oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - Modelling the gospel in joyful partnership : exemplars and the uniting theme of Philippians

Volume 13, Issue 03
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



Most interpreters now recognize the literary unity and integrity of Paul's letter to the Philippians. This consensus has however made the question of the letter's uniting theme a matter of urgent inquiry for biblical scholars and preachers alike. Even here, significant advances have of late been made; but, questions remain. The aim of this article in the light of this progress is threefold. It will first evaluate some of the key proposals for the letter's uniting theme. Secondly, it will propose that 'modelling the gospel in joyful partnership' best represents the uniting theme of Philippians. And thirdly, it will demonstrate that Paul extensively employs positive and negative exemplars to illustrate this theme in each section of the letter. The article concludes by highlighting the contribution of Philippians to current reflections on New Testament ethics.

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