Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 29:56 (Spring 2016) p. 97
Philippians: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament. By Joseph H. Hellerman, Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishing Group, 2015. 297 pp. Paper, $29.99.
The book of Philippians is of interest to readers of the JOTGES because of certain verses that are often taken to indicate that works are either necessary for eternal life or are required to prove one has been eternally saved. This commentary by Hellerman addresses these issues.
As the subtitle indicates, there is a heavy emphasis on the Greek of the text. The author discusses each verse and breaks down each verse into Greek phrases. There is a Greek exegetical outline of each verse as well. While this may scare off some readers who do not know Greek, the author discusses each phrase in a way that is easy to understand. Even so, the discussion is generally technical and the beginning Bible student may find it difficult to follow.
Hellerman discusses the different views of the passages and how recent scholarship understands them. The good news is that, as a general rule, he shows that the common Lordship understanding of certain verses in Philippians is not the only alternative. The bad news is that when given the different options, he usually opts for the Lordship view.
There are a number of relevant passages in Philippians associated with Free Grace theology and the discussions on these verses might determine the value of the book for readers of the JOTGES. In 1:5, Hellerman says that the “fellowship in the Gospel” is not a reference to the eternal life possessed by the Philippians, but of their participation in the work of evangelism (p. 24). In the same discussion, he says that the “good work” in 1:6 includes the idea of evangelism but has a broader meaning as well. He does this with very little discussion and concludes that this work does not simply mean their work in advancing the Gospel but also includes their final glorification (p. 25).
It is interesting to note that Hellerman sees a theme in the book of Philippians that is related to 1:5. That verse forms a bookend with
JOTGES 29:56 (Spring 2016) p. 98
4:10–19. This ties the book together around a theme of advancing the Gospel. To this reviewer, that is the key to understanding 1:6.
While recognizing that “salvation” in 1:19 does not refer to eternal life, he says that it does in
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