Philippians 1:30

1:30 – The apostle concludes chapter 1 of the epistle (unbeknownst to him, nevertheless the conclusion of the section [cf. ‘therefore’ in 2:1]) with a personal consolation. In the true spirit of community and fellowship, Paul correlates his imperative to the Philippians with his own experience. One is naturally drawn back to 1:7, where he notes the Philippians share in grace with him, as well as 1:12-21, where he described his perspective in his imprisonment.

Moreover, it shows the humility of Paul, once again. Just as the Philippians face opposition and suffering, so must Paul. Just as it is a conflict for the Philippians, so it is for Paul. The minister is not above the disciple. There is no position in the church’s authority that can dodge suffering or conflict. Essentially, Paul seeks to model that which he preaches. The apostle knows that it is better to teach or preach by example, and so he does with the Philippians. It would be far too easy for Paul to say stand firm amongst opposition; but for Paul to have experienced that and acted accordingly, it flavors his message with grit, with power. This correlates with what Paul later urges the Philippians to do in 3:17 – ‘imitate me.’ Am I willing to have those who I minister to, to imitate me? Are we willing to reduplicate ourselves in others? Not I, but Christ in me (Gal. 2:20). “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). The propulsion for others’ imitation of us comes from our humble dependence on Christ in us, allowing His identity to be ours.

This section will be taken up with a precision for the next section, where Paul continues speaking of Christian citizenship with an emphasis on unity through humility.


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