The Message of Philippians

March 7, 2011 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Click here to download a printable PDF of  The Message of Philippians

Introduction

A few years ago several Newspapers across nation ran the headline, “Is Public Shaming by the Church Legal?” after the Dallas Morning News broke a story that involved an unrepentant church leader, who had been caught in an affair, and his Texas church family who actively entered the church discipline process with the intentions of restoring him back to his wife. So, what made this story ‘worthy’ of headlines in our culture?

Well, the unrepentant man filed a law suit against his own church so that they would “stop the discipline process.” Even further, when this unrepentant man filed the lawsuit he also got a temporary restraining order blocking the church from acting further. But soon after a state Judge lifted that order, agreeing with local churches assertion that it violated the church’s constitutional right to freely exercise its religion. Also on the “churches side” was the fact that when people join the church family they sign a church covenant agreeing to “submit themselves to the care and correction of the Board of Elders”, which the unrepentant man had signed the year before. I believe that there is am important theological truth to be gleamed here, namely, that sin is social. As D.A. Carson argues, “you cannot merely commit any sin, no matter how private, without it having repercussions not only in your own life but in the life of the community where you life.”[1]

In this court case we see how one’s sin not only affects the church body, but also has implications that stretch beyond the church family. Now, hopefully looking at some of the key court decisions regarding church discipline in our country over the past few years does not give us a general indicator of the overall spiritual condition of our churches and the faithfulness of their members. But what cases like these do reveal is the importance of gospel fidelity and how that impacts not only the church family but how those outside the church perceive it.

And Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Philippi is a small gem that speaks directly to this issue. In fact, I would argue that one of the chief values of this letter for us today “is the way in which it hammers out what it means to live [faithfully] in a pagan society.”[2] We need to consider the importance of knowing how to, as 1:27 literally reads, “conduct ourselves as citizens worthy of the gospel”.

This is increasingly important as Western culture becomes more polarized and the divide between faithful Christians and others becomes more acute. We acknowledge that the relationship between “Christians and Culture”[3] is a very complicated issue because individuals, communities, society, and cultural forces are so multifaceted and complex. Every circumstance presents its own unique problems and solutions. Furthermore, we understand as Christians that “as long as we remain in the inaugurated-but-not-yet-consummated kingdom, there will be no utopia”[4] – this makes navigating these waters of being “faithful gospel citizens” even more complex. Things are not yet as they will be when Christ makes all things new, and N.T. Wright notes that:

“It is much easier to decide either to go along with everything in the world, or to reject everything in the world than to work out a mature, wise, and [discerning] path of loyalty to Jesus as Lord amid the pressures and problems of life and society.”[5]

But this is exactly the challenge of “working out our salvation” (2:12) – that is to “figure out, calculate, recon up” what our salvation means and how it impacts every area of our lives – to “work out a mature, wise, and [discerning] path of loyalty to Jesus as Lord amid the pressures and problems of life and society.” In doing this the church can not only maintain unity but also resist the powerful temptation to begin walking in a way that would not be a worthy response to the grace of God shown in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are important reminders not only to them, but also to us. To use the reformation formula, we need to remember that ‘here and now’ we are “simultaneously justified and sinful.”[6] In other words, though we are saints in Jesus Christ, (in the same way that the Philippians were as Paul called them 1:1) we need to watch closely how we walk as to not end up in situations where we find ourselves walking in manner that is not worthy of the gospel – which not only has effect on the whole body, but also communicates something to those outside the body.

Like a newspaper headline, we want to proclaim the gospel, “with our lips but also with our lives”[7] in unity and in humility. As we move “fly over” Philippians we need to understand at least two things about the “landscape”, or the context of Paul and the church’s situation.

The Context of their Roman Citizenship

As a Roman colony Philippi was often hailed as ‘Rome in miniature.’[8] Roman citizens enjoyed certain perks over others in their communities like freedom from arrest and the right to appeal directly to Caesar, which is partly why we read in Acts 16:38-39 that after Paul and Silas were freed from prison, the city officials “were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them.” These rights and privileges fed the ancient Philippian residents sense of great pride in Roman citizenship. This was the great Rome! And Paul is writing to their great citizens!

