Christian Identity: Servants and Saints
In Christ Jesus we are both servants and saints. That is, we are consecrated to our Master, Jesus Christ.
Published April 4th, 2017; Updated April 4th, 2017
The Author, Recipients, and Reason for Writing. Paul and Timothy (authors) write to the Philippians (recipients), reminding them of "grace and peace" that comes from God (reason for writing). The idea of identity is important to the Greeting. The authors are servants/slaves and the recipients are "saints."
Παῦλος καὶ Τιμόθεος
Paul and Timothy,
δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
servants 1 of Christ Jesus,
πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
[we are writing this letter] To all the a saints in Christ Jesus
τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Φιλίπποις
who are at Philippi,
σὺν ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις,
with the b overseers 2 and c deacons: 3
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη
d [ May there be ] Grace to you and peace
ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν
from God our Father
καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ .
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This may be a stretch, but I'm using Gn/Sp in this way: Paul and Timothy are servants of Christ Jesus (generally), but are serving the Lord in this instance by writing to the saints in Philippi (specifically). Thus, Gn servants of Jesus. Sp writing to the saints in Philippi.
Though this is a stretch, could it be that the act of writing leads to "grace and peace" in the sense that the Philippians are reminded of God's grace and peace that come to them through the Father and the Son? Or the "purpose" of writing (action) is so that the Philippians would experience more grace and peace? Perhaps I'm seeing too much in the greeting.
The three-fold reference to Christ Jesus/Jesus Christ serves to make sure the Philippians know (1) who owns them and (2) from where grace and peace come.
Identity Servants/Slaves (1:1ab) Saints (1:cde) Source Grace and Peace from the Father and the Son
Paul sets the trajectory of this letter by using two words that raise important points of identity. He is a slave/servant of Jesus and the Philippians are saints in Christ Jesus. In the Philippian letter, Paul calls for a joy-producing partnership in advancing the gospel. For this to happen, it means the Philippians must have a clear understanding of who they are as believers and how their identity informs how they live. They are servants of Christ and saints in Christ. That is, Jesus is their master and to Jesus they are devoted. When the Philippians understand they are humble servants, devoted to the Lord Jesus, they are more likely to link arms together (i.e. humility) to accomplish the task at hand (i.e. advance the gospel) and thus live worthy of the gospel by which they have been called.