The Epistle to the Philippians

The Epistle to the Philippians

The Epistle to the Philippians

The Epistle to the Philippians

Excerpt

Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy in Christ
Jesus who are at Philippi (with their overseers and attendants!),
grace be with you and peace from God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ
.

1. Paul and Timothy give their names as the writers of this letter. It has often been called the most personal of all the Pauline epistles. But at least that does not prevent Paul's doing here what he does also in the majority of his other letters: he does not introduce himself alone and solely in his own name to those he is addressing, but in the company of one of his younger helpers. The fact that Paul goes on at once in v. 3 to speak in the first person singular, and in 2.19 ff. refers to Timothy in the third person, shows that the point of naming two writers here must not be sought in some kind of co-authorship on Timothy's part. Rather, it is Paul's way of saying that the message and contents of the letter are not a sort of private vision that depends on his, the apostle's, own two eyes. A hero, a genius, a 'religious personality' stands alone; an apostle has others beside him like himself and sets them on his own level. He speaks in an office occupied by many. He can fall, but his Lord does not fall with him. He has other slaves as well. 'Honour' to Timothy lies in this mention of his name only in so far as he sees him involved with himself in the same ignominy and danger. The mention of his name in particular can have been occasioned here by the fact that Timothy according to Acts 16.1 and 17.4 was probably his companion in the stormy events that accompanied the founding of the Philippian congregation, and according to Acts 19.22 had presumably been among them later as well.

Both of them are slaves of Christ Jesus. The omission here of Paul's designation of himself as 'apostle' calls attention (as has . . .

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