brief, devotional exposition of Philippians. Conservative.” – Cyril J. Barber

King, Guy Hope – Joy Way: an Expositional Application of the Epistle to the Philippians  Buy  (1954)

“A devotional exposition of real merit.” – Cyril J. Barber

Strauss, Lehman – Devotional Studies in Philippians  Ref  Buy  (1959)

“A delightful, well-outlined series of meditations.” – Cyril J. Barber

Tenney, Merril C. – Philippians: the Gospel at Work  Buy

“A comprehensive introduction is followed by a popular exposition which combines loyalty to the Scriptures with an application of the text to the needs of the human heart.” – Cyril J. Barber

Motyer, J.A.

The Message of Philippians: Jesus our Joy  in The Bible Speaks Today  (IVP, 1984)  230 pp.  ToC

Philippian Studies: the Richness of Christ  Buy  (IVP, 1966)  190 pp.

“An expository treatment which opens up the Scriptures and discourses on the ‘surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus’ as Lord. Reformed.” – Cyril J. Barber

Bruce, F.F. – 6. ‘The Letter to the Philippians’  in Paul & his Converts...  (Highland Books, 1985), pp. 125-36




Hutchinson, John – Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians

“Rev. Dr. John Hutchison came to Renfrew from Renfield Street Church, Glasgow. He was ordained and inducted to Renfrew United Presbyterian Church on 16th February 1864. His scholarly achievements were widely known, and in 1874 he received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity from Glasgow University. In 1877 he was translated to the newly formed congregation of Bonnington, Leith, where he ministered till his death on 1st March 1901, the last six years of his ministry at Bonnington being as Senior Minister.

Dr. Hutchinson published in 1884, Expository Lectures on the First and Second Epistles of Thessalonians, followed in 1887 by this corresponding volume on Philippians, and later by Messages to the Seven Churches in Asia.” – the book flap

”This expositional commentary traces with care the unfolding of Paul’s thought and applies the principles that are laid bare to the needs of believers. Hutchinson deals deftly with the apostle’s varying moods and shows how these provide a pattern for the Christian’s growth.  This is an excellent volume, perspicuous and practical” – Cyril J. Barber

Neander, Johann – The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians Practically and Historically Explained  (1851)  64 pp.

**  “Without dwelling upon the wording of the Epistle, Neander reproduces its spirit in other language, and so expounds it.  The little work will be greatly appreciated by a certain order of minds.” – Spurgeon

Newland, H. – A New Catena on St. Paul’s Epistles: a Practical and Exegetical Commentary on Philippians  (1860)

**  “Used discreetly, this Catena of patristic, medieval and modern Church interpreters, may be very helpful; without discretion it will mislead.” – Spurgeon

Todd, James – The Apostle Paul & the Christian Church at Philippi, an Exposition, Critical & Practical, of Acts 16 & Philippians  (1864)  330 pp.

**  “A respectable work.  The author is sound in doctrine and valorous in controverting error, and he says many good things; but he rather uses the text than expounds it.  He deserves a reading; but men with whom money is scarce need not purchase this book.” – Spurgeon



Robertson, A.T. – Paul’s Joy in Christ: Studies in Philippians  (1917)  270 pp.

“Brings to the study of this passage ripe scholarship and a mature understanding of the personality of the apostle.” – Cyril J. Barber

Jones, Maurice – The Epistle to the Philippians with Introduction & Notes  (1918)  190 pp.

“An exhaustive introduction, followed by brief comments on the text.  The discussion of the Christology of the epistle is perhaps its greatest contribution.” – Cyril J. Barber

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn – The Life of Joy & Peace: an Exposition of Philippians  2 vols in 1  (Baker, 1999)  500 pp.  ToC 1, 2

Hendriksen, William – Exposition of Philippians  in New Testament Commentary  (Baker, 1962)  220 pp.  ToC

“A verse-by-verse exposition in which the grammatical nuances are clearly presented. Reformed.” – Cyril J. Barber

Muller, Jacobus Johannes – ‘The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians’  ToC  in The Epistles of Paul to the Philippians & to Philemon  in The New International Commentary on the New Testament  (Eerdmans, 1955), pp. 13-160

“Concise and helpful. Defends the unity of the epistle and the pre-existence and deity of Christ. Praiseworthy treatment of the Greek text.  Pedantic style.” – Cyril J. Barber

Martin, Ralph P. – The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians: an Introduction & Commentary  rev. ed.  in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries  (IVP, 1987)  185 pp.  ToC

“Shows that Paul’s letter, written from a Roman prison, spreads warmth, cordiality, and joy.  An exposition particularly well adapted to Christians living under tension and facing the pressures of life.” – Cyril J. Barber

Clark, Gordon – Philippians  Buy  (d. 1985)

Clark is a clear, careful and good commentator who focuses on exegesis.  In relation to Philippians ch. 2, be aware that in his later book on The Incarnation he uses his own, non-traditional, definitions for ‘personhood’ and ‘nature’ to come to the conclusion that Christ, in some sense, is two persons.  That peculiar formulation of doctrine in his later years is very much not recommended.

