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Philippians

Philippians

Historical background

The historical background of Philippians is traditionally gathered from two main primary New Testament sources: informative internal data from the letter itself, and related information garnered from the rest of the New Testament Canon, especially from the Acts of the Apostles and the other Pauline Epistles.[2] Other primary information is also derived from external historical sources related to the chronological connections between Paul’s association with Philippi, its political and economical setting, and its social and religio-philosophical context.[3]

According to the document itself, the Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their envoy (“messenger [apostolon] and minister [leitourgon]” Phil 2:25), with contributions as an expression of their “partnership” and “concern” to meet the needs of Paul (Phil 1:3–5, Phil 2:30, and Phil 4:10–19).

During the execution of his responsibilities of travel to deliver their “gift” (Phil 4:17), Epaphroditus contracted some life-threatening debilitating illness (esthenese, cf. Phil 2:26–27). At some point he recovers. It is at this time, whether premeditated or due to an extended stay with the apostle, various internal matters are revealed to Paul on the part of Epaphroditus (Phil 1:27–30, Phil 2:19–24, Phil 3:2–3, Phil 3:17–20, Phil 4:2–3, and Phil 4:9).

Upon Epaphroditus’ return to health, Paul sends word to the Philippians through Epaphroditus of his upcoming sentence in Rome and of his optimism in the face of death (1:18b–26), along with exhortations to imitate his capacity to rejoice in the Lord despite one’s circumstances (2:14–18). Moreover, Paul sends counsel regarding spiritual adversaries among the Philippians (3:1–21), and conflicts within their fellowship (4:2–3). Lastly, he provides receipt of both Epaphroditus’ heroism (2:25–30) and the arrival of “the gift” (4:10), along with his promise of a divine accounting (4:17–20).

Within the letter is also found an optimism where Paul’s belief of his release is the basis upon which he promises to send Timothy to them for ministry (3:19–23), and an anticipation to also pay them a personal visit (2:24). With this communication Epaphroditus sets out on his homeward journey (2:28–29).

There has been ongoing debate regarding where Paul was when he wrote this letter (and therefore the date of the letter’s composition). Internal evidence in the letter itself points clearly to it being composed while Paul was in custody (Philippians 1:7,13), but which period of imprisonment is highly debated[citation needed]. Some suggest the Roman imprisonment at the end of the Book of Acts (chapter 28:30,31). Others suggest the earlier Caesarean imprisonment (Acts 23–26). Still others suggest an earlier imprisonment again, and postulate an Ephesian imprisonment during Paul’s lengthy stay in that city (Acts 19). Until recently no one seems to have advocated the second period of Roman imprisonment (after the end of the book of Acts, but attested to in the writings of early church fathers).[4] Jim Reiher considered and speculated on this theory in a 2012 article.[5] The main reasons suggested for a later date, include:

The letter’s highly developed Ecclesiology
An impending sense of death permeating the letter
The absence of any mention of Luke in a letter to Luke’s home church (when the narrative in Acts clearly suggests that Luke was with Paul in his first Roman imprisonment)
A harsher imprisonment than the open house arrest of his first Roman imprisonment
A similar unique expression that is shared only with 2 Timothy[citation needed] A similar disappointment with co-workers shared only with 2 Timothy.
This second Roman imprisonment theory is still to be rigorously debated in the wider theological community.

Source : Youtube.com & en.wikipedia.org

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約伯記

約伯記

約伯記 Job 約伯記的序言 (覆蓋《約伯記》第1章第1節至第5節參)這部分介紹約伯的背景,透露他為人“完全正直,敬畏上帝,遠離惡事”。約伯生活幸福,生了七個兒子,三個女兒。他家道豐富,牛畜成群,僕婢盈門,“在東方人中就為至大”。 (《約伯記》第1章第1節至第3節參)然而,他並不崇尚物質,也沒有倚賴財富。他在靈性上甚為富足,為人樂善好施,肯慷慨扶助困苦的人,常把衣裳贈送給有需要的人。 [15]人人都敬重他。約伯敬拜真神耶和華,拒絶像外邦人一樣膜拜太陽、月亮、星宿;他對耶和華保持忠信,緊守忠誠而與上帝享有親密的關係。 [16]約伯是家中的祭司,家裏若有人犯了罪,他便向上帝獻上燔燒祭物。 撒但向上帝挑戰 (覆蓋《約伯記》第1章第6節參-《約伯記》第2章第13節參)天上隱形事物的神奇地被揭開了。耶和華在天上臨朝,上帝的眾子侍立在旁,撒但也在其中。耶和華提及他的忠僕約伯,撒但卻就約伯的忠誠向上帝挑戰,指控約伯只為了物質利益才事奉上帝。上帝若容許他把約伯所擁有的一切都奪去,約伯必定會捨棄忠誠。耶和華接受撒但的挑戰,但不准他傷害約伯的身體。 對此毫不知情的約伯開始遭受一連串的災殃打擊。示巴人和迦勒底人攻擊他,掠走了他大量的財物。他的兒女在一場風暴中全部罹難。這些猛烈的考驗並未能使約伯動搖,令他轉而咒詛離棄上帝。相反,他説:“耶和華的名是應當稱頌的。”[17]在第一個回合證明虛謊失敗的撒但再來到耶和華面前指控説:“人以皮代皮,情願捨去一切所有的,保全性命。”[18]撒但聲稱只要他能夠傷害約伯的身體,他就可以使約伯當面棄掉上帝。上帝任憑撒但傷害約伯的身體,但不准他奪去約伯的性命。於是撒但使約伯染上一種非常可怕的疾病。他的“肉體以蟲子和塵土為衣”,他的肉和口發出惡臭,以致妻子親友都厭惡他。 [19]妻子看見約伯仍然緊守忠誠,遂催逼他説:“你仍然持守你的純正[“忠誠”,《中文聖經現代譯本》]嗎?你棄掉上帝,死了吧!”約伯斥責妻子,他並不“以口犯罪”。 [20] 撒但接著利用約伯的三個朋友去“安慰”他。他們是以利法,比勒達和瑣法。他們起初遠遠觀看,認不出約伯來,就放聲大哭,把塵土撒在自己的頭上。然後他們跟他一同席地而坐,不發一言。經過七天七夜的無言“安慰”之後,約伯終於打破沉默,跟這些所謂同情慰解他的人展開一場冗長的辯論。 [21]

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