John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 4:15 - 4:15

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 4:15 - 4:15


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

15And ye know I understand this to have been added by way of excuse, inasmuch as he often received something from them, for if the other Churches had discharged their duty, it might have seemed as though he were too eager to receive. Hence in clearing himself he praises them, and in praising them he modestly excuses others. We must also, after Paul’ example, take heed lest the pious, on seeing us too much inclined to receive from others, should on good grounds reckon us to be insatiable. You also know, says he. do not require to call in other witnesses, for ye yourselves also know.” For it frequently happens, that when one thinks that others are deficient in duty, he is the more liberal in giving assistance. Thus the liberality of some escapes the notice of others.

In the matter of giving and receiving He alludes to pecuniary matters, in which there are two parts, the one receiving, the other expending. It is necessary that these should be brought to an equality by mutual compensation. There was an account of this nature carried on between Paul and the Churches. (251) While Paul administered the gospel to them, there was an obligation devolving upon them in return for supplying what was necessary for the support of his life, as he says elsewhere,

If we dispense to you spiritual thinqs, is it a great matter if you give in return carnal things? (1Co_9:11.)

Hence, if the other churches had relieved Paul’ necessities, they would have been giving nothing gratuitously, but would have been simply paying their debt, for they ought to have acknowledged themselves indebted to him for the gospel. This, however, he acknowledges, had not been the case, inasmuch as they had not laid out anything on his account. What base ingratitude, and how very unseemly, to treat such an Apostle with neglect, to whom they knew themselves to be under obligation beyond their power to discharge! On the other hand, how great the forbearance of this holy man, to bear with their inhumanity with so much gentleness and indulgence, as not to make use of one sharp word by way of accusing them!



(251) Il y auoit quelque telle condition et conuenance entre Sainct Paul et les Eglises;” — “ was some such condition and correspondence between St. Paul and the Churches.”