I found this quotation while doing some study on Philippians 1 for a Bible class. The verse “for me to live is Christ; and to die is gain” is one of my favorites. I know that William Barclay “misses it” on a lot of subjects, but he nails it in commenting on this verse. Enjoy this great paragraph.
For Paul, Christ had been the beginning of life, for on that day on the Damascus road it was as if he had begun life all over again. Christ had been the continuing of life; there had never been a day when Paul had not lived in his presence, and in the frightening moments Christ had been there to bid him be of good cheer (Acts 18:9,10). Christ was the end of life, for it was towards his eternal presence that life ever led. Christ was the inspiration of life; he was the dynamic of life. To Paul, Christ had given the task of life, for it was he who had made him an apostle and sent him out as an evangelist of the Gentiles. To him Christ had given the strength for life, for it was Christ’s all-sufficient grace that was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. For him Christ was the reward of life, for to Paul the only worthwhile reward was closer fellowship with his Lord. If Christ were to be taken out of life, for Paul there would be nothing left.
The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Page 27. (italics in original)
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