It’s not hard to imagine the shock waves that rippled through this famous city full of loyal citizens when the good news of a new King Jesus was being proclaimed. The very verb translated “proclaiming the gospel” in the New Testament was a media term, an announcement or “headline” of a something like a military victory. Obviously, this would have been heard as a direct threat to the Roman Empire.[9] Rightly so, the gospel is essentially a message of a new King who offers a new status, a status of citizenship conferred not by man but by God. To bow to this King meant allegiance to his kingdom first and foremost.[10] One of the reasons Paul and Silas were arrested in this area a few years before, because “they were disturbing the city” and “advocating customs that were not lawful for…Romans to accept or practice.” (Acts 16)

The Context of their Gospel Partnership

The whole story of Acts 16 gives us the context for why this letter to the Philippians is full of warmth and affection.[11] In Acts 16 we read that Paul founded the Philippian church himself.[12] The nucleus of this church body was formed by a group of “God-fearing” women whom Paul had shared the gospel with before he was placed in jail, and later asked to leave the city.[13] Since that time Paul had experienced a beautiful “partnership in the gospel” (1:5), as they work together for the cause of Christ. This deep devotion evident in Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5;

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

It is “edifying [to read] the thanksgiving that Paul sends to the church in Philippi as he recalls their support of him and his ministry.”[14] There is obviously a deep relationship[15] between Paul and this body of believers. This church was one of the most giving churches in the New Testament. But underneath their great reputation, there was trouble brewing. It becomes apparent in the letter that there is potential for disaster. This is introduces in chapter 2 of Philippians when Paul pleads with them to “be like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (2:2) and to warn against “selfish ambition or vain conceit.” (2:3)

Paul is very worried about the health of this local body, so much that he writes in 1:21-25 that while death will bring him “gain”, after hearing of their situation he concludes that remaining “in the flesh is more necessary on their account… for their progress and joy in the faith.” These tearful and longing words reveal the deep love that the aging convict Paul[16] had for this church beloved family. But what was it? What was the one thing he wanted to see in them so badly that he was convinced that it was necessary for him to remain in the flesh on their account?

The Heart of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

As I have already alluded to in the introduction, I think we see it in the main point[17], “the heart”, of Philippians in Paul’s first imperative, which sets the tone and direction of this entire letter.[18] In Philippians 1:27-28[19] we read:

Only [the only thing that matters] let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.

Considering their context in a Roman colony Paul uses a very strong word picture here. The imperative translated “let your manner of life” literally means “live as good citizens.”[20] Most English translations do not pick up on this contextual plea of the main verb. Paul alludes to their great Roman pride and understanding of citizenship, and calls them to live as citizens of a greater commonwealth! Paul continues this language in chapter 3, where he affirms that Jesus, not Caesar, is “Lord” and “Savior”, for the sake of arguing that their conduct as citizens[21] is to be worthy of the gospel.

But what does this look like? What are the expectations of King Jesus when one lives in his Kingdom community? To put it another way, when the world looks in on the church what should they notice? What should the headlines about our lives and our church family read? To answer these types of questions we need to see how Paul fleshes these things out. In Philippians he does so by exposing them to their internal need of unity and humility, and warning them of the external influence of legalism and hedonism.

The Internal Need: Strive for Unity and Humility

Paul urges the church to strive for unity and humility. In a very real sense these two things are so closely related that it is not possible to have one without the other in the church.

A. Unity

Throughout the letter Paul has been lovingly addressing the main problem in the Philippians church – the sin of disunity. Paul’s direct address, calling out the names, of the two “quarrelling women”[22] indicate that they were significant leaders in the church (4:2). “If their dispute was only a private matter between themselves, Paul’s public appeal would have been unnecessarily embarrassing…Paul appealed to them by name because as influential leaders their personal dispute was causing a division within the church.”[23] Paul pleads with them to “be of the same mind in the Lord” (4:2-3). What was the cause of the disunity? It seems that “selfish-ambition and self-interest” (posturing) had become the main problem causing disunity (2:3-4), and this deep rooted sin had been exposed in their “grumbling and arguing” against each other (2:14).

