Tag Archives: exegesis

We should not read the theme of humilityand unity into the intro of Philippians

Philippians 1:1 and Authorial Intent: Don’t Read Humility Into Everything

Humility and the unity among the body of Christ are main themes in Philippians. Sadly, however, many commentators read that theme into the introduction to the letter (1:1). This then turns the opening into some secret code that the original readers would not have understood. But when it is all boiled down, the opening of Philippians is just like any other opening, and a common sense reading is best. 

I am not downplaying the importance of asking questions during Bible study. It is certainly important to ask why every word and phrase is worded the way it is, for every detail was directed by the Holy Spirit. However, it is when exegetes are not satisfied with the most common sense answer, hoping to be “scholarly” and find some deeper innuendo, that I have a problem with these speculations. So it is important to ask in regards to the opening of the letter to the Philippians, “Why does Paul call himself a slave of Christ in this letter?” However, we must be willing to stop where authorial intent stops, which is as easy as, “Because he viewed himself as Christ’s slave.” Continue reading Philippians 1:1 and Authorial Intent: Don’t Read Humility Into Everything

Financial support is what the good work is referring to

A Proof Text for Eternal Security? The Real “Good Work” in Philippians 1:6

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)At first glance, this verse seems like a perfect proof text for eternal security (or, perseverance of the saints). God does the good work of saving us and bringing us to Jesus, all by His grace, and by that same saving grace He keeps us in His hand where none may pluck us out. While I agree that this is so, I must say that this is not the meaning of Philippians 1:6. By considering this verse in its immediate context, as well as the context of the epistle itself, we shall see that Paul has something quite different in mind. “Participation in the gospel” (v. 5), and “partakers of grace” (v. 7), as well as “began a good work in you” (v. 6) all sound like Paul is talking about their common faith in Jesus and salvation through him. However, this is only the conclusion of a surface reading. I contend, on the other hand, that Paul is referring to their financial support of his apostolic ministry. Continue reading A Proof Text for Eternal Security? The Real “Good Work” in Philippians 1:6

What did Peter mean when he said that Paul's letters contain things that are hard to understand​?

Are Paul’s Letters Hard to Understand? Rethinking 2 Peter 3:16

There is a famous go-to verse in Second Peter for those trying to say that Paul’s letters are confusing and hard to understand. Peter’s words are frequently taken to mean that we cannot properly interpret many of the theological discourses in Paul. His statement has often been used as a cop-out in (losing) debates over a Pauline text. But is this really what Peter meant? Is he really telling his audience that they should throw in the towel and give up on Pauline exegesis? I encourage you to read the entire context in which the verse is found (see passage below), and then we will get into reasons why we can still understand Paul, and why this verse does not teach that we cannot: Continue reading Are Paul’s Letters Hard to Understand? Rethinking 2 Peter 3:16