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Philippians 3-4 Greek
Philippians 3:12-4:1
Paul presses on by asking the Philippians to join him in his intense, joyous struggle!
Published September 19th, 2021; Updated September 19th, 2021
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Greek 8
Greek 8
Philippians 3:12-4:1
How Paul lives specifically as "the true circumcision"
Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον
Negatives 1-2
ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι,
διώκω δὲ
εἰ καὶ καταλάβω,
Purpose of 12c
ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην
ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ].
A call for Philippi to imitate Paul so as also to live as “true circumcision”
ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὐ λογίζομαι
Content of 13a
ἓν δέ,
Further Explanation of verse 12
τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος
Negative Manner
τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος,
Positive Manner
κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω
Content of 13c
εἰς τὸ βραβεῖον
Purpose of 14a
τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως
τοῦ θεοῦ
ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
Locative Sphere
Ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι,
τοῦτο φρονῶμεν•
Explanation of 17a
καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε,
καὶ τοῦτο ὁ θεὸς ... ἀποκαλύψει•
Manner (if needed)
Purpose Advantage
πλὴν εἰς ὃ ἐφθάσαμεν,
τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν.
Manner 2 of 15a
Συμμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε,
καὶ σκοπεῖτε τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας
καθὼς ἔχετε τύπον ἡμᾶς.
πολλοὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦσιν
Ground 1 of 17a
οὓς πολλάκις ἔλεγον ὑμῖν,
νῦν δὲ καὶ ... λέγω,
Explanation of 18a
τοὺς ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ,
Content of 18a
ὧν τὸ τέλος ἀπώλεια,
ὧν ὁ θεὸς ἡ κοιλία
καὶ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ αἰσχύνῃ
οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες.
Explanation 2 of 18a
γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν οὐρανοῖς ὑπάρχει,
Ground 2 of 17a
ἐξ οὗ καὶ σωτῆρα ἀπεκδεχόμεθα
κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν,
ὃς μετασχηματίσει τὸ σῶμα
τῆς ταπεινώσεως
σύμμορφον τῷ σώματι
τῆς δόξης
κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν
τοῦ δύνασθαι αὐτὸν καὶ
ὑποτάξαι ... τὰ πάντα.
References 1-5
καὶ ἐπιπόθητοι,
καὶ στέφανός
Ὥστε, ... οὕτως στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ,
Explanation 2 of 17a
Βλέπετε τοὺς κύνας, βλέπετε τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτας, βλέπετε τὴν κατατομήν.
ἡμεῖς γάρ ἐσμεν ἡ περιτομή, οἱ πνεύματι θεοῦ λατρεύοντες καὶ καυχώμενοι ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθότες,
καίπερ ἐγὼ ἔχων πεποίθησιν καὶ ἐν σαρκί. Εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἄλλος πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκί, ἐγὼ μᾶλλον•
περιτομῇ ὀκταήμερος, ἐκ γένους Ἰσραήλ, φυλῆς Βενιαμίν, Ἑβραῖος ἐξ Ἑβραίων, κατὰ νόμον Φαρισαῖος,
κατὰ ζῆλος διώκων τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, κατὰ δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐν νόμῳ γενόμενος ἄμεμπτος.
[Ἀλλʼ] ἅτινα ἦν μοι κέρδη, ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν ζημίαν.
ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω
καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ, μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ, τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει,
τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ καὶ [τὴν] κοινωνίαν [τῶν] παθημάτων αὐτοῦ, συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ,
εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν.
Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι, διώκω δὲ εἰ καὶ καταλάβω, ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ].
ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὐ λογίζομαι κατειληφέναι• ἓν δέ, τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος,
κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω εἰς τὸ βραβεῖον τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
Ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι, τοῦτο φρονῶμεν• καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε, καὶ τοῦτο ὁ θεὸς ὑμῖν ἀποκαλύψει•
πλὴν εἰς ὃ ἐφθάσαμεν, τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν.
Συμμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε, ἀδελφοί, καὶ σκοπεῖτε τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας καθὼς ἔχετε τύπον ἡμᾶς.
πολλοὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦσιν οὓς πολλάκις ἔλεγον ὑμῖν, νῦν δὲ καὶ κλαίων λέγω, τοὺς ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ,
ὧν τὸ τέλος ἀπώλεια, ὧν ὁ θεὸς ἡ κοιλία καὶ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ αἰσχύνῃ αὐτῶν, οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες.