  1. Grumbling means “talking secretly against someone.” This is the silent killer of the church that eats away at true unity – dealing with issues indirectly so that you can avoid hard discussions. In other words you talk around issues and people, without directly ever talking about issues, or talking directly to people.
  2. Arguing is simply debating for the “purpose of proving yourself.” The antithesis of humility is pride, which rears its ugly head in arguments that are not aimed at strengthening the unity of the church, but proving oneself as superior. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with a debate or hard discussion, Paul is focusing here on sinful motivations as the problem.

There are some common misconceptions of unity in the modern church. Some believe that the best way to maintain unity is to “never raise a concern” or “to always hide conflicts.” The idea is that we can maintain the appearance of unity by maneuvering around conflicts as to avoid them. That is one of the slickest lies of the evil one. The church is full of imperfect people and we need to hold each other accountable and encourage each other in the faith. I am not saying that we bring every sin issue in the body to a church vote. What I am saying is that we don’t maintain unity be upholding a certain perfect image to everyone around us. No one in the church is perfect, we are all under grace. Even the pastors – behind the pastoral garb is a man just like you, a sinner, who is saved by grace, and still growing in grace.

It is often a scary thing to let our guard down and enter into true gospel community with others. This means that we cannot control what others think about us. But it’s only in transparent gospel centered community that we will be able to go to each other in love and call for repentance when it is needed. And by being open to correction we will see a true unity to gospel fidelity and a more faithful witness to the world. This requires us to trust that in the gospel that we are accepted in Christ, no matter what our faults are, this will allows us to be open and honest and accept correction.

This is the type of deep relationship that Paul has with the Philippians. It is obvious in this letter that Paul does not brush these issues under the rug, but shakes them out in order protect the unity of the church. When people in the church are grumbling secretly about issues or arguing out of self-interest the church is in a very dangerous place. As Motyer puts it:

“Paul…sees in disunity a sin threatening the heart of the church, a weapon destroying the church’s effectiveness, and a weakness rendering it impotent against a hostile world.”[24]

This is why Paul urges them over and over (1:27; 2:1-5; 2:14; 3:17; 3:20; 4:2) to be united in spirit and of one mind. “Paul condemns disunity and calls for unity in the church so that it will give a clear witness to the gospel in the public square.”[25] In other words, one of the key ingredients to having an effective witness to a broken world is a unified church. Now, what is necessary for this type of gospel unity? I believe Paul shows us all throughout the letter that it is humility.

B. Humility

Consider how Paul opens the letter (1:1) by identifying Timothy and himself as servants of Christ. This is their primary means of identifying themselves – as servants. In the world that Paul wrote this, servant hood would not have been considered a virtue; at best it was viewed as ‘compliance’ and at worst as ‘weakness’. Today, many people, even in the church, would agree with the attitude of the pagans in Philippi. Look around us, self-esteem, self-assertiveness, and certainty of ego are virtues in our culture that provide assurance of ones own greatness, in fact, they are traits we even cultivate.[26] Simply put, the church has adopted some false ideas of humility. In our culture of ‘relativism’ humility has this idea of “not having strong convictions” and “pretending as if we think we don’t know anything for sure.”

Our culture’s definition of humility has crept into the church and redefined humility as some sort of “gentleness that never confronts sin boldly” or “that no one can have any strong theological conviction.” But this idea of humility has nothing to do with what Paul says here in Philippians. Paul argues that our primary identity should be that of humility which is displayed in servitude.[27] To argue this Paul points to Jesus as the paradigm of true humility in the hymn of 2:5-11, where he reminds us that Christ did not regard his equality with God as a position to be used for his own advantage[28];

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

In my opinion, the primary point of this passage (2:5-11) “is to impress on the Philippians a pattern to which they must be conformed.”[29] Paul also uses similar language in 2 Corinthians 8:9.[30]

