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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Letter of Paul to the Philippians

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1.1–2 : Greeting.

1 :

Bishops and deacons are mentioned only here in the certainly authentic letters of Paul. (The Pastoral Epistles are sometimes regarded as not by Paul; see Introduction to 1 Tim.) Later ecclesiastical developments should not be read into the terms here. Bishops (lit. “overseers”) are those who exercise supervision; deacons are probably their assistants.

1.3–11 : Thanksgiving and prayer.

5 :

The part you have taken: their support of Paul; see 2.25; 4.15–16 .

6 :

The day of Christ Jesus: the Parousia; see 1 Thess. 2.19 n.

7 :

Prison: see Introduction.

11 :

The harvest does not consist in righteousness but is produced by it, and Jesus is its source.

1.12–30 : Paul's situation and prospects.

13 :

The Gk. word translated the imperial guard has several possible meanings: the guard itself, the guard's headquarters in Rome, or the Residency of the provincial governor (see Tfn. for this verse).

15–18 :

In contrast to the situation in Corinth, where doctrinal differences occasioned factionalism, here the ambition of those who proclaim Christ in a jealous … spirit seems to be personal.

19 :

Whether deliverance here means ultimate salvation or only release from prison is uncertain; as vv. 20, 25–26 show, Paul views both freedom and execution as possible outcomes of his situation.

21 :

See Gal. 2.20 . Death is gain for it will make Paul's union with Christ even closer (v. 23 ). Here Paul views the state of the Christian between death and the Parousia as superior to life in the world. This view does not contradict, but rather complements the futuristic resurrection hope expressed in 3.21 .

28 :

Opponents: in 3.1–11 they are “Judaizers,” that is, Christians who advocated the observance of Jewish law by Christians; here they are outsiders, pagans who denied the religious hopes and contentions of Christians, or scorned Christians for their way of life.

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