No debts

Residing as we do in a monetary economy, we immediately and thoughtlessly translate biblical warnings and cautions about debt into financial terms. “Owe nothing to anyone” (Romans 13:8) means “don’t take out a thirty-year mortgage.” It’s much more likely that . . . . Continue Reading »

Factional leadership

The Corinthians did not unfortunately slip into factions. When two ancient men competed for power, Dio Chrysostom says, “of necessity they court the favor of everyone, even those who are ever so far beneath them.” Creating factions was the main strategy of political action, the tactic . . . . Continue Reading »

The Christian Gift

Paul receives a donation from the Philippians, and he gives thanks for their remembrance of him (Philippians 1:3). But the thanks is not offered to the Philippians; it is offered to God. He considers no man his benefactor; he has no debt to anyone but to love. This is new, according to Peterman ( . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic mediation

Philippians 3:7-8: Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish . . . . Continue Reading »

Sevens, Eights, Twelves

A student, Kaleb Trotter, points out numerically significant lists and structures in Philippians. Paul, for instance, lists seven bases for his confidence in flesh (3:4-6). Paul is a full, sevenfold Israelite, as he says, a Hebrew of Hebrews. Yet he gives up that fullness for the sake of Christ, . . . . Continue Reading »

Joy at His Coming

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” Paul says (Philippians 4:4). “Always,” Paul?  Always?  Rejoice when my mother dies, and when my husband’s playing around, and when we don’t know where the next paycheck is coming from, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Live as citizens

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 . . . . Continue Reading »

Body in humility

A stimulating 2002 article from JSNT by Peter Doble argues that Philippians 3:21 is not talking about “vile bodies” that are going to be transformed, but about “our body, now discipline to humility” that will be conformed to the exalted, glorious body of the Lord and Savior . . . . Continue Reading »

Dogs, Workers, False Circumcision

In a 1985 article in Novum Testamentum , David Garland notes that Paul’s insults toward Jews and Judaizers in Philippians 3:2 are chiastically balanced by his commendation of the Philippians in verse 3. Thus: A. Dogs B. Evil workers C. Mutilation contrasts to C’. Circumcision B’. . . . . Continue Reading »

Highly exalted

NT Wright explains the meaning of the exaltation of the Son (Philippians 2): “It is the affirmation, by God the Father, that the incarnation and death of Jesus really was the revelation of the divine love in action. In giving to Jesus the title kurios , and in granting him a share in that . . . . Continue Reading »