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Paul's Letter to the Philippians




BOOK : Philippians

Description : This letter has been described as a missionary thank-you letter in which the missionary reports on the progress of his work

Author: The apostle Paul

Date written : Probably between AD53 and AD59

Chapters : 4



Brief Synopsis:

•  A letter expressing unity with this church
•  Paul updates them on his own situation and challenges them to persevere in the Faith
•  He commends his associates and warns against those who would pervert the faith



Outline :


1:1-2 Salutation
1:3-11 Thanksgiving and Prayer for the Philippians
1:12-26 Paul's Personal Circumstances
1:27-2:18 Exhortations
1:27-30 Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel
2:1-18 Following the Servant Attitude of Christ
2:19-30 Paul's Associates in the Gospel
2:19-24 Timothy
2:25-30 Epaphroditus
3:1-4:1 Warnings against Judaizers and Antinomians
3:1-16 Against Judaizers or Legalists
3:17-4:1 Against Antinomians or Libertines
4:2-23 Final Exhortations, Thanks and Conclusion
4:2-9 Exhortations concerning Various Aspects of the Christian Life
4:10-20 Concluding Testimony and Repeated Thanks
4:21-23 Greetings and Benediction



Some Key Verses:


A sign of their closeness with Paul

1:4,5 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now


A good prayer

1:9-11 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.


Paul's imprisonment helps the Gospel by encouraging other believers

1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.


A call to lead a life worthy of your calling

1:27-28 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.


A call for unity Jesus' work and exaltation

2:5-11 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


A further call to live The Life

2:12-13 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.


Fellow workers: Timothy

2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you


Fellow workers: Epaphroditus

2:25,26 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.


Paul challenges the legalisers

3:4-8 If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel , of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.


Paul challenges those who worship self and pleasure

3:18-21 I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body


Even Christians fall prey to relational upsets and need help to get it right.

4:2,3 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.


Again Paul's unity with this church

4:14-16 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.



Concluding Comments


This is a friendly little letter. Paul was writing to

•  thank them for their support of him (1:5, 4:10-19)
•  but he also uses it as an opportunity to update them on his own situation (1:12-26, 4:10-19),
•  and also to encourage them to persevere in the Christian life (1:27-30, 4:4 etc.)
•  He also commends his two fellow workers, Timothy and Epaphroditus, and
•  warns the church against the legalists and libertines two extremes who do away with grace and goodness.



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