Thursday, 9 March 2017
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. Philippians 4:21
In many letters, Paul personally addresses individuals. Here he makes a more general statement without specifically noting anyone. It is unsure why this is the case, but it may be because he has already mentioned several people in the epistle, and he does not want to make specific greetings which might then give the impression that his attitude was less favorable to those he earlier mentioned (such as Euodia and Syntyche) than he led on.
For whatever reason, he simply says, “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” All who are in Christ Jesus are, by default, saints. The idea of sainthood found in the Roman Catholic Church is wholly unbiblical and without any merit at all. Rather, any and all who have received Christ Jesus are “in” Christ Jesus and they are saints. He would have all greeted in accord with this distinction.
He then notes that “The brethren who are with me greet you.” Why the term “brethren” is used here instead of “saints” is of great talk among scholars. Many say that he is speaking of the Jewish believers that were with him. It is true that there were Jewish believers with him, but this would then leave obvious omissions, and it would also illogically divide the body.
First, it would omit any Gentiles with him. We know from 1:1 and 2:19 that Timothy is there with him. It is not to be expected that he would so faithfully mention him twice and then ignore him in his final words. Secondly, to say that the Jews only were brethren would leave out the Gentiles, but he uses the term of Gentiles elsewhere many times. Suffice it to say that Paul is simply using the term “brethren” as an indication of the believers there with him, each a saint as well.
And as an important note, Peter is never mentioned here, in Philemon, in Romans, etc. when addressing or referring to those in Rome. It shows us without any doubt at all that Peter was not the first “Pope.” If he were, it would be the highest dishonor to overlook such a lofty thing as that. The Roman Catholic claim that Peter was the first Pope does not bear up at all when the words of the Bible are considered. The claim is false.
Life application: When reading commentaries, be careful to not just assume that the commentator is correct, thus making a new squiggle in your brain which is incorrect. Instead, read commentaries, and then evaluate what has been written against what you already know about Scripture. Oh but wait! How can you do that unless you ALREADY KNOW SCRIPTURE? Read your Bible!
Lord God Almighty… We are often provided with commentaries on Your word. We must then decide if what those commentaries say is in line with the rest of Your word. If they are not, and we accept them as correct, our theology will be faulty. But how are we to know UNLESS WE ALREADY KNOW OUR BIBLE? What a shame it is that we would ask questions of others concerning Your word without first having at least a basic idea of what it says. If we do not, we are only setting ourselves up for disaster. And so give us the wisdom to get up each day and read this precious, marvelous gift which You have given to us. May we stand approved before You in our life and doctrine. Amen.