ἡμῶν γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν οὐρανοῖς ὑπάρχει, ἐξ οὗ καὶ σωτῆρα ἀπεκδεχόμεθα κύριον Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν,
ὃς μετασχηματίσει τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν σύμμορφον τῷ σώματι τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ δύνασθαι αὐτὸν καὶ ὑποτάξαι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα.
Ὥστε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοὶ καὶ ἐπιπόθητοι, χαρὰ καὶ στέφανός μου, οὕτως στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ, ἀγαπητοί.
General Observations 3:12-14: Compared to the last verses of the previous section (3:7-11), though Paul I don’t think is making any new point, the use of διώκω and καταλαμβάνω , two verbs of greater intensity, I think are showing a point of emphasis for Paul. He is saying that this is what the radical change has produced, this is the fruit of having throwing all away, and of having been found in Christ. Ie, the fruit of this change is this life of powerful energy for Christ As a parallel to verses 3:4-6, I notice that there too also Paul had an amazing and intense amount of energy. So too is there an intense energetic activity in v. 12-14 (in that sense, Paul has definitely not changed. He always had intensity, which is a gift from God). So, intense energy in itself is a good thing of course. The point both Paul (and God) are making is to what end , or, towards what direction is that intense energy focused? Ironically, though this may be a small point, Paul uses διώκω (persecuting, pursuing, running) while he is actually under house arrest or in jail! Of course, this running need not be just physical, but still, did the readers pick up on this? I think Paul hints at the fact that circumstances have no influence on how one lives (if one is in Christ) I pick up on an interesting parallel with Galatians: there is the intense tone in Galatians, equal to that of 3:12-14. More than that, both letters have a section of Paul’s autobiography. Even more, both letters deal with circumcision, though Galatians in much more detail. Lastly, διώκω is also used in both letters. Yet, there, the “energy” of the Galatians is going in the wrong way. Here, by contrast, Paul is showing the true, positive use of διωκω, in the model of his one life. Paul is harsh with the Galatians (he needs to be), but not with the Philippians. I think he is suggesting that the church here is understanding the word διώκω in its true, real sense (which brings glory to God) The τούτο in 15b: what exactly is the reference? Is it 3:12-14, or perhaps all of Chapter 3 so far? Another unresolved question: what is the γαρ of v. 20b referring back to? I link it up to a ground for 17a, but I don’t think it’s so specified The use of πολίτευμα in v. 20 is interesting in that it links up to a word with the basic same root in 1:27, the only two times in this letter. Synthesis of Chapters 2 and 3 so far I see verse 3:17a as another central focal point of emphasis for Paul. Having shown that he himself is the great model of Christ’s life of humility, he now pushes forward and boldly recommends for the entire Philippian church to follow him. And, what is that lifestyle to look like? It is a life of great intensity, ever looking forward, always looking to glorify and to be with Christ. If the central thrust of this letter are the verses 2:1-4 (the call to great unity and humility), then what 3:17 is doing is showing the Philippians just how to do it: by living life with the intense energy of Paul himself. And, we could also say that verses 1:27-30 are giving the specific details, the specific arena, of what Chapter 2:1-4 refers to: unity and humility primarily in the spreading of the gospel. Another support for why 2:1-4 (or, 1:27-2:4) is the centre of this entire letter: Paul uses the verb στηκω (to stand) only twice in the letter, and they are at the beginning (1:27) and end (4:1, if we see it as the end) of the major body of this letter. Of course, just because Paul uses a certain word only a few times does not make anything conclusive, but, if we argue that Paul was himself conscious of the words he uses, then it is is no coincidence that a repeat of an exhortation to “stand” in unity may very well show that this is the very thing Paul is trying to drive home as the main message of this entire letter. So, as a summary, Paul is saying so far: Live in unity and humility together as a church while you go on spreading the gospel, and do so by looking to me Paul as your primary model, for I have lived this life with such energy and intensity (and the 1st Chapter here proves that I indeed have been living with such intensity) Note of Personal Application I honestly believe that in some ways, 3:12-14 is the great peak of this whole letter. Not that it is Paul’s main point to the Philippians, because I don’t think it is, but he is really emphasising this, as some kind of climax. So, I learn then that I must apply this to myself. Of course, this life of intense energy cannot just be produced from myself. If I try to, without any power from Jesus, I will fail. But I think that’s the point: Paul was trying to be intense, without Jesus, and he failed spectacularly. But now, having received a new power source, the death and resurrection of Christ, he now is actually able to live the life he was called to live. So too for me. God has a calling for each one of us, a straight path that the world knows nothing of, and that can be lived with such intensity that the world must eventually see as something supernatural. It is possible, but can be only done by looking to Jesus as our power supply. Paul lived such a life. I think he is clearly saying to us all, even 2000 years later: so too, can you .
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.