Skip The Group Hug

Epaphroditus delivered Paul’s letter to the leaders in Philippi who were responsible for reading it to the congregation when they met. It closes (Philippians 4:21) with a command to individually greet each believer on Paul’s behalf. This is different than the way 1 and 2 Corinthians wraps up. In those letters the congregation is instructed to greet each other in an effort to, as one commentator put it, “cement cordial relations”. It’s the group hug approach. Philippians is different. Apostolic authority and pastoral care extend to the individuals for personal benefit and growth. The leadership of the church was entrusted with a significant responsibility. They were told to help assist in the unity building of the church. By receiving a greeting from the apostle, through the leadership, everyone received a personal message. This would extend to both Euodia and Synteche in the form of an instruction to get along. It would extend to the group that is leaning toward novelty Judaism as a reminder that we are saved Gentiles and can live like it. Even the ones that couldn’t give up their preferences in order to serve others would need a personal word, and maybe a little kick. Hugs could come later.

One thought on “Skip The Group Hug

  1. “Group hugs” have their place among individuals in need of family unity, but Paul extended direct recognition to each yoke-fellow one in response to God’s divine calling. His greeting befits the brothers and sisters in Christ at Philippi.

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