Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Philippians 3:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As many as be perfect - As many as are thoroughly instructed in Divine things, who have cast off all dependence on the law and on every other system for salvation, and who discern God calling them from above by Christ Jesus; be thus minded; be intensely in earnest for eternal life, nor ever halt till the race is finished.

The word τελειοι, perfect, is taken here in the same sense in which it is taken 1 Corinthians 14:20; : - Be not Children in understanding - but in understanding be ye Men, τελειοι γινεσθε, be ye perfect - thoroughly instructed, deeply experienced. 1 Corinthians 2:6; : - We speak wisdom among the perfect, εν τοις τελειοις, among those who are fully instructed, adults in Christian knowledge. Ephesians 4:13; : - Till we all come - unto a perfect man, εις ανδρα τελειον, to the state of adults in Christianity. Hebrews 5:14; : - But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, τελειων, the perfect - those who are thoroughly instructed and experienced in Divine things. Let us therefore, says the apostle, as many as be perfect - as have entered fully into the spirit and design of the Gospel, be thus minded, viz. Forget the things which are behind, and stretch forward along the mark for the prize.

If in any thing ye be otherwise minded - If ye have not yet entered into the full spirit and design of this Gospel, if any of you have yet remaining any doubts relative to Jewish ordinances, or their expediency in Christianity, God shall reveal even this unto you; for while you are sincere and upright, God will take care that ye shall have full instruction in these Divine things.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect - see the notes at Phlippians 3:12. Or, rather, those who would be perfect; or who are aiming at perfection. It can hardly be supposed that the apostle would address them as already perfect, when he had just said of himself that lie had not attained to that state. But those whom he addressed might be supposed to be aiming at perfection, and he exhorts them, therefore, to have the same spirit that he himself had, and to make the same efforts which he himself put forth.

Be thus minded - That is, be united in the effort to obtain the prize, and to become entirely perfect. “Let them put forth the same effort which I do, forgetting what is behind, and pressing forward to the mark.”

And if in anything ye be otherwise minded - That is, if there were any among them who had not these elevated views and aims, and who had not been brought to see the necessity of such efforts, or who had not learned that such high attainments were possible. There might be those among them who had been very imperfectly instructed in the nature of religion; those who entertained views which impeded their progress, and prevented the simple and earnest striving for salvation which Paul was enabled to put forth. He had laid aside every obstacle; renounced all the Jewish opinions which had impeded his salvation, and had now one single aim - that of securing the prize. But there might be those who had not attained to these views, and who were still impeded and embarrassed by erroneous opinions.

God shall reveal even this unto you - He will correct your erroneous opinions, and disclose to you the importance of making this effort for the prize. This is the expression of an opinion, that to those who were sincere and true Christians, God would yet make a full revelation of the nature of religion, or would lead them on so that they would fully understand, it. They who are acquainted with religion at all, or who have been truly converted, God will teach and guide until they shall have a full understanding of divine things.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the things which were behind, so as not to be content with past labours or present measures of grace. He reached forth, stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showing great concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who runs a race, must never stop short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can; so those who have heaven in their view, must still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavours. Eternal life is the gift of God, but it is in Christ Jesus; through his hand it must come to us, as it is procured for us by him. There is no getting to heaven as our home, but by Christ as our Way. True believers, in seeking this assurance, as well as to glorify him, will seek more nearly to resemble his sufferings and death, by dying to sin, and by crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. In these things there is a great difference among real Christians, but all know something of them. Believers make Christ all in all, and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from one another, and are not of the same judgment in lesser matters, yet they must not judge one another; while they all meet now in Christ, and hope to meet shortly in heaven. Let them join in all the great things in which they are agreed, and wait for further light as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies of the cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites. Sin is the sinner's shame, especially when gloried in. The way of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their end. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is, there will his conversation be. There is glory kept for the bodies of the saints, in which they will appear at the resurrection. Then the body will be made glorious; not only raised again to life, but raised to great advantage. Observe the power by which this change will be wrought. May we be always prepared for the coming of our Judge; looking to have our vile bodies changed by his Almighty power, and applying to him daily to new-create our souls unto holiness; to deliver us from our enemies, and to employ our bodies and souls as instruments of righteousness in his service.
Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 130.2

Christ presents before us the highest perfection of Christian character, which throughout our lifetime we should aim to reach.... Concerning this perfection Paul writes: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after.... I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-15).... TMK 130.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 374.1

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:13-15. UL 374.1

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Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 315.1

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14, 15. AG 315.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels on Health, 592

It is not God's will that we should seclude ourselves from the world. But while in the world we should sanctify ourselves to God. We should not pattern after the world. We are to be in the world as a corrective influence, as salt that retains its savor. Among an unholy, impure, idolatrous generation, we are to be pure and holy, showing that the grace of Christ has power to restore in man the divine likeness. We are to exert a saving influence upon the world. CH 592.1

“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. The world has become a lazar house of sin, a mass of corruption. It knows not the children of God because it knows Him not. We are not to practice its ways or follow its customs. Continually we are to resist its lax principles. Christ said to His followers, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. It is the duty of physicians and nurses to shine as lights amid the corrupting influences of the world. They are to cherish principles which the world cannot tarnish. CH 592.2

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