Therefore, my brothers dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.…
The "crown" here is not the diadem of royalty, but the garland of victory. He has in his mind, as so often, the famous public athletic games of the Greeks — which the diligent training, and the strenuous and persevering exertion, needed to gain the "corruptible crown" of laurel, and the intensity of joy felt by the victors, rendered an admirable illustration of the Christian life, whether as regards the spiritual progress of the believer himself or his work for the salvation of others. The apostle believed that he would be enabled to "rejoice in the day of Christ, that he had not run in vain," as a minister of Christ. In Nero's prison, aged, worn with trouble, manacled, uncertain whether he might not soon be led forth to death by the executioner, he knew himself to be yet in truth, as a successful minister of Christ, a conqueror wreathed with amaranth. The emperor in his palace was, in heart, weary and wretched. The prisoner was restful and happy. The glitter of the emperor's power and grandeur would very soon pass away and be as a dream. His prisoner was already invested with a glory which, recognized in this world only by those whose eyes had been opened to discern spiritual things, should yet be manifested before the universe — for "they that be wise shall shine," etc.
(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.