Saturday, January 18, 2014

Questions for Paul

Having now read through the book of Philippians move than 15 times, I think it is time to move past simple observation of the text and time to start looking into answering some of the questions that the text has stirred up in my mind. Before I do that however let me present those questions here.

From 1:1, is Timothy a co-author with Paul?

From 1:6, since God began the good work, what role did I play in coming to God?

From 1:6, 1:10 and 2:16, what is the “day of Christ”?

From 1:9, what is the connection between love abounding and knowledge and discernment?

From 1:15-18, why does Paul not seem to care that people are preaching Christ from selfish ambition, does God not ultimately look at the heart?

From 1:21, what does “For me to live is Christ” mean?

From 1:27, what does a ‘life worthy of the gospel' look like?

From 1:28, what does the phrase ‘and that from God’ refer to?  Is it that their salvation comes from God?  Is it that they are being saved “from God”, in contrast to the opponents who will not be saved from God and his wrath, or does it refer to the sign being from God?

In 2:6 what does ‘being in the form of God” mean?  What does “not counting equality with God a thing to be grasped mean?  What does it mean that Jesus “emptied himself”.?

In 2:10 what is Paul referring to when he says “every knee .. under the earth”?

In 2:11 what is the connection between us working out our salvation and God who works in us to will and to do?

In 2:25, did Epaphroditus carry the letter to the Philippian church?

In 3:2, who are the mutilators of the flesh?

In 3:10 what does “becoming like him in his death” mean?

In 3:16 why the contrast between pressing towards the goal and holding true to what we have already attained?

In 3:21, what does “by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” mean?

In 4:19 what does “according to his riches in Glory in Christ Jesus” mean?

Now I don’t know if I will get to answer all of these questions, but over the coming days I hope to address as many of them as possible. 

One last thought is that even though I have a lot of questions, overall the book of Philippians is a fairly straight forward book.  If you just look at the instructions/commands contained in it for the most part they are pretty black and white and easy to understand.  I frankly don’t have any question about what Paul may mean when he tells us to rejoice, to be content, to not be anxious, to stop grumbling, to think rightly, to stand firm or to speak the word without fear. 

I take that back I have one question, but this is for me and not Paul.  Am I doing it?

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