Designed to make the latest scholarship on Philippians accessible to a broader readership, this commentary brings to life both the letter's historical setting and its vigorously theological purpose. A number of important recent studies of the social and religious context of first-century Philippi are considered here for the first time in a commentary, and the author offers a critical engagement with several of the newer approaches to Pauline interpretation, including questions of rhetoric and social convention. Theological highlights include the themes of Christian joy in all circumstances, the Philippians' active stake-holding partnership in the gospel, and above all the pervasive passion for a union with Christ in following his self-humbling example of service. Giving due attention both to the theological heritage of Paul's Jewish background and to the Greco-Roman social and religious setting of his readership, this commentary relates a well-grounded understanding of the letter's first-century impact to the wider concerns of Christian theology.
“That Christians find their joy ‘in the Lord’, rather than in their particular circumstances, is again hardly surprising after all that this letter has said. Such joy is the fruit, not of circumstances, but of the Spirit of the Lord (Gal. 5:22): it derives from what he has done for them in the past, from his presence with them now, and from hope in the promise of his coming (Rom. 12:12).” (Page 244)
“This Christian confidence is rooted not in some assessment of intrinsic likelihood, but in the character of God who unfailingly accomplishes what he sets out to do. Fee rightly stresses that ‘this confidence has very little to do with them and everything to do with God’, the author and perfecter of the good work of redemption at Philippi.” (Page 61)
“In all this, Paul’s confidence is not in the Christianity of the Christians but in the God-ness of God, who is supremely trustworthy, able, and committed to finish the work he has begun. The ‘good work’, at the end of the day, is not Paul’s, nor that of the Philippians, but God’s; as such, participation in it frees one from both self-assurance and despondency.” (Page 62)
“God’s good work in these Christians, then, is to make them active participants in the gospel and its benefits” (Page 62)
“joy is especially characteristic of the age of redemption” (Page 59)