Paul’s epistle to the Philippians is among the most popularly referenced texts in the New Testament. It has found quite an audience among athletes, particularly Philippians 4:13. That verse’s interest in the “Christ who gives [one] strength” is especially evocative for those wanting to push the limits of the body. But so far as we know that Paul is wont to appeal to athletics in his writing, the Sitz Im Leben of the verse appears to register a different kind of test of the body.
For today’s assignment, I want you to play detective and see what you can figure out about Paul and his current situation. Additionally, I want you to note what changes or developments you see in Paul’s understanding of the gospel, the social features of these Jesus collectives, and anything else you notice.
You may keep a running list of your observations or write them in essay form. Please note the pertinent chapter and verse of your observation and think comparatively with the other (earlier) letters we have read.