Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

How Philippi’s Christians gave to help Paul

Philippians 4:16

With delight, Paul remembers his surprise on the first occasion when Philippi’s Christians gave to help him.

After Paul had established the first church in Philippi, he went to Thessalonica. Thessalonica was about 100 miles (160 kilometres) from Philippi. It was a larger city than Philippi, and the capital of the country then called Macedonia (Acts 17:1-9).

Paul worked hard there; he worked both day and night. He declared the gospel, God’s message about Christ, at every opportunity. He also did physical work to earn his money (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8). When Paul did not have enough money, he prayed. He would not accept any gifts from Thessalonica’s new Christians. Instead, he trusted God to provide for him in some other way.

Then, suddenly, some Christians arrived from Philippi with gifts to help him. Paul did not expect that – it astonished him. These people, who were giving so generously, only became Christians a few weeks previously. They had to travel a long way with their gifts; they even had to search for Paul, to find him. Paul had not asked them to give; probably, Paul even refused their gifts while he was in Philippi (compare 1 Corinthians 9:15-18).

However, Paul accepted the gifts that they brought to Thessalonica. He could see that God had sent them to provide for him, in answer to his prayer. That was the first of several times that Philippi’s Christians sent gifts to Paul. They even brought their gifts to him when he was in Corinth, about 300 miles (480 kilometres) from Philippi (2 Corinthians 11:9).

Next part: God's reward for a generous giver (Philippians 4:17)


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