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INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS

Dr. Grant C Richison

AUTHOR: Paul, 1:1

DATE OF WRITING: AD 62

Paul was writing from jail in Rome.

FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH IN PHILIPPI

Paul visited Philippi on his second missionary journey. On that visit he led to Christ a number of people who formed the church there.

Some of these were Lydia and her family, the Philippian jailer and his family, and the girl possessed by a demon (Acts 16:14-34).

The city of Philippi was a Roman colony. As such, it was a miniature Rome. It mimicked Rome in every way. It was strategically located on an important trade route between Europe and Asia.

The city was named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.

OCCASION

There were two reasons Paul wrote this letter:

Philippians was a thank you note from a missionary to a supporting church.

The second reason was due to a conflict between two women. He mentioned them by name in 4:1-2.

Unlike other epistles, there was no extended doctrine to discuss, no error to refute, no wrong to correct.

CHARACTERISTICS:

The Philippian church was the first church established in Europe.

The book of Philippians is therefore more characteristically Gentile.

Women occupied a prominent place in the church.

A woman was the first convert in Europe (Lydia).

Paul first attended a meeting attended by women (Acts 16:12-15).

Two women were prominent in the church (Philippians 4:2).

The church at Philippi was one of the most generous in financial support (4:10-16).

Paul presented them as a model of giving (2 Co. 8:1-5).

The theme of joy punctuates the epistle (17 times in some form).

The book is a letter, rather than a treatise.

Philippians is full of Christ. In 104 verses, there are 51 references to the Lord Jesus by name.

There is much personal information about Paul in the epistle.

There is little use of the Old Testament.

Note emphasis on the mind or attitude in this epistle: 1:7; 2:2, 3, 5; 3:15, 19; 4:2, 10.

THEMES:

Personal joy

Christ, not the respect of people, is the cause of our joy.

Divisions in the church

CANON: The basis for inclusion in the Bible is very strong.

OUTLINE

THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL AS LIVING ABOVE CONFLICT, 1

Fellowship of the gospel, 1:1-11

Furtherance of the gospel, 1:12-26

Faith of the gospel, 1:27-30

FOUR OTHER EXAMPLES OF LIVING ABOVE SELF, 2

Example of Christ, 2:1-11

Example of Paul, 2:12-18

Example of Timothy, 2:19-24

Example of Epaphroditus, 2:25-30

THE PURPOSE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS CHRIST CENTERED, 3

Past, 3:1-11

Present, 3:12-16

Future, 3:17-21

THE POWER OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS CHRIST, 4

Means of unity, 4:1-7

Attitude of unity, 4:8-9

Power to bear pressure, 4:10-13

God’s provision in distress, 4:14-23

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