To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain: What Does Philippians 1:21 Mean?

Philippians 1:21 reads, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationPhilippians 1:21
ESVFor to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
NASBFor to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
NIVFor to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
NLTFor to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.

Also see the meaning of If You Love Me Keep My Commandments

To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

1:21-26 Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery.

It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle’s difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another.

Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die.

In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever.

But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.

Also see the meaning of Camel Through the Eye of a Needle

Philippians 1:21 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21. For—in either event (Php 1:20) I must be the gainer, “For to me,” &c.

to live is Christ—whatever life, time, and strength, I have, is Christ’s; Christ is the sole object for which I live (Ga 2:20).

to die is gain—not the act of dying, but as the Greek (“to have died”) expresses, the state after death.

Besides the glorification of Christ by my death, which is my primary object (Php 1:20), the change of state caused by death, so far from being a matter of shame (Php 1:20) or loss, as my enemies suppose, will be a positive “gain” to me.

Also see the meaning of If We Confess Our Sins

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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