New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:2 dogs. The epithet of “dogs” was sometimes applied by Jews to Gentiles in general, but Paul would not do this; indeed, he was writing to Gentile Christians. In the Old Testament, sodomites were called dogs (Deuteronomy 23:17-18). In view of Paul’s strong condemnation of this typically pagan Gentile sin (Romans 1:25-27; I Corinthians 6:9), it is probable that Paul’s warning here had reference to the sin of homosexuality or bestiality.
3:2 concison. This word, from a Greek word meaning “cutting down,” seems to be cited as in contrast to “the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit,…and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). That is, the Judaizers who were trying to force Gentile Christians to be circumcised had no concept of the spiritual significance that had once been attached to circumcision and which was now fulfilled in spiritual circumcision. To them it was merely a ritual and amounted to nothing more than a mutilation of the flesh; and Paul called them “the concision” instead of the circumcision, warning the Philippians against their legalistic heresies. See his discussion in Galatians 5:1-6, 11-13; 6:12-15. This is the only occurrence of the word in the New Testament.
3:6 persecuting the church. It is significant that Paul had considered his zeal in persecuting the church as a highly meritorious service to his religion. It seems always to be true that those who are devoted to some false religion are the most zealous opponents of true Biblical Christianity.
3:6 blameless. If anyone could ever have been saved by keeping the law, it would have been the Apostle Paul. Yet he came to regard all his “righteousnesses” as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) when he saw Christ as He is.
3:7 loss. The connotation of “loss” is “damaged goods.”
3:8 excellency. “Excellency” means “higher authority.” That is, the knowledge of Christ as Savior and Lord is higher than all the secular and religious knowledge Paul had learned in his scholastic training as a Pharisee. Similarly, it is higher than any knowledge one could ever acquire from modern science or philosophy, or from any other discipline.
3:8 dung. The Greek word skubalon basically means “refuse,” either human waste or garbage in general.
3:8 win Christ. “Win Christ”—that is, “be gain for Christ.” We should not only seek to gain Christ and His salvation for ourselves, but also to be profitable spiritually in His service.
3:9 faith of Christ. The connotation here is not “through faith in Christ,” but rather “that kind of faith of Christ” or “that body of faith about Christ.” The phrase “the faith” is found often in the New Testament (e.g., Acts 6:7; 14:22; Romans 14:1; I Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:23; 2:7; I Timothy 4:1; 5:8; 6:12; II Timothy 3:8; 4:7; Titus 1:13; Jude 3), carrying this meaning—not our faith, but the body of doctrine about Christ’s person and work (from creation to consummation) in which we believe and upon which we take our stand—in other words, the whole Christian faith.
3:9 of God by faith. For “of God by faith,” read “out of God based upon that faith.”
3:10 know him. The tense here suggests “come to know Him.” Even though we may already know Christ as Savior, we also need to know Him in both the power of His resurrection (Romans 6:11-13; Colossians 3:1) and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 1:29; I Peter 4:13).
3:11 resurrection. Note Galatians 2:20; I Corinthians 15:31.
3:13 one thing I do. “This one thing I do” is only one word in the Greek, succinctly expressing single-minded concentration and determination.
3:14 press toward. “Press toward” is the same as “follow after” in Philippians 3:12.
3:14 mark. The Greek word for “mark” here actually means “watch,” referring to being watchful for signs of the approaching end of the race.
3:14 prize. The “prize” is nothing less than God’s “crown of righteousness” which the Righteous Judge (II Timothy 4:7-8) will award those who have kept the faith and finished the course.
3:14 high calling. This “high calling” could very well be the great rapture at the end of the age, when the Lord says: “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1), and we are “caught up…to meet the Lord in the air” (I Thessalonians 4:17).
3:17 of me. Paul was not arrogant or conceited; he even called himself “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8). However, the churches were being led astray by false apostles and false teachers “whose God is their belly, . . who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). Therefore, he often had to defend himself and his teachings (II Corinthians 11:17-18; 12:11; etc.). The church could not actually see Jesus, but they could see Paul, and compare his life and ministry to those of the false teachers. Therefore, he could say, in all humility: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). See also I Corinthians 4:16; II Thessalonians 3:7.
3:20 conversation. The Greek word politeuma means “citizenship.” Essentially the same word occurs elsewhere only in Philippians 1:27, there in verb form. In other words, we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, now serving as “ambassadors for Christ” (II Corinthians 5:20) to the kingdoms here on earth and their citizens.
3:21 his glorious body. These “vile” bodies in which we now reside are subject to decay and death, along with the entire creation (Romans 8:20-22), but they will be instantaneously glorified and made like His body of glory when Christ returns (I Corinthians 15:51-54; Romans 8:21; I John 3:2).
3:21 working. This “working” (Greek energeia) could be effectively paraphrased as “creative energizing.” He who is the Creator of all the energy and matter of the universe (actually, even matter is a form of energy) is able to create new energy and matter to resurrect dead bodies and glorify living bodies to make them like His own eternally living resurrected body, no longer subject to decay and pain and death.