Philippians 4:5
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
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(5) Your moderation.—The word here rendered “moderation,” properly denotes a sense of what is seemly, or equitable, as distinct from what is required by strict duty or formal law. Such distinction the world recognises when it speaks of what is enjoined, not so much by duty as by “good taste, or “right feeling,” or (with some peculiarity of application) by “chivalrous” feeling, or the “spirit of a gentleman.” Here it denotes the general sense of what is seemly in a Christian tone of character. In 2Corinthians 10:1 (where it is translated “gentleness”) it is ascribed emphatically to our Lord Himself. But the usage of the New Testament appropriates it especially to the “sweet reasonableness” which “gentleness” may well designate. Thus, in Acts 24:4 it clearly signifies patience, or forbearance; in 2Corinthians 10:1 it is associated with meekness; in 1Timothy 3:3, Titus 3:2, with peaceableness; in 1Peter 2:8, with kindness; in James 3:17 the word “gentle” is placed between “peaceable” and “easy to be entreated” (or rather, persuaded). This spirit is, no doubt, “moderation;” but it is something more. It may refer here both to the exhortation to unity in Philippians 4:1-3, and to the exhortation to joy immediately preceding. It would help the one and chasten the other.

The Lord is at hand.—A translation of the Syriac “Maran-atha” of 1Corinthians 16:22—obviously a Christian watchword, probably referring to the Second Advent as near at hand; although, of course, not excluding the larger idea of that presence of Christ in His Church of which that Second Advent is the consummation.

4:2-9 Let believers be of one mind, and ready to help each other. As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, he knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to have the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names are written in the book of life. Joy in God is of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were as to outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss and hardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear and distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and distracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care, constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for prayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivings with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be told our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but he will have us show that we value the mercy, and feel our dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than can be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a good name; a name for good things with God and good men. We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way to have the God of peace with us, is to keep close to our duty. All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God; yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holy conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him only are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men, words, nor deeds.Let your moderation be known unto all men - That is, let it be such that others may see it. This does not mean that they were to make an ostentatious display of it, but that it should be such a characteristic of their lives that it would be constantly visible to others. The word "moderation" - ἐπιεικὲς epieikes - refers to restraint on the passions, general soberness of living, being free from all excesses. The word properly means that which is fit or suitable, and then propriety, gentleness, mildness - They were to indulge in no excess of passion, or dress, or eating, or drinking. They were to govern their appetites, restrain their temper, and to be examples of what was proper for people in view of the expectation that the Lord would soon appear.

The Lord is at hand - Is near; see the Philippians 3:20 note; 1 Corinthians 16:22 note. This has the appearance of being a phrase in common use among the early Christians, and as being designed to keep before their minds a lively impression of an event which ought, by its anticipation, to produce an important effect. Whether, by this phrase, they commonly understood the coming of the Lord to destroy Jerusalem, or to remove them by death, or to judge the world, or to reign personally on the earth, it is impossible now to determine, and is not very material to a proper understanding of its use here. The idea is, that the expectation that the Lord Jesus will "come," ought to be allowed to produce moderation of our passions, in our manner of living, in our expectations of what this world can furnish, and in our desires of earthly good. On him who feels that he is soon to die, and to stand at the bar of God - on him who expects soon to see the Lord Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven, it cannot fail to have this effect. People indulge their passions - are extravagant in their plans of life, and in their expectations of earthly good for themselves and for their families, because they have no realizing sense of the truth that there is before them a vast eternity. He that has a lively expectation that heaven will soon be his, will form very moderate expectations of what this world can furnish.

5. moderation—from a Greek root, "to yield," whence yieldingness [Trench]; or from a root, "it is fitting," whence "reasonableness of dealing" [Alford], that considerateness for others, not urging one's own rights to the uttermost, but waiving a part, and thereby rectifying the injustices of justice. The archetype of this grace is God, who presses not the strictness of His law against us as we deserve (Ps 130:3, 4); though having exacted the fullest payment for us from our Divine Surety. There are included in "moderation," candor and kindliness. Joy in the Lord raises us above rigorism towards others (Php 4:5), and carefulness (Php 4:6) as to one's own affairs. Sadness produces morose harshness towards others, and a troublesome spirit in ourselves.

