Re: CAIRETE -- Goodbye?

From: Kevin D. Williford (
Date: Tue Jun 06 2000 - 15:16:32 EDT

Dear Mike,

Thank you and Ben for graciously responding to my question. I think you
agree with me that it is at least possible that CAIRETE EN KURIWi is a
Pauline valediction. However, I have a question regarding your translation
of Phil. 3.1


Which you translated as:
> "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."
Wouldn't this translation have to be something more like:

       "Fairwell, my brothers, take joy in the Lord..."

CAIRETE is a Pres. Act. Imper. 2p. Plur. and we would want to bring that
out in the translation. Paul is not doing the action of the verb "i.e. I
bid..." but rather commanding the Philippians to take an action "i.e.
[YOU] take joy."
Of course you realize my proposed translation is resting upon the
assumption that CAIRW can mean "Take joy" as well as "Rejoice." I don't
think this weakens the possibility of the phrase being a valediction,
because aren't imperatives occasionally used this way, i.e. "break a leg"
or "give my regards to broadway."

I agree that, if CAIRETE EN KURIWi is such a valediction, it seems to set a
frame around the text from 3.1b to 4.4. However, I'm not sure I agree with
your explanation that the phrase is meant to distinguish between three
distinct audiences in the letter, the Philippian believers (General),
EPISKOPOI (specific), and DIAKONOI (specific). [cf. Phil. 1.1] Such a
segregation of the letter seems to be unlikely since Paul throughout the
entire letter has placed such emphasis on partnership together for the
advancement of the Gospel. Take note of the use of the preposition SUN and
the partership terms. To emphasize partnership while segregating the letter
seems self-defeating to Paul's intention, IMHO.

Ben touched upon this briefly in his second reply to me. I hope you had
the chance to read it. Goodspeed and Beare felt that 1.1 to 3.1 were a
letter quite distinct from 3.2 to 4.20. This seems to lend weight to the
argument that 3.1 is a valediction, as does the references to Paul's
intention to send Timothy and the necessity of sending Epaproditus in Phil.
2.19-30. Such comments would naturally seem to appear at the end of a
letter. However, I don't agree with Goodspeed's reconstruction. [If you
happen to read this, take a deep sigh of relief, Ben]

Instead, it seems that Paul was about to close the letter in 3.1, but then
chose to digress for a moment to illustrate his point in 2.3-2.18 further
by contrasting his attitude with that of the circumcizers. You could think
of it as a parenthetical thought or as a postscript contained within the
body of the letter. Paul then resumes his benediction and valediction in

Craig S. Keener in the IVP Bible Background Commentary: NT, states that
"3.1 to 4.1 is a digression" and that "digressions were common in ancient
speaking and writing, and this section need be nothing more than such a
digression." [p. 562]

So I would outline the book's structure something like this:

       Address 1.1-3
       Thanksgiving 1.4-11
       Body 1.12-2.18
       Concluding Remarks 2.19-3.1a
       Digression (or Postscript to preceeding concluding remarks)
       Resumption of Concluding Remarks 4.4-9
       Thanksgivng for their received gift 4.10-19
       Benediction and Salutations 4.20-23

I hope this helps contributes something to your thoughts on the structure
of Philippians.


Kevin D. Williford
M.Div. Student
Midwestern Bapist Theological Seminary
Kansas City, MO

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