Philippians and Colossians – “I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me”

October 9, 2023 to October 15, 2023

Paul’s themes in Philippians and Colossians cover a range of situations and attitudes: suffering, sacrifice, joy, gratitude, and grace.

“Paul’s Use of the Word ‘Grace,’” Brent J. Schmidt, excerpted from Relational Grace: The Reciprocal and Binding Covenant of Charis

In both Philippians and Colossians, Paul uses “grace” to mean a covenant reciprocal relationship. Because the saints at Colosse had entered into that charis (reciprocal) relationship, Paul and others did “not cease to pray for [them],” and desired that the Colossians would “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” These expressions evoke several meanings of charis: pleasing, fruitful (or rewarding), and accepting the will of the giver (God).

In Philippians 4:10, Paul seems to have received the Philippians’ special care. In 4:15, he compliments the saints at Philippi for their gifts to him in support of his missionary work. In 4:19, he acknowledges that he cannot reciprocate directly because he is in prison, and he assures his friends in Philippi that his God will do so for him: “My God will supply all your need.”Paul trusts God’s charis covenant.

“Did Paul Address His Wife in Philippi?” Thomas Wayment and John Gee, Maxwell Institute

In Philippians 4:3, Paul’s use of the word σύζυγος [suzugos] “follows the common understanding of the day and of earlier Jewish usae as a word for ‘spouse.’ The earliest Christian interpreters understood Philippians 4:3 as referring to Paul’s wife, but later Christian authors, who rejected marriage and were inclined to remake Paul in their own image, rejected the notion that Paul was married and reinterpreted the passage, both in translations they made and in the commentaries they wrote, as referring not to Paul’s wife but to someone (anyone) else.”

“The Condescension of God according to Paul” Frank F. Judd, Shedding Light on the New Testament

Looking at the details in Philippians shows that Paul warned converts that they might experience trials for the sake of the gospel, as he had. Philippians 2:6-11 is a hymn about Christ’s premortality, mortality, and postmortality. Paul’s Christ hymn can be compared to Nephi’s vision in 1 Nephi 11, especially regarding the condescension of God.

“Suffering for the Savior’s Sake,” Aaron Snyder, Religious Educator

What does Paul mean when he tells the Philippians to suffer for Christ’s sake (1:29)? In the Greek of Matthew 5, the Savior seems to be teaching that suffering for his sake means to suffer because of the value we place in him. “For anything to qualify as being righteous, there must be something opposing it.”

“Scribes and Ancient Letters: Implications for the Pauline Epistles,” Lincoln H. Blumell, in How the New Testament Came to Be: The Thirty-fifth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium

The original text of Colossians and five other epistles give evidence that Paul employed a scribe. It is difficult to say whether the use of a scribe influenced the texts or altered Paul’s objectives. The letters bearing his name should be regarded as authentic Pauline letters.