Monday, May 31, 2010
For a while now at Palo Verde we have been working our way through Paul's letter to the Philippians. It has been an exhilarating journey for me and my prayer is that it has been a blessing for those who have accompanied me. Philippians with its delicate interplay of joy, suffering and unity within the colony of God makes it a wonderful resource for addressing contemporary Christians within a postmodern sea. A practice I have had with Philippians is simply reading the letter orally several times a week beginning on Tuesdays. This has been a wonderful blessing to me and helped me to "hear" the word. I believe that "hearing" was the primary context of the letter in the first place.
I have found several works helpful that I come back to on a routine basis. The commentaries by Gordon Fee, F. F. Bruce and P. T. O'Brien are the best you can get in my opinion. The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters has not left my desk in months. Peter Oakes' Philippians: From People to Letter has been rich with insight into the social context of the letter. Here are a few other resources that have made my study and hopefully my preaching better.
Jack Reese, The Broken Body: Embracing the Peace of Christ in a Fragmented Church (not limited to Philippians but a pastorally rich work)
Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity
David deSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture
Matthew Bunsun, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire (especially the article on Colonies)
Paul Achtemeier, "Omne Verbum Sonat: The New Testament and the Oral Development of Late Antiquity" JBL 109 (1990): 3-27
David Black, "Paul and Christian Unity: A Formal Analysis of Phil 2.1-4" JETS 28 (1985): 299-308
John Gibbs, "The Relation between Creation and Redemption according to Phil II.5-11" Novum Testamentum 12 (1970): 170-183
Paul Sampley, Pauline Partnership in Christ: Christian Community and Commitment in Light of Roman Law
P. T. O'Brien, "The Fellowship Theme in Philippians," Reformed Theological Review 37 (1978): 9-18
N. T. Wright, "Paul's Gospel and Caesar's Empire" ... online
Working through Philippians is an ongoing process right now. But the prayer, the meditation, the wrestling with the text has resulted in mediocre attempts at preaching the epistle here at Palo Verde. So far eight of these lessons have fallen upon the ears of my fellow travelers at PV ... they are:
Thanksgiving the Heartbeat of the Kingdom, 1.1-11
The Silver Lining, 1.12-18
Jesus, Let Us Come to Know You, 1.27-30
What Would Jesus THINK?, 2.1-11
No Complaining, 2.12-18
No Pedigree, 3.1-11
Freshness for the Far Journey, 3.12-20
A Savior From Heaven, 3.17-4.1
For the brave at heart these sermons can be accessed online HERE. The lessons begin on 3/7 (March 7) to the present. You will need to click on the individual title to download the MP3.
It has been my prayer that God would use me to be a blessing. Fortunately his word empowered by his Spirit does its thing with or without me of this I am convinced. So I repent of all the shortcomings and give praise for anything that is true to what the Spirit said through Paul.