Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

Chapter 1

Paul’s letter to Philippi’s Christians

Philippians 1:1

The Book of Philippians is Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi. Timothy assisted Paul as he wrote; probably Timothy wrote down Paul’s words for him.

Philippi, now in Greece, was an important city in the region then called Macedonia. Acts 16:11-40 describes Paul’s extraordinary experiences in that city. The previous passage, Acts 16:6-10, describes how God guided Paul to go there. It is clear that God was working very powerfully in and through Paul’s life at that time.

Paul wrote his letter several years after those events, when he was a prisoner probably in Rome. By that time, the Christians in Philippi had organised themselves into a strong church or group of churches. They had appointed leaders in the same way as Paul recommends in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. Older leaders with greater responsibility, knowledge and experience, directed and taught the younger leaders, who did most of the work. They looked after the Christians in the churches – in other words, they helped each person to develop a strong relationship with God.

Paul gladly calls all the Christians ‘saints’, which means God’s holy people. 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 shows that their love for God, and their desire to give, had impressed Paul very much. In fact, later in his letter (4:10-19), Paul will thank them for the many times that they had given to help him personally.

So, this is a letter to Christians who truly supported Paul’s work, with their gifts and with their prayers. Paul’s life was in danger as he wrote it. However, he constantly encouraged his readers to rejoice, to be glad, because God’s goodness never fails.

Next part: Grace and peace from God (Philippians 1:2)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.