Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1:19-21 there are three crucial expressions: “the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (v. 19), “Christ shall be magnified in my body” (v. 20), and “to me to live is Christ” (v. 21). In this message we shall consider the first of these expressions, “the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
In 1:19 Paul says, “I know that for me this shall turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The words bountiful supply are not simply a translation of the Greek, but an interpretation of the Greek term used. Literally, the Greek word refers to the supplying of all the needs of the chorus by someone known as the choragus, the leader or director of the chorus. The Greek word Paul uses thus implies a bountiful supply. The choragus supplied all the needs of everyone in the chorus, the needs for food, clothing, lodging, and musical instruments. The supply of the choragus truly was bountiful, even all-inclusive. Once a person had joined the chorus, there was no need for him to be concerned about the necessities of life; the choragus would supply whatever he needed. In using the expression “the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” Paul likens the supply of the Spirit to that of the choragus. Therefore, to have a proper understanding of 1:19, we need the word bountiful with the word supply. This bountiful supply of the all-inclusive Spirit was for Paul to live Christ and magnify Christ in his sufferings for Him. The supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ is bountiful and all-inclusive. What we have today is not a partial supply, but a bountiful, all-inclusive supply.
The Spirit of Jesus Christ is “the Spirit” as mentioned in John 7:39. This is not merely the Spirit of God before the Lord’s incarnation, but the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit with divinity, after the Lord’s resurrection, compounded with the Lord’s incarnation (humanity), human living under the cross, crucifixion, and resurrection. The holy anointing ointment in Exodus 30:23-25, a compound of olive oil with four kinds of spices, was a full type of this compound Spirit of God, who is now the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Here it is not the Spirit of Jesus as in Acts 16:7 (Gk.), nor the Spirit of Christ as in Romans 8:9, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is mainly for the Lord’s humanity and human living; the Spirit of Christ is mainly for the Lord’s resurrection. To experience the Lord’s humanity, as illustrated in Philippians 2:5-8, we need the Spirit of Jesus. To experience the power of the Lord’s resurrection, as mentioned in 3:10, we need the Spirit of Christ. In his suffering, Paul experienced both the Lord’s suffering in His humanity and the Lord’s resurrection. Hence, the Spirit to him was the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the compound, all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit of the Triune God. Such a Spirit has, and even is, the bountiful supply for a person like Paul, who was experiencing and enjoying Christ in His human living and resurrection. Eventually, this compound Spirit of Jesus Christ becomes the seven Spirits of God, who are the seven lamps of fire before His throne to carry out His administration on earth for the accomplishment of His economy with the church, and who are the seven eyes of the Lamb for the transfusing of all that He is into the church (Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:6).
The revelation in the Bible concerning God, Christ, and the Spirit is progressive. This revelation begins in Genesis 1 and develops progressively until it reaches its consummation in the book of Revelation. The first mention of the Spirit in the Scriptures is found in Genesis 1:2, where we are told that the Spirit of God was brooding over the waters (Heb.). In relation to God’s creation, the Spirit is specifically called the Spirit of God.
God’s relationship with man, of course, is more intimate than His relationship with creation. Hence, in speaking of God’s relationship with man, the title of the Spirit is the Spirit of Jehovah (Judg. 3:10; 1 Sam. 10:6).
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