Epistle to the Philippians
The Epistle to the Philippians, often written as simply, Philippians, is the eleventh book of the New Testament. It is a letter written by Paul the Apostle in ancient Greek around 62 CE to the church of Philippi in Greece. The letter is mostly a personal correspondence where Paul implores to the Philippians to remain adherents to his version Christianity.
Authorship and Dating
It is generally accepted by historians that Philippians was written by Paul the Apostle around 62 CE.
I have several translations of this book from various bibles, and have read the NIV translation.
- Much of the letter is the author whining or spouting pious platitudes. There is very little substance here.
- The author writes that he is "in chains for Christ (1:13)," which would indicate being locked up in a dungeon, but he's still able to write and send letters to his friends, and even describe as being "in chains." Most criminals could only dream of having captors that either allow this, or are too incompetent to prevent him from sending such letters.
- By warning of others preaching a different gospel (1:15-17) a mere three decades after Jesus' death, the author is weakening the case that we have reliable accounts.
- The author is sending mixed messages "we who put no confidence in the flesh, though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more (3:3-4)."
- It seems the transparent scam of accepting money, while pretending to not want any, all the while saying God blesses the giver (4:17-19), has been an aspect of Christianity from the start!.
- The letter tells the readers to stand firm in one belief without fear, so that those who oppose you will see it as a sign that your beliefs are correct (1:27-28), but every zealot of every religion stands fast without fear. Refusing to consider that your beliefs may be wrong is not a sign that they are correct, but a sign of willful ignorance.
- The author stresses the importance of all of Christ's believers to be of one mind (1:27, 2:2) without complaining or arguing (2:14). This is terrible advice. Everyone makes mistakes and gets things wrong from time to time. How can you ever fix your mistakes if you force others to believe the same as you? Furthermore, this leaves the religious vulnerable to being taken over by authoritarians. A major reason for the rampant abuse in churches stems from this mentality that you should never question clergy.