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Understanding Philippians 2:5-11 Essay

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Literary Context
In trying to understand Philippians 2:5-11 it is equally important to understand what is going on both before this passage occurs and what happens after. Paul is writing a letter to the church in Philippi and unlike some of his other letters he is filled with joy when writing to them. Immediately his letter begins with praise and thanksgiving directed towards the Philippians due to their kindness and provisions that they had consistently provided for Paul while he was in Prison. Paul then goes on to write about the fact that his imprisonment has advanced the Gospel of Christ. Paul then continues on to talk about the way in which the Philippians need to compose themselves and tells them to “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (1:27). He says this because at the time the Philippians had a lot of forces that opposed them, just as Christ did when he was here on earth. Rather then becoming boastful or prideful Paul urges the Philippians to be like a servant who gives all the glory to God and not upon oneself. This then leads him into 2:5-11.
The rest of this letter to the Philippians is much more praise and thanks from Paul. The interesting part about this and something to remember is that Paul is in fact imprisoned and rather than complaining about his situation, he takes the opportunity to give God the glory. Paul in fact uses the word “joy” sixteen times throughout this letter and overall that is a summary of what he is expressing to the Philippians. Rather than Paul merely rebuking the Philippians and making a laundry list of all the things they were doing incorrectly, Paul was taking delight in knowing that the Philippians were doing God’s will. Along with this, ...


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...main obedient as Christ did, then God will exalt them as well in the Kingdom of heaven, and that is the point that Paul is trying to communicate with the use of this hymn.



Works Cited

Bruce, F. F. Philippians. NIBC. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1989.

Grayston, Kenneth. The Letters of Paul to the Philippians and to the Thessalonians. CBC. London: Cambridge U.P., 1967.

Hansen, G. Walter. The Letter to the Philippians. NTC. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 1993


Mounce, William D., gen. ed. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006

Silva, Moisés. Philippians. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.

Thielman, Frank, Philippians. NIVAC. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.



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