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Philippians

Philippians (fəlĬp´ēənz), letter of the New Testament, written by St. Paul from captivity probably in Rome (c.AD 60) to the Christians of Philippi (in Macedonia), the first European city that he evangelized. The letter thanks them for gifts they had sent him, informs them of his own situation, and gives advice and encouragement. The centerpiece of the letter is the quotation of an early Christian hymn, the purpose of which is to exhort the Philippians to live a life of humilty and service as exemplified by Jesus. The abrupt transitions in the letter suggest to some scholars that Philippians is a composite of several Pauline letters.

See R. P. Martin, Philippians (1987); P. T. O'Brien, Philippians (1991).

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Philippians, Letter to the

Philippians, Letter to the. An epistle of Paul and book of the New Testament. The addressees are Paul's first congregation in Europe, at Philippi in Macedonia. It was written from prison, either in Rome c.60–2, Caesarea c.56–8, or Ephesus c.53–5. Paul sees himself balanced between life and death (1. 19–26). Among the ringing exhortations in ch. 2 is the important passage verses 5–11, a hymn which speaks of Christ's ‘self-emptying’ (kenōsis). This has traditionally been taken as a basic statement of incarnational christology, though some argue that it refers to Jesus' willingness to accept a shameful death.

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