Faith in  Christ   leads to action

 

Jesus Our Lord and the Model for Us

 page 5 of 14

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LITERARY ANALYSIS

            The letter to the Philippians was sent to a specific group of Christians under specific circumstances. “We must respect the literary genre of Philippines. Philippians is a real letter. Unlike the letters of the Roman statesman and Stoic philosopher Seneca, it is not a showpiece, ostensibly written to friends but actually intended from the first for the widest possible publication. Like any piece of real correspondence, it refers to people we know virtually nothing about and to circumstances we cannot fully understand.”[1] It is known that Paul, the author, enjoyed a relationship of mentorship and fellowship with the Philippians. Therefore, the letter would have been written and received from that perspective.

            Philippians 2:1-11 is a constructive message, providing meaning to the Philippians, as well as to believers throughout the centuries including today. The appeal to Christians in verses 1-4 to be humble and to value the interests of others is clearly based on the example of Christ. The hymn of Christ in verses 5-11 is used skillfully by the writer of the letter to describe and develop both the humility and the exaltation of Christ. A number of hymns are used in New Testament texts.[2] Although there is some disagreement among scholars as to whether Paul was the one to make use of this hymn in Philippians, “there can be no denying the compatibility of at least two ideas with the teaching of his undisputed letters. These are his concept of Jesus as the Lord of glory . . . and the second major theme of his Christology was the schema of obedience in Christ. . . .”[3]


[1] Frank Thielman, The NIV Application Commentary: Philippians, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 22.
[2] See the listing and classification in Ralph P. Martin, A Hymn of Christ: Philippians 2:5-11 in Recent Interpretation & in the Setting of Early Christian Worship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 19.
[3] Martin, Hymn, 59-60.

Act_17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.