Let … be known—that is, in your conduct to others, let nothing inconsistent with "moderation" be seen. Not a precept to make a display of moderation. Let this grace "be known" to men in acts; let "your requests be made to God" in word (Php 4:6).

unto all men—even to the "perverse" (Php 2:15), that so ye may win them. Exercise "forbearance" even to your persecutors. None is so ungracious as not to be kindly to someone, from some motive or another, on some occasion; the believer is to be so "unto all men" at all times.

The Lord is at hand—The Lord's coming again speedily is the grand motive to every Christian grace (Jas 5:8, 9). Harshness to others (the opposite of "moderation") would be taking into our own hands prematurely the prerogatives of judging, which belongs to the Lord alone (1Co 4:5); and so provoking God to judge us by the strict letter of the law (Jas 2:12, 13).

Let your moderation be known; exercising an even temper of mind, in governing the sensual appetite, with modesty, patience, and gentleness, in opposition to all impetuousness and inordinacy of affections, yea, to all excess and exorbitances in words and actions.

Unto all men; both in the eye of the church, and those without, according to our Saviour’s sermon and example, Matthew 5:16,39-41 17:27; not rigorously insisting upon our own rights, but with due self-denial putting the best construction upon the words and deeds of others; not troubling our hearts, John 14:1; banishing that solicitude about the good things of this life, which he doth in the next verse caution against: so 1 Corinthians 7:29-32.

The Lord is at hand; considering the cogent motive of the Lord’s approach, as Hebrews 10:25 Jam 5:8; not only in regard of his Deity, whereby he reigns amongst his enemies, Acts 17:27 Jeremiah 23:29; nor in regard of his special aids to his servants: Psalm 14:5; but in regard of his coming to judgment, and setting all things right in a just distribution of rewards and punishments, to comfort his children, and confound those that disobey him, Matthew 18:34,35 Mr 10:29,30 Col 3:24 Colossians 4:1 Hebrews 10:37 1 Peter 3:8,9 Re 22:20. But still we must remember, when we conceive of the Lord’s being at hand in regard of death and judgment, we must not take our own but God’s measures, in waiting our appointed time during his pleasure, Matthew 24:36 Acts 1:7.

Let your moderation be known unto all men,.... The Vulgate Latin reads, "your modesty". The Syriac and Arabic versions, "your meekness", or "humility"; graces which accompany moderation, and are very necessary to it, but not that itself. The Ethiopic version renders it, "your authority", which by no means agrees; for moderation lies not in exerting authority and power to the uttermost, at least with rigour, but in showing clemency and lenity; not dealing with men according to the severity of laws and strict justice, but according to equity, and with mildness and gentleness; giving up strict and proper right, receding from what is a man's due, and not rigidly insisting on it; putting up with affronts and injuries, and bearing them with patience; and interpreting things in the best sense, and putting the best constructions on words and actions they will bear; and in using inferiors and equals with all humanity, kindness, and respect: and this is what is here intended, which the apostle would have made "known"; exercised and practised publicly, that it might be seen and known of all, and God might be glorified, by whose name they were called, though their agreeable conversation among men; see Matthew 5:16; and he would not only have this known unto, but exercised towards "all men"; not only to believers, the members of the church, by ruling with gentleness, by bearing the infirmities of the weak, and by forgiving offences; but also to unbelievers, to the men of the world, by not avenging themselves, but giving way to wrath; by patient suffering for well doing, without making any returns of ill, either by words or deeds: this is the moderation here meant, and not moderation in eating and drinking, and in apparel, and in the love and use of, and care for the things of this world; though such moderation highly becomes professors of religion; and much less moderation in religion, or towards the false teachers, thinking and speaking well of them; and interpreting their notions in the best sense, hoping they may mean otherwise than they say, and therefore should treat their persons with great respect, and their principles with tenderness; but this can never be thought to be the apostle's sense, after he had himself given them such names and characters, as in Philippians 3:2; and besides, though we may, and many times ought, as men and Christians, to give way, and yield up what is our right and due, for the sake of peace, yet we cannot, nor ought to give up anything, that of right belongs to God and Christ, in matters of doctrine or worship; nor in the least abate of our zeal for the same, or give way to false teachers in any respect, nor for any time: moreover, moderation in religion is nothing else but lukewarmness and indifference, than which nothing is more detestable, or abhorred by Christ. The argument or reason enforcing moderation in the above sense of it follows,

