Philippians 2:12

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
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Gaius Marius Victorinus

AD 400
The fear is to be referred to the soul, the trembling to the body. But it is a great mystery, which we should lay to heart when we hear it, that by taking thought and showing concern for others we work out our own salvation all the more and furthermore that it is in our power to work out salvation for ourselves. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
With fear and trembling. That is, be equally upon your guard against presumption and despair. St. Paul is anxious to inspire a just confidence in Jesus Christ, but he is not less solicitous to root out all self-confidence arising from our supposed merits or excellence.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
The admonitions which we give ought to be accompanied with commendations; for thus they become even welcome, when we refer those whom we admonish to that measure of zeal which they have themselves exhibited; as Paul, for instance, did here; and observe with what singular discretion; So then, my beloved, he says; he did not say simply be obedient, not until he had first commended them in these words, even as you have always obeyed; i.e. it is not other men, but your own selves, whom I bid you take example by. Not as in my presence only, but much more in my absence. And why, much more in my absence? You seemed perhaps at that time to be doing everything out of respect to me, and from a principle of shame, but that is no longer so; if then ye make it evident that you now strive more earnestly, it is also made evident that neither then was it done out of consideration to me, but for God's sake. Tell me, what would you? not that you give heed to me, but that you 'work out your own salvation...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Our admonitions are best accompanied by praises. Only in this way are they welcomed. So we call those we are exhorting to that level of zeal of which they are capable of exhibiting. For they become welcome when we call those whom we are exhorting to compete with themselves. This is what Paul does here, and note how wisely. “So, my beloved,” he says. He does not say simply “you obey.” Rather he first praises them and says “just as you have always obeyed,” as if to say, “I am urging you to imitate not others but yourselves.” . ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
“At that time you seemed to be doing everything for the sake of honoring and respecting me, but now no longer. If then it proves that you now continue, it is proved then also that you did it not for my sake but for God’s.” .

John Chrysostom

AD 407
What do you want? Tell us. Not “that you should hear me” but that “with fear and trembling you should work out your own salvation.” For without fear no one can accomplish anything noble or remarkable…. If the goods of life cannot be attained without fear, how much more true is this of spiritual ones? For tell me, whoever learned letters without fear? Who became skilled in a craft without fear? But if the devil does not best us there but only lethargy oppresses us, we needed all that fear merely to overcome our natural lethargy. Here, where the war is so great and impediments so many, how can we be saved without fear? Homily on Philippians. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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