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Section 3: 2:12-18: Lights in the World

Please be like Jesus. Having explained how Jesus was, Paul now asks the Philippians to obey God more completely. He explains that being like Jesus might mean shedding blood.

You (collectively) work out your salvation. This doesn't mean "do work to be saved," but (as the CEV translation puts it), "discover what it really means to be saved." You discover this by obeying God.

Light. The image of light has been used often in the Bible, and we use it today in various ways from "seeing the light" to "shedding light on the subject" to being a "point of light." In ancient times rabbis were sometimes called "light-bearers" because they brought the light of God by their teaching to people.

Fear and trembling. This phrase is also used at 1 Corinthians 2.3, 2 Corinthians 7.15 and Ephesians 6.5.

Libations and sacrifices. We think of sacrifice as meaning death or suffering. It can mean that, but ancient sacrifices also included things that were less traumatic. Sometimes wine would be poured out as a gift to the gods. This would be something done gladly or with enthusiasm, as you would offer a drink to a friend. Giving your life as a sacrifice, then, can be thought of as something done joyfully, not just as a call to painful duty.


Last updated 12/16/00; © 2000 John P. Nordin