For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Lynn Cohick.
Lynn Cohick is professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College. Cohick has published several books including,Ephesians in the New Covenant Commentary Series andWomen in the World of the Earliest Christians. Her latest volume, Philippians, is one of the first two volumes in Zondervan's The Story of God Bible Commentary series which launched this past October.
Today we chat with Lynn about the importance of Philippians, joy and contentment, and the goal of a believer's life.
It's not just pastors and professionals using biblical commentaries these days, is it? Who else uses these volumes?
The average interested believer and the lay leader are interested in exploring the biblical text more deeply. And the wider public is engaged more and more with questions about the truthfulness of Christianity and the Bible, so believers want to be better informed about what the Bible says.
Also, two trends are important within the Evangelical church that factor into a larger readership of commentaries. First, there is renewed interest in the social and historical world of the Bible. In the case of the New Testament, we find questions about the Roman political system, the Hellenistic social and cultural system, the ancient religious practices among Jews and Gentiles—these factors are recognized as important contexts for understanding the message of the Bible. Second, there is a rediscovery of God's redemptive story that sweeps across the ages and the pages of the Bible. Believers are reading not only deeply into individual books, but are appreciating anew a canonical reading that integrates across the Testaments, and among the books of each Testament.
Talking now specifically about Philippians, what is the importance of this particular book in the Bible?
One could argue that it is not what is said but how it is said that makes Philippians so special. As in other of Paul's letters, we have evidence of Christ's deity and humanity—but the Christ Hymn of chapter two sings down through the ages, fixing these great doctrinal truths into the heart of the church. Again, we have mention of the importance of Christian unity, but in Philippians, Paul's great joy in his fellowship with them shines through and adds joyful energy to his exhortations for unity within that local church. Thirdly, we find the promise of resurrected life, but in Philippians Paul presents his own passionate desire to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. Moreover, Paul encourages the believers that their Savior is returning, and will transform them by this resurrection power.
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