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Philippians 3:12-15

Context
Keep Going Forward

3:12 Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 1  3:13 Brothers and sisters, 2  I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: 3  Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 3:14 with this goal in mind, 4  I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God 5  in Christ Jesus. 3:15 Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. 6  If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 7 

1 tn Grk “that for which I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” The passive has been translated as active in keeping with contemporary English style.

2 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:12.

3 tn Grk “But this one thing (I do).”

4 tn Grk “according to the goal.”

5 tn Grk “prize, namely, the heavenly calling of God.”

6 tn Grk “those of us who are ‘perfect’ should think this,” or possibly “those of us who are mature should think this.”

sn The adjective perfect comes from the same root as the verb perfected in v. 12; Paul may well be employing a wordplay to draw in his opponents. Thus, perfect would then be in quotation marks and Paul would then argue that no one – neither they nor he – is in fact perfect. The thrust of vv. 1-16 is that human credentials can produce nothing that is pleasing to God (vv. 1-8). Instead of relying on such, Paul urges his readers to trust God for their righteousness (v. 9) rather than their own efforts, and at the same time to press on for the prize that awaits them (vv. 12-14). He argues further that perfection is unattainable in this life (v. 15), yet the level of maturity that one has reached should not for this reason be abandoned (v. 16).

7 tn Grk “reveal this to you.” The referent of the pronoun “this” is the fact that the person is thinking differently than Paul does. This has been specified in the translation with the phrase “the error of your ways”; Paul is stating that God will make it known to these believers when they are not in agreement with Paul.



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