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