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Strolling Through the Book of Philippians July 13, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the Epistle to the Philippians with the aid of a commentary by J.B. Lightfoot. I should note that I’ve previously read through Philippians. As in my recent stroll through the book of Ephesians, I hope to comprehend Philippians as a whole. In particular, I hope to understand why Philippians is arguably the most intimate of all of Paul’s epistles.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Lightfoot’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on Philippians 1:1-2.

Summary: In this passage, Paul and Timothy – who serve Christ Jesus – greet God’s covenant people in Philippi, along with the church officers. Paul and Timothy wish them God’s favor and its attendant blessings.

Thoughts: In verse 1, we see that Paul refers to the Philippians as “saints.” Lightfoot offers some insights on this point:

Thus the main idea of the term is consecration. But though this does not assert moral qualifications as a fact in the persons so designated, it implies them as a duty. And it was probably because hagios suggests the moral idea, which is entirely lacking in hieros, that the former was adopted by the Septuagint translators as the common rendering of the Hebrew word for “holy.”

This actually meshes quite nicely with one of the consistent themes of the sermons at our church – that Christians must respond to the saving grace of Christ by living holy lives. In some sense, our pastors are reacting to the self-centered sermons that apparently pervade modern American churches (which could spawn a host of blog posts, though I’ll defer to more well-informed bloggers on that point). Our sermons constantly remind us that as believers, we must not rest on our laurels; we must constantly look for opportunities to proclaim God’s name in this life. I view this as a goal worth striving for, regardless of its attendant costs.

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