Philippians: 5 Books Every Pastor Should Read

Philippians: 5 Books Every Pastor Should Read June 16, 2020



Joseph Hellerman, Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Today

It is a shame this book is not more widely known; Hellerman uses Philippians as a case study for Paul’s cruciform apostleship and how his vision can shape ministry today. It is a must read for studying Philippians. If you want more from Hellerman, check out his monograph, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi.


Eduard Verhoef, Philippi: How Christianity Began in Europe

This is a short, but well-researched study of ancient Philippi. For its detailed information, it is very readable, I used this as a basic foundation for my research on Philippians.

Where Christology Began: Essays on Philippians 2

This set of essays by NT scholars (e.g., Bauckham, Dunn, Fowl) offers excellent reflections on the Christ Hymn (2:5-11). It is in need of a fresh treatment (these essays are 20+ years old), but still worth reading.

Michael Gorman, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross

Hailed by many as a modern classic, this book points to Phil 2:5-11 (the Christ Hymn) as a “Master Story” outlining Paul’s narrative spirituality based on Jesus’ suffering love and obedience to God.

James P. Ware, Paul and the Mission of the Church: Philippians in Ancient Jewish Context

One of the more accurate and insightful studies engaging with the question of whether or not Paul urged or expected his churches to actively share the gospel.


TWO Bonus Resource!

I had to add two more:

Peter Oakes, Philippians: From People to Letter

A bit pricey ($50), but a masterful study of the social reality of the church in Philippi that Paul wrote to.

Dwelling with the Philippians: A Conversation with Scripture through Image and Word

This is a visually-rich artistic journey through the letter. Great for inspiration and images for a sermon series. Poetry and other worship resources also included.


My Philippians Resources

Reading Philippians

A short study for primarily for laypeople.

Philippians (co-written with Michael F. Bird)

An intermediate academic commentary that engages with critical issues in the text as well as theological themes and the relevance of Paul’s messages for today.



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