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

See, Jesus did not take advantage of or exploit his power apart from God’s plan. In humility Jesus wielded his power in the service of others, even to the point of death on the cross. That Jesus “emptied himself” implies a self conscious decision on his part to do so.[31] Christ humbled himself for our sake. In other words, Jesus is the supreme example of 2:3-4:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Rivalry, conceit, and self-centeredness were destroying the unity of the Philippian church[32] (2:3). Paul is urging the Philippians to conform to the image of, to follow the pattern of Christ You might be thinking, well that’s Jesus and there is not a direct parallel from him to us. See, Jesus is not only the paradigm but he also provides us with the power to live this way. What do I mean? If I were to tell you to just go out and be humble I would be filling you with pride in actually thinking you could do it. Just so you know, I recognize the irony of calling you to “strive for humility”, because as Tim Keller put it;

“Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it [or striving for it], it [disappears]. To even ask the question, “Am I humble?” is to not be so. Examining your own heart, even for pride, often leads to being proud about your diligence and circumspection. Christian humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Or as C. S. Lewis so memorably said in Mere Christianity, humility is to be no longer always noticing yourself and how you are doing and how you are being treated. It is “blessed self-forgetfulness.”[33]

Humility only reveals itself when someone is captivated by the beauty of the gospel, because humility is a byproduct of the gospel. In the gospel we have confidence that our citizenship is based not on our performance, but on Christ’s perfect obedience. This frees us from always having to always look to ourselves. See, if I tell you to strive for humility you will end up with pride, but if I tell you, strive to believe that the gospel really is true, than you will end up truly humble. It is only when we rely on Jesus that will be motivated and enabled to do what only God can do – give us confidence in our humility.

This is where Paul’s confidence is for the Philippian church, in the power of the gospel, as he says in 1:6, I am sure…that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Paul’s prayer in 1:10-11 is that they would be “pure and blameless for the day of Christ” which comes by being “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” What does such confident humility look like? Well, after the ‘Christ-Hymn’, Paul points us to Timothy and Epaphroditus who were living a life “worthy of the gospel.”

  1. Of Timothy, Paul writes in 2:19-24; for I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare…[while others] seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
  2. Or consider Epaphroditus in 2:25-29; fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need… he was ill…[in fact he] nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

The Philippians would do well to imitate their lifestyle. So would we. In Timothy and Epaphroditus we see the results of gospel humility. Gospel humility is seen in lovingly using ones life in the interests of others – and when this happens we will hear a beautiful symphony of unity in the body of Christ. When everyone looks out for their own interests we will get nothing but the ugly racket of grumbling and arguing. This is the equivalent of each and every musician in a symphony playing their own solo and begging for the audience to listen to them and only them.

The External Influence: Guard against Legalism and Hedonism

Paul urges the church to strive for unity in humility. But he also warns them of external influences that will work against their humility and weaken their unity. What things should the church watch out for to maintain a faithful gospel-centered witness?

A. Legalism

It is apparent in the letter that there are false teachers, the Judaizers, in the congregation that are ‘preaching a false gospel” outward adherence to religious and social taboos as the primary confidence that one is a citizen of God’s Kingdom. But notice that Paul did not say “live your lives in such a way that your will be worthy of citizenship.” If personal merit could have earned righteousness citizenship from God, Paul would have been the mayor of religious town. He was way “above reproach”. Paul was morally and religiously above any charge or correction. Paul states in 3:4-6:

I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,  blameless.

What Paul is saying is that there were ‘dogs’ preaching the ‘trash’ of earning your rights to citizenship before God by adhering to certain regulations. But Paul, one who used to bow to the Caesar of legalism, now argues that all this prideful religious effort was filth, waste, rubbish, and “worthless”[34] before God almighty. See he met King Jesus who showed him that there was no way to the Father but through Him, and Him alone. So Paul stopped putting confidence in the flesh and counted it all worthless compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ! In contrast to flesh-crazed dogs, Paul is urging the Philippians to put no confidence in flesh. We need to continually remind ourselves that progress in the Christian life is not measured by “righteousness based on the law”; instead it begins and grows in the gift of “righteousness that comes from God through faith in Christ” (3:6-9). Paul is arguing that it is those who trust in Christ for their righteousness that are the “real circumcision” (3:3), and one of the external marks is humility and unity, which is incompatible with legalism.

