Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Philippians 3:4a-13

3:4 Grammar note: The "ei" clauses here is accompanied by an indicative verb here, suggesting that it should be translated "Since..." not "if anyone is convinced."

3:6 Paul's bragging here has a double rheotical effect -- he will return to the words "persue" (dioo-koo) and "righteousness" (dikaiosunehn) later in this section (3.9, 3.14, 3.16).

3:7 Paul here echoes back to 2:5 and 2:6 in the Christ hymn; Christ did not regard (hegeo-mai) equality with God as something to be exploited. Here Paul is saying he regards all of his beneifts as loss through Christ.

3:8 He considers them: Skubala -- dung (Grammer note: the hina clause here is more of a "lest" than a "so that" clause) (Second grammer note: The subject of the infinitive clauses here in Greek are all in the accusative)

3:9 Side comment: Faith-righteousness appears outside of Romans and is not simply an misreading of Paul by Luther or Augustine.

3:10 Paul's use of an infinitive here suggests that justification's purpose is to know God, the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of suffering. In otherwords, 9 and 10 are linguistically linked by Paul and a strong possible reading is purpose...vs 9 (justification) is for the purpose of vs 10 (resurrection)

3:10 Cont'd. Paul know begins to come full circle on the Christ hymn. Jesus was in the "morph" or shape of a God; Paul know says that we are syn-morphed into Jesus' death. Our life with Christ is a process of becoming more Christ-like, indeed, but this does not circumvent suffering, even as Paul talks about resurrection.

3:11 Here Paul uses "ei" with a subjunctive verb, leaving some uncertainty about the possibility of resurrection.

3:12 The confusing part of this verse is not the final theology -- Paul definitely wants to claim that Jesus has already claimed him -- but rather what Paul is referring to in the sentence. The second-half literally reads "I an pursuing (indicative present) and if even I obtain (subjunctive aorist), upon it (epi hoo) even I have been obtained by Christ." The question is how to translate the epi hoo. It cannot refer to the resurrection (because of the gender of the article). The last word that makes sense is actually Christ's death (vs 10). "I am pursuing resurrection -- and if I even obtain it, in Christ's death I have already been obtained by Christ." (Side note: this phrase "epi hoo" is the phrase in Romans 5:12 that is so debated)

3:13 Paul here again uses the word obtain/overcome (katalamban-oo; See also John 1!). The problem is that Paul said he was, in the aorist, obtained...but now in the perfect tense he says he has not been obtained. Here is Paul at his grammatical worst and perhaps theological best: The event on the Christ obtained Paul for Christ, but this process is not finished!

Also, in this verse, Paul has both verbs in the second half (forgetting and looking ahead) in the present tense, suggesting this is an on-going process of doing this.

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