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Sunday, July 29, 2012

more notes on Philippians 2

Last time, I wrote some ideas I obtained while reading and reading about Philippians 2. A couple of days later, while digging through my bookshelf, I ran across Luke Timothy Johnson's "The Writings of the New Testament" and stopped to read what he wrote on Philippians (that book treats each of the books of the New Testament as books, as opposed to others that examine chapter or verse segments). I ran into a couple of ideas I would have added to the last entry, other than that that time has passed.

Johnson writes that, in the Greek, it is more obvious that Paul is emphasizing the theme of fellowship, as a number of words have the prefix syn-, which literally means "with", which implies the concept of fellowship tied in. In my reading this over, some places in English reflect this, some do not. These include: verse 2, Johnson wrote "soul", NKJV has "Spirit", verse 2 "like-minded", verses 6 and 20 "equal", verses 17 and 18 "rejoice", verse 25 "worker", verse "soldier". Additionally, verse 14 speaks of "complaining and disputing", which is the opposite of fellowship. This concept is further heightened in that Paul was writing to people who lived in Greek culture, and the Greek moral philosophers of that day considered the concept of friendship important, and Acts 2:41-45 is phrased extremely close to some of the statements they wrote, so "holding all things in common" came across differently in that culture than it does in ours. Although in our Bible, Acts appears before Philippians, when Luke is believed to have written Acts and when Paul wrote Philippians are both at about the same time, so one cannot totally assume that the Philippian church either did or did not know about Acts 2 when they read Paul's letter. We can be certain that they knew about the Old Testament, "the scriptures" as the books of the NT were not clearly thought of as scripture until much later.

In verse 6, the phrase "thing to be grasped", in the Greek, suggests gaining "booty" like an attacking force, which, again, is an opposite to the attitude of fellowship.

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