Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gordon Fee on Philippians 1:3-11

Philippians 1:3-11
Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Comments on Philippians 1:3-11 by Gordon Fee in Paul's Letter To The Philippians(Fee, Gordon D. Paul's Letter to the Philippians. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1995), a volume in The New International Commentary on the New Testament:

"Since thanksgiving is also a part of the reason for the letter, one is not surprised to find the whole replete with expressions of friendship, and especially of the three-way bond - between himself, the Philippians, and Christ and the gospel - that informs every part of the letter." (73, emphasis mine)

"Joy, it should be noted, which occurs only here in the Pauline thanksgivings, lies at the heart of the Christian experience of the gospel; it is the fruit of the Spirit in any truly Christian life, serving as primary evidence of the Spirit's presence (Gal 5:22; Rom 14:17). Precisely because this is so, joy transcends present circumstances; it is based altogether on the Spirit, God's way of being present with his people under the new covenant." (81)

"It does not take much reading of Paul's letters to recognize that the gospel is the singular passion of his life; that passion is the glue that in particular holds this letter together." (82, emphasis mine)

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