B. Hedonism

But Paul also warned them against troublemakers around their city who lived to indulge in gluttony and personal pleasure. In 3:18-19 Paul tells the Philippians that their “destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame.” See, hedonism sells you the lie that you will only be happy if you are your own Caesar. You will only be happy if you are completely free of all obligations and responsibilities of citizenship under someone else. If we are honest, this is the motivation of all sin – all sin is self worship. Self worship is often revealed in “looking solely to ones own interests” or “doing all things out of rivalry and conceit.” (2:3-4) How can you count other more significant than yourself when everything you do is for your own pleasure?

As you see, pride is the antithesis f humility. And pride seeks to exalt the self over others, which works against unity. In the end this leads to destruction, which is why Paul warns the Philippian church not to follow the patterns of the world or set their minds on earthly things, like pride and power – but to live as responsible citizens of God’s kingdom in humility and sacrifice for others. (3:20-21)

Closing Thoughts

In a sense, both legalism and hedonism are one in the same; they come from the same root, “self worship.” And in Philippians Paul argues that those who proclaim legalism and hedonism with their lips and their lives are “enemies of the cross.” Those are strong words, and they require careful reflection on our own lives, and in our own churches. Legalism and hedonism deify and sacrifice for self-righteousness or pleasure. Legalism and hedonism find satisfaction in their superior morality or in their rebellion. As “enemies of the cross” they deny the very saving power of the gospel – and proclaim a gospel other than the gospel that the church exists to proclaim and promote.

Paul is arguing that in the same way that you receive salvation through humility, you also work out you salvation in humility. Growing in the gospel requires that we are humble enough to truly look at ourselves and deal with our deepest sins and identity issues. This can only happen when we realize that citizens of God’s kingdom are people bound together by grace alone. We do not find our fellowship in “common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, or anything else of the sort.”[35] We have unity under the banner of the gospel of grace – this kills any pride or self-righteousness.

  1. The gospel pulls the mask off of self-righteousness and reveals our need to humble themselves before God and trust in the righteousness of Christ for our salvation.
  2. The gospel also reveals the broken promises of self-centered hedonism, and shows us that deeper fulfillment is found in serving others in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God.

Citizenship in God’s kingdom is completely unmerited and undeserved, so we should humble ourselves before others and remember the mercy that God has shown us. This is our, as Paul says in 2:1; “encouragement in Christ, our comfort in love, and our participation in the Spirit.” That we are all saved by grace, because of this our primary concern should be that;

[Our] manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…[so that we can standing firm] in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.

I propose to you that ‘unity and humility’ are the only worthy response to the gospel of grace. And in order to walk in this way we must always focus on the gospel and guard against ourselves and the church of any hints of legalism and hedonism. Remember how you first approached God? It was in humility. This is the same way you grow in the gospel and grow towards unity in the body of Christ.

Closing Prayer

Father, you have called us, your church, to live as a culturally distinct community, to live faithfully in a pagan society.

  1. First, that we pray that we would love one another more and more. (1:9)
  2. Second, we pray that we would grow in knowledge and discernment, to that we will be able to make right judgments about things that differ in order that we will be pure and blameless. (1:9-10)
  3. Third, we pray that you would continue to teach us what it means to work out our salvation in every area of lives, and in our church family.
  4. Lastly, we pray that you would supply us with the power of your Spirit and wisdom to “conduct ourselves as citizens worthy of the gospel.

Father, we acknowledge that this is a hard thing. If we were honest with ourselves and others, we would echo the words of Paul in 3:12-15 where he acknowledges that he himself “has not obtained this” nor is he “perfect”, but strives for a worthy response to the gospel. This requires us to relinquish control over our lives and control over how others perceive us. But may we truly believe that we “can do all things through him who strengthens me” (4:13), even when we don’t know the outcome. And may we truly believe that “God will supply every need…according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (4:19) – Amen.


