by Ken Cayce

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Philippians Explained

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Book of Philippians Explained

Title: Philippians derives its name from the Greek city where the church to which it was addressed was located. Philippi was the first town in Macedonia where Paul established a church.

Authorship: The unanimous testimony of the early church was that the Apostle Paul wrote Philippines. Nothing in the letter would have motivated a forger to write it.

The question of when Philippians was written cannot be separated from that of where it was written. The traditional view is that Philippians, along with the other Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon), was written during Paul's first imprisonment at Rome (ca. A.D. 60-62). The most natural understanding of the references to the   praetorian guard¯ (1:13), and the   saints ¦ of Caesar's household¯ (4:22), is that Paul wrote from Rome, where the emperor lived. The similarities between the detail of Paul's imprisonment given in Acts and in the Prison Epistles also argue that those epistles were written from Rome (e.g., Paul was guarded by soldiers, Acts 28:16; compare 1:13-14; was permitted to receive visitors, Acts 28:30; compare 4:18; and had the opportunity to preach the gospel, Acts 28:31; compare 1:12-14; Eph. 6:18-20; Col. 4:2-4).

Background " Setting: The city of Philippi. The city was established by and named after, Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. After Octavian defeated Mark Antony's army at Actium (in 31 B.C.), Philippi was designated as a military colony with special privileges of citizenship. This may account for the terminology used (in 1:27 politeuesthe),    to conduct oneself as a citizen¯), and (3:20) (politeuma,    citizenship¯). Proud of their citizenship, its inhabitants called themselves   Romans¯ (Acts 16:21). The official language was Latin, but the daily tongue was Greek. According to (Acts 16:12), Philippi was the   chief city of that part of Macedonia.¯ Its importance lay not least in its being a crossroads lying on one of the main routes between Asia and Europe.

We will find many different things about this church at Philippi and the one in Corinth. In fact, the first church meetings here, were held in Lydia's home. Actually, Lydia and her family were the first converts to Christianity here. We will find that Paul had been instructed directly from God to go to this area, because they needed help.

There was no synagogue in this area, and the women were praying out at the river bank where they washed. They were there on the Sabbath, and Paul went there and brought them the good news of the gospel.

It seemed Lydia was very prominent in the work here in Philippi. The first man that was brought into the church here was the Philippian jailor and his family.

This city was said to be a Roman city in Greece. This made this church a Gentile church. There was not the problem with the Jews at this time, because they were not prominent in worship here. Both Latin and Greek were spoken here in Phillip. This was a poor church, but one that gave generously to help Paul. This was the only church that Paul would take help from.

In this church, we see ministry of the women more prominent than in the other churches. Paul, on one occasion, tells the church people to cooperate with the women that had ministered with him.

Historical: Since it is primarily a practical letter, Philippians contains little historical material (there are no Old Testament quotes), apart from the momentous treatment of Paul's spiritual autobiography (3:4-7). There is, likewise, little direct theological instruction, also with one momentous exception. The magnificent passage describing Christ's humiliation and exaltation (2:5-11), contains some of the most profound and crucial teaching on the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Bible. The major theme of pursuing Christlikeness, as the most defining element of spiritual growth and the one passion of Paul in his own life, is presented (in 3:12-14). In spite of Paul's imprisonment, the dominant tone of the letter is joyful (1:4, 18, 25-26; 2:2, 16-18, 28; 3:1, 3; 4:1, 4, 10).

The planting of this church on his second missionary journey, was Paul's first act on European soil. The history of his mission there is recorded in (Acts 16:12-40). His sojourn was brief but long enough for him to fall victim to abuse and punishment. The power of his ministry was demonstrated in the deliverance of a demon possessed girl, in the conversion of Lydia and her household, and in the salvation of the jailer and his family.

To this small nucleus, others were later added: Epaphroditus (2:25-30), Euodias and Syntyche (4:2), Clement, an unnamed friend, and other   fellow laborers¯ (4:3). Judging from these names the church seems to have been mostly Gentile. The assembly was organized and under the oversight of its leaders, the bishops and deacons of (1:1). The congregation at Philippi quickly became the dearest of all of the apostle's children in the faith. While Paul's relationship with some fellowships (e.g. the Corinthians and the Galatians), was at times strained. His relationship with the Philippians was apparently never marred by misunderstandings or distrust.

  From the first day until now¯ (1:5), they had shared his interests, made his suffering their own, and participated with him in his ministry. Twice they had sent him money at Thessalonica (4:16), once at Corinth (2 Cor. 11:9), and now again at Rome (4:18). Their love for him (1:9), was reciprocated in full measure (1:7-8). In the epistle he addresses them three times as   beloved¯ and calls them   brethren ¦ longed for, ¯ and   my joy and crown¯ (4:1). They are, on the whole, in good spiritual health. Their only flaw is an apparent lack of complete harmony among some of their members. Hence, Paul often summons them to unite (1:27; 2:1-4; 4:2-3). And a potential danger lies in their enemies, thus occasioning the caution of (3:1 " 4:1). Despite being under persecution (1:28), and experiencing suffering (1:29-30), they are doing well.

