The Greek text of Phil. 1:23 states,
συνέχομαι γὰρ ἐκ τῶν δύο τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων εἰς τὸ ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι πολλῷ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον TR, 1550
The phrase in question is «τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων εἰς τὸ ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι πολλῷ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον». It appears that the article τὸ modifies the entire phrase «ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι», wherein the infinitives ἀναλῦσαι and εἶναι may be interpreted as English gerunds. Thus, "the departing" (τὸ ἀναλῦσαι) and "the being with Christ" ([τὸ] σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι) are concurrent.
According to Joseph Henry Thayer, the verb ἀναλύω can possess the meaning of dying, i.e. departing life.1
BDAG also concurs. It notes,
Likewise, LSJ notes,3
In addition, the apostle Paul elsewhere uses the related noun ἀνάλυσις ("departure") in a context clearly describing his impending death. In 2 Tim. 4:6, it is written,
For I am now being offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι καὶ ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἐμῆς ἀναλύσεώς ἐφέστηκεν TR, 1550
Regarding your question:
Is this one of the two possibilities given earlier, or is this a third scenario? What is far better than which?
Having died, that is, dying and thereafter departing and being with Christ, is far better than living, the apostle Paul admits, but he recognizes that living is more necessary to Christ because the apostle Paul can save more souls by preaching the gospel while alive. There are only two options the apostle Paul considers:
- "continue living" or "to continue to live" (τὸ ζῆν) (present infinitive)
- "dying" or "to die" (τὸ ἀποθανεῖν) (aorist infinitive), what he also describes as "departing and being with Christ" (τὸ ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι)
Arndt, William; Bauer, Walter; Danker, Frederick William. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000.
Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; et al. A Greek-English Lexicon. 9th ed. Oxford: Clarendon, 1940.
Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. Rev. ed. New York: American Book, 1889.
1 p. 40
2 p. 47
3 p. 112