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Philippians

Phil, Php




The Book of Philippians


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Below you will also find the summary of this book.



The Book of Philippians summary

Purpose of The Book of Philippians:
Paul wrote the letter to encourage the Philippians in the middle of their suffering. Paul's primary motivation for writing this letter to the church at Philippi was to thank them for their generous financial gift they had sent to him while he was imprisoned in Rome. Like modern support letters, he includes not only his gratefulness, but also a report on his own condition and greetings to his close friends among them. However, as an apostle in the church, he takes this opportunity to encourage them as they faced persecution, internal struggles, and heretical teachers. To further these hopes, he recommends to them the faithful brothers - Timothy and Epaphroditus - who could ministry to them in a more specific and ongoing fashion.

Summary of The Book of Philippians:
Paul showed his gratitude to the Philippians for their generous gift to him (1:3-11), and then demonstrated through his own example why the Philippians should be thankful and joyful as well, no matter what their circumstances, because of God's generosity toward them (2:12-18; 4:4-19). Importantly, the church at Philippi was not filled with the kind of sin that we see in such places as Corinth or heresy that we see in such places as Galatia. Paul briefly addresses a particular instance of discord within the body: two women, Eudioa and Syntyche, are at odds with each other. Paul emphasizes the importance of reconciliation and agreement among God's people for the sake of the Gospel. For the most part, the church at Philippi was doing well. In his absence, Paul’s loving and gracious pastoral tone of affection warns them against a possible slide into heresy and is markedly different than his terse tone in some other New Testament letters.

Author and Dates of The Book of Philippians:
Philippians was one of the last letters Paul wrote, having penned it from Roman custody sometime around 61 AD. Paul's house arrest in Rome is chronicled in Acts 28:14-31, and this seems to be the circumstances in which the Philippians came to Paul's aid, and the circumstances in which Paul wrote his letter.

Outline of The Book of Philippians:

  1. Intro, Thanksgiving, and Paul's Situation (ch. 1).
  2. God's Purpose in Christ (Eph 1:3-23).
  3. Christ’s Humility, Timothy and Epaphroditus (ch. 2).
  4. Righteousness through Faith (ch. 3).
  5. Unity for the Sake of the Gospel and Summary (ch. 4).

Themes of The Book of Philippians:
Joy: Paul writes the church about joy and how it can be found in the darkest and most painful seasons of life. Throughout the 104 verses of the letter, the key words that appear include “joy” or “rejoice,” “in Christ,” and “Gospel,” which appears more than in any of Paul’s other letters. Together, they reveal that the secret of our joy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it going out even through our pain, trial, and affliction. Thus, joy as presented in Philippians is less a feeling based upon our circumstances and more in experiencing the comfort and forgiveness that comes from faith in Jesus Christ and what he did for us. As illustrations of a life lived for joy, Paul includes the story of Jesus’ joy in suffering (2:6–11), along with his own (3:4–14). According to Paul, because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, joy is possible in the midst of loneliness (1:1-11), suffering (1:12-18), death (1:19-30), humility (2:1-11), temptation (2:12-30), conflict (3:1-11), exhaustion (3:12-4:1), anxiety (4:2-9), and poverty (4:10-23). The Greek for “joy” is related to the noun charis, "grace, favor" or "that which delights." “Joy” (chara) means "the experience of gladness" or "rejoicing and merriness" and is similar its verb form (chairo), which means "rejoice, be merry." Sometimes Christians act as if Christianity were a sorrowful religion. It is not. It is a religion of joy and love. The leading thought of the letter is joy and gratitude for being in joint-participation in the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1:5-7). The words "rejoice " and “joy” appear sixteen times in the Letter. This epistle of joy rises to two great spiritual peaks in 2:5-11 where Paul presents the kenosis (the self-emptying or self-humiliation of Christ) and in 3:10-14 when he reveals the drive to know the resurrection and the call of God in Christ. The Judaizers, with their legalism and meanness, have followed Paul to Philippi and there is an echo in chapters one and three of their opposition to Paul and the message of the Gospel that brings joy.
Thanksgiving: Paul showed his gratitude to the Philippians for their generous gift to him (1:3- 11), and then demonstrated through his own example why the Philippians should be thankful and joyful as well, no matter what their circumstances, because of God's generosity toward them (2:12-18 and 4:4-19).
Gospel: In Philippians, Paul has mentions the Gospel frequently: "the fellowship in the gospel" (1:5), "confirmation of the gospel" (1:7), "progress of the gospel" (1:12), "defense of the gospel" (1:17), "worthy of the gospel" (1:27), "striving for the faith of the gospel" (1:27), "service in the gospel" (2:22), "labor in the gospel" (4:3), and "the beginning of the gospel" (4:15).
“In Christ” and “in the Lord”: One of the characteristic phrases in Paul’s writings - and John's writings (Gospel of John, John 1, John 2, John 3, and Revelation) - is "in Christ" or "in the Lord," the common Greek prepositional phrases are en Christo or en kurio. Here the preposition en is used to designate a close personal relation in which the object of the preposition is viewed as the control influence. We see this phrase again and again in Philippians.
Fellowship and Unity: The effect of the Gospel for human relationships is fellowship, unity, and selflessness. Koinonia is another keyword in Philippians. "Partnership" (NIV), "sharing" (NRSV), and "fellowship" (KJV) is the Greek noun koinonia, "close association involving mutual interests and sharing, association, communion, fellowship, close relationship." It is used often to describe relationships with God and with others in the Christian community, as it does here. It sometimes edges into the meaning of "participation, sharing," as in 3:10 "sharing his sufferings" and in the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16). The Philippians, beloved as they are by Paul, have some bickering and dissention going on. You can see this thread going throughout the short letter, sometimes subtly, by inference, and sometimes head-on. Read these verses and discuss the topic of fellowship and unity.



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