Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,
Note 13 at Php 3:8: The phrase "I count" was translated from the Greek word "HEGEOMAI," and this Greek word means "to lead, i.e. command (with official authority); figuratively, to deem, i.e. consider" (Strong's Concordance). This means Paul didn't come to a place of failure where through some sin or error on his part, he had become a "loser." He was the most promising student of Gamaliel (Ac 22:3). Paul chose to value his own effort as dung (see note 16 at this verse).
Many people come to the Lord in the midst of failure or personal tragedy. It is easy to see their own efforts as worthless in a situation like that. Those who are at the top of their game often fail to see their need for the Lord. They think they are doing quite well and therefore trust in themselves. That's why relatively few "successful" people come to the Lord.
The present-tense verb "I count" shows a habitual attitude and commitment to a long-term way of doing something. In other words, Paul continually counted as loss everything that would keep him from knowing Jesus Christ intimately.
Paul is an example to us all. He was the holiest, the best, yet he was nothing. If that was true of Paul, it is certainly true of us. Like Paul, we need to "count" all of our personal achievements as refuse so that we might totally rely on Christ.
Note 14 at Php 3:8: At one time, Paul had trusted the works of his own flesh as a means of acceptance with God. His faith had been in circumcision, ancestry, religion, zeal, and legalistic righteousness (Php 3:5-6). But here, he counted (see note 13 at this verse) them all loss that he might gain Christ. In fact, Paul used the term "dung" (see note 16 at this verse) to describe how little he valued anything that would separate him from the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.
Note 15 at Php 3:8: Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament states, "Not only did he (Paul) forfeit all this when he was saved, but his parents would have nothing to do with a son who had, in their estimation, dishonored them by becoming one of those hated, despised Christians. They had reared him in the lap of luxury, sent him to the Jewish school of theology in Jerusalem to sit at the feet of the great Gamaliel, and given him an excellent training in Greek culture at the University of Tarsus, a Greek school of learning. But they had now cast him off. He was still forfeiting all that he had held dear, but for what? He tells us, 'that I may win Christ'" (p. 91).
Only eternity will reveal just how much Paul gave up in the natural to follow Christ. One thing is certain--he gained much more than he ever gave up. That's true of us as well. The reproaches of Christ are infinitely greater in wealth than all the riches of the world or the acclaim of man (Heb 11:26).
Note 16 at Php 3:8: The English word "dung" was translated from the Greek word "SKUBALON," and this Greek word means "what is thrown to the dogs, i.e. refuse" (Strong's Concordance).
Note 17 at Php 3:8: This word "win" was translated from the Greek word "KERDAINO," and this Greek word means "to gain" (Strong's Concordance). It was translated "gain" nine times (Mt 16:26 [once]; Mr 8:36 [once]; Lu 9:25 [once]; 1Co 9:19-22 [five times]; and Jas 4:13 [once]) and "gained" five times (Mt 18:15, 25:17, 20, 22; and Ac 27:21). This is the only time in the New Testament that this word was translated "win."
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