ABOUT THIS LETTER
Paul wrote this letter from jail (1.7) to thank the Lord's followers at Philippi for helping him with their gifts and prayers (1.5; 4.10-19). He hopes to be set free, so that he can continue preaching the good news (3.17-19). But he knows that he might be put to death (1.21; 2.17; 3.10).
The city of Philippi is in the part of northern Greece known as Macedonia. It was at Philippi that Paul had entered Europe for the first time, and there he preached the good news and began a church (Acts 16
). He now warns the Christians at Philippi that they may have to suffer, just as Christ suffered and Paul is now suffering. If this happens, the Philippians should count it a blessing that comes from having faith in Christ (1.28-30).
There were problems in the church at Philippi, because some of the members claimed that people must obey the law of Moses, or they could not be saved. But Paul has no patience with such members and warns the church, “Watch out for those people who behave like dogs!” (3.2-11). This letter is also filled with joy. Even in jail, Paul is happy because he has discovered how to make the best of a bad situation and because he remembers all the kindness shown to him by the people in the church at Philippi.
Paul reminds them that God's people are to live in harmony (2.2; 4.2,3) and to think the same way that Christ Jesus did:
Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain
equal with God.
Instead he gave up everything
and became a slave,
when he became
like one of us.
A QUICK LOOK AT THIS LETTER
Greetings and a Prayer (1.1-11)
What Life Means to Paul (1.12-30)
Christ's Example of True Humility (2.1-18)
News about Paul's Friends (2.19-30)
Being Acceptable to God (3.1—4.9)
Paul Thanks the Philippians (4.10-20)
Final Greetings (4.21-23)