Faith in  Christ   leads to action


 page 7 of 14


Jesus Our Lord and the Model for Us

            One writer identifies four themes in Philippians: identity, imitation, joy, and the early Christological poem.[1] Paul admonishes the Philippians to identify with Christ, as Paul clearly does, and to consider themselves foremost as citizens of heaven. “Imagery of citizenship is introduced at 1:27 and 3:20, so that Christians are depicted as residents in an alien land.”[2] Paul urges the Philippians to view him and his fellow workers as models for them to imitate in their Christian walk of faith. Joy is a theme, expressed throughout Philippians—an astounding reflection of Paul’s faith since he wrote the letter while imprisoned. “The christological poem, the so-called ‘Philippian hymn’ of 2:6-11, is one of the most important pieces of very early reflection on the role and destiny of Christ. . . . it stands as proof that very sophisticated christological development was happening within the first Christian generation.”[3]



            To begin this section, we may highlight what is clearly known about the letter to the Philippians. One scholar summarizes the following key elements. “The document was certainly written by Paul of Tarsus to a Christian church in the city of Philippi, province of Macedonia. This church had been founded by Paul himself in the early 50s of the first century (Acts 16). At the time of writing, in the late 50s or early 60s, Paul was in prison, and he had just received a monetary gift from the Philippians through their emissary, Epaphroditus.”[4] Although other elements may be disputed or unknown, these considerations are an important starting point.

[1] Carolyn Osiek, Philippians, Philemon, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 31-32.
[2] Osiek, Philippians, 31.
[3] Osiek, Philippians, 32.
[4] Moises Silva, Philippians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 1-2.

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.