Saturday, June 28, 2014

ACTS 24:11

Thoughts on Acts 24:11

Paul tells Felix, “Since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 24:11 NASB). Or as the KJV says: “Because thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.” Both give the impression that it was 12 days from his arrival in Jerusalem to his giving his defense before Felix. The question is how we understand the 12 days?  It is also evident that more than 12 days had passed:[1]

Act 21:17
Paul arrives in Jerusalem
Day 1
Acts 21:18
Visit with James
Day 2
Acts 21:26
Begins the days of purification
Day 3
Acts 21:27
Seven days later, in the Temple for offering and day of his arrest
Day 9
Acts 22:30
Before the Sanhedrin
Day 10
Acts  23:12
Plot against Paul
Day 11
Acts 23:32
Arrives in Caesarea
Day 12
Acts 24:1
5 days later before Felix
Day 17

It is clear that the 12 days does not refer to the time in total from the first day in Jerusalem until the day he appears before Felix. That is self-evident from the overall context and the time indicators. The context clearly shows the counting of time started on his first day in Jerusalem. It also shows that there are more than 12 days from his arrival in Jerusalem to his defense before Felix. It is not possible to condense the time element to 12 days if it includes the 5 day wait to go before Felix. The twelve days refers to Paul’s time in Jerusalem from the time that he arrived to the time he went to Caesarea.[2] This may be indicated by a more literal translation of the verse: “You being able to know that there are to me not more than twelve days, from which I went up worshiping in Jerusalem” (Author’s translation). To translate the text “from which” as “ago” as in some modern translations is misleading. Also the older translating of the Greek word ou as “yet but” is not correct and misleading as well. The Greek word means no, and expresses a full and direct negation, thus “not more than.”  What Paul is saying is that he spent no more than 12 days in the city for the purpose to worship. 

[1]  Witherington, ACTS, 710. Schnabel, ECNT: ACTS, 957.
[2]  F.F. Bruce, NICNT: ACTS, 443.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Philippians 3:20-4:1

Warnings against False Brethren—3:17-4:1 [Part 2]

3. Because of your Citizenship—Phil 3:20-21.

The word for[1] (gar) indicates reason, referring back to verse 17 which is the predominant thought of this section, giving us why we should be followers of Paul. Eadie notes that,
The particle γάρ connects it with what precedes, as if the train thought of were—“they mind earthly things, and therefore are enemies of the cross; but, on the other hand, ye have us for an example-for our country is in heaven, and therefore, though earthly things are around us, we do not mind them.” The double γάρ interweaves the thoughts. Walk as ye see us walking, for many walk most unworthily;-walk as ye see us walking, for our country is in heaven. The second γάρ seems to have this force, while it more specially and closely brings out the contrast between the apostle's life and that of the persons whom he reprobates. He does not use a simple adversative, but γάρ at once assigns a reason by introducing a contrasted statement.[2]

Notice the plural—our, it is in the emphatic position in the text. As such it does two things: first, it marks a contrast between the they/we and world/heaven in verses 19-20.[3] Second, ties us believers together in a common union. There are two elements that dominate our common union:

Our common citizenship: “For our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). The word citizenship (conversation in the KJV) is a unique word found only here in the New Testament. In the Greek it is politeuma, from the root word polis (meaning town or city). However, this form of the word means a community, state, or commonwealth. In the Greek world it conveys the idea of a foreign colony. It can denote citizenship[4] (however it is not the common word for citizenship—politeuomai found in Phil. 1:27). Many translate it as homeland. The word has great significance to the Philippians, for they were a Roman colony within the region of Macedonia. They were governed as if they were on Italian soil and its administration reflected Rome in every respect. “Paul tells the Philippians that they belong to a heavenly commonwealth, that is, their state and constitutive government is in heaven, and as it citizens they are to reflect its life.[5] The word is indicates that citizenship is a present possession. Our heavenly citizenship and destiny is to be far more significant for our conduct than our brief earthly sojourn. We live in a foreign colony and are pilgrims (cf. Hebrews 11:13).

