Philippians 1:19–26 is a difficult passage in which Paul appears simultaneously to have genuine concern for his potential death (1:20–21, 23a), the capacity to choose his fate and to withhold disclosing this choice in writing (1:22c), and yet utter certainty of release (1:25). This article proposes a fresh solution for Paul's situation, namely, that at the time of writing, Paul, with help from friends at his point of incarceration (1:13; 4:22), was considering escape from prison dependent on the outcome of his forthcoming trial. To make this case, I first explicate the dilemma the text poses. Then, I discuss other possible solutions, noting that all have limitations. I then outline the elements of a possible escape plan, demonstrating how it fulfils the requirements of Philippians, the historical setting in which escape was not uncommon, and Paul's thought and mission that includes his previous escape (2 Cor 11:32). I finally counter possible objections to the idea, arguing that none of them are terminal. I argue not that Paul necessarily used escape to leave his imprisonment but that escape is a plausible suggestion to be considered alongside a range of others by students of Paul and Philippians.
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Research Article| July 01 2015
Did Paul Plan To Escape From Prison? (Philippians 1:19–26)
Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters (2015) 5 (1): 89–108.
Mark J. Keown; Did Paul Plan To Escape From Prison? (Philippians 1:19–26). Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters 1 July 2015; 5 (1): 89–108. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/26371736
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