DATE: 61 AD
Key Message: Joy in Christ
The church at Philippi was the first church established by Paul in Europe (Acts 16) and he established this church on his second missionary journey. Philippi was a small city, founded by King Philip of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great.
Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the Philippian brethren (Phil 1:13-16). This church had financially helped Paul at least two times before this letter already (4:16-18) and when they heard of his imprisonment, the church sent Epaphroditus with another gift. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is to thank them for that gift, and it reveals his love and close relationship he had with this church, as well as teaching on the joy of the Lord that we can have in any situation in which we find ourselves.
A most important doctrinal passage is Phil. 2:5-11. It explains how Jesus, in His incarnation and being both fully God and fully man, set aside His divinity to live a human life. Making himself of no [divine] reputation, Jesus humbled Himself and was obedient unto death and was exalted above all. One of the most popular passages on prayer is found in Phil 4:6-7. Other favorite verses include 1:21, 23b; 3:10, 20; 4:8, 13. A significant autobiographical sketch appears in 3:4-14.
One of the most popular passages on prayer is found in Phil 4:6-7 and one of the most powerful passages on abundant life is found in Phil 4:8-9. Without a doubt, Paul expresses what should be every Christians greatest desire in these verses:
Phil 3:8,10 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Other favorite verses include Phil 1:21, Phil 23b; Phil 20; Phil 4:13.
In Galatians, Paul sounds fighting mad and tells them in no uncertain terms they are off track. In Romans, Paul sounds like a theology professor. In Thessalonians, Paul sounds like a youth leader giving encouragement and empowering them. In Philippians, Paul does not give a theology lesson or a problem-solving manual. Philippians is a thank-you letter filled with an endless stream of joyful remembrances and encouragements. All of Philippians is about learning how our relationship with Christ impacts our inner response to difficult external events.
OUTLINE OF PHILIPPIANS
I. Greetings and Expressions of Gratitude, 1:1-11
II. Paul’s Personal Circumstances: The Preaching of Christ, 1:12-30
III. The Pattern of the Christian Life: The Humility of Christ, 2:1-30
A. The Exhortation to Humility, 2:1-4
B. The Epitome of Humility, 2:5-11
C. The Exercise of Humility, 2:12-18
D. The Examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus, 2:19-30
IV. The Prize of the Christian Life: The Knowledge of Christ, 3:1-21
A. The Warning Against Judaizers, 3:1-4a
B. The Example of Paul, 3:4b-14
C. The Exhortation to Others, 3:15-21
V. The Peace of the Christian Life: The Presence of Christ, 4:1-23
A. Peace with Others, 4:1-3
B. Peace with Self, 4:4-9
C. Peace with Circumstances, 4:10-23
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