AndIwantyoutoknowmydearbrothersandsistersthateverythingthathashappenedtomeherehashelpedtospreadtheGoodNewsforeveryonehereincludingthe wholepalaceguardknowsthatIaminchainsbecauseofChristandbecauseofmyimprisonmentmostofthebelieversherehavegainedconfidenceandboldlyspeakGods messagewithoutfearit’struethatsome. . . .
- What is Ian doing now?
- What’s this?
Those of you familiar with the Gems I write know what I am doing now. I am giving you the next block of Paul’s letter to divide into sections. I have been good to you. I could have given it to you as it appears above in the original manuscripts but translated.
Here it is in a more acceptable form:
And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me. Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.Phil 1:12-30
The astute ones among my readers will tell me, “Ian, that text should be all in capital letters to match the UNCIAL texts.” And you would right. Robert Estienne divided the Scriptures into Chapter and Verse in 1550, giving us the forerunner to our Bible reference system. Prior to this, there was no John 3:16 nor any way of remembering where to find a verse much less a cross reference apart from calling to mind the title we might give to it. “It’s in the passage on The Burning Bush.” “It’s recorded in Jesus’ Priestly Prayer.” Originally the letters of the text of the Bible were all concatenated into a continuous stream of CAPITALLETTERS. That gives the comment Paul wrote to Timothy about “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” a whole new meaning. But I wouldn’t ask you to divide that sort of text. Rather have a go at dividing the text in the quote block in order to make your decision as to where you would divide the paragraphs. Another challenge would be to give your resultant segments (pericope) a suitable title. I will begin to look at the next section Paul wrote to the Philippians in its larger units before we begin to analyse it smaller sections.
I consider my coverage of Philippians 1:1-11 is now complete. That is not to say I have covered everything that could be written. Much more could be said but I try to walk a middle line with these Bible Gems in order to maintain your interest and pique your curiosity. To approach the text of Paul’s letter with too much detail would lose most of you I think. But I will return to verses 3-11 at a later stage. There is a comment Paul makes later in his letter which necessitates us returning again to Paul’s feelings and prayers for the Philippian believers at that time.
Can you think what that comment might be?
On another logistical matter concerning the Gems: I have not launched into the normal frequency of writing Bible Gems whereby I write three a week and send them on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. Some of you faithful readers have commented on the absence of Wednesday Gems thus far in the Philippian series. I am aware that only a small number are actually clicking on the button in the emailed Gem. I know most of you are going straight to the website and reading the Gems and Nuggets there. But I am also aware that many of you have trouble keeping up with the Gems because they are deep and often long, in order to cover what needs to be said in a particular Gem. The previous Gem (1910) is a good example of that. For that reason I have held back the Wednesday Gem and have only written two per week so far in this Philippian series. Others of you have asked, “Where is the Wednesday Gem?” Well now you know. I believe at this point I will stick to two a week but I think on occasions I will do what I’ve done with this one. When the timing is right, I may well write a shorter, less packed Gem to prepare you for the next passage or to pick up on a lighter feature of the text.
Please give me your input if you would like to see changes or beg for mercy. All in the interests of making the Gems as useful and yet manageable as they can be. We will start our focus on Phil 1:12-30 and the division in the following Gem.
Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your bride through the veil.Hayyim Nahman Bialik
To read the Bible always and only in translation is like listening to Bach, always and only played on the harmonica. You certainly get the tune, but you will miss pretty much everything else.Anon
Like the moon, we can only reflect the Glory of the Son.Ian Vail
It’s a poor student that stays where the teacher left them.Ian Vail