Irish1975 wrote: ↑
Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:07 am
Here’s a funny line from the apostle:
14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel [ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου] when I left Macedo′nia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only; 16 for even in Thessaloni′ca you sent me help[a] once and again. [RSV]
It’s one of those verses that make translators desperate, as in the NIV:
“...as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia...”
The combination of the words “beginning” and “gospel” appear in a later, rather important place:
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (gMark 1:1)
What is Paul talking about? What is “the beginning of the gospel” in this text, and what did it have to do with the Philippians, or with Paul’s leaving Macedonia?
Not that I have a firm answer to your question, but I have noticed the word "beginning" being used in ways reminiscent of how we find it in Philippians 4.15 before. There is this Clementine passage, for example, which uses the exact same phrase of the (first) letter to the Corinthians:
1 Clement 47.1-2: 1 Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. 2 What did he first write to you in the beginning of the gospel [ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου]?
A couple of lines from the Johannine letters and one from Hebrews might be similar:
1 John 3.11: 11 For this is the announcement which you have heard from the beginning [ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἠκούσατε ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς], that we should love one another.
2 John 1.5-6: 5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but rather which we have had from the beginning [ἣν εἴχομεν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς], that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning [αὕτη ἡ ἐντολή ἐστιν, καθὼς ἠκούσατε ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς], that you should walk in it.
Hebrews 3.14: 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance [τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς ὑποστάσεως] firm until the end.
The beginning of the gospel of Mark, which you have already mentioned, has been compared to a famous Augustan piece of propaganda:
Priene calendar inscription, circa 9 before Christ: Ἔδοξεν τοῖς ἐπὶ τῆς Ἀσίας Ἕλλησιν, γνώμῃ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως Ἀπολλωνίου τοῦ Μηνοφίλου Ἀζανίτου· ἐπε[ιδὴ ἡ θείως] διατάξασα τὸν βίον ἡμῶν πρόνοια σπουδὴν εἰσεν[ενκαμ]ένη καὶ φιλοτιμίαν τὸ τεληότατον τῶι βίωι διεκόσμη[σεν ἀγαθὸν] ἐνενκαμένη τὸν Σεβαστόν, ὃν εἰς εὐεργεσίαν ἀνθρώ[πων] ἐπλήρωσεν ἀρετῆς, <ὥ>σπερ ἡμεῖν καὶ τοῖς μεθ’ ἡ[μᾶς σωτῆρα χαρισαμένη] τὸν παύσαντα μὲν πόλεμον, κοσμήσοντα [δὲ εἰρήνην, ἐπιφανεὶς δὲ] ὁ Καῖσαρ τὰς ἐλπίδας τῶν προλαβόντων [εὐανγέλια πάντων ὑπερ]έθηκεν, οὐ μόνον τοὺς πρὸ αὐτοῦ γεγονότ[ας εὐεργέτας ὑπερβαλόμενος, ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ἐν τοῖς ἐσομένοις ἐλπίδ[α ὑπολιπὼν ὑπερβολῆς,] ἤρξεν δὲ τῶι κόσμωι τῶν δι’ αὐτὸν εὐανγελί[ων ἡ γενέθλιος ἡμέ]ρα τοῦ θεοῦ, τῆς δὲ Ἀσίας ἐψηφισμένης ἐν Σμύρνῃ.... / [Ben C. Smith:] It was seemly to the Greeks in Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: since providence, which has ordered all things of our life and is very much interested in our life, has ordered things in sending Augustus, whom she filled with virtue for the benefit of men, sending him as a savior both for us and for those after us, him who would end war and order all things, and since Caesar by his appearance surpassed the hopes of all those who received the good tidings, not only those who were benefactors before him, but even the hope among those who will be left afterward, and the birthday of the god was for the world the beginning of the good tidings through him; and Asia resolved it in Smyrna.... / [Craig Evans:] It seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: Since providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance excelled even our anticipations, surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him, which Asia resolved in Smyrna....