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Paul's Letter to the Philippians: The New International Commentary on the New Testament Hardcover – 31 Dec 1995

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 497 pages
  • Publisher: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (31 Dec. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802825117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802825117
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 16.3 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

''One of the best recent commentaries on any biblical book from any perspective. This commentary succeeds so well because of its exegetical sanity, vigorous style, and theologically sensitive applications. Every Christian - student, pastor, and scholar - can likewise benefit from Fee's theologically rich applications of each major paragraph in the letter. . . This commentary represents believing biblical scholarship at its best: uncompromising in its scholarly rigor, motivated by love for God, and dedicated to the edification of the church.'' --Westminster Theological Journal

''Fee, who is also the general editor of this fine evangelical commentary series, brings his erudition and theological depth to a study of Paul's letter to the Philippians. This commentary will be particularly useful to students of the New Testament who want to wrestle with Paul's letter in depth and with the help of a traditional and competent guide.'' --The Bible Today

''What makes this particular commentary useful in the parish is its hermeneutical approach. At the end of every section in the commentary, Fee includes pastoral applications of the material he has just examined. An extensive bibliography and copious footnotes are also helpful to readers who want to further their understanding of the various components of this valuable letter.'' --Currents in Theology & Mission

About the Author

Gordon D. Fee is Professor Emeritus of New Testament studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to his many highly respected commentaries and biblical studies, he is also the author of 'Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God'; Gospel and Spirit'; and 'How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth'.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
This commentary is written from the perspective that Philippians was one letter, written by the Apostle Paul from Rome in the early 60s, to his longtime friends and compatriots in the gospel who lived in Philippi, an outpost of Rome in the interior plain of eastern Macedonia. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Andrew Young on 26 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover
An excellent commentary by Godon Fee on Paul's letter to the Philippians. Fee has done a good work on the exegesis of the book. He shows us the context in which the book was written, getting to the heart of the church scene at Philippi, and shows how different passages relate to that context. The main themes of the letter are brought out - the theme of joy, Paul's friendships, the Philippians generosity in sending Paul a gift, the danger of division amongst individuals within the church, the cultural background of Philippi set within the Roman Empire. There is also a beautiful exposition of Christ's humiliation and exaltation in Philippians 2:5-11.

A very good, detailed commentary. Perhaps the best commentary on Philippians at the present time.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar. 1999
Format: Hardcover
Fee's commentary is thoughtful and helpful for the pastor. Among the commentaries that have come out recently, it is not as technical as the one by Peter O'Brien, but it is more thorough than that by Moises Silva. Evangelical readers will appreciate Fee's pastoral and devotional comments. The weakness of Fee's commentary is its overt egalitarianism and slight misunderstanding of the cultural context of friendship in the ancient Greco-Roman world. For input on this context, search for works by B. W. Winter. Fee's commentary fills a needed place in Philippians commentaries.
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Format: Hardcover
When I was studying Philippians at college this was the commentary that was required reading when studying text for exegesis (a fancy way of explaining what it means). The commentary itself has a very thorough introduction to the book and this is very useful as it gives great detail about the history of Philippi (which has quite a lot of bearing in what Paul writes) and of course a situation he was writing into. Any technical details with translation are well dealt with and the text is more that adequately explained with useful additional information in the footnotes. This is a very useful commentary and if I could give it another half star I certainly would.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
A word for all seasons 5 Feb. 2004
By Bahij Bawarshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
One of the most attractive features we sometimes find in NT commentaries is the proposed reconstruction of historical circumstances or of social/cultural setting that serves as the framework for the whole study and accounts for all the details in a consistent way. To the extent that it is hypothetical we can never be sure matters were as reconstructed; to the extent that everything comes together so well we must admit the possibility. Gordon Fee, in his commentary on First Corinthians (NICNT, 1987), posited a history of conflict between the Corinthian church and Paul having to do with Paul's apostolic authority and with his gospel, and came up with an exegetical tour de force. Fee duplicates the feat in this commentary on Philippians. He understands the whole letter in terms of first century Greco-Roman conventions of letter writing, specifically letters of "friendship" and of "moral exhortation", applied to the respective situations of Paul and the Philippians when the letter was written, but typically transformed by Paul. This apostle's overriding concern is Christ and the gospel. As Fee says, "For in Paul's hands everything turns into gospel..." The three-way bond between Paul, the Philippians and Christ "is the glue that holds the letter together from beginning to end." The exposition accords with this understanding and with the chronological scheme on pages 38-39 (which became a point of reference that I returned to several times as I read through the commentary), and succeeds in presenting a coherent whole.

The content of the letter allows ample scope for theological consideration, to which Fee responds with insight (many insights). A striking example is the concept of theology in Philippians taking the form of story (p. 47); thus the famous Christ hymn (2:6-11) is consistently referred to as the Christ narrative. Fee agrees with other commentators before him that the purpose of the hymn (narrative) was the presentation of Christ as the ultimate model to be emulated by the Philippians (love, humility, obedience); but at the same time this passage represents "the heart of Pauline theology" because it summarizes so movingly the central role of Christ and the true nature of God. If Paul is passionate about Christ, so is Fee, and it shows through in a number of eloquent passages. He is no mere academic; to him, what Paul told the Philippians in the first century remains "a word for all seasons" (Fee's expression).

