One of the shortest of Paul’s letters, Philippians is perhaps the most beloved by the church. No doubt, this is due in part to its high concentration of memorable passages that constantly challenge and encourage the people of God. What is more, the letter glows with affection and joy. The imprisoned Paul who writes Philippians is not hard to love. But we should not allow the letter’s warm and pastoral tone to mask its theological importance. Philippians is practical, but it is hardly “lightweight.” It holds some deeply theological reflections, particularly about Christ and the cruciform character of life in Christ.
Philippians is arguably Paul’s most personal letter. It gives us an intimate glimpse into the self-understanding of this incarcerated apostle to the Gentiles. Paul airs his inmost thoughts, tells his personal story, and testifies to his burning passion to know Christ his Lord and to make Him known. He also reveals his deep love and affection for this church, which has faithfully partnered with him in ministry from its earliest days.
But this letter is not about Paul. Above all, Philippians is concerned with the advance of the gospel and the formation of a local Christian community—a congregation that faces pressures from both inside and outside the church. Paul’s theological response to his own situation and that of his audience yields a Christ-centered letter that continues to shape Christian communities today. Dean Flemming moves verse-by-verse through Philippians after providing an in-depth introduction.
Dean Flemming has written what should become "the commentary of first reference" on the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians. He is thoroughly conversant with all of the serious scholarship on Philippians to date. But he makes scholarship easily accessible to average readers and points them to further reading on subjects he must treat in summary fashion. I highly recommend this commentary.
—George Lyons, Professor of New Testament, Northwest Nazarene University
Dean Flemming (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is a lecturer in New Testament at European Nazarene College in Buesingen, Germany. His other publications include Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology and Mission.