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Original Research

A Rhetorical analysis of Philippians 1:27-2:18

A H Snyman

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 26, No 3 (2005), 783-809. doi: 10.4102/ve.v26i3.251

Submitted: 03 October 2005
Published:  03 October 2005


A new trend in rhetorical analysis is to reconstruct Paul’ s rhetorical strategy from the text itself, rather than applying ancient or modern rhetorical models to his letters. A proposal for such a text-centred approach, in which the focus shifts from the formal to the functional,is briefly summarised in this article, followed by a discussion of the rhetorical situation that Paul wants to address in this letter. Spiritual problems, especially internal unrest and opposition from outside, called forth the letter. In order to address these problems, Paul tries to persuade his audience to persevere in living and proclaiming the gospel.  This dominant rhetorical strategy of 1:27 – 2:18 can be divided into four phases: 1:27-30  (exhorting the Philippians to persevere in proclaiming the gospel); 2:1-11 exhorting them to persevere in living the gospel); 2:12-13 (exhorting them to persevere in living the gospel), and 2:14-18 (exhorting them to persevere in proclaiming the gospel). In order to persuade his audience, Paul uses various rhetorical strategies and techniques. In analyzing these, the focus is on exegetical issues with rhetorical impact, on the types of arguments used, on the way Paul argues and on the rhetorical techniques used to enhance the impact of his communication. I hope to prove that Paul’ s persuasive strategy in Philippians could be constructed fairly accurately from the text itself, provided that it is read carefully and systematically.

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Author affiliations

A H Snyman, University of the Free State, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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