Philippians 1:21-25
Phil 1:21 (KJB)
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Gain - Profit or advantage
Paul had a great philosophy of life and it can be summarized in this one verse. If Paul was to continue living in the flesh, then His life was to be totally dedicated to Christ. Notice he did not say that his life would consist of or that Christ would be part of his life. His whole life was total, unfettered dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Lord was to take him to glory, then that would be total gain for him because he would be in the presence of Christ forever more and would never more be subject to pain and persecution.
Phil 1:22 (KJB)
But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
I wot not - I know not
If Paul was to live on in the flesh this would mean he would have more time to continue bringing the true Gospel. It would mean gain for those people who heard the gospel and became saved plus it would be gain for those who are already saved and would be matured by what the Apostle Paul was preaching. Paulís love for the Lord created his desire to be with the Lord and he did not know what to choose if the choice as given to him. This passage must never be looked at as if the Apostle Paul was contemplating suicide to be with Christ. He was just saying if he was given the choice, he would not know what to do. His desire was to be with the Lord yet his desire was to be with the Christians on earth.
Phil 1:23 (KJB)
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
I am in a strait - Pressure, enclosed, or being caught
Better - More advantageous
Paul saw himself as torn between two destinations. His life was so sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ that he looked forward to his home going which would have been far more advantageous for him than remaining on earth, yet, he knew that he was commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ for ministry and knew that his role down on earth was very important, especially since he was heavily involved with all the churches. Every true Christian should be in this quandary, to look forward to their home going or to remain and be involved in bringing the gospel.
Phil 1:24 (KJB)
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
To abide - Remain or stay
More needful - More necessary
In this verse Paul is showing how unselfish he really is. To be home with the Lord means all the suffering and pain is done forever and yet for the sake of the Christians, Paul states that it is better or more necessary for me to remain with you. Paul knew that the Lord had given him much biblical knowledge and wisdom and for that to lay dormant in a grave would not be the best scenario and it was not that Paul was fearful of death, because remember, he went up to the third Heaven, so what he saw and experienced, probably made him run to the chopping block with joy. His desire was to see the Christians which he was associated with grow and become prosperous in the faith so the gospel would continue to spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.
Phil 1:25 (KJB)
And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
Abide - Stay
Furtherance - Progress or advancement
Paul was fully persuaded, and maybe by divine revelation, he was told that his time for his home going was not yet, that he was going to be staying with these Christians and continuing on with them. He knew that his ministry was not yet completed and he knew that his abiding with them meant that the Philippians would be helped by him to grow in the faith and with that growth would come deep joy in the Christian walk. Paul always turned everything over to the Lord and that included his present ministry in prison which was bearing much fruit.