Everlasting joy is coming
Tue Dec 10, 2013
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Sorry your party’s lame, Jesus
Mon Dec 09, 2013
by Cam Huxford IV
Because he first served us
Sat Dec 07, 2013
by Kimm Crandall
Resurgence Roundup, 12/6/13
Fri Dec 06, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
God the great and powerful (and warm and wonderful)
Thu Dec 05, 2013
by Marsha Michaelis
He Who Began a Good Work in You
In Philippians 1:6, Paul uses a special device to signal that he’s about to say something important. The reference to “this same thing” is like saying, “Listen to this!” or “Guess what?” In this case, the words to follow assure us that God, the author and originator of life, will be faithful to complete the work he started. He will not abandon us.
But instead of calling him God, Paul uses “he who began a good work in you.” The change from the standard God or Lord is risky because his audience has to figure out to whom Paul is referring. Paul is forcing us to think about God in a specific way—in this specific context. Paul has a reason for doing so.
What comes to mind when you think of God? What events or qualities do you think about first? It could be any one of a host of things. Paul purposely avoids referring directly to God. Instead, he uses an alias expression. This expression constrains us to think about God in a particular way, in this particular context, instead of just picking whatever manner we want. By changing from the expected name, Paul intentionally shapes our conception of God based on where he is headed in this passage.
Think about all of the different qualities we might conjure up when God is mentioned. By using an expression other than the normal one, Paul forces us to think about the particular quality he highlights.
Despite the negative appearance of the circumstances, God is still in control and still accomplishing his purposes in the life of Paul and in our own lives. Beginning the “good work” was not a mistake that will be left incomplete. Adopting God’s perspective on the situation requires us to give up our wrong perspectives. Paul affirms in verse 7 that this is the proper way to think about things, implying that the Philippians should think this way.
This adapted excerpt, courtesy of Logos Bible Software, is from Steven E. Runge’s High-Definition Commentary: Philippians. The High Definition Commentary series is practical and accessible. Each commentary has plot twists, shocking moments, and a climax—combined with professional graphics, based on a linguist's analysis of the text. All infographics are exportable for presentation software like Proclaim. Purchase the first volume here.