Our common expectation and hope: “from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil 3:20-21). Our hope is clear. It includes:
  • Our common present state: “we eagerly wait” (Phil. 3:20). The Greek word is apekdechomai meaning to expectedly look for something. It speaks of being in the state of anticipation. Paul uses the word 6 times (Rom. 8:19; 23, 25; 1 Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5:5; Phil 3:20). In each case it denotes the expectation of the coming realization of the object of hope. Paul uses it to express the “expectation of the end.”[6] It focuses on awaiting transformation for the world and the believer. This occurs at the coming of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The word Savior (soter) means a deliverer. Paul uses the title of Savior in connection with the redemption of the body (cf. Eph. 5:23, I Thess. 1:10). It has eschatological significance. It is the final deliverance that is the focus of this context.  Until then we are to live in the atmosphere of eager expectation of that event. Our eagerly waiting should be in faith (Gal. 5:5) and with patient endurance (Romans 8:25).

Romans 8:19
Revealing of the sons of God
Romans 8:23
Adoption of Sons
Redemption of our body
Romans 8:25
Unseen hope
1 Corinthians 1:7
Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ
Galatians 5:5
Hope of Righteousness
Philippians 3:20
The Savior

  • Our coming transformation: “who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21a). This is a relative clause that modifies “the Lord Jesus Christ.” The object of our hope is not simply an event, but it is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He whom we await. It is He who does the action. One cannot escape the parallel with the Lords transformation and glorification (cf. Phil. 2:8-11). No doubt Paul is thinking of the experience of the Lord. Like us, Jesus had a body of humiliation. Jesus’ physical body was resurrected and transformed, and ours will be also. The word transform (metaschematizo) means to remodel or to change from one form into another. The subject of this transformation is our physical body—“the body of our humble state” (lit. the body of our humiliation). It must be pointed out that the phrase itself does not indicate evil. This is seen in the parallel of Christ “humbled Himsel,” (Phil. 2:7) which clearly did not entail evil or sinfulness. Rather the phrase indicates humanity which is characterized by indignity, weakness, and death. He took upon Himself out position of humiliation, but not our state of sinfulness. His humiliation entailed a body with the same characteristics as ours, for he was “made in the likeness of men.”—yet without sin.

1 John 3:5
In Him IS no sin
2 Corinthians 5:21
KNEW no sin
1 Peter 2:22
DID no sin
Hebrews 4:15
He was WITHOUT sin
1 Corinthians 5:21 (1 Peter 2:24)
BECAME sin (bore our sins)

When that transformation takes place, our body will be changed in “conformity with the body of His glory” The word conformity is the Greek word symmorphos and is found in this form only twice in the New Testament. It means being of like form, or conformed. It is an adjective indicating the result of change. It is found here and Romans 8:29. In Romans we are told that “He also predestined [to become] conformed to the image of His Son.” Speaking of what God predestined believers to become. Eadie says, “Our body is therefore reserved to a high destiny-it shall be like His.[7] Paul is speaking of our resurrected body. It will “bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49). It will be a changed body (1 Cor. 15:51-52).[8] It will be imperishable (1 Cor. 15:42), spiritual (1 Cor. 15:44), and immortal (1 Cor. 15:53-54) in nature. Our bodies in eternity will be the same type of glorified body as Christ possesses.

How this is accomplished is “by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil 3:21b). The phrase begins with the preposition kata meaning in accordance with or in connection to. This connection is the “exertion of the power.” The word for exertion is used in connection with the word power. In the Greek it is the word energeo (where we get the word energy), meaning to put into operation; active or activity. It is effective power at work. The idea here is energetic, out-working power. “It is not simply supernatural ‘power’ that Paul has in mind here, but supernatural ‘action.’[9] Notice it is the same active power that enables Him to “subject all things to Himself.” He is able to change the body, and not only so, but also to subdue all things. Gromacki points out that, “It is sovereign omnipotence which no one can resist.[10]

4. Concluding Exhortation—4:1

Now follows the concluding application: “Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil 4:1). The word therefore (wote) is a conjunction which connects this with preceding sentences of the paragraph. It also serves as the basis and transition to the admonitions that follow. In this concluding application two things are reflected: First, it reflects their strong relationship. It is marked by five words: (1) Brothers (Adelpoi) used a number of times in this epistle (1:12; 3:1; 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21). It denotes a kinsman or relative. It reinforces that this epistle is one of the most personal. They are brothers because they are part of the same family, the family of God. (2) Beloved (Agapetos) and indicates the object of love. It expresses Paul’s love for them. (3) Longed for (epipothetoi) meaning an earnest desire or longing for. It is an absence that enhances the desire. (4)  Joy (chara) means gladness or joy. Joy is a key word in this epistle (1:4, 18, 25; 2:2, 17-18.28; 3:7; 4:4, 10). The Philippians are the cause of Paul’s joy. (5) Crown (stephanos) a wreath conferred on a victor at the games; reward; or prize. They are the source of great honor. All of these terms reflect emotional feelings and relationships.

