Essay on Philipians 2

Submitted By jessicakitehp
Words: 2742
Pages: 11

Context Paul's letter to the Philippians is a “thank you letter" to motivate believers to greater partnership in the gospel cause. Paul exhorted them to distinguish the things that really matter to Christ, which will result in conduct worthy of the gospel cause. In this letter Paul first gives his address and greeting (1:1-2), then he thanks and prays for the Philippians for greater partnership (1:3-11). He assures them of his living/dying dilemma in prison in 1:12-26. Paul begins the body of the letter with 1:27-30 that he displayed his central exhortation of Philippians “live as worthy citizens of the gospel cause”. He points out two ways to achieve this goal: with firm unity among members and with fearless steadfastness against enemies. This passage is located in the section where Paul is encouraging the Philippians to live with a humble attitude toward one another in order to have unity. In the verses preceding this passage, Paul has told Philippians to be united in a spirit of love, and to consider others in their community as more important than themselves with act of humility (2:1-4). Finally, Paul turns his attention to the powerful example of Christ Himself in 2:5–11. Followed by three other examples of Paul himself and Timothy and Epaphroditus. Paul who fears the Lord and do not complain and argue for him, Timothy looked out for others' interests (2:20) and worked with Paul (2:22), Epaphroditus risks his life to serve the Philippians (2:30). Following these examples serves the same purpose that though he had much status, he was willing to abandon it (3:8) to share with Christ in suffering and exaltation (3:10-11). He asks them to follow his example (3:15, 17, 4:9) and reminds them of the glory they will share with Christ (3:20-21). The passage 2:5-11 is a climax of all the examples Paul has given. Paul exhorts the Philippians to live humbly by giving Christ’s example that He empties Himself to become a human and obediently died on the cross, however God exalts Him for this humility.
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL BACKGROUND The Epistle to the Philippians, “was certainly written by Paul of Tarsus to a Christian church in the city of Philippi, province of Macedonia,” states Moises Silva. The church in Philippi, according to Silva, “had been founded by Paul himself in the early 50’s of the first century (Acts 16).” The city of Philippi is under the control of the Romans, the social status of individuals abound in and around Philippi to a degree unparalleled elsewhere in the empire. Residents of first-century Philippi felt strongly compelled to proclaim their social location publicly in the pecking order of the highly stratified Roman Colony. Therefore, the church of Philippi has been under great pressure to conform in their social relations to the marked stratification of the surrounding environment. They would hardly have been immune to this pressure. In this culture that identity is built in-group, religion is neither private nor personal, for Christians in Philippi, the sharp verticality of their social world would have served only to accentuate the foolishness and shamefulness of worshiping a crucified Christ.

The Syntactical Display

Command (5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Jesus is God (6a) who, although He existed in the form of God,

Jesus’ descended to earth did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
(6b,7) but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men

Jesus’ obediently death Being found in appearance as a man,
(8) He humbled Himself by