Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Philippians 2:21

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For all seek their own - This must relate to the persons who preached Christ even of envy and strife, Philemon 1:15; these must be very careless whether souls were saved or not by such preaching; and even those who preached the Gospel out of good will might not be fit for such an embassy as this, which required many sacrifices, and consequently much love and zeal to be able to make them.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For all seek their own - That is, all who are with me. Who Paul had with him at this time is not fully known, but he doubtless means that this remark should apply to the mass of Christians and Christian ministers then in Rome. Perhaps he had proposed to some of them to go and visit the church at Philippi, and they had declined it because of the distance and the dangers of the way. When the trial of Paul came on before the emperor, all who were with him in Rome fled from him 2 Timothy 4:16, and it is possible that the same disregard of his wishes and his welfare had already begun to manifest itself among the Christians who were at Rome, so that he was constrained to say that, as a general thing, they sought their own ease and comfort, and were unwilling to deny themselves in order to promote the happiness of those who lived in the remote parts of the world. Let us not be harsh in judging them. How many professing Christians in our cities and towns are there now who would be willing to leave their business and their comfortable homes and go on embassy like this to Philippi? How many are there who would not seek some excuse, and show that it was a characteristic that they “sought their own” rather than the things which pertained to the kingdom of Jesus Christ?

Not the things which are Jesus Christ‘s - Which pertain to his cause and kingdom. They are not willing to practice self-denial in order to promote that cause. It is implied here:

(1) that it is the duty of those who profess religion to seek the things which pertain to the kingdom of the Redeemer, or to make that the great and leading object of their lives. They are bound to be willing to sacrifice their own things - to deny themselves of ease, and to be always ready to expose themselves to peril and want if they may be the means of advancing his cause.

(2) that frequently this is not done by those who profess religion. It was the case with the professed Christians at Rome, and it is often the case in the churches now. There are few Christians who deny themselves much to promote the kingdom of the Redeemer; few who are willing to lay aside what they regard as their own in order to advance his cause. People live for their own ease; for their families; for the prosecution of their own business - as if a Christian could have anything which he has a right to pursue independently of the kingdom of the Redeemer, and without regard to his will and glory.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is best with us, when our duty becomes natural to us. Naturally, that is, sincerely, and not in pretence only; with a willing heart and upright views. We are apt to prefer our own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty; but Timothy did not so. Paul desired liberty, not that he might take pleasure, but that he might do good. Epaphroditus was willing to go to the Philippians, that he might be comforted with those who had sorrowed for him when he was sick. It seems, his illness was caused by the work of God. The apostle urges them to love him the more on that account. It is doubly pleasant to have our mercies restored by God, after great danger of their removal; and this should make them more valued. What is given in answer to prayer, should be received with great thankfulness and joy.
Ellen G. White
Counsels on Stewardship, 54

The plan of salvation was laid in a sacrifice so broad and deep and high that it is immeasurable. Christ did not send His angels to this fallen world, while He remained in heaven; but He Himself went without the camp, bearing the reproach. He became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; Himself took our infirmities, and bore our weaknesses. And the absence of self-denial in His professed followers, God regards as a denial of the Christian name. Those who profess to be one with Christ, and indulge their selfish desires for rich and expensive clothing, furniture, and food, are Christians only in name. To be a Christian is to be Christlike. CS 54.1

And yet how true are the words of the apostle: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.” Many Christians do not have works corresponding to the name they bear. They act as if they had never heard of the plan of redemption wrought out at infinite cost. The majority aim to make a name for themselves in the world; they adopt its forms and ceremonies, and live for the indulgence of self. They follow out their own purposes as eagerly as do the world, and thus they cut off their power to help in establishing the kingdom of God.... CS 54.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 623

The spirit which you cherish, of looking out for your selfish interest, is increasing upon you, and your conversation has been with covetousness. Paul admonishes his Hebrew brethren: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” You are sacrificing your reputation and your influence to an avaricious spirit. God's precious cause is reproached because of this spirit that has taken hold of its ministers. You are blinded and do not see how peculiarly offensive to God these things are. If you have decided to go in and get all of the world you can, do so; but do not do it under cover of preaching Christ. Your time is either devoted to the cause of God or it is not. Your own interest has been paramount. The time that you should devote to the cause of God is devoted too much to your own personal concerns, and you receive, from the treasury of God, means that you do not earn. You are willing to receive means from those who are not as comfortable as yourself. You do not look on their side and have bowels of sympathy and compassion. You do not closely investigate to see whether those who help you can afford to do so. Frequently it would be more in place for you to help those from whom you receive help. You need to be a transformed man before the work of God can prosper in your hands. Your home and farm cares have occupied your mind. You have not given yourself to the work. As an excuse for being so much at home, you have said that your children needed your presence and care, and that you must be with them in order to carry out the light given you in vision. But, Brother B, have you done this? You excuse yourself by saying that your children are now beyond your control, too old for you to command. In this you mistake. None of your children are too old to respect your authority and obey your commands while they have the shelter of your roof. How old were Eli's sons? They were married men; and Eli, as a father and a priest of God, was required to restrain them. 2T 623.1

But allowing that the two eldest are now beyond your control, they were not when God sent you the light that you were indulging them to their ruin; that you should discipline them. But you have three younger children who are walking in the way of sinners, disobedient, unthankful, unholy, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Your youngest son is following in the footsteps of his brother. What course are you pursuing toward him? Do you train him to habits of industry and usefulness? Are you taking up your fearfully neglected work and redeeming the past? Do you tremble at the word of God? 2T 624.1

Your neglect at home is wonderful in one that has God's written word and also testimonies borne especially to you, showing your neglect. Your boy does as he pleases. You do not restrain him. You have not educated and trained him to bear his share of the burdens of life. He is a bad boy because of your neglect. His life is a reproach to his father. You knew your duty, but you did it not. He has no convictions of the truth. He knows he can have his own way, and Satan controls his mind. You have made your children an excuse to keep you at home; but, Brother B, the things of this world have come first 2T 624.2

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