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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on Philippians

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1.1–2 :

Opening.

1 :

Servants, literally “slaves” (“douloi”), anticipates 2.7 , “slave” (“doulou”), the form Jesus took in becoming a human being, and 2.22 , Timothy “slaved” (“edouleusen”) for the gospel.

2 :

Bishops and deacons, leadership titles, either functions (“overseers” and “servers”) or specific offices, like clergy today.

1.3–11 :

Thanksgiving. Preview of the letter's themes.

6 :

The work extends through life, emanating from God until consummation of the new age. The day of Jesus Christ (compare Amos 5.20; Zeph 1.15 ) refers to the return of Jesus (see 2 Cor 1.8 ).

7 :

Think ( 2.2, 5; 3.15, 19; 4.2, 10 ), moral reasoning or correct disposition of the mind. Heart, one's inner life, not simply feelings. NRSV share is actually a noun, “partnership” between Paul and his audience. This is one of several compound words ( 1.17, 27; 2.2, 17–18, 25; 3.21; 4.3, 14 ) with a syn-prefix (meaning “with”), emphasizing unity. Confirmation, establishing the gospel in believers.

8 :

Compassion, affection.

9 :

Knowledge through experience of what really matters so that conduct brings glory and praise to God.

11 :

Harvest of righteousness, apocalyptic * imagery that places present-day problems in the setting of the end-time.

1.12–26 :

Suffering for the gospel. Spread (v. 12 ) and progress (v. 25 ) are the same word in Greek, unifying the two parts of the passage: Paul's joy in proclaiming Christ despite his imprisonment ( 1.12–18a ); and his joy in the exaltation of Christ in his body whether he lives or dies ( 1.18b–26 ). Everything else—love, envy, life, or death—is relative to this joy. Imprisonment ( 1.12–26 ) is an example of placing the needs of others above personal concerns.

12 :

Spread or “progress,” clearing (literally “cutting”) a path for an army; see v. 25 .

13 :

Whole imperial guard: In Rome, “praetorium” (see note b) is the emperor's elite soldiers; in Asia Minor, it is the provincial residence of any Roman administrator.

16 :

Defense of the gospel, the effort to convince outsiders of the gospel's values.

20 :

Put to shame, made ashamed because of the paradox of good news about the shameful death of Jesus. Paul will not be ashamed because his circumstances exalt Christ whether he lives or dies.

1.27–30 :

Living worthy of the gospel.

27 :

Live your life, literally “conduct life as a citizen” of heaven ( 3.20 ). Worthy of the gospel of Christ, that is, in a manner that does not seek one's own elevation above another ( 2.6–11 ).

29 :

Paul suffers for the gospel to show that suffering is part of grace.

27–30 :

A series of athletic or military images includes striving side by side (compare 4.3 ), struggle (the contest of defending the gospel to outsiders), and even standing firm.

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