Thursday, March 20, 2014

#40daybible Day 19 (Philippians and 1 Timothy)

Almost half way!  Today's reading is Philippians and 1 Timothy, a somewhat odd combination to me.

  • Chock full of memory verses (especially chapter 4)--learning to be content, to live is Christ, I can do all things through Christ, my God will supply all your needs, rejoice in the Lord, think on the right things, working out our salvation with fear and trembling...
  • Traditionally from Rome, although Ephesus is also suggested, Paul is thanking them for the material support they have sent while he awaits trial in prison.
  • He does stop in the meantime to push them toward unity and uses the example of Christ in the hymn of Philippians 2. Later in the letter he will urge two of the women leaders of the church to settle their differences.
  • In chapter 3, he warns the Gentile audience against getting circumcised. He gives his resume as a Jew but in the end indicates it wasn't enough, wasn't anything next to Christ.
  • One other interesting thing about this chapter--Paul indicates he was very good at keeping the Law before he believed. It's just that doesn't amount to anything next to Christ.
  • By the way, I think the upward call in 3:14 has to do with resurrection. In 3:12, Paul is not talking about him not being perfect yet. He's saying he isn't yet guaranteed resurrection. He is not pressing on toward perfection but toward the hope of resurrection.
1 Timothy
  • The NIV introduction suggests that Paul was freed after he appeared before Nero the first time. This is a convenient and popular suggestion, even though it does not at all seem to be what Acts foreshadows.
  • 1 Timothy is quite distinct from Paul's earlier letters. One should never start their Pauline theology with it but rather start with the earlier letters and see how 1 Timothy is distinct.
  • For example, while Paul ideally encourages widows not to remarry in 1 Corinthians 7, he pragmatically suggests they do in 1 Timothy 5.
  • Paul's stark words to wives not to teach or dominate their husbands in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is also quite striking, given the way women prophesied at Corinth in the presence of their husbands and other men. In any case, you should never build a theology out of a single verse.
  • This suggests that situational dynamics might have been in play in 1 Timothy (others suggest it was written after Paul's death to give Paul voice to a later context several decades later).
  • The two main concerns of 1 Timothy are false teaching and congregational order. 1 Timothy 3 deals with the main criteria for the overseers/elders of a local assembly, as well as its deacons.
My favorite of the day:
  • What an incredible world it would be if we all had the same attitude as Jesus Christ in the Philippian hymn--he was equal to God but took on the status of a servant, even died for us.

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