The letter now turns to the problems the Philippians are encountering. First up is Legalism, in the immediate form of circumcision. I find the IVP commentary on this section to be readable and informative. The overview, which they title “The Philippians Affairs–Again” summarizes the section from 3:1 to 4:3. While it can be skipped, it does have a few interesting points. The section that covers verses 1-4 is worthwhile. “At Issue: The Circumcision of the Gentiles” as well as “The Framework“, “The Warning” and “The Contrast” give a really nice understanding of what Paul is fighting. The IVP commentary follows this with a detailed set of comments on 3:4-14, which we will examine next time.
Matthew Henry does not seem to add anything, but you can check out what he has to say. The Asbury Commentary is quite short. “Rejoice in the Lord” and “Real Circumcision” summarize the Evangelical viewpoint nicely.
It occurs to me that this argument has not been settled. True, we don’t argue about circumcision any more, but we do argue about the underlying ideas. Why do you think circumcision was such an important topic? What do you think has replaced it today? (This does not have a “right” or “wrong” answer.)