the Lord is at hand. The Syriac version reads, "our Lord": and the Ethiopic version, "God is at hand". The sense is, either the Lord is near, he is omnipresent, and sees and observes the conduct of his people, their deportment in the world, and to one another; and therefore, as in his presence, and under his eye, they should behave according to equity, and with kindness and tenderness towards their fellow creatures and fellow Christians: or the Lord is nigh unto them, as he is to all that call upon him in truth, Psalm 145:18; he is a present help in time of trouble, Psalm 46:1; he is in the midst of them, and will help, and that right early, Psalm 46:5; and will avenge his elect, and vindicate their cause, and right all their wrongs in his due time; and therefore they should take all things patiently, and not avenge themselves: or in a little while Christ will come to judgment, when he will plead the cause of his people, and convince ungodly sinners of their ungodly deeds, and hard speeches against him and his, Jde 1:15; and therefore they should leave all to that time, and commit themselves to him that judgeth righteously, 1 Peter 2:23.

{4} Let your {e} moderation be known unto all men. {5} The Lord is at hand.

(4) The second is, that taking all things in good part, they behave themselves moderately with all men.

(e) Your quiet and settled mind.

(5) The taking away of an objection: we must not be anxious because of impatience, seeing that God is at hand to give us help in time for all our miseries.

Php 4:5. τ. ἐπιεικ. “Reasonableness.” Matthew Arnold finds in this a preeminent feature in the character of Jesus and designates it “sweet reasonableness” (see Literature and Dogma, pp. 66, 138). The trait could not be more vividly delineated than in the words of W. Pater (Marius the Epicurean, ii., p. 120), describing the spirit of the new Christian society as it appeared to a pagan. “As if by way of a due recognition of some immeasurable Divine condescension manifest in a certain historic fact, its influence was felt more especially at those points which demanded some sacrifice of one’s self, for the weak, for the aged, for little children, and even for the dead. And then, for its constant outward token, its significant manner or index, it issued in a certain debonair grace, and a certain mystic attractiveness, a courtesy, which made Marius doubt whether that famed Greek blitheness or gaiety or grace in the handling of life had been, after all, an unrivalled success.” A definition is given by Aristot., Eth. Nic., 5, 10, 3, τὸ ἐπιεικὲς δίκαιον μέν ἐστιν, οὐ τὸ κατὰ νόμον δέ, ἀλλʼ ἐπανόρθωμα νομίμου δικαίου, where the point is that it means a yielding up of certain real rights. This spirit, in the Christian life, is due to those higher claims of love which Christ has set in the forefront. Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:1, Titus 3:2. Their joy (Php 4:4) really depends on this “reasonableness” having as wide a scope as possible. It is he who shows forbearance and graciousness all round (γνωσθ. πᾶσιν ἀνθ.) who can preserve an undisturbed heart. In Ps. Song of Solomon 5:14 God is called χρηστὸς καὶ ἐπιεικής.—ὁ κ. ἐγγύς. Quite evidently Paul expects a speedy return of Christ. It was natural in the beginning of the Church’s history, before men had a large enough perspective in which to discern the tardy processes of the Kingdom of God. Cf. chap. Php 3:21. This solemn fact which governs the whole of Paul’s thinking, and has especially moulded his ethical teaching, readily suggests “reasonableness”. The Lord, the Judge, is at the door. Leave all wrongs for Him to adjust. Forbear all wrath and retaliation (Cf. Romans 12:19 ff.). But further, in view of such a prospect, earthly bickerings and wranglings are utterly trivial. Cf. 1 John 2:28, “Abide in Him, so that if He be manifested, we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” A close parallel is Jam 5:8.