Second, he concludes the paragraph with an admonition: “in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil. 4:1b). The Greek word for stand firm is steko, meaning to stand for approval; to persevere; or to remain firm in your position. It has a military background of a soldier who is to stand firm in the heat of battle; to resist the enemy. The Philippians are to stand firm and resist the legalism and perfectionism of the enemies of the Cross. Like a good soldier of the cross they are to persevere in the Lord.

To be continued…

[1]  Some see a disconnect of this passage with the preceding context and some modern versions translate it as but (NIV, ESV). See Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 169 who sees this as a hymn interjected into the text. I disagree, and that this fits well in the context of verse 17. Silva calls Hawthorne’s view “greatly exaggerated,” WEC: PHILIPPIANS, 213. For a complete study of the subject see O’Brien, NIGTC: PHILIPPIANS, Appendix F, 467-472.
[2]  Eadie, PHIPPIANS, 3:20.
[4]  Strathmann, “politeuma,” TDNT, 6:519-520.
[5]  O’Brien, NIGTC: PHILIPPIANS, 461.
[6]  Grundmann, “prosdecomai,” TDNT, 2:56.
[7]  Eadie, PHILIPPIANS, [3:21].
[8]  I believe this will take place for the church at the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The Old Testament saints will receive theirs at the first resurrection of prophecy (Rev. 20:6). I see them as two events, separated by the Tribulation period.
[9]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 173.
[10]  Gromacki, STAND IN JOY, 170. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My 5 favorite Biographies of Preachers

  1. C.H. SPURGEON. Arnold Dallimore, [Moody Press, Chicago, 1984]
  2. DAVID MARTYN LLOYD-JONES, Iain H. Murray, [Banner of Truth, Edinburgh] – 2 Volumes
  3. JONATHAN EDWARDS, Iain H. Murray, [Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, 1987]
  4. BONHOEFFER: PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY, Ric Metaxas, [Thomas Nelson, Dallas, 2010]
  5. D.L. MOODY, W.R. Moody [Barbour, Westwood NJ, 1985]

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


  1. BIBLICAL PREACHING, Haddon W Robinson, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI
  2. PRINCIPLES OF EXPOSITORY PREACHING, Merrill F. Unger, Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI
  3. THE EXCELLENCE OF EXPOSITION, Douglas White, Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ
  4. LECTURES TO MY STUDENTS, C.H. Spurgeon, AP&P, Grand Rapids MI
  5. PREACHING & PREACHERS, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Review: Psalms Volume 2

Allen P. Ross [Kregel, Grand Rapid MI, 2013]

I must admit that I wondered why another commentary on Psalms was needed. What could this say that has not already been said on these Psalms? I changed my mind when I started reading it. It is written in the practical style that Ross has exhibited in his earlier works. While the book is scholarly, it is also strongly pastoral in its approach. One could classify it as scholarly-homiletical in approach. His approach is unique, not like any other commentary on my shelf (I have over a dozen on the Psalms). It is his approach and style that makes this commentary worth space on the shelf.

His scholarship is impressive, but not overbearing. In evaluating the work, I looked at number of Psalms. I found the work solid and informative. One that I looked at was Psalm 67. All the Psalms are arranged with the same structure. He opens each Psalm with the Text and Textual Variants, but the technical notes are concise, direct, and understandable. All the technical information is in footnotes, so as to not interfere with the reading of the text itself. He gives his own translation of the text and is qualified to do so since he taught Hebrew.

He moves then to the composition and context of the Psalm. In this Psalm, he points out that the event behind it is the harvest. He, however, sees it as a prayer, not a thanksgiving (as is common). It is a harvest prayer, but is broader than just a present harvest, having in view a future blessing of all people. Its theme is both eschatological and missionary in vision.

He then moves to an exegetical analysis of the passage. He does so in two ways: A summary sentence. For example of Psalm 67 he says: “Praying for God’s mercy and blessing so that his ways may be known among the nations, the palmist calls all people to praise God for his equitable providence and material blessings” (page 444). It is succinct, catching the essence of the Psalm. Second, he gives an exegetical outline of the passage. I found these very helpful and insightful, in that they give us the structure of the passage, and a foundation for his commentary.

