1. Exposition

What kind of deliverance does Paul have in mind?

Philippians 1:19 (ESV)

19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,

The exegetes differ on the meaning of the word deliverance here. Chrysostom already considered it to refer to the apostle’s release from prison, and Hawthorne1 and Vorster2 concur with this explanation. If this were correct and Paul was firmly convinced that he would be released from prison, then his remark concerning the possibility of dying in the next verse no longer makes sense, as Martin rightly points out.3 Therefore, when it comes to the word soteria we ought to think of more than an earthly, temporary deliverance. The sense of eternal salvation is also within the field of vision.4,5,6 It is not necessary here to choose between earthly deliverance and eternal salvation. In Philippians 1:19 Paul merely states that things will end well. From what follows it becomes apparent that this applies to the possibility of his release and that of death both. The apostle is optimistic about the future: even as he does not know what it holds, he is certain that the outcome will be positive.7