Traditionally, exegetes have treated Philippians 4:2-3 as a random observation, or one might say, an ecclesiastical footnote; whereas verses 4-9 focus on where the meditation of the Christian ought to lie. Educational ideas, helpful in most circumstances, have led to the classic trivium of truth, goodness, and beauty. Matters of aesthetics have also been drawn from this text. I am not denying that these issues ought to be drawn from these texts, I am arguing, however, whether the transition from verses 2-3 and 4-9 are as radical as commentators seem to imply. Are these two pericopes dealing with two completely different ideas. What if, as my colleague Gregg Strawbridge proposes, verses 4-9 are peace offerings, a kind of conflict resolution manual to the dilemma presented in verses 2-3? What if the list offered provides a biblical way of thinking and dealing with conflict within the Church?
The “rejoicing in the Lord” (vs. 4) appears to be a first of principles in considering our conflict with others. Our union with Jesus is cause for celebration; our union with Jesus ought to lead us to directly consider our union with fellow brothers and sisters. This union is cause for rejoicing…and reconciliation.
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‘Justification’ isn’t just about how someone becomes a Christian. It is about the status that they possess, and continue to possess, as full members of God’s people, no matter who their parents were or what their moral, cultural or religious background may have been. And, as verses 10 and 11 indicate, the faith which reaches out and embraces Jesus as Messiah embraces, in him, the way of suffering and death which marked him out. If you want to get to the resurrection of the dead, this is the only way to go.
Wright, Tom (2011-11-30). Paul for Everyone: Prison Letters (New Testament for Everyone) (p. 121). SPCK. Kindle Edition.
It occurs in an otherwise unknown passage. It happens at the end of Philippians chapter two. Paul is writing a brief apologetic for why he is sending Epaphroditus back to the Philippians. Then, he says that Epaphroditus is a minister to my need (Paul’s). The word “minister” comes from the Greek word leitourgos. The idea of liturgy comes from this. In the Bible, leitourgos has priestly connotations (Heb. 1:7, 8:2). Epaphroditus was a liturgical help to Paul. He was a co-labor in the Gospel. By ministering to Paul he was fulfilling an important liturgical role in the Church.
The same idea can be applied to our ministry to one another. The Philippian Church had sent their liturgical representative to bring Paul food and clothing while he was in prison. The Christian holds a liturgical office by definition. He is called to participate in this service for/to one another. The implication of such a text is that service is an extension of worship. Our reasonable worship (Rom. 12:1-2) bleeds into everyday life. Our liturgy must be lived out. A liturgy that is self-contained is a weak liturgy. Liturgy is fleshly and applicable.
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