Friday, April 21, 2006


"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." (Phil. 3:2)

Since I am looking at reoccuring themes in Philippians, heres one that caught my attention. "Beware!" Three times in one verse we are warned to watch out for somethings. I would consider that being a reoccuring theme or at least a thought. I believe that Paul is warning the Philippian church about the heresy of what we now call "Judaism." I think Judaism is attempting to gain God's grace through adhering to the various laws in the Old Testament. Verse 1 says "to write the same things to you, to me is not grevious, but for you it is safe." Therefore obviously this issue is something that Paul has dealt with in the past. Can you say "Galatians?" These are some pretty bad descriptions to help us see their spiritual condition and work.
1. Dogs - This one floored me. The idea conveyed here is that of dogs in the 'east' and a time when they really were not 'domesticated.' Barnes gives us this pretty graphic observation:
"Dogs in the east are mostly without masters; they wander at large in the streets and fields, and feed upon offals, and even upon corpses; compare 1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:19. They are held as unclean, and to call one a dog is a much stronger expression of contempt there than with us; 1 Samuel 17:43; 2 Kings8:13. " The chain reference in my study Bible links this verse to Galatians 5:15 "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
2. Evil workers - they toil, they put forth effort, they labor BUT they are described as 'evil' or 'ill' or in other words 'bad.' Doubtless refering to the same people as 'dogs.'
3. Concision - or 'mutilation' (Strong). Paul pokes at them by calling their sacred act of circumcision as 'mutilation.' They really are convinced that God's grace is bestowed upon them because of an outward act. Verse 3 brings it home "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." The object of our worship is God and our confidence and rejoicing is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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