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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which intends to confirm the importance of the theme of unity in Philippians (Phil) through the systematic examination of all available textual data. One of the difficulties raised by Paul's letter to the Philippian church is the precise identification of the occasion and the overall aim of the letter. Why did Paul write the letter to the Phil, and what purpose did he intend it to accomplish? This chapter focuses on these questions. Consequently it is argued that Phil presents a "rosy" picture of relationships between Paul and the church, "a congregation at harmony with its founding apostle". "The character of the epistle is almost wholly commendatory" and there is nothing negative about the congregation. As, however, the references to disunity do not go away, another avenue is open to those who prefer to retain a more positive picture of the church.

Keywords: literary unity; Paul's letter; Philippian church



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