Philippians 1:1-5

In Philippians 1:1-5 Paul writes this letter to his close friends, the Christians in Philippi, from his Roman house arrest described at the end of Acts as he waited for his court appearance before Caesar. “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:” The church in Philippi was founded by Paul some eleven years before this letter on his second missionary journey. This was the first church established on the continent of Europe. He addresses three distinct groups:

  1. All the saints – this means all the Christians there in Philippi
  2. Overseers (bishops) – those in leadership positions
  3. Deacons – those with assigned service positions

Paul gave his familiar greeting of grace and peace, recognizing that these come to us only from God our Father and through the Son. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” When Paul remembered what all the Philippians did for him, he was extremely thankful. He was naturally grateful to the Philippians, but more so to God who had worked such kindness through the Philippians. The Philippians were extremely giving towards Paul, both when he was with them and when he was apart from them. In both cases they had supported him generously so Paul was grateful as he remembered them writing this letter.

He also prayed for them continually. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Paul prayed for the Philippians and he did so with joy. This was one way Paul felt he could repay the Philippians for all they did for him. One might simply say that when Paul prayed for the Philippians, he became happy. It is remarkable to see that Paul’s first reference to his own feelings or frame of mind in this letter is that of joy – though he wrote from prison and a possible soon execution.

Morgan explained “This is Paul’s great singing letter. It was at Philippi that he had sung in prison at midnight, in the company of Silas. Now he was again in prison, this time in Rome.”One reason Paul was thankful for the Philippians was that they “partnered” with him in spreading of the gospel through their friendship and financial support, and they did so from the first day until now. They didn’t wait to see if Paul was a “winner” before they supported him. They got behind Paul and his ministry early. So as Paul begins his letter, he’s full of joy and prays continually for his ministry partners and supporters.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] Philippians 1:1-5 — Arlin Sorensen’s Thoughts on Scripture […]

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