Technical matters and interaction with other scholars are mostly restricted to the very full and rewarding footnotes. I can't help thinking, though, that a few of these are needlessly argumentative. At least where Hawthorne is concerned, I checked some of Fee's objections and found Hawthorne (WBC, vol. 43) to be equally convincing. The oft-repeated advice stands: Always consult more than one commentary. This does not detract from the value of Gordon Fee's contribution; it should be on the shortlist of everyone looking for a solid, detailed, and readable study of Paul's Letter to the Philippians. [Four and a half stars, had fractional ratings been possible.]
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
layman's dream 23 May 2003
By Stephen McSorley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a readable commentary that goes deeper into the meaning of Phillipians and it's application today but you aren't a pastor or a bible school student, then I would highly recommend this one. I thought his comments on the structure and intent of the letter were outstanding and a revelation to me. I think there is also much in this book for the serious student but for a layman like me just wanting to understand what God could say to me through Paul's little letter, this book is a dream come true!
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Fills a niche in Philippians commentaries. 5 Mar. 1999
By petermag@pbac.edu G W Peterman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Fee's commentary is thoughtful and helpful for the pastor. Among the commentaries that have come out recently, it is not as technical as the one by Peter O'Brien, but it is more thorough than that by Moises Silva. Evangelical readers will appreciate Fee's pastoral and devotional comments. The weakness of Fee's commentary is its overt egalitarianism and slight misunderstanding of the cultural context of friendship in the ancient Greco-Roman world. For input on this context, search for works by B. W. Winter. Fee's commentary fills a needed place in Philippians commentaries.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Great Commentary! Theological Insight and Application. 4 Oct. 2008
By James Korsmo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul's Letter to the Philippians by Gordon Fee is in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) series published by Eerdmans. In this important commentary on this gem of a letter, Fee delves deeply into Paul's thought and Paul's world. I deeply enjoyed reading Fee's exposition, and was continually challenged by Paul's deep faith and his unflagging focus on Jesus Christ.

Fee surveys the important issues in the interpretation of Philippians, in constant dialogue (mostly in the notes) with other important commentators, and especially with O'Brien (NIGTC on Philippians), Silva (BECNT on Philippians), R. P. Martin, and Karl Barth, to name a few. But his commentary never gets bogged down in scholarly minutia. While he engages the pertinent issues, he almost entirely leaves his thoughtful technical discussions for the notes, where interested parties can easily find them, but where they can be left to the side to keep the focus on Philippians itself.

Fee looks at the question of the setting of the letter, and leans toward the more traditional view of Paul's Roman imprisonment as the setting (as opposed to either Caesarea or Ephesus, the latter of which has gained a good bit of attention in recent years), though the decision doesn't have much significance for understanding the letter itself. Of the more substantive matters in the letter, the "Christ Hymn" in Phil 2:5-11 has gained a mountain of scholarly attention, and Fee's careful discussion of that passage is insightful and fresh. He argues, against the tide of most modern scholarship, that the "hymn" really isn't a hymn at all, but a Pauline composition integral to the letter, even if poetic in form. And above all, he stresses that regardless, it should be treated as fully endorsed by Paul and integral to the letter, wherever one stands on its origin: Paul included it here for a reason, and it wasn't merely to give us a window into earlier hymnody.

With regard to the interpretation of the letter as a whole, Fee argues that it is a letter of friendship, and that this designation illumines many of the discussions throughout the letter, and especially the more "formal" elements at the beginning and end. This friendship can also be seen throughout in what he describes as a three-way bond between the Philippian believers, Paul, and Christ, which informs many of Paul's discussions and admonitions. As to the content of the letter itself, Fee sees steadfastness (in face of persecution and trial), unity (in face of challenges both within and without), and the unswerving focus on the gospel (living in Christ through the Spirit) as the three recurring themes and ongoing emphases throughout the letter.

There is far too much to comment on in a short review, but this great book deserves reading from cover to cover. Philippians, though not often seen as integral to understanding Paul's theology, is a very important window into Paul's heart. This volume is a great study of this short letter. It also reminds me that I really enjoy the NICNT series. It has great in-depth study of the text and the important exegetical issues, while keeping the discussions of Greek words to the notes. And the authors usually include a relatively brief reflection on the continuing significance or application of a passage to today at the end of each section. This volume, by the current editor of the series, shows why this tends to be the first place I go for NT scholarship.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
don't leave homw without it 6 Dec. 2000
By "reepacheep" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been doing a Sunday School classes on Philippians and have found this commentary indispensible. It is thorough beyond expectation, insightful to the core and complete with life applicaiton sections following each section. I have been blessed and challenged so often by what he has to say. The Christ Hymn (so some - I prefer Christ Story), 2:5-11, had me in tears of joy and worship. It's a must have for any serious student of the Word. You won't regret this purchase.
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