Paul, an oppose-turned-disciple of Christ after Jesus’ life here on earth, was known as one of the best teachers and preachers of the kingdom truth. It could be realized that his understanding of the gospel and the way he shares it to others insisted on a great impact on how the people realized what he was sharing to them. One way by which he teaches is through convincing them that what they are doing is right and it is through this process that they are establishing a connection between them and their creator. Relatively, he insists that his listeners work their own way, and that it would not be him [the teacher] from whom the effort should come. In a way, he motivated them to work through their desires and become more involved in pleasing God as his own followers and not as Paul’s students alone.
Giving them an idea that the task is theirs to complete gives the people full control of how they are going to use what they have been taught and how they are going to react to the information that has been given them. Bringing the ‘power’ to decide back to them as the followers and not just as students alone makes it clearer for his listeners to become more aware of their position in front of God as people, or as individuals who would want to gain his approval. This practical way of convincing his listeners of the need to become more aware of their connection to God has created a better way of allowing them to connect with their creator.
One of the lines he is most known for is that of the words he has shared to his listeners in Philippi is the one written in Philippians 4: 9, which reads:
The things that YOU learned as well as accepted and heard and saw in connection with me, practice these; and the God of peace will be with you.
Based on this line, Paul encourages his listeners to become more aware of how they apply the things they have learned in their own lives; how they practice the lessons they gain as they learn more about the truth. The being of an individual herein is referred to by Paul as an important personal element that could affect the value of the learning that one gets from him as a teacher. He specifically points out how much he is interested in the process by which a person becomes attached to the lesson he is being taught through the truth. In a way, a person who knows and is convinced that what he is learning is the truth would have a better motivation to change accordingly to what he is learning.
The first part, which points out the condition of thinking of the person who is being taught with the truth, is important in helping the student consider a point of self-examination. Consider the use of the word ‘learned’ in parallel with the term ‘accepted’ imposes a sense of distinction on how the thinking of the listeners is challenged of whether or not they are to accept fully what they have learned from Paul’s way of preaching to them and teaching them of God’s ways. It is only through one’s acceptance of the truth that he would be able to convincingly change his ways and follow the path of righteousness. Only with this motivated condition of thinking that one becomes convinced that he needs to undergo particular personal adjustments to be able to get the approval of God. This entails the process of ‘practicing’ what one has learned from the way Paul teaches about the creator.
The way he addressed his listeners using the term ‘you’ imposes how his invitation was of a personal value; this made his invitation more motivating as he was referring to each person in a personal scale hence showing how much he is concerned as to how each person is able to value the lessons he shares them with. Paul basically sees each person who he teaches as an individual to whom God himself gives individual importance to. Realizing this fact makes it easier for people to be convinced that they are loved and they are being given proper attention to by their creator and that he is capable of establishing personal connection with them allowing him to bless them in their ways of living.
The resources that imply a sense of interpretation on how Paul specifically teaches the people about the truth entails to utilize the deduction of Paul’s grammar as he presents his message to his listeners. Each word used is given a particular value as to how it is able to pass on the meaning of what Paul wants to provide his listeners with. Each term is interpreted and is correlatively connected with the other words that give meaning to the said word thus creating a unified message that brings about a sense of who Paul is and how he handles his responsibility of teaching people about the truth and from them, making disciples of the true God. Churches today could best be able to copy Paul’s ways through examining how he dealt with the people in the early Christian congregations that Paul had the chance to encourage. Giving them a personal sense of distinction about their role on being a ‘friend’ of God was one matter that made Paul’s way of teaching reflective and effective in changing the lives of many individuals during his time up to these days of improving Christian developments in the modern world.
Concerning the most valuable reference for the interpretation of Paul’s words to the congregations of the early Christians in Philippians and the other cities that he visited, it is recommended that the unbiased writing of Duvall and Hays (2001) be utilized. This material is suggested for reference as it is not religiously driven, but is instead based on the grammatical structure of language used in each book of the bible.
Ferguson, Sinclair B; David F Wright, J. I. (James Innell) Packer (1988). New Dictionary of Theology. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Perry, Simon (2005). Resurrecting Interpretation. Bristol Baptist College: University of Bristol.
Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word: A Hands on Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001.
International Association of Bible Students. New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Brooklyn New York. 1984. Philippians 4:9.