In 1 Peter and Philippians Christology motivates the ethical exhortation of their readers. 1 Peter uses Christology as motivation both for Soteriology and ethical exhortation, although Peter implements Christology in his Soteriology only to remind his reader of their new identity as members of the family of God through Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Pet 13-17; 2:1-3). It caused them to suffer from the same society with its social and religious norms in which they previously lived, and which turned hostile towards them after their converson. As believers, though, their life should no longer conform to the society of their pagan neighbours. They have thus unexpectedly encountered verbial abuse and physical suffering from their circumstances. The readers of Peter and Paul suffered from opponents from outside the congregation (1 Pet 2:18-20; 3:13-17; Phil 1:27-30; 2:12-18), from conflicts within the community (Phil 2:1-5), as well as from false teaching directed against Paul’s gospel (Phil 3). To resolve the matters within community and to exhort their readers to stand firm in their faith in Christ Jesus, both Peter and Paul applied Christology to guide their readers on how to conduct their life as believers in their society. Believers are called to follow in the footsteps of Christ, not merely to start the adventure of Christian living, but to persevere up to the end, to the glory of God (cf. Mtt 24:13&Lk 21:19). In 1 Peter, the imperative for ethical exhortative motivation are followed by the indicative of its Christology as motivation: ethical exhortation (vv 13-17) followed by Christology (1:18-21); ethical exhortation (vv 1-3) followed by Christology as example of suffering and exaltation, as well as the foundation of spiritual community of the believers(2:4-8); ethical exhortation of domestic servants (vv 18-21) followed by Christology (vv 22-25); ethical exhortation (vv 13-17) followed by Christology (vv 18-22). In Philippians Christology stands in the center (Phil 2:6-11) as foundation of three ethical exhortations: to stand firm in their faith in Christ Jesus amidst hostile circumstances (1:27-30), to resolve conflicts among themselves (2:1-5), and to work out their salvation by trusting in God (2:12-18). In addition Paul exhorted his readers to imitated Christ, as well as himself, since his eager and absolute goal is to know Christ, the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering, as stated in Phil 2:6-11, and to rejoice in the Lord. Both Peter and Paul’s Christology have a soteriological perspective, but the Christology of both 1 Peter and Philippians focuses on the ethical motivation of their readers, to confirm their faith in Christ Jesus in their unstable circumstances.
Thesis (PhD (New Testament Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2007.