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FRAMEWORKS: Paul's letter to the Philippians

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FRAMEWORKS: Philippians 1


[Note: Because it is sometimes difficult to follow the flow of a letter like this, we have added a synopsis of each chapter & passage to help clarify where Paul is going with his writing. It is a letter with some gems that really stand out and so to encourage you to meditate on them we have highlighted them with a red plus sign]

[Overall Book Synopsis:

Ch.1 – Thanks for this church, be encouraged by Paul's situation & press on against the opposition.

Ch.2 – Keep on growing so you stand out for Christ. Hopes to send Timothy but returning Epaphroditus.

Ch.3 – Don't trust in human endeavour like the circumcision party; Paul had every cause to boast but gave it all up in order to know Christ.

Ch.4 – Maintain unity and harmony and know God's peace, follow my example, and do all we taught. Thanks for the gifts received.]


v.1,2 Greetings

v.3-11 Thanksgiving and Prayer

v.12-26 Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel

v.27-30 Life Worthy of the Gospel

[Chapter 1 Synopsis: Thanks for these believers and a determination to keep praying for them to grow, and encouragement not to be put off by hearing he is in prison, but to press in on the face of opposition.]



v.1,2 Greetings


v.1 (Paul & Timothy writing to God's people at Philippi) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God's holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

v.2  (above all, may they know God's grace and His peace) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



v.3-11 Thanksgiving and Prayer

[Passage Synopsis: When I remember you with affection, I'm thankful and ask God that He will complete the work in you He started, so that your love will keep growing as your knowledge of Him keeps growing and will be completed on the day He comes for you.]


v.3 (remembering you stirs thanks in me) I thank my God every time I remember you.

v.4-6 (when I pray, it is with joy because of our experiences with you) 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, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

[For a brief outline for meditating on these verses, go to end of page.]

v.7 (I am so blessed by you as together we share in God's grace) It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me.

v.8 (the Lord knows the truth how I long for you all) God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

v.9-11 (my prayer is that you will grow in love and knowledge, to be people of understanding, filled with Christ's righteousness, bringing glory to God) 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 for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.



v.12-26 Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel

[Passage Synopsis: You don't have to worry about me being in prison here in Rome because it's helped me share the gospel, so the palace guard have heard and my friends here encouraged. Some are competitive about sharing the Gospel but as long as it is shared, I don't mind. My future may be in doubt but whether God takes me home or leaves me to continue here is up to Him and OK by me. Actually I think He'll let me keep on so I can bless you.]


v.12 (Don't worry about my situation, it's working to expand the gospel) Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

v.13 (even the whole palace guard has heard it) As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

v.14  (and so being imprisoned has even encouraged the rest of the church here to share the gospel more) And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

v.15 (yes, some share for selfish reasons, but not all) It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

v.16 (some do out of love, empathizing with me) The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel.

v.17 (the others do it to stir trouble for me) The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

v.18,19 (but it doesn't matter as long as the gospel is shared and as I rejoice I know I will be delivered from prison some time) But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

v.20 (whatever happens I want Christ to be exalted through my life) I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

v.21 (if I live, that's good, if I die, even better) + For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. +

v.22 (if I live that means more ministry, but who knows what will happen) If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

v.23,24 (part of me wants to go to Christ, part to stay and bless you) I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

v.25,26 (actually, I think I'm likely to stay for your blessing) Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.



v.27-30 Life Worthy of the Gospel


[Passage Synopsis: So whatever the outcome, you keep going strong so what I hear about you will continue to encourage me, assured you're not being put off by any detractors of the gospel and opposition from them.]


v.27,28 (whatever the outcome, you keep living in accord with the gospel, standing strong in unity, not being put off by those who oppose you) 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 the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.

v.29,30 (like us you're called to share in Christ's sufferings – opposition!) For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.


[Starting to Meditate Example: Phil 1:4-6

“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, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”


Meditating is chewing over God's word for Him to feed us and change us through it. Here are some starters as an example towards that happening.


Part1: His praying

In all my prayers – signifies he does a lot of praying.

for all of you – he thinks about all those he knows in Philippi.

I always pray – again indicating how much he prays.

with joy – happy praying? Joyful praying which always lifts the spirit

because – there is a reason for this feeling. What is it?

Part 2: His relationship with them

your partnership – how the Philippians had played their part in the reception and imparting of the Gospel.

from the first day – he looks back to his first encounter with them.

until now – time has passed and they have remained steadfast to the present moment.

being confident – this knowledge of them provokes an outworking in his prayers.

Part 3: A Consequential Assurance

that he – this is Jesus, he is confident that Jesus will do something, not he Paul.

who began a good work – they are the work of Jesus that he started through Paul with them.

will carry it on – there is a process at work that takes time and goes on and on

to completion – this present phase has a time limit.

until – there IS an end to this time.

the day of Jesus Christ – we will keep going until Jesus returns.

And So?

What a challenge Paul is. Can I have relationships with people that are party expressed in the way I pray for them? Can my prayers be energized by what I know of them?

Can I look back to people I know who came to the Lord some time back and who have persevered to the present day (?with my help, encouragement, prayers?)

Can I thank and praise Jesus that this is his work, his people, his activity, and his glory?

Can I thank him that he will keep us and uphold us right through however many years we have left before he comes back again?]



Continue to Chapter 2