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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful technical commentary, 18 Jun 2012
This review is from: Philippians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (Hardcover)
In the introduction, Silva provides a welcome and comprehensive reconstruction of events surrounding the formation of the letter, highlighting key events, dates, and people in relation to Philippians. He argues for Pauline authorship and after engaging the alternatives of Caesarea and Ephesus, settles upon a Roman provenance.

There is a particular focus on the Judaizers, who play a large part in his interpretation of various texts within the book. Silva presents a unique thesis in which the `opponents' of Paul found throughout the book are all in some way linked to Judaizing doctrine, with some being full-blown (1:15-17; 3:2) and others having objections with Paul's distinctive teaching (1:15-17) but not "necessarily preaching a message of works righteousness" (italics in original).

Silva devotes a large portion of his introduction to language and literary concerns and distinctive theological contribution, drawing attention to what he sees as Paul's overarching concern with the Philippian's sanctification through right thinking and adopting correct mindsets.

The commentary proper follows a unique format and style; beginning with a short overview and outline of the relevant passage, Silva's own translation follows in which he attempts to capture Paul's subtleties and emphasis. In the next section Silva exegetes a section, rather than individual verses, and so doing pays attention to capture the flow of Paul's thought. Lastly, are `additional notes' in where any textual issues or additional comments in individual verses are addressed. I found this system to be very helpful in my understanding of Paul's argument in a particular section. When I studied and taught I would first arc the passage, and Silva's comments on and attention to structure were particularly useful in this respect.

One of the more distinct contributions to this commentary is Silva's clear Reformed background and emphasis throughout the work. For example, he emphasizes the, "twin truths of human responsibility and divine sovereignty", particularly in regards to sanctification, in various places throughout the commentary. I found this to be refreshing as unlike some technical commentators, Silva clearly presented his own views and conclusions and doing so in a scholarly fashion whilst remaining balanced.

One of the very few criticisms of this work is that some of Silva's conclusions seem un-argued for. This is a matter of personal opinion, but in some cases I found Silva's conclusions to be the opposite of what seemed clear to me in the text.

Despite my few minor disagreements, I found Silva's commentary to be incredibly helpful in my study and teaching of Philippians. This book would be useful to all who want to understand Philippians in a deeper way. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to both students and pastors who want a slightly more technical commentary that engages with the Greek text and Paul's train of thought as well as theology and application. I am very grateful for this work and its influence in my studies.
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