Biblical hermeneutics on Philippians

By Dr. Moses Lee

I lectured on five levels of Bible reading and studied the principles of Biblical hermeneutics on Philippians. Five levels of Bible reading

  1. Personal Level : Quiet time with the Bible
  2. Pastoral Level : For preaching
  3. Critical Level : Understanding the intention of the Author (Gulliver’s travels and Dr. Gullich)
  4. Incarnational Level : I become a walking Bible
  5. Missional Level : God is the missionary God

The Principles of Biblical hermeneutics on Philippians

1.The principle of ‘In the historical background’

The intention of the author of Philippians is to fix the crisis of the church, which is about to die because of schism.

2.The principle of ‘In the context’ : “Continue to work out your salvation”(2:12)

It’s not a knotty verse, nor is about salvation by good deeds. One of the meanings of ‘soteria’ or ‘sojo’ has to be discerned in the context.

Recovery : The meaning of ‘soteria’ in this verse is recovery. Therefore this verse can be translated as “Make a recovery and go forward as a missional church”.

Healing : Jesus said to a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, ”Daughter, your faith has healed you”. The meaning of ‘sojo’ here is ‘to heal’.

Rescue : 276 souls were saved from a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon in Acts. The meaning of ‘sojo’ here is ‘to be rescued’.

3.The principle of ‘Putting the words in the best order’

Greek is not influenced by word order because subject adjoins verb. That’s why the author can put the word he wants to emphasizes in front of a sentence.

‘Touto’ (this, this one or this one only) is put in front of 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. The only way the church can get out of split, destruction, incompetence is to learn humility of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the scripture “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”, ‘protos’ should be translated as ‘only’, not ‘first’.

It’s like that a car can be driven if a driver starts up the engine with a car key, even though there are twenty thousand auto parts.

4.The principle of ‘Finding Subject’

The wrong Bible translation, which has destroyed Korean churches, is found in 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” It was translated wrong by the Reverend Robert Schuller, who was a Freemason. Because of that, Korean churches prayed for their wishes. But the subject of this scripture is God, not you.

First, God shows his will to us.
Second, if we obey, God fulfills his will with his almighty power. It’s not about my will but about God’s will. And it is God who accomplishes that will.

5.The principle of ‘Understanding Idioms’

1) "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" is from the Aramaic idioms, which means, “I came to accomplish this mission” or “I have accomplished my mission.”

2) The law and the prophets (Matt 5:17) came from the Hebrew idioms, which means the Old Testament. That’s why the translation in the Korean Bible that says Jesus came to complete them is wrong. Jehovah is perfect, so is the Old Testament. Nothing is incomplete in ‘the law and the prophets’. Therefore ‘plerosai’ in this verse should be translated as ‘to fulfill’ or ‘to make come true’.

Discontinuity of the Old and New Testament that dispensationalism claims is wrong. ‘Promise and fulfillment’ in the Reformed tradition is Biblical.

6.The principle of ‘Interpreting words’

How can "but empted himself" (2:7) be translated best? It can be translated as “Jesus became nothing”. Jesus does nothing on his own but speaks just what the Father has taught him. We can learn implicit self-humiliation, total self-distrust and absolute dependence on God the Father from the Lord Jesus.

My fellow workers, let’s do only one thing : ‘To lower ourselves’. The more we are made low, the more living water of God will flow into us. Let’s save the souls with the water, who are dying from hunger and thirst, who are hurt and confused.

Today for LA, tomorrow for America and the day after tomorrow for the world.

The world is our parish!

Lord, help us master Greek.

In Jesus Matchless Name I Pray!