Philippians 2:5-11 is traditionally associated with the doctrine of the Trinity. However, I think the context suggests that Paul’s main point is not to teach the doctrine of the Trinity. From an interpretative standpoint, I believe the context suggests that Paul intends to teach something about unity and our attitude towards other believers, and he uses Christ as an example to make that point. If we also learn something about the Trinity, that is icing on the cake.
Philippians 1:27 begins a new section in which Paul urges his readers to live a life worthy of the gospel. Living such a life does not mean that you will live a perfect life. Rather if we actually believe the gospel is true, we now see the world differently and, we begin to view some things as right, proper and good, and begin to view other things as wrong, selfish and evil. And we choose accordingly.
What are we to make of Paul’s joy that selfishly ambitious teachers are proclaiming the gospel? And, what can we learn from his famous statement “to live is Christ, to die is gain”?
Paul’s opening prayer in Philippians reflect what he hopes and confidently expects God to do in the lives of his readers and it introduces the main theme of his letter. From this short prayer, we can learn what we ought to most want for ourselves and for each other.
Paul’s message in Philippians is essentially the same as Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19-20: Choose life by loving the lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him. He opens the letter expressing his gratitude — not because the Philippians have sent him financial support. But rather he is grateful that the gospel was so important to the Philippians that they wanted to support it.