Philippians 3: 1-3
In order to understand and appreciate “Ironic Paul” one must first have a very good understanding of what Irony is and what Ironic actually means. In the chapter and verses which are the subject of this lesson, Paul uses irony to communicate his teachings.
What is the definition of irony?
The use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
Mark opens the lesson using the lyrics from a song by Alanis Morrisette’s Song “Ironic” to illustrate what is not ironic;
“An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the Lottery, and died the next day”
This is not ironic for one might expect a man of 98 to die. This simply means what it says.
“It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late”
Once again this is not ironic it’s tragedy.
Paul correctly uses irony in his writings which will be reflected in today’s lesson focusing
On three points:
- Some things are worth repeating
- Beware of the dogs!
- Paul gets ironic
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same thing to you is no trouble to
Me and is safe for you.
To clearly understand the context and use of words and their meaning, Mark goes through an overview of two bible translation, ESV and the NIV. He reflects on the variations in the wording differences between the two in these verses. While the variation doesn’t really change the meaning of the passage and the target audience would likely understand the context in which the phrasing is used, both translations would carry basically the same meaning.
Bible translators would likely agree that the best Bible translation is the one you will read.
A major rule of translation is that you can’t take one word used in one place in the Bible and assume that the meaning of that word is the same throughout the Bible.
Paul in several verses, Mathew 5:12, 2: Cor 13-11, Phil 2:18, Phil 4:4, referenced the need to Rejoice and comfort one another regardless of the circumstances. Peter Thomas O’ Brien summarized it this way:
“This was not an admonition to some kind of superficial cheerfulness that closes its eyes to the surrounding circumstances…
It recognizes God’s mighty working in and through those circumstances to fulfill his own gracious purposes in Christ.”
Pauls message to all, Life is not all Roses, there are great days and bad days, live through these circumstances and be joyful and trust in the Lord and REJOICE in the Lord
Points to Ponder – Rejoice in the Lord
Beware of the Dogs
Phil 3:2, Look out for the dogs, lookout for the evildoers and look for those mutilators of the flesh.
Dogs were scavengers detested by the Romans and gentiles were dogs to them.
Paul warned the followers to beware of dogs, evildoers and those who mutilate the flesh.
Irony of Paul
the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
The Judaizers were trying to circumcise the Gentiles (dogs), but in the process the Jews were merely mutilating the flesh and becoming dogs themselves.
For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship by the spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.
Point to Ponder:
Rejoice, Lookout, Glory in Christ Alone