As I began reading Fee’s IVP commentary on Philippians I was struck by the accuracy of a statement made in the introduction. When I read it I knew I was guilty of this charge. After mentioning several beloved passages from this epistle, like 1.21; 2.6-11; and another dozen that we find used for inspiration, Fee writes the following:
For most of us, Philippians simply reads better as parts than a whole. So we have the interesting ambiguity that this best loved of Paul’s letters is also one of the least understood as a letter. We know its many pieces, and we have a good “feel” for what it is about, but we are less sure how the pieces fit together.
Until I read this I thought I knew what the epistle was about. Now I realize I know the pieces well but I need to relearn the big picture. I wouldn’t be surprised if I am not alone in this.