Re: CAIRETE -- Goodbye?

From: Mike Sangrey (
Date: Sun Jun 04 2000 - 12:50:12 EDT

"Kevin D. Williford" <> said:
> I understand that "goodbye" [in English] is derived from the longer
> phrase, "God be with you." Likewise the term "farewell" [in
> English] is derived from the phrase "Fare thee well." Both are
> idionmatic expressions used a valedictions in English. I am
> confident that other languages use similar phrases as expressions of
> valediction.

> Is it not possible then, that the phrase CAIRETE EN KURIWi found in
> both Phil. 3.1 and 4.4 is such an idomatic expression of valediction
> which would be best expressed in English by a similar idiom?


> I suppose I have for the time convinced myself of the possibility that
> the phrase in Phil. can be used as such a valediction. What remains is
> to discover if the text itself contains any clues which would allow or
> preclude such an interpretation.

Phil. 3.1:

I have been pondering the overall structure of Philippians. Could it
be the first sentence (3:1a) should go with the previous section and
thus bring it to an end--a possible valediction?

A translation, showing the paragraph split, would be something like:

    "Fairwell, my Christian brothers, I bid you joy in the Lord.

    "It is not harsh for me to write to you the items I mentioned
    to you before, it's a safeguard."

And then he continues. Admittedly, this is rather abrubt, and why
continue after a valediction? I think I have an answer.

I note the salutation in Phil. 1:1 addresses three groups of people:
The Philippian believers, and with them, the EPISKOPOI and DIAKONOI.
My thought is that in a normal letter one would expect each addressee to
be addressed in the body of the letter. For example, I sent this letter
to the B-Greek list; however, I also sent it directly to Kevin. Why?
On the one hand I'm interested in the thoughts of everyone on this list
as well as my taking this opportunity to participate in the discussion.
On the other hand, I am addressing Kevin's question directly and there
are some comments addressed specifically to him. Thus two addressees.
Is that same mechanism evident in Phil. 1:1? Though I haven't built a
rigorous case, I think it is.

First, and interestingly, 4:10 - 4:20, could easily be understood to be
speaking to a small group of people charged with a particular task--the
collection which was made for Paul's benefit (I'll clarify this more in
a moment). To my way of thinking this fits perfectly the role of the
DIAKONOS--a group of servants tasked to meet a specific need. But what
about the EPISKOPOI?

It appears to me that the overall group of believers is addressed from
1:12 to 3:1a. Then, starting with 3:1b, Paul addresses the EPISKOPOI.


seems incredibly emphatic and I'm quite surprised the NIV didn't bring
out the tone. However, I'd like to highlight the similar semantic
domains of BLEPW and EPISKOPOS. Without desiring to push this too far,
I find both involve 'sight' in some way. So, I think Paul is weaving
his thoughts together using words with like connotations, an
appropriate and palatable (to the reader) use of style.

Also, to my thinking, a main role of an EPISKOPOS is as a 'guard dog'
(pun intended--see context). And, ironically, in this topsy-turvy
upside-down kingdom, an important quality in dealing with Judaism was
for the 'guard dog' to adopt the attitude of humility. Humility is a
quality emphasized throughout the letter; however, here Paul uses himself
as an example of leadership, not in terms of strength, but in weakness.
An eminently appropriate way for leadership to deal with the Judaistic
religion. This makes sense in the context of addressing the EPISKOPOS
and instructing them regarding their role.

Also, note the hOSOI OUN TELEIOI in 3:15. TELEIOS and EPISKOPOS could
very easily refer to the same people (not that TELEIOS is a title,
nor EPISKOPOS for that matter); Paul is addressing the mature ones.
Paul says the mature ones are to adopt an attitude of humility; if,
in their leadership, they don't, God will make it clear (ain't that
the truth).

I bring this up since Kevin W. asked about clues in the text regarding
the use of CAIRETE EN KURIWi.

It seems to me that Paul is utilizing a valediction (to the first group
he addresses) in 3:1a or, at the very least, he is making a discourse
transition [1]. Also, 4:4-4:9 appears to me to be a transitioning
paragraph, too. The use of both


along with the content of 4:4-9 appears to have the tone of a person
addressing his concluding remarks to a group of people--again, a

If he were truly concluding, then why does he continue? To address the
third group--the DIAKONOI as I mentioned above. Lastly, Paul brings
the overall group back into focus in 4:15 with OIDATE DE KAI hUMEIS,
FILIPPHSIOI and then finishes with a valediction, namely, hH XARIS TOU
to bring the entire group back into scope since Paul is talking about
the kind gift administered by the DIAKONOI. In fact, I think Paul's
apparent need to mention the FILIPPHSIOI lends support to my thoughts
on the structure of Philippians.)

Anyway, I think Kevin has raised an interesting question; or at least,
IMO, he has made an astute observation. I offer the above observations
additionally to voice my thoughts regarding the overall structure of
Philippians as well as to offer some input into this discussion.

[1] An argument against my statements is one would think Paul would
introduce in 3:1b who he is now speaking to. 'hUMIN' seems very weak in
this regard. Would the salutation be sufficient to answer this objection?
I'm not sure.

Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa.
       There is no 'do' in faith, everywhere present within it is 'done'.

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