The Letter to the Philippians

The Letter to the Philippians

The Letter to the Philippians

The Letter to the Philippians

Synopsis

In this commentary G. Walter Hansen offers rich exposition of the text of Philippians as well as wisdom and maturity in its application. In so doing he emphasizes partnership --the social and corporate dimensions of community--in the progress of the gospel.

After a select bibliography, Hansen's introduction sets forth the historical setting of the church in Philippi, the nature and occasion of the letter, and a preview of two key themes--the gospel of Christ and the community in Christ. The commentary itself discusses Philippians in light of these themes, considering Paul's greetings, reports of gospel ministry, imperatives for citizens worthy of the gospel, recommendations of two Christ-like servants, and disclosures of his personal experience. Hansen's treatment as a whole is distinctive for the way it draws out and highlights the themes of partnership, citizenship, and friendship in Paul's Philippian letter.

"With themes and emotions so varied, the letter to the Philippians needs a commentator with a sure grasp and a warm heart.... Hansen writes with admirable clarity and simplicity, even when he is unpacking notoriously complex matters."
-- D. A. Carson (from the preface)

Excerpt

Commentaries have specific aims, and this series is no exception. Designed for serious pastors and teachers of the Bible, the Pillar commentaries seek above all to make clear the text of Scripture as we have it. the scholars writing these volumes interact with the most important informed contemporary debate, but avoid getting mired in undue technical detail. Their ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible, without confusing the commentary and the sermon.

The rationale for this approach is that the vision of “objective scholarship” (a vain chimera) may actually be profane. God stands over against us; we do not stand in judgment of him. When God speaks to us through his Word, those who profess to know him must respond in an appropriate way, and that is certainly different from a stance in which the scholar projects an image of autonomous distance. Yet this is no surreptitious appeal for uncontrolled subjectivity. the writers of this series aim for an evenhanded openness to the text that is the best kind of “objectivity” of all.

If the text is God’s Word, it is appropriate that we respond with reverence, a certain fear, a holy joy, a questing obedience. These values should be reflected in the way Christians write. With these values in place, the Pillar commentaries will be warmly welcomed not only by pastors, teachers, and students, but by general readers as well.

Casual readers of the letter to the Philippians might think that it is one of the slighter contributions penned by Paul. Here one does not find, say, the massive theological reasoning of Romans, the emotional intensity of 2 Corinthians, or the contentious apologetic of Galatians. Some might almost find it bland. Yet those who have probed this letter more closely know that the first chapter finds Paul in one of his most reflective moods as, toward . . .

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