Bruce, F.F. – Philippians  in New International Biblical Commentary  (Hendrickson, 1989)  200 pp.  ToC




Meyer, H.A.W. – Critical & Exegetical Handbook to the Epistles to the Philippians

**  “No doubt wonderfully learned, but we cannot get on with it.  Quotations from heretics we have happily never heard of before are of no great use to simple believers like ourselves.” – Spurgeon

Calvin, John & Storr, Gottlob – Expositions of Philippians and Colossians by Calvin & Storr  (1842)  This work has separate commentaries by Calvin and Storr on each book.

Storr (1746–1805) “was an outspoken advocate of Biblical Supranaturalism…  His conservative orthodox views in theology placed him at odds with proponents of the Enlightenment, rationalism and Kantian philosophy.” – Wiki

**  “A sort of sandwich, with Calvin for the meat, and Storr for very hard black bread.  Students who can enjoy both spiritual exposition and stern criticism with equal relish will make fine expositors.” – Spurgeon

Vaughan, C.J. – Philippians with Translation, Paraphrase & Notes for English Readers  (1864)  140 pp.

Vaughan was an influential, broad-Church, Anglican scholar.

Vincent, Marvin R. – A Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians & to Philemon  (1897)  260 pp.  in International Critical Commentary

Vincent was an American northern presbyterian and professor at Union Theological Seminary, known for his Greek Word Studies.  This is a conservative work in a liberal series.

“An important, generally conservative commentary with word studies and exegetical notes.” – Cyril J. Barber

Wiesinger, Lic. August – Biblical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles to the Philippians, to Titus & the First to Timothy; in Continuation of the Work of Olshausen  (1857)

**  “Many mistake this for Olshausen’s.  It is of the critical and grammatical school, and bristles all over with the names of the German band.  We prefer the Puritanic gold to the German silver which is now in fashion.” – Spurgeon



Plummer, Alfred – A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians  (1919)

Plummer was a liberal.

“Important for its word studies based on the papyri, and still helpful form a grammatical point of view.” – Cyril J. Barber



The Early Church on Philippians


Newland, Henry – A New Catena on St. Paul’s Epistles: a Practical & Exegetical Commentary on Philippians  (Oxford: Parker, 1860)  255 pp.  no ToC

**  “Used discreetly, this Catena of patristic, medieval and modern Church interpreters, may be very helpful; without discretion it will mislead.” – Spurgeon

ed. Edwards, Mark – Commentary on Philippians  in Ancient Christian Commentary: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians  (IVP Academic, 2007), pp. 217-90




Commentary on Philippians  in Commentaries on Galatians-Philemon  trans. Gerald Bray  in Ancient Christian Texts  Pre  Buy  (IVP Academic, 2009), pp. 64-80

Ambrosiaster (c. 366-384)

Questions & Answers on Philippians 2  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Chrysostom – Homilies on Philippians  ToC  in NPNF1, vol. 13, pp. 181-256  HTML

Chrysostom (c. 347 – 407)

**  ‘Enough of solid truth and brilliant utterance will be found here to justify this father’s title of ‘Golden Mouth’; but still all is not gold which fell from his lips, and to modern readers Chrysostom is not so instructive as he was to his own age [A.D. 349-407].’ – Spurgeon

Theodore of Mopsuestia – ‘On Philippians’  in Theodore of Mopsuestia: The Commentaries on the Minor Epistles of Paul  trans. Rowan Greer  in Writings from the Greco-Roman World  Pre  (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010), pp. 291-362

Theodore (c. 350 – 428) was a bishop of Mopsuestia and is also known as Theodore of Antioch, from the place of his birth and presbyterate. He is the best known representative of the middle Antioch School of hermeneutics.

Augustine – Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament by S. Augustine  in A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church  (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1839), pp. 854-83  ToC

sermon 119, on Phil. 3:3
sermon 120, on Phil. 3:9
sermon 121, on Phil. 4:4

Augustine (354–430)

Theodoret of Cyrus – Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, vol. 2: Galatians–Hebrews  Ref  (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2007)

Theodoret (c. 393 – c. 458/466) was an influential theologian of the School of Antioch, biblical commentator and bishop of Cyrus.



The Medieval Church on Philippians


Newland, Henry – A New Catena on St. Paul’s Epistles: a Practical & Exegetical Commentary on Philippians  (Oxford: Parker, 1860)  255 pp.  no ToC

**  “Used discreetly, this Catena of patristic, medieval and modern Church interpreters, may be very helpful; without discretion it will mislead.” – Spurgeon



Ishodad of Merv – On Philippians  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Ishodad (fl. 850) was a bishop of Hdatta during the Abbasid Caliphate (near current-day Mosul, Iraq) and prominent theologian of the Church of the East, best known for his commentaries on the Syriac Bible.

Aquinas, Thomas – Commentary on Philippians  at Isidore

Aquinas (1225 – 1274)



On Chapters in Philippians


Philippians 3

Sibbes, Richard – An Exposition of Philippians 3  (1639)

Manton, Thomas – Sermons upon Philippians 3:7-21  175 pp.  in Works, vol. 20



Philippians 4

Gwyn-Thomas, John – Rejoice… Always!  Studies in Philippians 4  Buy  159 pp.




Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries