chapter  5
33 Pages

The prison letters

While in Romans Paul describes the possibility of transformed goals and means of significance, in Philippians and the letter to Philemon these transformations appear to have been implemented. For instance, Paul speaks with an elevated ease about those who preach out of insincere motives. From whatever motives, Christ is still preached, and in this Paul claims to “rejoice” (Phil 1:18). Even though Paul’s personal situation includes imprisonment and impending trial – with the uncertain prospect of execution or release – this is also described as a win-win situation. In either case, Christ can be glorified (1:20). Paul’s release is described as beneficial to the Philippians, and his execution is described as beneficial to himself (1:19-26). However, it is to be noted that Philippians is written with the aim to encourage the Philippians, that they will not be terrified by the adversaries (1:28). Philemon is written to the end to assist Onesimus in his plight. In either case, in these letters the boastful and vengeful attitude is gone.