If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,…
1. The "if" is not here the sign of doubt or hesitation, but rather of assured certainty. When persons wish to disclose the vastness of an assembly, they sometimes say, "If there was one present, there were two thousand." As employed by Paul it is equivalent to "If there is any water in the sea, or any light in the sun."
2. Consolation, comfort of love, etc., signify much in common. This appeal is a burst of tenderness. Affection delights in repetition. Love amplifies its expressions to the utmost; it is the effort of an eloquent rhetorician, artless, yet full of art. There are expressions full of summer light and beauty which are only revealed to the heart.
3. Paul having laid his basis in the very heart of Christ, makes an appeal — "fulfil ye my joy." It is right to interject one's personality as an element in an argument for brotherhood and consolidation in the Church. It appears an infinite descent from Christ to Paul, but, in reality, it is no descent; in this argument Christ's purpose and Paul's desire are identical. The soul has moods which bring it close to the heart of God. Paul appears before the Philippians more as saint than logician, and in that capacity Christ and the "servant" are one. The apostle likens his joy to a cup that is nearly full, and intimates that unanimity in the Church would fill it perfectly — make it overflow. See the importance even of a single element. An atom may be necessary to perfection. Beauty may depend on the straightness or curve of a single line.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,