Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

A generous church

Philippians 4:15

The gospel is God’s message about Christ and his death. The ‘beginning of the gospel’ in any region means the time when Christians first declare the gospel in that region.

Philippi was an important city in the country then called Macedonia. The gospel came to Macedonia and the surrounding regions when God specially directed Paul to go to Philippi (Acts 16:6-12). Paul continued to declare the gospel in those places, mostly now in Greece, for more than two years (Acts 16:12 to 18:18). It was the first time that he had declared the gospel in Europe. Many people became Christians and they established churches in towns across those regions.

Paul chose to support his work for God by means of the money that he himself earned (Acts 18:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). He knew that he had the right to receive wages from the churches; however, he did not claim that right (1 Corinthians 9:8-18). Instead, he actually refused their gifts (2 Corinthians 11:9 and 12:14-15).

However, Paul accepted a different relationship with the church at Philippi. He saw their generous attitudes; he knew how eager they were to join in God’s work in their region. They were not trying to pay for the gospel; rather, they saw that God had made them partners with Paul in this great work. When they could support Paul by their actions, they did that (4:3). When they could not do that, they supported him with their gifts (4:16). It did not upset them that their gifts would not benefit anyone in their town or their region. They gladly gave to support the work of God in different churches and in other places. It was not just the rich people who gave. Everyone gave what he could afford (compare 2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Sometimes they gave even more generously, and they trusted God to provide for them (4:19).

Next part: How Philippi's Christians gave to help Paul (Philippians 4:16)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.