Theme: The basic theme of the epistle is joy. This idea of rejoicing is found 16 times, appearing in noun forms (1:4, 25; 2:2, 29; 4:1), and verb forms (1:18, twice; 2:17, twice; 2:18 twice; 2:28; 3:1; 4:4, twice; 4:10). There is ample basis for this theme throughout the letter. There is joy in suffering, for through it, God accomplishes good (1:12-14). There is joy in the sacrificial giving of oneself (2:17-18), and of one's goods (4:18), to meet the needs of others and to do God's will, thus following Jesus' example (2:4-11). There is joy in knowing Christ and experiencing His resurrection power (3:8-10). There is joy when harmony prevails among the brethren (2:4; 4:2-5). And there is joy over the adequacy of Christ (4:13, 19), which produces contentment for every circumstance of life.


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Philippians 1 Philippians 3
Philippians 2 Philippians 4

Philippians 1

Philippians Chapter 1

Philippians 1:1 ¯ Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:¯

Philippians 1:2   Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.¯

Philippians 1:3   I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,¯

Philippians 1:4   Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,¯

Philippians 1:5   For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;¯

Philippians 1:6   Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform until the day of Jesus Christ:¯

Philippians 1:7   Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.¯

Philippians 1:8   For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.¯

Philippians 1:9   And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all judgment;¯

Philippians 1:10   That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;¯

Philippians 1:11   Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.¯

Philippians 1:12   But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;¯

Philippians 1:13   So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other ;¯

Philippians 1:14   And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.¯

Philippians 1:15   Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:¯

Philippians 1:16   The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:¯

Philippians 1:17   But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.¯

Philippians 1:18   What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.¯

Philippians 1:19   For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,¯

Philippians 1:20   According to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death.¯

Philippians 1:21    For to me to live Christ, and to die gain.¯

Philippians 1:22 ¯ But if I live in the flesh, this the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not.¯

Philippians 1:23    For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:¯

Philippians 1:24    Nevertheless to abide in the flesh more needful for you.¯

Philippians 1:25    And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;¯

Philippians 1:26    That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.¯

Philippians 1:27    Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;¯

Philippians 1:28    And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.¯

Philippians 1:29    For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;¯

Philippians 1:30    Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear in me.¯

Philippians 2

Philippians Chapter 2

Philippians 2:1 "If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,"

Philippians 2:2 "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind."

Philippians 2:3 "[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."

Philippians 2:4 "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

Philippians 2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"

Philippians 2:6 "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:"

Philippians 2:7 "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"

Philippians 2:8 "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Philippians 2:9 "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:"

Philippians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;"

Philippians 2:11 "And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 2:12 "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure."

Philippians 2:14 "Do all things without murmurings and disputings:"

Philippians 2:15 "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"

Philippians 2:16 "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain."

Philippians 2:17 "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all."

Philippians 2:18 "For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me."

Philippians 2:19 "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state."

Philippians 2:20 "For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state."

Philippians 2:21 "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."

Philippians 2:22 "But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel."

Philippians 2:23 "Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me."

Philippians 2:24 "But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly."

Philippians 2:25 "Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants."

Philippians 2:26 "For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick."

Philippians 2:27 "For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow."

Philippians 2:28 "I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful."

Philippians 2:29 "Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:"

Philippians 2:30 "Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me."

Philippians 3

Philippians Chapter 3

Philippians 3:1 "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe."

Philippians 3:2 "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."

Philippians 3:3 "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."

Philippians 3:4 "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:"

Philippians 3:5 "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;"

Philippians 3:6 "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

Philippians 3:7 "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ."

Philippians 3:8 "Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ,"

Philippians 3:9 "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"

Philippians 3:10 "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"

Philippians 3:11 "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Philippians 3:12 "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:13 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,"

Philippians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:15 "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."

Philippians 3:16 "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."

Philippians 3:17 "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example."

Philippians 3:18 "(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ:"

Philippians 3:19 "Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"

Philippians 3:20 "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:"

Philippians 3:21 "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."

Philippians 4

Philippians Chapter 4

Philippians 4:1 "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, [my] dearly beloved."

Philippians 4:2 "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."

Philippians 4:3 "And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] other my fellow laborers, whose names [are] in the book of life."

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always: [and] again I say, Rejoice."

Philippians 4:5 "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand."

Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things."

Philippians 4:9 "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

Philippians 4:10 "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity."

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content."

Philippians 4:12 "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Philippians 4:14 "Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction."

Philippians 4:15 "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only."

Philippians 4:16 "For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity."

Philippians 4:17 "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account."

Philippians 4:18 "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God."

Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:20 "Now unto God and our Father [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Philippians 4:21 "Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you."

Philippians 4:22 "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."

Philippians 4:23 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen."