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Philippians 1-4     Listen Podcast  

Introduction to Philippians
Paul wrote this letter while in prison - probably during the Roman imprisonment we see in Acts 28:30 (see notes). He talks specifically about this imprisonment in 1:12-18 (see below). That would put the date of the letter at 59 to 61 A.D. Philippi was far away from Jerusalem - over 1,000 miles by boat up in Macedonia. The church at Philippi was founded in A.D. 50 in the course of Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 16, see notes).

Paul seems to really like these people (Philippians 1:1-11)

1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, ¶ To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 ¶ Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 ¶ I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
9 ¶ And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Compared to the other churches to whom he wrote letters, Paul's greeting seems more affectionate toward these folks as we look over the first 5 verses of his epistle. He had established this church some 10 or so years earlier while on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:12-40, see notes). Timothy's name is in the greeting, not because he helped Paul write the letter, but rather that he was traveling with Paul at the time of the writing. Timothy was a well-known leader to the Philippians. His reference to "fellowship in the gospel" in verse 5 may very well be two fold - the kindness and hospitality they had shown toward Paul along with their continued financial support which he mentions in 4:15-16 (see below)

Though still in the process of greeting, Paul makes a significant doctrinal point in verse 6 as he verifies the continuing work of grace in their lives - not only for their salvation ("begun a good work"), but for the long haul through the strength of the Holy Spirit in their lives. That work continues until "the day of Jesus Christ," a term mentioned again in verse 10, which is discussed below. Paul again expresses his love for them in verses 7-8. The very literal KJV term "bowels" in verse 8 comes from the Greek noun, "splagchnon," which literally refers to intestines, but was used figuratively during that period to convey intense compassion for another; the NKJV simply translates the word as "affection."

In verses 9-11, Paul shares with the Philippians the prayer he prays for them as follows:

In writing to the Philippians, Paul uses a term ("day of Christ") that deserves some explanation. Observe these references:

Like many who have studied before me, I had once attempted to fix a hard-and-fast rule on the usage of the terms "day of Jesus/Christ/God/the Lord." After countless hours of comparison over a period of years, it seems that there are no hard-and-fast rules on the usage of the term; the context must be considered in each instance in the New Testament. As a matter of fact, sometimes the word "day" (Greek: "hemera") is used to describe a literal 24-hour period and sometimes just the daylight portion; sometimes it figuratively describes a period of time - similar to the way we use the word when we say something like, "Back in my day, things were different."

Following are some of the events that may be referenced by the term "day of" in the New Testament:

So...what is meant when Paul uses the terms in Philippians? In all three references (1:6, 1:10, 2:16), Paul is obviously making reference to the end of labors for Believers in his day and ours here on earth. Therefore, those references clearly identify the rapture for Believers.

I love prison! (Philippians 1:12-18)

12 ¶ But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,
13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;
14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 ¶ Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:
16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;
17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

What a trooper! Paul acknowledges that his imprisonment in Rome is necessary for the advancement of the Gospel. He is being availed with opportunities for spreading the Gospel not possible otherwise. He remarks that this includes the "palace" (Greek: praitorion) along with other places. Moreover, others had been emboldened to preach upon Paul's imprisonment as well - some with the correct motivations and some without. Whatever their motivation, Paul says in verse 18, "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice." The Greek word for "pretense" there is "prophasis" which literally means "false motive." Isn't it interesting that Paul is pleased that "Christ is preached" even by those whose motivation for doing so is not what it should be? Understand, he's not talking about false doctrine here - just their motivation for preaching - as long as the message is true.

Rejoicing in prison (Philippians 1:19-26)

19 ¶ For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,
26 that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

The "deliverance" of verse 19 is used in the context of physical "deliverance" - not spiritual. He's talking about physical deliverance from prison and from a potential death sentence. He is determined to be just as bold in the face of death as he is in life. I particularly like Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Paul says his life is all about Christ.,'s all good to him. However, he expresses in verse 24 that the Philippians will benefit more if his life is spared, even though his personal preference (verse 23) is to go ahead and be with Christ (in death). However, he concludes that his personal feelings about the issues are that God will allow his life to be spared this time; he anticipates seeing the Philippians once again (verses 25-26).