He follows the exegetical outline in the commentary in expository form. His expository to Psalm 67 has four points:
·         The faithful pray for divine favor so that the world will know the saving way of the Lord (67:1-2).
·         All people on earth should praise God for his equitable providence (67:3-4).
·         All people on earth should praise god because of his bounty in the harvest (67:5-6a).
·         The faithful pray for divine favor so that the world will fear the Lord (67:6b-7).
I give this so one can get a feel for his expository method. It is simple, but not simplistic. It displays a solid understanding of the text in concise, understandable points.

He ends each Psalm with its message and application. In the case of Psalm 67 his application deals both with having a missionary vision and an eschatological application.

This work shows that Ross is not only a very good scholar but a good communicator. His method is direct, concise, thoughtful, and practical. His style is reader friendly, enjoyable to read, understandable, and accessible to those without formal theological training. It is uplifting as well as educational. He gives the essence of the passage, avoiding getting bogged down in theological controversy and ideas that bore many readers. Yet, you know where he stands on the issues.

The only drawback that I see is no introductory material whatsoever is included. If one does not have the first volume to draw from, there could be some questions about the Psalms left unanswered. I feel some introductory comments are needed and would have been helpful. Not every one buys books in series order. It leaves a void in those who gets the second volume before they do the first. Thus I give it 4 stars for that reason.

Every preacher and Bible teacher will appreciate and use this work numerous times over the years. It will be a helpful addition for your library.

[Thanks to Kregel Publications for providing a free copy of this book for my honest review.] 

Friday, June 13, 2014


Warnings against False Brethren—3:17-4:1

As we come to the last paragraph in this section of Philippians, we see the structure is clearly fourfold: Exhortation (3:17); a negative reason (3:18-19); a positive reason (3:20-21); and resulting exhortation (4:1). The structure of this paragraph can be diagramed as such:
            A. 3:17 Brethren—follow Paul’s example.
                        B. 3:18-19 Negative reason—for many walk
                        B. 3:20-21 Positive Reason—for our citizenship
            A. 4:1 Brethren—stand firm

1. Exhortation: Model yourselves after me—3:17

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Phil 3:17). Paul opens with their common identification. As brothers they are in a common struggle or race. “Paul asks the Philippians to follow his example, not because he has achieved perfection, but because he is struggling in the same race they are running (cf. 1:30),” observes Silva.[1] This presupposes that they know his walk and example. He actually is asking them to be “fellow imitators” (symmetochos) which denote a joint participation. This term conveys the idea of being a joint imitator with Paul. They are not simply to imitate Paul alone, but to follow Paul as he is following Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Thess. 1:6). The Greek word not found in all other Greek literature.[2] However, Paul makes clear that he is not the only model that they can follow—“observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” This is a continuation of the theme of modeling in this epistle. Appropriate modeling is a keynote of the epistle. He urges us to imitate Christ (2:5-11), Timothy (2:19-24), Epaphroditus (2:25-30) as well as his own example. All are models of walking with God and having conduct that is consistent with their faith. They are to observe (skopeite) the pattern. The word skopeite is an echo of the goal (skopos), and means to consider, look out for, keep one’s eye on, or focus on an object. The Greek word typos means a mark, imprint, image or pattern. They are to observe the patterns and copy them. This calls for special attention, not only to doctrine, but to conduct themselves in harmony with these examples.

2. Because there are Bad Models—3:18-19.

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is [their] appetite, and [whose] glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:18-19). The word “for” denotes the reason for this warning, because many walk not according to this example and pattern.

The bad models are described as “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). Nowhere does Paul identify whom he is talking about in this section. Hawthorne wisely notes: “Because Paul does not name these ‘enemies’ no one today can be certain of their identity. This fact, however, does not stop speculation about who they were, nor should it.”[3] There are three main views as to who are the enemies of the cross: (1) Jewish Christians who oppose Paul’s gospel of grace, see Christ’s work as insufficient, and must keep the Law as a necessary supplement for salvation.[4] (2) The opposite extreme is the view that they were antinomian believers, who took their liberty to extreme holding that it was a license to gratify their lust.[5] (3) They were unbelieving Jews, being those described in the beginning of the chapter 3 (verse 2).[6]

Of these views, I dismiss the view that he is speaking of those who were antinomian, although many good men hold this position. I do so on the basis of tone and context of the passage. I see nothing in chapter 3 that fits with the antinomian position. “Sudden concern with antinomianism seems quite out of character in this letter,”[7] observes Silva. I agree. There are two things Paul is dealing with in this chapter of Philippians—legalism and perfectionism. This verse stands against the same group of people which held to these extremes—legal obedience is a means to grace, and one can be perfect by their obedience to the law.[8] Neither of these seems to fit with the antinomian viewpoint. Legalism and perfectionism go hand to hand. Legalism seeks to conform to a set standard, and perfectionism is the result of meeting the standard, thereby glorifying self. Paul reflects this thinking at one time in his own life—“as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless” (Phil 3:6). However, he now rejects that notion. All legalism can do is reform us outwardly; it cannot redeem us inwardly. I believe that we must be consistent and see verses 18-21 in the light and tone of this chapter which is legalism and perfectionism.

