Giving with the mindset of Christ : a study of Paul’s response to the Philippian gift
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After receiving a gift from the church in Philippi, Paul sends a letter back with their messenger Epaphroditus. Paul’s response is filled with joy and longing for the Philippians. In his writing he expresses his gratitude for their support. But there seems to be a tension in this response. In face of the gift, he states his content in having little or much. How can Paul express his gratefulness for their support and simultaneously indicate that he was fine without their gift? I will seek to understand how Paul perceives the Philippian’s gift. I will suggest that Paul’s dealing with the gift is best understood in light of the Christ event narrated in 2.6-11. Central in the narration is the dichotomy of exploiting and emptying found in 2:6-7. Here Paul is putting Christ as the supreme example to which we are to let our minds be transformed by. I suggest that the way they are to obtain this mindset is not to re-enact the Christ event. Rather Paul shows through his autobiographical section (3:2-11) that through is the encountering with the Christ event which enables him to obtain the mindset of Christ.I am also convinced that it will give a help reading of 4:10-20 when Paul speaks directly of the Philippian’s gift.