  1. [1] D.A. Carson, The God Who Is There, 68.
  2. [2] N.T. Wright, DTIB, 588.
  3. [3] See Bruce Ashford’s twelve part series on “Theology and Culture” at http://betweenthetimes.com.
  4. [4] D.A. Carson, Christ and Culture Revisited 59.
  5. [5] N.T. Wright, DTIB, 589.
  6. [6] Michael Horton, Christless Christianity, 45.
  7. [7] Michael Greene, Evangelism in the Early Church.
  8. [8] J.A. Motyer, BST, 15.
  9. [9] See John Dickson, The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission, 111-140.
  10. [10] This theme is worked out in Trevin Wax’s book Holy Subversion.
  11. [11] In fact many historians of ancient literature would categorize Philippians as “a letter of friendship”.
  12. [12] For an excellent “reconstruction of events” see Moises Silva, BECNT, (2-5).
  13. [13] Paul met these women when he came to Philippi looking for a synagogue to proclaim the gospel in, which was his custom. But Philippi had no synagogue because, according to tradition, there was not a quorum of ten men in the city to build one.
  14. [14] D.A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, Introduction to the New Testament, 512.
  15. [15] Scholars note that since Paul does not mention the gift that the church sent to him (4:14-18) it is probable that this is not the first time Paul has expressed his thankfulness. (D.A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, 507.)
  16. [16] You need to picture this, “there were not millions of adoring Christians gathered outside his cell, peering in with awe…Anybody looking in would have seen an aging religious gadfly” writing a tearful letter to beloved friends. (Mark Dever, The Message of the New Testament, 261)
  17. [17] Some commentators argue that “suffering” is the dominant motif in Philippians. While it does constitute that particular churches historical context and underlies much of the letter I do not think it is the main theme. (Gordon D. Fee, NICNT, 30.) The same can be said of “joy.”
  18. [18] See Hanson’s discussion on “deliberative speech”, PNTC, (12-15)
  19. [19] I think the exhortation in 1:27-28 “skillfully joins together the inner state of the church, which needed a reformation and amendment in practical matters of true love and mutual concern, and its present danger which is that it will succumb to the [outside] pressure.” (Ralph P. Martin, TNTC, 85)
  20. [20] Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament, 446.
  21. [21] Peter J. Leithart writes that “Paul uses the verb politeuo in Philippians 1:27, urging his readers to “conduct yourselves as citizens worthy of the gospel.”  Doble points out that this same verb occurs in Acts 23:1, where Paul defends himself before the Sanhedrin by saying that he has “conducted himself with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”  There, he is using the verb to describe his conduct within the community of Israel; he has been a good citizen of his people.  But, as Philippians shows, he is among a different people now, a different “commonwealth,” one that has different standards for its citizens.
  22. [22] Hanson notes that “The role of these women as leaders in the Philippian church would have been culturally acceptable in Philippi where women were well known for their religious devotion and prominent positions in society,”, PNTC, 5.
  23. [23] G. Walter Hanson, PNTC, 5.
  24. [24] J.A. Motyer, BST, 19.
  25. [25] G. Walter Hanson, PNTC, 26.
  26. [26] Adapted from Mark Dever’s The Message of the New Testament, 260.
  27. [27] Paul introduces himself as a servant in 1:1.
  28. [28] There has been much discussion on this passage. Some nineteenth and twentieth century theologians have used this passage to debate whether Jesus emptied himself of his divinity, or even put it on hold when he became a human being. Let me answer that question quickly – no. That this question goes beyond the concern of the biblical author.
  29. [29] Moises Silva, BECNT, 21.
  30. [30] The Greek New Testament, 4th Edition, Footnote 7, 675.
  31. [31] Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology, 325.
  32. [32] I.H. Marshall, NDBT, 321.
  33. [33] Tim Keller, The Advent of Humility, Christianity Today.
  34. [34] Peter J. Leithart, Skubalon, leithart.com.
  35. [35] D.A. Carson, Love in Hard Places, 61.

Entry filed under: Biblical Theology, Calvary Baptist Church, Christian Theology, Christianity, Culture, Faith, Religion, The Great Commission Resurgence, The Southern Baptist Convention, Theology.

David Alan Black on Philippians Luther on Sanctification in the Christian Life

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