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Philippians: Phantom Opponents and the Real Source of Conflict

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Chapter Summary

This chapter centres on a somewhat different problem, which arises from personal rivalry rather than doctrinal opposition, and involves not the Philippians, but Paul himself. In l:12-26, Paul explains his own situation to the Philippians, declaring that his imprisonment has in fact helped to advance the Gospel, both because news of the reason for his imprisonment has spread but also because many members of the Christian community in the city where he is imprisoned have been inspired by his courage and confidence in the Lord to preach the Gospel. The letter to the Philippians is unusual among Paul's epistles in that much of the section that follows immediately after the thanksgiving in 1:3-11 is devoted to telling the readers about his own situation. The epistle's explanation is to be found in Paul's own situation, quite as much as that of the congregation to whom he writes.

Keywords: Christian community; Gospel; Paul; personal rivalry; Philippians

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