READ PHILIPPIANS ONE THORUGH FOUR
Today I’m sharing my answers to the second page of the Book Overview study. I know I’ve said it before, but my answers aren’t the “right” answers. Particularly when it comes to noticing repeated themes in the book, there could be several themes throughout. If your answers don’t line up with mine, I’d love to hear about it! Quite possibly you’re picking up on a theme that I have missed!
Are there any repeated words or phrases?
YES! Paul repeatedly uses affectionate language in referring to the Philippian believers: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you (1:3), “your partnership in the gospel” (1:5), “I hold you in my heart” (1:7), “I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (1:8), and more. The entire book is littered with affectionate language between Paul and the Philippian church.
Other repeated words are “joy” (1:4, 1:24, 2:2, 2:29, 4:1), and “mind” (1:27, 2:2, 2:4, 3:19, 4:7)
Spiritual friendship is a prominent theme throughout the book. This is exemplified both in Paul’s affectionate language of the Philippians and also in how he teaches them to be unified together. Paul has a spiritual friendship with the Philippians as a whole, wants them to have “one mind” together as spiritual friends, and Paul has a spiritual friendship with Timothy as well.
The genre is a letter – we know this because it has the classic “to and from” structure of a letter.
How will the genre effect interpretation?
Knowing that it is a letter allows us to interpret the book as a whole in light of Paul’s relationship with the local church. This is different from, for example, and Old Testament narrative that is more poised to give us historical information and details. This book, as a letter, will give us insight into the intimate relationship Paul has with the church in Philippi, even as we apply to our own lives the principles of Christian discipleship that he passes onto them.
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that His Word is infallible. Thank Him for the theme of spiritual friendship that we have in the book of Philippians, and ask Him to prepare in your own heart and openness to learn about spiritual friendships throughout the coming weeks.