Dr. Linda Stratford – “Humble Knowledge”
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 1:27, 2:3-4
Paul challenged believers at Philippi to cultivate knowledge and depth of insight (v. 9) while urging them at the same time, to conduct themselves in a manner “worthy of the gospel.” He appears to have an overarching concern in this first portion of his letter to the Philippians, based on a manner of “posturing” that was going on in the Christian community of Philippi that threatened to compromise the witness and integrity of that community.
Targeting the problem of strife and “selfish ambition” (vv. 15-17) Paul challenged believers at Philippi to turn from internal quarreling, to gospel-worthy behavior characterized by humility.
In Philippi, the gospel was encountering opposition, most likely stemming from the character of the pagan populace of Philippi (essentially a Roman military colony of descendants of soldiers who took this region on behalf of the emperor, resulting in a strong cult of emperor-worship).
Un-reconciled people do not advertise the gospel well. It is important to consider in what ways we are called to balance cultivated knowledge, with gospel-worthy behavior in light of our mission to represent Christ to the world.
- Dr. Linda Stratford, Associate Professor of Art