So...was Paul able to go back to Philippi and minister after the writing of this letter? Here's an excerpt from the Expositor's Bible Commentary on that issue:

Evidence from the pastoral Epistles, confirmed by considerable early historical testimony, indicates that Paul was released from this first Roman imprisonment and had opportunity for travel, including a trip through Macedonia (and presumably Philippi), before being imprisoned once again and suffering a martyr’s death.

Testimony, testimony, testimony! (Philippians 1:27-30)

27 ¶ Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Paul emphasizes that his desire for them is that they remain strong in Christ with or without his presence. Notice Philippians 1:27, "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." That Greek phrase uses the Greek imperative verb form ("politeuomai"). He also uses the Greek word for "worthy" ("axios"). Add to that imperative (a command) the phrase ("worthy of the gospel of Christ") and you get the sense. Paul's insisting upon a lifestyle that is "worthy." Let's reword the phrase like this: "Only, let you live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Contrary to what many would have you believe, what people observe about our lifestyle does matter. And what about those people who oppose your life in Christ (verse 28)? That opposition is simply a verification of their impending destruction ("perdition") and your salvation. And notice verse 29 - a little suffering? No big deal! It goes with the territory (verse 29), just as it is with Paul (verse 30).

Let's emulate Christ (Philippians 2:1-11)

1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 ¶ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

These verses show us the attributes of Christ and challenge us to emulate them. Verses 1-2 make this point: If your comfort is from Christ (which he's not questioning), then be unified. There's that Greek word ("splagchnon") translated "bowels" (KJV) and "affection" (NKJV) again as we already saw in 1:8 (see above); it was used figuratively during that period to convey intense compassion for another. How does that look on the outside? There's your answer in verses 3-4 - selflessness! Verses 1-4 encourage us to work as a team with other Believers; all of us are working toward the same goal; who cares where the credit goes. It was for the good of the body of Believers that Jesus Christ made his sacrifice, as seen in verses 5-11. These are worth memorizing; they demonstrate to us that Christ is worthy to be worshipped, and one day EVERYONE will declare that HE IS LORD! Incidentally, these attributes of Christ are given to us here to support Paul's admonition of verses 3-4. Literally, don't get caught up in your own self interests at the exclusion of the interests of others...just like Christ.

In the study of Christ, these verses are of utmost importance, though Paul gives them almost incidentally in making a point about Christian lifestyle. In other words, these 7 verses (5-11) have heavy Christological implications as follows:

The importance of a positive testimony ((Philippians 2:12-18)

12 ¶ Therefore, my beloved, as you 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;
13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 ¶ Do all things without complaining and disputing,
15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
17 ¶ Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

Now here's a verse that has been taken out of context by Biblical novices: Philippians 2:12, "Therefore, my beloved, as you 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." Notice the context; Paul is talking to saved people to whom he has already ministered, but may not be able to personally minister in their presence again. He is telling them that the details of positive Christian living before the world is something that they must "work out" on their own. This verse has nothing to do with mixing works with salvation by faith. The "work out" (Greek verb: "katergazomai") simply implies to be about the business of performing works that reflect salvation.

Paul then uses an expression which is used by him in several other contexts in his writings, "with fear and trembling." It's an expression in Greek which is meant to convey extreme importance used by Paul also in I Corinthians 2:3, II Corinthians 7:15 and Ephesians 6:5 in various contexts. In verse 13 Paul says that God works in us for his "good pleasure." With that thought in mind, he notes that it's not just the big things, but the little things as well that accentuate a positive testimony for Christ. Verse 14 shows us that being a perpetual malcontent is sometimes just as damaging to one's testimony as major acts of rebellion. Make no mistake about it, verses 14 and 15 are lifestyle verses. Believers should strive to be above reproach in their public testimony. Paul calls in a marker in verse 16 when he challenges them to share the "word of life"( i.e. the Gospel) with others as he had done with them. We are to be lights in this world - not cast a shadow with our presence when we enter a room. The "day of Christ" here is to be understood as the rapture of Believers (see discussion on "day of Christ" above). Paul refers to his own potential death sentence as a sacrifice in verses 17-18 - a sacrifice that will have been gladly given on behalf of these Philippians. For their receipt of the Gospel message from Paul, they also rejoice.

