The Apologetic and Missional Impulse of Philippians 2:6–11 in the Context of the Letter

The rich poetic or hymnic text found in Phil 2:6-11 has been the subject of many diverse investigations and interpretations. This paper, taking a cue from John Reumann's recent Yale Anchor Bible commentary on Philippians, argues that the hymn/poem, which is Paul's master story, summarizes the gospel that Paul wants the Philippian assembly to (continue to) proclaim and (continue to) embody, in spite of opposition. In so doing, the Philippians will both hold forth and defend the basic Pauline claims about the crucified Jesus as the self-giving, life-giving Son of God and sovereign Lord, in fulfillment of Scripture and in contrast to Caesar. These claims have been vindicated by God in exalting Jesus, and they will soon be acknowledged by all creation. Paul's words speak to the contemporary church about the coherent form and content of its missional life and message.