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Philippians Joy in the Midst of Suffering. Philippians Who wrote? –“Paul and Timothy, servants[/slaves] of Christ Jesus…” To whom? –“to all the saints[/holy.

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Presentation on theme: "Philippians Joy in the Midst of Suffering. Philippians Who wrote? –“Paul and Timothy, servants[/slaves] of Christ Jesus…” To whom? –“to all the saints[/holy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Philippians Joy in the Midst of Suffering

2 Philippians Who wrote? –“Paul and Timothy, servants[/slaves] of Christ Jesus…” To whom? –“to all the saints[/holy ones] in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops [episkopois] and deacons [diakonois] Under what circumstances? –Paul is imprisoned at the time of writing— “all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.” (1:7); “my imprisonment” (1:13 and also v. 14 and v. 17)

3 Philippians The Where and When of Paul’s Imprisonment: –Traditionally: This is Paul’s imprisonment in Rome narrated at the end of Acts (Acts 28:16, 30) Evidence within Philippians –“so that it has become known through the whole imperial guard (praitōriō/Praetorian Guard) and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ” (1:13) (would expect to find these in Rome) –“all the saints greet you, especially those of the emperor’s household” (4:22) –facing possible execution in his upcoming trial (“whether by life or by death” 1:20-24) Appears to be a slam dunk case (and in my personal opinion this is certainly the option with the best evidence in its favour)

4 Philippians However… –Scholarly objections to Roman provenance for the writing of Philippians The numerous trips between Paul and the Philippians hinted at in the letter (2:19-29)—would these fit in the 2 year time slot for Roman imprisonment of Acts 28? Acts 28 never suggests Timothy was in Rome with Paul (while Phil 1:1 suggests he is) Paul intends to visit Philippi (2:24) but when he wrote to the Romans from Corinth before the trip to Jerusalem that had him arrested and sent to Rome, he suggested he was planning on going on to Spain, not returning to Greece and Macedonia (Rom 15:24- 28) Some scholars suggest 1:30 and 4:15 & 16 that Paul has only made one trip to Philippi (Acts 16—when he founded the church there), but by the time of the Roman imprisonment he had made additional visits to Philippi.

5 Philippians So, alternative suggestions, like… –Ephesus Reference to the praetorium can point to the residence of any provincial governor in Ephesus or elsewhere (e.g., Mt 27:27; Jn 18:28, 33 Timothy was with Paul in Ephesus (Acts 19:22; Phil 1:1) Travel between Ephesus and Philippi is much shorter than between Rome and Ephesus Paul refers to his being imprisoned on several occasions (2 Cor 11:23) so while Acts does not mention an Ephesian imprisonment, there are hints of it in Paul’s epistles (1 Cor 15:32; 2 Cor 1:8). –But this is not without problems, especially since this argument is entirely built on inference and speculation and in some ways the Philippian picture Paul as very isolated and a church divided over him (1:15-18) when in fact he seems well surrounded by colleagues in his Ephesian ministry doesn’t quite fit. Also, Paul is personally taking money to support himself (4:18) rather than showing any concern with the “Jerusalem collection” that was so important to him at that time.

6 Philippians So, alternative suggestions, like… –Caesarea In Acts Paul is said to be imprisoned in Caesarea in the praetorium of Herod (Acts 23:35) Paul’s imprisonment there is lengthy, allowing for the trips between Caesarea and Philippi (24:27) Phil 1:7 indicates a defense but that he is still in prison despite this defense (1:16), a situation that fits the story of Acts 24:1-27. Paul’s proposed future visit to the Philippians in Phil 2:24 would then be on his journey west (i.e., now no conflict with his Spain plans expressed in Romans 15:23-29) –But, again, this alternative suffers from one of the same objections as the Rome alternative (distance), execution as a possible outcome is not impossible for Caesarean imprisonment but much more possible in the Roman scenario.

7 Philippians So, given these alternatives… –I would choose Rome and allow the immanent threat of execution and Phil 4:22’s reference to “Caesar’s household” tip the balance in favour of Rome. (Caesarea a close second, Ephesus third) Date? –This is determined by locating the place of writing, hence… Roman Imprisonment requires circa CE Caesarean Imprisonment requires circa CE Ephesian Imprisonment requires circa CE

8 Philippians What evoked this letter? (i.e., what is the story leading up to the letter) –4:10-20 (esp. 18), Paul, being in prison, has received a “care package” from the Philippians via Epaphroditus, who is himself part of the gift they are giving Paul (“your messenger and minister to my need…making up for those services that you could not give me” –2:25, 30) –Epaphroditus fell very ill (perhaps en route?) and the Philippians heard about this and were very worried about his survival; he has now recovered as is keen that they no longer worry about his wellbeing (2:26-27); Paul shares Epaphroditus’ concern on this matter (2:28) –Primarily then, this letter is first and foremost a response to the gift of money and personnel from the Philippians, requiring an extraordinary balancing act because Paul is saying “Thank you” (4:10-20) but in a painstaking and delicate way, “I’m sending your guy back, don’t be upset with him, he was heroic” (2:29-30) and “thanks for the gift but you’ve done so much already, probably can’t afford any more, and I have enough at present” (4:11-18). Presumably, Epaphroditus will be the letter carrier back to Philippi and will need to have an explanation for his return and Paul’s reception of their gift. –Other reasons Telling them his plans to send Timothy in the future instead of at present (2:19-23) To tell them of his plans to visit (2:24) To address issues of disunity in the corporate life of the community of faith in Philippi (2:4, ; but more especially some fight between Euodia and Syntyche, 4:2) Warn of Judaizers who are trying to impose circumcision as a requirement of Gentile Christians (“dogs” of 3:2-4) Paul expresses encouragement by demonstrating joy in the midst of suffering (“joy” and “rejoicing” are terms that fill this letter)

9 Philippians What do we know about Philippi and the church there? –According to Acts 16, established by Paul circa early 50’s CE on what in Acts is Paul’s “second missionary journey” –According to Acts 1:9-10 Paul left Asia Minor to go to Macedonia in response to a vision in which a Macedonian calls out to him to visit and help. –First convert (and probably first house church leader) was Lydia (Acts 16:13-15) –Philippi was a city rebuilt by Octavious as Roman colony to be inhabited by Roman veterans. Some scholars see hints of Paul alluding to this status as a Roman city in metaphors in Philippians (e.g., “conduct [politeuesthe] yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” [1:27]; politeuesthe is a term used to describe life and duties as a citizen; “your citizenship [politeuma] is in heaven” [3:20]) –They have been generous to Paul in the past, supporting his endeavours in Thessalonica (4:16) and now again, and Paul seems to genuinely have deep affection for these people (1:3-11; 2:12)

10 Philippians Contents? Time for you guys to do the work!!!


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