5. moderation] R.V., “forbearance”; margin, “gentleness”; Wyclif, “patience”; Tyndale and Cranmer, “softenes”; Geneva, “patient mynde”; Rheims, “modestie”; Lat. versions, modestia; Beza, œquitas; Luther, Lindigkeit. The word is full of interest and significance, and is very difficult of translation. Perhaps forbearance, though inadequate, is a fair rendering. It means in effect considerateness, the attitude of thought and will which in remembrance of others forgets self, and willingly yields up the purely personal claims of self. The “self-less” man is the “moderate” man of this passage; the man who is yielding as air in respect of personal feeling or interest, though firm as a rock in respect of moral principle. See an excellent discussion, Trench, Synonyms, § xliii.—The editor may be allowed to refer to a small book of his own in further illustration, Thoughts on the Spiritual Life, ch. 3.

be known, &c.] Trench (quoted above) shews that the quality here commended is essentially, by usage as well as etymology, a thing having to do with life, action, intercourse. For its existence, so to speak, society is necessary. “Men” must be met and dealt with, and so must “know” it by its practical fruits.

The Lord is at hand”:—in the sense of presence, not of coming. Cp. Psalms 119 (LXX. 118):151, “Thou art near, O Lord”; where the Greek is the same. And for the spiritual principle, see Psalm 31:19-20; Psalm 121:5. Not that the deeply calming expectation of the Lord’s approaching Return is excluded from thought here; but Psalms 119. decides for the other as the leading truth.

Php 4:5. Τὸ ἐπιεικὲς, your kindly spirit [æquitas[53]]) Joy in the Lord produces true kindliness in regard to our neighbour, and proper unconcern [freedom from over-carefulness] about one’s own affairs, Php 4:6; likewise true candour towards men and God Himself: and this candour is expressed by the words, γνωσθήτω, let it be known, i.e. in acts, and, γνωριζέσθω, let (your requests) be made known, viz. by prayer, Php 4:6. Moroseness is the companion of sadness and care.—γνωσθήτω, let be known) from the thing itself. There are some who cherish gentleness (æquitas, a yielding and kindly spirit) in their mind, and wish no ill to the unkindly, but yet they conceal their benignity; these do not act rightly.—πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, to all men) good and bad, or the unkindly, ch. Php 2:15, even that the wicked may be gained. No one is so harsh in spirit as not to show himself kindly to some one, from sympathy, fear, hope of gain, emulation, etc. The believer does this to all. [But if, among all men, you know even one who has experienced the contrary conduct at your hand, see that even yet you show to him kindliness.—V. g.]—ὁ Κυρίος, the Lord) Christ the Judge, favourable to you, but executing vengeance upon the wicked. This consideration produces kindliness; Jam 5:9.

[53] Wahl, Clavis, N. 1, renders it ‘humanitas,’ kindness and gentleness towards others. He adds, others interpret it ‘modestia.’ moderation. Beng. has ‘æquitas,’ which includes both fairness and kindliness towards others, and equanimity in one’s own mind. Th. εἴκω, I yield.—ED.

Verse 5. - Let your moderation be known unto all men; rather, forbearance, or gentleness. The word ἐπιείκεια (here the neuter adjective is used) is translated "gentleness" in 2 Corinthians 10:1, where it is attributed to our Lord himself. In the Aristotelian' Ethics' it stands for the temper which contents itself with less than its due, and shrinks from insisting on its strict rights. There is no joy in a narrow selfishness; joy involves an open heart, a generous love. Joy in the Lord tends to make men gentle and mild to others. "Gaudium in Domino," says Bengel, "parit veram aequitatem erga proximum." Unto all men; heathen as well as Christian. Compare our Lord's word: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." St. Paul would have the heathen say, "See how these Christians love one another." Their mutual love would be the blessed means of drawing fresh converts to the faith. There may possibly be an allusion here to the differences between Euodia and Syntyche; let there be no more disagreements, but rather mutual forbearance. The Lord is at hand. The Aramaic Maranatha ("the Lord cometh") in 1 Corinthians 16:22 seems to imply that these words were current in the Church as a formula of warning, like "Hallelujah" as a set form of praise. The Lord is at hand therefore be not careful to exact your full rights; love is more precious than gold in the treasury of heaven. Comp. James 5:8, "Be ye also patient,... for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Others interpret the words, not of the future advent, but of the Lord's present nearness. Comp. Psalm 145:18, "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him." But this seems scarcely so appropriate here. Philippians 4:5Rejoice

See on Philippians 1:4, and 2 Corinthians 13:11.

Moderation (τὸ ἐπιεικὲς)

Wrong. Rev., correctly, forbearance. See on gentle, 1 Peter 2:18.

The Lord is at hand

See on 1 Corinthians 16:22.

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