Philippians 2:1-11 In Chapter 2, Verses 1-11, Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Essay Paper: #2783745 Related Topics: Ephesians, Exegesis, 9 11, Kingdom Of God
Excerpt from Essay :

Philippians 2:1-11

In Chapter 2, verses 1-11, of St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, the Apostle exhorts his followers to be faithful to Christ. Christ is, as always, the point of the Pauline letters -- and arriving at Christ, whether through exhortation, logic, works, or affection and charity, is the sole aim. Paul points the finger in all matters to the divine Son of God, thanks Him for all things, and for Him suffers all things. What makes the letter to the Philippians especially meaningful is the robust affection that these disciples maintain for their teacher, Paul. As Joseph Frey tells us, "The church at Philippi was St. Paul's first foundation on European soil…The occasion of [the letter's] composition can be gathered from the Epistle. Learning that St. Paul had been cast into prison, the church at Philippi, in order to assist him, sent Epaphroditus with a sum of money and with instructions to remain beside the Apostle as his companion and servant."

Nonetheless, realizing that Epaphroditus was becoming ill, the Apostle returned him to Philippi with many thanks and some directives for the faithful: namely that they should "compose their dissensions" and beware "Jewish converts who wished to make Old Testament practices obligatory for Christians."

Exactly how these dissensions ought to be composed has been discussed in different ways: this paper will analyze Philippians 2:1-11, examining its context, intent, meaning, and different interpretations -- highlighting both the positive and negative aspects at the same time.

Putting Philippians in Context

J.A. Sanders reminds us that "of the first eleven verses of Philippians 2 A.B. Bruce once said, 'The diversity of opinion prevailing among interpreters is enough to fill the student with despair, and to afflict him with intellectual paralysis."

The reminder, however, may not have to seem quite so heavy if we ourselves remember to place the Epistle in its proper context by assessing the author's intent (if the fallacy of authorial intent does not apply to our exegesis here).

Therefore, before beginning an interpretation of the text it may be behoove us to consider the light in which it was written and the special relation that Paul had with the Philippians. This relationship was one of dedicated service and tender love, reciprocated on every level (or at least on as many as the Philippians themselves could manage -- for St. Paul himself seems to sense that they require reminding of the nature of the Christian way and to bear in mind the same love of Christ that he himself possesses and strive for the same spiritual unity). The occasion of this love may be described in different ways: for example, St. Paul came to Philippi following "the vision of a man of Macedonia calling for aid"

-- and in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke tells us of the many works that Paul performed among the Philippians. Nor was Paul only among them on one occasion. Frey tells us that "on at least two other occasions Philippi had the joy of welcoming its beloved Apostle," stating that "the people were deeply attached to St. Paul, helping him by alms in his missionary work."

From this context of deep affection, we can surmise that the Apostle's concern for the Philippians rose indeed to a level of human charity that would inspire these words in the Epistle: "I give thanks to my God in all my remembrances of you."

This is a letter to a friend -- much more so than, for example, the Pauline epistle to the Ephesians which is almost systematic in its delivery and discourse.

The letter to the Philippians, on a spiritual level, is no less full of instruction, but on the human level there is discernible a note of candid and true concern which can only be the consequence of first-hand knowledge and love. To suggest, as some do, that this Epistle promotes anti-Semitism is to mistake Paul for a hate-monger. Paul's epistle is not against Jews per se, but against false teaching -- and that is important for us to remember.

How to Read the Scripture: the Author's Intent

John...

...

It is, after all, from Scripture that we learn the various sayings of Jesus, after whom Christians model themselves. And it is Jesus who tells his followers to know and do the will of God: "Seek first the kingdom of God" is Christ's command for all of us who want to know what to do in this life.

It is no secret that Scripture was written by Christ's disciples -- but tradition tells us that it is the inspired word of God. Scripture itself has been handed down to us through the centuries by the Church. It was the Church who first gathered all the books of the Bible and gave its authoritative pronouncement that these books were the inspired Word of God and that they alone constituted the written deposit of faith -- to which nothing more would be added till the end of time. The Church, however, retained sole authority over the Bible -- and all interpretation was performed by it. Such was the case throughout the centuries. Thus, there was one doctrine and one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Vernon Staley states that "it is upon the authority of the Church, and upon that alone, that we know what is Scripture, and what is not."

Staley quotes Dr. Pusey, who says, "We acknowledge that Holy Scripture is the source of all saving truth; but it does not therefore follow that everyone, unguided, is to draw for himself the truth out of that living well."

The deposit of Faith was passed down from Christ both through Scripture and Tradition: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

Thus, while the Church Fathers gathered the books of Scripture together, they also passed on through Tradition the deposit of Faith to which all Christians should adhere. Yet, the modern age oftentimes rejects tradition, which leaves Christians with the Bible only for guidance.

Negative Interpretations: Emphasizing Key Phrases

With that in mind we may look at Luke T. Johnson's bitter analysis of what he calls "the scurrilous language used about Jews in the earliest Christian writings" -- which are, in his mind, "a hurdle neither Jew nor Christian can easily surmount."