A couple of good messengers ((Philippians 2:19-30)

19 ¶ But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.
20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.
22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me.
24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
25 ¶ Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;
26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.
27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;
30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

Paul expresses a desire to be able to have someone minister to them like himself, but none is available to do so. Nonetheless, he expresses his desire to send Timothy later and Epaphroditis soon to minister among them. He commends Timothy for being "like minded" with himself (verse 20), a characteristic which Paul found rare (verse 21). We see in verse 25 that it apparently was Epaphroditis who had brought word from the Philippian church to Paul (and perhaps a little cash while he was at it).

Only one thing counts - faith in Christ (Philippians 3:1-14)

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2 ¶ Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 ¶ But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 ¶ Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul begins chapter 3 by declaring that he's going to do a review of some very important warnings he had given them before - probably when he was there. Mentioning it again is no problem for Paul and the safe thing to do for their sake. That warning to the people in Philippi is in verse 2, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!" Nooooo! That's not a literal dog; it's a metaphoric dog. Metaphoric dog bites are the worst kind! Do a word search on "dog" in the Bible, and you will see the bad reputation dogs had. They are most often referred to in the context of being scavengers. Paul is warning them to watch out for the spiritual scavengers. He also uses an extreme term when he says, "beware of the mutilators." The Greek word there ("katatome") means self mutilators. He's addressing those people who had mixed Judaistic circumcision with grace as a component of salvation. By calling them self mutilators, he is obviously completely discounting the role of circumcision in the salvation experience. No wonder the Jewish leaders hated him. Incidentally, you will recall that this was the very accusation leveled against him back in Acts 21:21 (see notes). Verse 3 sums it up with regard to this sadistic practice of requiring new Believers to be circumcised when Paul says, "For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." In other words, physical circumcision has nothing to do with one's relationship with God. Spiritual circumcision is accomplished when one receives Christ as savior. Then he wants his readers to understand, he, himself, has been through all of those Judaistic practices as he lists his credentials in verses 4-6.

Just take a look at Paul's impressive set of Jewish credentials:

So...what about these impressive Jewish credentials (verses 7-8)? They were of no gain for the cause of Christ. As a matter of fact, none of his accomplishments were significant in light of "the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Only Christ is important; everything else is garbage ("rubbish"). Upon winning Christ (verse 8), Paul explains that one's righteousness does not rest upon personal accomplishments (verse 9), but strictly upon "the righteousness which is from God by faith."

Verse 10 sounds important, but perhaps may seem a little cryptic; let's break it down into parts. Paul is itemizing his personal experience with Christ:

Speaking of his death in verse 10, Paul says in verse 11, "if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." The Greek word for "attain" there is "katantao" which may be also translated "arrive." It's a Greek aorist subjunctive and should be understood as a possible soon-to-come eventuality of the "death" in verse 10. In other words, "If somehow I should arrive unto the resurrection of the dead." He's close to a death sentence; it could happen.

That brings up another point. Is Paul finished then...I he throwing in the towel (so to speak). Nooooo! He emphasizes in verses 12-13 that he's still in the race. He uses a little bit of athletic talk here to make his point. He hasn't "attained" (i.e. received the prize yet), nor is he portraying himself as the finished product of Christ (i.e. "already perfect/complete). He continues to pursue the same mission of Christ. Therefore, he doesn't consider himself to be finished (verse 13), but he does know that past accomplishments are of no benefit, and he is "reaching forth" (Greek: "epekteinomai" means to stretch one's muscles) toward a goal which he refers to in verse 14 as "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Here's what Paul means to convey: He's working hard - giving his all - to reaching his ministry goals. Those goals were set before him by Jesus himself.

