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What did Paul means by departing to be with Christ?

Submitted: 2/22/2008
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Question: Philippians 1:23 says, 'For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.' What does Paul mean by having the desire to depart and to be with Christ?

Answer: Paul lived through much hardship, including multiple beatings and imprisonments. Surely after a while it became wearisome to His spirit. At the time He wrote his letter to the Philippians he was in prison (v.1:13). So in his conetmplations, apparently at times he felt that He would just as soon die and have all the sufferings end. This, as he wrote, would be 'far better.' But nevertheless, he concludes, it is more needful to remain in the flesh (to remain alive) so he can continue to minister to the people who look to him for guidance.