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Original Research

Philippians 4:1-9 from a rhetorical perspective

AH Snyman

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 28, No 1 (2007), 224-243. doi: 10.4102/ve.v28i1.106

Submitted: 17 September 2007
Published:  17 November 2007


The aim of this article is to analyse Philippians 4:1-9 from a rhetorical perspective that differs from the typical approach of researchers, who tend to force ancient rhetorical categories on the letter . Using a text-centred approach, it is argued that the dominant
rhetorical strategy in this section could be described as: “Urging the Philippians to live the gospel”. The section is divided into three phases, namely 4:1 (commanding the Philippians to stand firm for the sake of the gospel); 4:2-3 (calling on certain individuals to be
united in their work for the  gospel); and 4:1-9 (commanding the Philippians to practise certain key characteristics of the Christian life). The section and its phases are demarcated by rhetorical considerations.    In analysing the rhetorical strategies and techniques in 4:1-9 the focus is on the way Paul argues, on the type of arguments he uses and on the rhetorical techniques that could enhance the impact of his communication.  All these strategies and techniques serve to persuade the Philippians to live the gospel, in response to a situation where they were experiencing serious problems and were tempted to abandon their struggle.

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Author affiliations

AH Snyman, University of the Free State



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1. Philippians 4:2-3: ‘To agree or not to agree? Unity is the question’
David M. Allen
The Expository Times  vol: 121  issue: 11  first page: 533  year: 2010  
doi: 10.1177/0014524610373301

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