Therefore, the enemies of the cross are the opponents of Paul and the Gospel of Grace. (Antinomianism is not an opponent of grace; rather it is a perversion of grace). Paul has made similar announcements against these opponents before—see 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rom. 16:18-20. Notice he says in those passages that they are not servants of Christ, but of themselves. They are false apostles, deceitful workers in disguising themselves as leaders and believers. In Galatians 2:4, they are called “false brethren” who came “to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus; that they might bring us into bondage.” I see no reason why Paul is not referring to the same type of people in Philippians. Philippians 1:28 clearly puts them in the class of the unsaved. I agree with O’Brien who notes: “This admonition is urgent because (gar) many others, who are a (potential or actual) danger to the Philippians, have set an example that is the absolute antithesis of the Pauline model, and have shown by their behavior (peripatousin) that they deliberately repudiate all that the cross of Christ stands for (v.18).[9]

In Philippians 3:19 we have four phrases that describe these opponents. These descriptive phrases are short, abrupt, and negative.

  • Whose end is destruction” (Phil 3:19a). This speaks of the enemies’ destination. Paul had already pointed out that their adversaries are storing up tokens of destruction (Phil. 1:28). Interestingly, the NIV translates the word end as destiny. The Greek word is telos, which mean to complete, conclude, finish, and to come to an end. This word may point to a play on the idea of perfection, since it can mean to complete as a state, i.e. perfection.[10] It denotes outcome. In this instance it is not a positive, but a negative outcome. The word conveys the natural result or the inevitable consequences of an act or state. The object of this noun says the outcome is destruction. The Greek word (apoleia) has a wide range of meanings, including lost; consumption; destruction; waste; ruin or perdition. It is the same word that is used in Philippians 1:28. It is especially “used of eternal destruction as punishment for the wicked (Matt. 7:13; Rev. 17:8; 11:2; 2 Peter 3:7).[11] It is opposite of salvation. However, we must point out that this destruction is not the same as annihilation. Rather, it speaks of everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:9). They will continue to exist in the permanent state of damnation. This reinforces the idea of the enemies as being lost, and having no part in salvation. Baker observes, “It seems very evident, if we believe in the eternal security of the believer, that these people, though professing Christians, were never regenerated.[12]
  • Whose god is [their] appetite” (Phil. 3:19b). The Greek text literally reads, “Whose god is the belly.” The word belly (koilia) basically means “hollow or cavity[13] and is used in the New Testament of the stomach (Matt. 12:40; Rev. 10:9-10), the womb (Luke 1:15, 41-42; Acts 3:2), and metaphorically for the inner person (John 7:38). Some see this as a reference to food regulations of the Jews (cf. Mark 7:1-13; Col. 2:20-21, 23). Others take it to be various appetites without self-control (cf. Rom. 16:18; 1 Cor. 6:13; Jude 11). It being the attitude of eat, drink, and be merry. Behm, however, observes that: "Paul’s view of the koilia is not based, like that of the Greek world, on the idea that it is the home of sensuality. The point is that the koilia is part of the perishing world…. But the context…seems to point to Judaizers rather than libertines."[14] The phrase itself seems to be broad and nondescript enough to refer to either Jews or Gentiles. There is not enough detail in the phrase to give an exact nature of the heresy in view. However, in the overall context of legalism, it seems to point to the Jewish food regulations.
  • And [whose] glory is in their shame” (Phil. 3:19c). Interestingly, the phrase starts with a connector (and). It is the only phrase that does so. Is there some significance to the connector? Most seem to ignore the connector and therefore any significance to it.[15] The standard interpretation is that each phrase has its own subject. But is that the case? It may not be with the appearance of the connector. Hawthorne points it out that the conjunction (and) links the belly and the glory with the predicate (god) as the subject.[16] Lenski points out that this is not a third feature because of this connector, “but as being a part of the second.”[17] The significance would be that there is in these phrases a twofold description of their god. The first, as we have seen, is making their food regulations as god. The second is found in the words, glory is in their shame. The question is: What is the glory that is in their shame? The phrase is somewhat ambiguous. It is generally agreed among scholars that the word glory is equivalent to the idea of boasting or pride in something shameful. There are two main views as to what is the shameful. There are those who see it as sensuality or immorality. Others see it the shame as the part of the body that is circumcised. These being Jewish legalists, it seems unlikely that they would outwardly boast in the acts of immorality. However, they would glory and see merit in the ritual practice of circumcision. As Gromacki says: “They boasted in the flesh, in the physical rite of circumcision, and in the legalistic efforts of self. They bragged about the number of people they were able to get to submit to circumcision.”[18] The connection would be that they elevated beyond their purpose the legalistic practices of food regulations and the rite of circumcision. It would refer to their scrupulous observance of ritualism, in which ritualism became their god. Their glory would be their boasting in such rituals. There is a parallel to this in Galatians 6:13 that speaks of them glorying in their converts to circumcision. Hawthorne observes,
The care with which they observed every last precept concerning food and drink and their glorying in the ancient covenantal rite of circumcision did not solve their problem, but rather exacerbated it. Why? Because these who faithfully performed such religious practices made them their god. They overlooked the true God by paying too much attention to ritual.[19]
  • Who set their mind on earthly things” (Phil. 3:19d). This is not to be taken in the sense of antinomianism, but can be pointing to the spirit of selfishness and superiority.[20] Legalism glorifies self and leads to the feeling of superiority. Paul gives us the exhortation of setting our mind heavenly, which is set in the background of submission to ritualism and human regulations (cf. 2:20-23; 3:2). All of which fall into the sphere of the flesh, thus they are earthly in nature. This last phrase summarizes the nature of the models we are not to follow. We are not to follow such false teachers, and be wary of both legalism and perfectionism. This verse also points to the positive reason we are to follow Paul as he followed Christ. 

