Commentaries on Philippians

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Commentaries on the Epistles, New Testament Commentaries
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Order of Contents

The Best Commentaries  7
Commentaries  22
Early Church  4
Medieval Church  2
Chapters in Philippians

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The Best Commentaries on Philippians

1600’s

Dickson, David – An Expositon of all St. Paul’s Epistles together with an explanation of those other epistles of the apostles St. James, Peter, John & Jude, wherein the sense of every chapter and verse is analytically unfolded and the text enlightened  (Romans-Jude)  Buy  1659  

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.’

Note that the Banner of Truth reprint contains Dickson’s commentary on less books than the original.

Fergusson, James – A Brief Exposition of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and the Thessalonians  Buy  1656-74

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.’

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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

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Intermediate

1800’s

Johnstone, Robert – Lectures Exegetical and Practical on Philippians with a Revised Translation and 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 and 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

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Advanced

1800’s

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

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1900’s

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

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Commentaries on Philippians

1500’s

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  ToC  1550

Ridley (1576) was a reformed Anglican.

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1600’s

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  Buy  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

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Simple, Practical & Devotional

1800’s

Eastburn, Manton – Lectures, Explanatory and 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 and 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  1841

“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

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1900’s

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  Buy  1932

“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  Buy  1948

“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  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. – Philippian Studies: the Richness of Christ  Buy  1966  190 pp.  IVP

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

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Intermediate

1800’s

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

“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 and the Christian Church at Philippi, an Exposition, Critical and Practical, of Acts 16 and 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

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1900’s

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 and 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 – An Exposition of Philippians, 2 vols.  Buy

Hendriksen, William – Philippians  Buy

“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  Buy  1955 in The New International Commentary on the New Testament

“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. – Philippians  Buy  in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries

“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.

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Advanced

1800’s

Meyer, H.A.W. – Critical and 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 and 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 and Notes for English Readers  1864  140 pp.

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

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

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1900’s

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

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The Early Church on Philippians

Compilation

Edwards, Mark – Ancient Christian Commentary: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians  Buy

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

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Individual Fathers

Ambrosiaster – Commentaries on Galatians-Philemon  Buy

Chrysostom – Homilies on Philippians

**  ‘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

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The Medieval Church on Philippians

Compilation

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

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Individual

Aquinas, Thomas – Commentary on Philippians

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Philippians 3

Sibbes, Richard – An Exposition of Philippians 3  1639, This is not in Sibbes’ 7 volume set of works

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

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Philippians 4

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

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Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries