Magnify – Philippians 1:20Posted in Word Studies
Dr. Dan Hayden •
We live in a day in which people love to exalt their heroes. Whether it’s Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson, those who worship others tend to magnify them. They do that literally when they enlarge their picture and plaster it up on large billboards — and they do that figuratively when they extol their virtues and sing their praises. This is what Paul says every Christian should do with regard to Jesus Christ. He is our hero, our Savior and Lord, and it ought to be the joy of our lives to magnify His name.
The Greek word that Paul uses in Philippians 1:20 is the word “megaluno,” which means “to make large,” or “to magnify.” It is the verb form of the word “mega” — big, large, great. We know this word in the expression megabucks (big bucks) and in such words as megaphone(enlarged sound) and megalopolis (a huge city). I suppose we could coin an English verb to express the desire to make something big by saying, “let’s megatize it.” That would be the idea of “megaluno” — to make something big, to magnify it or make it large.
When Paul says “…but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death” (KJV – Phil. 1:20), he is expressing the desire that everything about him, even his death, would be a magnifying glass for people to see more clearly the glories of Christ. Actually, there are two ideas expressed by “megaluno” in this passage. First, there is the idea of enlarging the picture of Christ through what people see in Paul’s life and death. Not just by wearing an enlarged picture of Jesus on his T-shirt, but by exposing the indwelling Christ through all that he says and does.
Second, there is also the idea of exalting that enlarged picture of Christ. Again, not simply by putting pictures of Jesus on prominent billboards, but by being candid and transparent about his devotion to the Savior with the people around him wherever he goes. To “exalt” is to praise and make known that which is loved and honored. In their translations of “megaluno” in Philippians 1:20, the King James translators chose the word “magnified”, while the New American Standard and New International Version translators chose the word “exalted”. Actually it takes both words to express the full idea of “megaluno”.
Paul wanted to enlarge and magnify the name of Jesus, but he also wanted to expose and exalt that name. Make it big, and put it where everyone can see it — that’s the idea.
So how is it with you? Can you say with Paul “…as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified/exalted in my body”? In everything you do and in everything you say, make Christ big and put Him where everyone can see Him. ■