Here is a better example Jewish apologetics than of Christian exegesis -- a trait that is all too common in a day of political correctness, wherein anything that does not speak of "egalitarianism" is immediately suspect.

But Paul's epistle to the Philippians is not written to promote Enlightenment ideology or revolutionary egalitarianism. Paul was not a revolutionary -- he was a Christian: and anything or anyone that stood in the way of Christ was, for him, an obstacle to Christ. This is the root of Paul's exhortation, for example, of the Philippians to guard themselves against false teachings by Jewish converts seeking to restore Old Testament practices now rendered obsolete in the light of the Christ.

Yet, Johnson would have us believe that Paul is, rather, an anti-Semite: an astounding claim since Paul was himself a Jew! Thus we must view Johnson's remarks negatively, for he finds the epistle to be "a source of shame (finally) to Christians, and a well-grounded source of fear to Jews."

Such a statement can only be true if one is reading them in the light of modern political ideology. If one reads them in the light of Christian charity, Christian zeal, and Christian duty -- the epistle becomes a much more meaningful text. Sadly, Johnson admits that this is not the light in which he reads them ("I am not doing theology…") -- instead telling us that he is only analyzing the text "historically and literally" -- which is enough to say that he is reading it from a modern perspective and judging it according to modern social and philosophical doctrine.

He does not accept it as a doctrine unto itself -- which is how it is intended to be taken!

Paul is not writing so as to be judged according to the light of false doctrine -- he is writing to displace the false for the true -- and the true doctrine is Christ Himself, whom the Jews reject. Contention there cannot help but be: Christ Himself states, "I bring not peace but the sword."

It is to this same Christ, that Paul exhorts the Philippians to respect and love above all things: "At the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

Cole, Stephen J. "Supreme Humility." Flagstaff Christian Fellowship.

Cheung, Vincent. Commentary on Philippians. Boston: Cheung.

Frey, Rev. Joseph. The New Testament. NY: Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

Johnson, Luke T. "The New Testaments Anti-Jewish Slander and the Conventions of Ancient Polemic." Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 108, no. 3, 1989, 419-441.


Cite this Document:

"Philippians 2 1-11 In Chapter 2 Verses 1-11 " (2011, October 16) Retrieved September 28, 2021, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/philippians-2-1-11-in-chapter-2-verses-52453

"Philippians 2 1-11 In Chapter 2 Verses 1-11 " 16 October 2011. Web.28 September. 2021. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/philippians-2-1-11-in-chapter-2-verses-52453>

"Philippians 2 1-11 In Chapter 2 Verses 1-11 ", 16 October 2011, Accessed.28 September. 2021,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/philippians-2-1-11-in-chapter-2-verses-52453

Related Documents
Jesus God the Son Verse
Words: 3080 Length: 9 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 91392596

The Jews insisted on their law against blasphemy: We have a law, and according to our law, He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God (John 19:6-7)" The apostle and evangelist John concludes his gospel with: But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His Name (John 20:31)." The Resurrection of Jesus from

Biblical Summaries and Significance II Corinthians 5:11-21
Words: 1221 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 78065655

Biblical Summaries and Significance II Corinthians 5:11-21 Life is full of sacrifices, even in the life of a believer and Paul wanted believers to know that Christianity would not be a walk in the park. Paul is quick to assure readers that he is motivated by a fear of the Lord, which is a good thing from the Christian perspective. This kind of fear is not the same kind of fear we

Exegesis to Understand 2 Corinthians As a
Words: 2363 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 84185110

Exegesis To understand 2 Corinthians as a letter, one must first understand the context in which it was written. This was Paul's second letter to the Christian church at Corinth. His first letter had been less than kind, admonishing the Corinthian church for what Paul saw as many deficiencies in their manner of living and worship. As might be expected, the original letter was not exactly welcome by the Corinthians, and

Exegesis a Passage Analyzing Sentences Greet People
Words: 2058 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 52105778

Exegesis a Passage Analyzing Sentences Greet people all God's in Christ Jesus The brothers and sisters send greetings who are with me people send greetings, All God's here you especially those who belong to Caesar's household. especially who are of Caesar's household. The grace be with your spirit. of the Lord Jesus Christ Amen. Analyzing the Paragraph Theme of the paragraph: Every one is equal through Jesus Christ (in Christianity). (Main theme): Greet everyone the same. (result) Christ with you all. (introduction) Greet

Thousand-Year Reign of Christ
Words: 2407 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 76537698

Revelation 20:1-6 (the Millenium) The objective of this study is to examine the 1000 years of Revelation 20:1-6 (The Millennium) an exegetical and theological topic therefore the review will be extended beyond only the biblical in terms of research and will examine the views of other scholars in this area of inquiry. The Blue Letter Bible states the following in the Book of Revelations, Chapter 20, Verses one through six: "Then I

Epistle of Paul to Philemon
Words: 20604 Length: 60 Pages Topic: Black Studies Paper #: 75843868

The divisions were as such: 1. The highest class amongst the slave was of the slave minister; he was responsible for most of the slave transactions or trades and was also allowed to have posts on the government offices locally and on the provincial level. 2. This was followed by the class of temple slaves; this class of slaves was normally employed in the religious organizations usually as janitors and caretakers