Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Philippians 2:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That ye may be blameless - In yourselves, and harmless to others.

The sons of God - Showing by your holy conduct that ye are partakers of the Divine nature.

Without rebuke - Persons against whom no charge of transgression can justly be laid.

A crooked and perverse - Probably referring to the Jews, who were the chief opponents and the most virulent enemies which the Christian Church had.

Among whom ye shine - Be like the sun and moon; bless even the perverse and disobedient by your light and splendor. Let your light shine before men; some will walk in that light, and by its shining God will be glorified. It is evident that the apostle, by φωστῃρες εν κοσμῳ, lights in the world, refers to the sun and moon particularly, and perhaps to the heavenly bodies in general.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

That ye may be blameless - That you may give no occasion for others to accuse you of having done wrong.

And harmless - Margin, “sincere.” The Greek word ( ἀκέραιος akeraios) means properly that which is unmixed; and then pure, sincere. The idea here is, that they should be artless, simple, without guile. Then they would injure no one. The word occurs only in Matthew 10:16; Phlippians 2:15, where it is rendered “harmless,” and Romans 16:19, where it is rendered “sincere”; see the Matthew 10:16 note, and Romans 16:19 note.

The sons of God - The children of God; a phrase by which true Christians were denoted; see the Matthew 5:45 note; Ephesians 5:1 note.

Without rebuke - Without blame; without giving occasion for anyone to complain of you.

In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation - Among those of perverted sentiments and habits; those who are disposed to complain and find fault; those who will take every occasion to pervert what you do and say, and who seek every opportunity to retard the cause of truth and righteousness. It is not certainly known to whom the apostle refers here, but it seems not improbable that he had particular reference to the Jews who were in Philippi. The language used here was employed by Moses Deuteronomy 32:5, as applicable to the Jewish people, and it is accurately descriptive of the character of the nation in the time of Paul. The Jews were among the most bitter foes of the gospel, and did perhaps more than any other people to embarrass the cause of truth and prevent the spread of the true religion.

Among whom ye shine - Margin, “or, shine ye.” The Greek will admit of either construction, and expositors have differed as to the correct interpretation. Rosenmuller, Doddridge and others regard it as imperative, and as designed to enforce on them the duty of letting their light shine. Erasmus says it is doubtful whether it is to be understood in the indicative or imperative. Grotius, Koppe, Bloomfield, and others regard it as in the indicative, and as teaching that they did in fact shine as lights in the world. The sense can be determined only by the connection; and in regard to it different readers will form different opinions. It seems to me that the connection seems rather to require the sense of duty or obligation to be understood. The apostle is enforcing on them the duty of being blameless and harmless; of holding forth the word of life; and it is in accordance with his design to remind them that they ought to be lights to those around them.

As lights in the world - The comparison of Christians with light, often occurs in the Scriptures; see at Matthew 5:14, note, 16, note. The image here is not improbably taken from light-houses on a seacoast. The image then is, that as those light-houses are placed on a dangerous coast to apprise vessels of their peril, and to save them from shipwreck, so the light of Christian piety shines on a dark world, and in the dangers of the voyage which we are making; see the note of Burder, in Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God. The working of God's grace in us, is to quicken and engage our endeavours. God's good-will to us, is the cause of his good work in us. Do your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness; give no just occasion of offence. The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the light-house warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine. The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ. Running, denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward; labouring, denotes constancy, and close application. It is the will of God that believers should be much in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them.
Ellen G. White
My Life Today, 80

Exercising Self-control

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35 ML 80.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 122-3

The course of God's people should be upward and onward to victory. A greater than Joshua is leading on the armies of Israel. One is in our midst, even the Captain of our salvation, who has said for our encouragement: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He will lead us on to certain victory. What God promises, He is able at any time to perform. And the work He gives His people to do, He is able to accomplish by them. If we live a life of perfect obedience, His promises will be fulfilled toward us. 2T 122.1

God requires His people to shine as lights in the world. It is not merely the ministers who are required to do this, but every disciple of Christ. Their conversation should be heavenly. And while they enjoy communion with God they will wish to have intercourse with their fellow men in order to express by their words and acts the love of God which animates their hearts. In this way they will be lights in the world, and the light transmitted through them will not go out or be taken away. It will indeed become darkness to those who will not walk in it, but it will shine with increasing brightness on the path of those who will obey and walk in the light. 2T 122.2

The spirit, wisdom, and goodness of God, revealed in His word, are to be exemplified by the disciples of Christ, and are thus to condemn the world. God requires of His people according to the grace and truth given them. All His righteous demands must be fully met. Accountable beings must walk in the light that shines upon them. If they fail to do this, their light becomes darkness, and their darkness is great in the same degree as their light was abundant. Accumulated light has shone upon God's people; but many have neglected to follow the light, and for this reason they are in a state of great spiritual weakness. 2T 123.1

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Ellen G. White
Sons and Daughters of God, 316

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way.... I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:2. SD 316.1

None are to be forward or obtrusive, but we are quietly to live out our religion, with an eye single to the glory of God.... Then we shall shine as lights in the world, without noise or friction. None need fail; for One is with them who is wise in counsel, excellent in working, and mighty to accomplish His designs. He works through His agents, seen and unseen, human and divine. This work is a grand work, and will be carried forward to the glory of God, if all who are connected with it will make their works correspond to their profession of faith. Purity of thought must be cherished as indispensable to the work of influencing others. The soul must be surrounded by a pure, holy atmosphere, an atmosphere that will tend to quicken the spiritual life of all who inhale it. SD 316.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 631-3

Christ's Sermon on the Mount declares who are the truly blessed: “Blessed are the poor in spirit [those who are not self-exalted, but candid, and of a humble disposition, not too proud to be taught, not vain and ambitious for the honors of the world]: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn [those who are penitential, submissive, and who grieve over their failures and errors because the Spirit of God is grieved]: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek [those who are gentle and forgiving, who, when reviled, will not revile again, but who manifest a teachable spirit, and do not hold themselves in high esteem]: for they shall inherit the earth.” Those who possess the qualifications here enumerated will not only be blessed of God here in this life, but will be crowned with glory, honor, and immortality in His kingdom. 2T 631.1


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