Stick to the plan! (Philippians 3:15-21)

15 ¶ Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
17 ¶ Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.
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:
19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

We saw in the preceding verse that Paul's eyes were fixed on a goal, and he would not be distracted. Then the challenge in verse 15: let's all rise to this level of commitment with Paul. If you're thinking otherwise, a spirit-led Believer will see it. Now to some more lifestyle verses regarding Christian maturity in verses 16-17. In verse 15, the Greek word "telios" literally means "mature," and in this case it's speaking of spiritual maturity. Paul admonishes them to live consistently and according to established rules of godliness. Those who refuse to do so are "the enemies of the cross of Christ." He describes them as unregenerate in verse 18, listing their unregenerate attributes in verse 19. And why? Because in verse 19 Paul tells us that our real citizenship is not here, but in Heaven; that's where our loyalties lie. Perhaps verse 18 is worth giving special attention to here, "(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:" Understand what Paul is saying: Those who don't preach salvation by grace alone and who don't preach committed Christian living are "enemies of the cross." Paul was not a very good ecumenicist, was he?

On the other hand, our "citizenship" (verse 20) is in Heaven. To Believers, that's home. We're just working here and looking for Jesus to receive us (rapture). At that point, he'll transform our bodies into glorified bodies (verse 21). He'll do that by the same power with which he "subdued" everything else.

It's a mind thing (Philippians 4:1-9)

1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.
2 ¶ I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
3 And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
4 ¶ Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 ¶ Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 ¶ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 ¶ Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

We saw some high-level living in chapter 3. Did Paul make the victorious living of chapter 3 seem a little too easy? does a Believer keep a positive outlook of personal spiritual victory? That's our subject at the beginning of chapter 4. In verse 1 Paul tells them to "stand fast [firm] in the Lord." Adverse circumstances can get you down as perhaps had happened between the two women of verse 2; we don't have additional information on that situation. He solicits some third-party assistance for the remedy in verse 3.

Now, here are some of my favorite verses in counseling those who are distraught. Verses 4-5 tell us to stay in a state of rejoicing, displaying our "gentleness." How is that accomplished? Well, here it is in verses 6-8: don't worry; pray instead; God's peace (that passes all understanding) will prevail in you. Wait! There's more! Control your thought life. That's in verse 8. You know...garbage in - garbage out. Instead, fill your minds with virtuous thoughts.

So, here are the action items for Believers, especially the distraught in verses 4-8:

This is God's therapy; it works! Try it.

I don't let a little thing like prison get me down (Philippians 4:10-13)

10 ¶ But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Life ain't fair! But you don't hear Paul complaining...even though he's in prison while he's writing this letter. So, what does a guy say when he's in prison? Look at verse 11, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." What? Content in prison? I know folks who get cranky if they have to share a bathroom. Maybe we need to adjust our expectations. Paul lays his whole dependence on Christ in verse 13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Typical goodbye stuff (Philippians 4:14-23)

14 ¶ Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 ¶ Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you.
22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
23 ¶ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Typical conclusion, but it's a little special. He commends these folks for being there for him with support - physically, spiritually and financially. The church at Philippi was founded in A.D. 50 in the course of Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 16, see notes). Philippi, itself, was located in Macedonia. Apparently these Philippians were the only church to contribute to his ministry following his second missionary journey. Paul's next stop after Philippi was the church of Thessalonica - still on his second missionary journey. Apparently the Philippians sent funds to him there also. Epaphroditus had been the courier for these funds.

What about folks who share their resources as the Philippians had done? Verse 19 declares to them, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Generosity toward the ministry insures that the giver's needs will always be met.

Paul concludes by extending his oft-used salutation on behalf of those who were with him. He even mentions "Caesar's household." We don't really know to whom he is referring here - probably not relatives of Nero himself. He could be referring to the Roman guard or perhaps servants of Caesar.