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Gordon Fee on Rejoicing in the Lord

By Mark D. Roberts | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Part 13 of series: Sharing Laity Lodge
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Recently Gordon Fee came to speak at Laity Lodge. He is now a Professor Emeritus of Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Before retiring, he taught New Testament courses at Regent, and before that at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Gordon Fee is a highly regarded New Testament scholar, and an expert in the field of textual criticism. He has written several books, among them How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (with Doug Stuart). (Photo to right: Dr. Gordon Fee holding forth in the Great Hall of Laity Lodge.)

Gordon Fee spoke for a retreat of people from the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio. He focused on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, doing, as one might expect, an excellent job of interpreting the biblical text. (By the way, Gordon has written the best seminary-level guide to the interepretation of the New Testament: New Testament Exegesis.)

I won’t summarize Gordon Fee’s teaching here. But I do want to mention something he said almost as an aside. He was dealing with Philippians 3:1, which says, “Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.” Gordon explained that this is not a command to feel happy feelings. Paul is not saying, “Rev yourself up and be joyful.” Rather, this is a command to praise the Lord, to worship God. It may well be that when we do this, we will feel joy. But that’s not the main point. Paul is repeating in Philippians what can be found throughout the Psalms: calls to praise God through joyful expression.

Gordon Fee has nothing against feeling happy, I’m quite sure. But his take on Philippians is a helpful one. Perhaps you have wondered how you’re supposed to make yourself feel joyful when your down in the dumps. It can almost seem as if Paul is telling us to do the impossible. But when we understand that he is calling us to praise God, then we’re released from the task of having to make ourselves feel a certain way, a task that often leads to denial and pretending.

Topics: Sharing Laity Lodge |

3 Responses to “Gordon Fee on Rejoicing in the Lord”

  1. This Week In Blogs « Sets ‘n’ Service Says:
    February 16th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    […] I developed a great appreciation for Godon Fee after I spent a year and a half in his 1 Corinthian commentary with another pastor weekly. Mark D. Roberts has a piece on him “Rejoicing in the Lord.” […]

  2. Lackelo Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 8:13 am

    1. Pray that God will provide me with resources to build a family house.
    2. Pray that God will provide me with a good paying job at African Bible Collee.
    3. Pray that God will provide me with college fees for my children to study in UK.
    4. Pray that Khumbo Nyemba will be a God fearing girl.
    5. Pray that God will provide me with a God fearing husband

  3. Lackelo Says:
    August 7th, 2008 at 3:40 am

    1. Pray that Khumbo Nyemba will be a God fearing girl.
    2. Pray that God will grant me a God fearing husband from UK.
    3. Pray athat God will grand me a college fees for my children to study in UK.
    4. Pray that God will grant resources to build a family house.
    5. Pray that God will grant me a good paying job at African Bible College.


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