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I. AUTHOR, (Phil.1:1)
II. DATE OF WRITING: a.d. 62 or 64
Paul is writing from jail in Rome.
III. FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH IN PHILIPPI
Paul visited Philippi on his second missionary journey. On that visit he led a number of people to Christ who formed the church there. Some of these were Lydia and her family, the Philippian jailer and his family, and the girl possessed by a demon (Acts 16:14-34).
The city of Philippi was a Roman colony. As such, it was a miniature Rome. It mimicked Rome in every way. It was strategically located on an important trade route between Europe and Asia.
The city was named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.
There were two reasons Paul wrote this letter:
1. Philippians is a thank you note from a missionary to a supporting church.
2. The second reason was due to a conflict between two women. He mentions and names them in 4:1-2.
Unlike other epistles there was no extended doctrine to discuss, no error to refute, no wrong to correct.
A. The Philippian church was the first church established in Europe.
B. The book of Philippians is therefore more characteristically Gentile.
C. Women occupy a prominent place in the church.
A woman was the first convert in Europe (Lydia).
Paul first attended a meeting attended by women (Acts 16:12-15).
Two women were prominent in the church (Acts 4:2)
The church at Philippi was one of the most generous in financial support (4:10-16).
Paul presented them as a model of giving (2 Cor.8:1-5)
E. The theme of joy punctuates the epistle (17 times in some form).
F. The book is a letter rather than a treatise.
G. Philippians is full of Christ
H. There is much personal information about Paul in the epistle.
I. There is little use of the Old Testament.
J. In 104 verses, there are 51 references to the Lord Jesus by Name.
K. Note some of the references to the mind or attitude in this epistle: 1:7; 2:2, 3, 5; 3:15, 19; 4:2, 10.
V. THEME: Christ is the cause of our joy, not whether people respect us or not.
VI. CANON: The basis for inclusion in the Bible is very strong.
I. THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL AS LIVING ABOVE CONFLICT, CH. 1
A. Fellowship of the Gospel, 1:1-11
B. Furtherance of the Gospel, 1:12-26
C. Faith of the Gospel, 1:27-30
II. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST AS LIVING ABOVE SELF, CH. 2
A. Example of Christ, 2:1-11
B. Example of Paul, 2:12-18
C. Example of Timothy, 2:19-24
D. Example of Epaphroditus, 2:25-30
III. THE PURPOSE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS CHRIST CENTERED, CH. 3
A. Past, 3:1-11
B. Present, 3:12-16
C. Future, 3:17-21
IV. THE POWER OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS CHRIST, CH. 4
A. Means of unity, 4:1-7
B. Attitude of unity, 4:8-9
C. Power to bear pressure, 4:10-13
D. God’s provision in distress, 4:14-23
DATE: The date of Philippians cannot be positively fixed. It is one of the prison letters. Whether Paul was twice imprisoned, and if so, whether Philippians was written during the first or second imprisonment, affects in no way the message of the Epistle. A.D. 64 is the commonly received date. The immediate occasion of the Epistle is disclosed in Phil.4:10-18.
THEME: The theme of Philippians is Christian experience. Soundness of doctrine is assumed. There is nothing in church order to set right. Philippi is a normal New Testament assembly . . . saints in Christ Jesus, with the bishops (elders) and deacons. The circumstances of the apostle are in striking contrast with his Christian experience. As to the former, he was Nero's prisoner. As to the latter, there was the shout of victory, the song of joy. Christian experience, he would teach us, is not something which is going on around the believer, but something which is going on within the believer.
The key-verse is, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil.1:21). Right Christian experience, is the working, whatever one's circumstances may be, of the life, nature and mind of Christ living in us (Phil.1:6,11; 2:5,13).
The divisions are indicated by the chapters:
- Christ, the believer's life, rejoicing in suffering, 1:1-30.
- Christ, the believer's pattern, rejoicing in lowly service, 2:1-30
- Christ, the believer's object, rejoicing despite imperfections, 3:1-21.
- Christ, the believer's strength, rejoicing over anxiety, 4:1-23.
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . Special Comments