To be continued…

[1]  Silva, WEC: PHILIPPIANS, 209.
[2]  O’Brien, NIGTC: PHILIPPIANS, 445.
[3]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 163.
[4]  Muller, NICNT: PHILIPPIANS, 130.
[5]  Hendriksen, NTC: PHILIPPIANS, 178.
[6]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 163.
[7]  Silva, WEC: PHILIPPIANS, 209.
[8]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 159.
[9]  O’Brien, NIGTC: PHILIPPIANS, 444.
[10]  Delling, “telo"” TDNT, 8:49.
[11]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 165.
[13]  O’Brien, NIGNT: PHILIPPIANS, 455.
[14]  Behm, koilia, TDNT, 3:788,
[15]  O’Brien, NIGNT: PHILIPPIANS, 456-457, does not mention the conjunction.
[16]  Hawthorne, WBC:PHILIPPIANS, 166.
[17]  Lenski, PHILIPPIANS, 851.
[18]  Gromacki, UNITED IN JOY, 165.
[19]  Hawthorne, WBC: PHILIPPIANS, 167.
[20]  Silva, WEC: PHILIPPIANS, 210

Monday, June 2, 2014


by Charles F. Baker

The Bible is a dispensational book. It is patent upon the surface of many passages that not all of the Bible is addressed to nor is written about the same group of people. Surely none of the New Testament epistles were written to people who live before the coming of Christ, and it is just as evident that the Old Testament books were not addressed to those who live under the present dispensation. Upon the basis of this fact some would suppose therefore that those parts of the Bible which were not written to us must be discarded, and in fact this charge has often been made against those who recognize the dispensational character of the Bible. Some have gone as far as to accuse the dispensationalist of destroying the Bible as effectively as does the modernist, only using another method. It has even been claimed that dispensationalism is far worse than open infidelity, because it begins by piously affirming the divine inspiration of the Bible, but ends by cutting it to pieces. Thus sincere people are seduced by this teaching, only to find in the end that they don’t have any Bible left.

We would be as quick as any to denounce any system which would discard any portion of the Bible. We believe that the wonderful, divine character of the Bible is seen in the fact that while its various parts were written over many centuries and to peoples under different dispensations of God’s government, it is ALL profitable for us today. Only a divinely inspired book could posses such a character. The Scripture itself is clear on this point: it is “profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

From BIBLE TRUTH, 14-15.