Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all,.... Some connect these words with Philippians 1:3; as if the apostle's sense was, that it became him to be thus affected to them, and mindful of them in his prayers, to make request for them with joy, and give thanks for their fellowship in the Gospel, and continuance in it; but they seem rather to refer to his confidence of the good work begun in them, being performed until the day of Christ, and which was but just and right in him to entertain and assert; and may be understood either of a judgment of faith, or a judgment of charity: in a judgment of faith the apostle might be confident, and so may every other man, that all that believe in Christ truly, and have a good work begun in them, that shall be finished; for nothing is more certain, nor is there anything that a man can be more confident of, than this, that he that believes in Christ shall be saved; and this the apostle was fully persuaded of with respect to everyone in this church, that was a believer in Christ; and in a judgment of charity, it was meet and proper, just and right, to think, judge, hope, and believe so of everyone of them, since there was nothing in their profession, conduct, and conversation, showing the contrary:
because I have you in my heart; or "you have me in your heart"; and either reading carries in it a reason why it was fit and right that he should so think and judge concerning them; because they were, as the Syriac version renders it, "put" or "laid" upon his heart; whenever he was at the throne of grace, his heart was enlarged on their account, his affections were wonderfully drawn out towards them, and they were ever in his mind, "both in his bonds, and in the defence of the Gospel"; whether in the prison, or in the pulpit, or whatever he was about in the cause or affairs of religion, they were in his heart and thoughts; from whence he concluded they must belong to God, the good work must be in them, and would be performed; it is a token for good when the Lord lays the case of any upon the hearts of his ministers, or any of his people; and also, because they had him in their hearts, they were affectionate to him, ever thoughtful and mindful of him; and had lately given a specimen of their love to him, as a servant of Christ, and prisoner of the Lord; and as they, so he might know, that they had passed from death to life, because they loved the brethren, and him in particular for his works' sake, who had been an useful instrument in the hand of God among them: and another reason follows,
inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace; or "partakers with me of grace"; meaning either that they were partakers of the same electing, redeeming, adopting, justifying, pardoning, and regenerating grace, as he was; had obtained the same like precious faith in Christ, and knowledge of him, as he had, though not to the same degree; and therefore might well be assured of the performance of the good work in them, having no more to doubt of their salvation than of his own: or rather by "grace", or as the Vulgate Latin version reads it, "joy", he designs his sufferings for Christ, and the sake of his Gospel; which he so calls, because it was given him by God, as a token of his favour, and a mark of honour and respect, to suffer for Christ, as well as believe in him; and therefore rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Now these Philippians were partakers with him of this, both in his "bonds", by sympathizing with him, praying for him, sending relief unto him, and by suffering such like things themselves; and "in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel", whether by suffering, preaching, or writing; they stood by him, encouraged and assisted him, when others forsook him, and laid difficulties and discouragements in his way; on account of all which it was but meet and proper he should entertain such sentiments of them as before expressed.