The Epistles Analyzed: Philippians

This may be the last of the four prison epistles.

NB: certain things are absent in this epistle. It is only here and in Galatians that he does not request prayer. Why? There is no mention of sin, Satan, or quotes from the Old Testament.

The Penman

Paul; both internal and external evidence

The Planting of the Assembly

(Acts 16) linked with:

Spirit led gospel activity

Supplication – four prayers linked with the work in Philippi

Suffering and joy

Sisters – two out of the three first converts were women

The Political Background

A colony of Rome – cf 3:20

A garrison of Rome would be present to keep the peace – cf 4:7

The city would all turn out if the Emperor were to make a visit – cf 3:20-21

As Roman citizens none would have ever been subjected to a cross death – cf 2:8

The Purpose of the Epistle

Appreciation for their gift

Appeal for unity

Alarm over legality (ch 3:3)

Acknowledgment of Epaphroditus

Admonition over discouragement (ch 4)

An Awareness of his circumstances (ch 1)

The Progress of the Assembly

Correct Governmentally – (ch 1:1): Plurality of elders; Activity of saints; Autonomy of the church

Correct Evangelically

Correct Doctrinally – No correction of wrong teaching

Correct Morally – No sin to discipline

Correct Materially – Used their resources to further the work of God

The Pattern of the Epistle

ch 1 The Enrapturing Christ – Christ the essence of a spiritual life

ch 2 The Exemplary Christ – Christ the example of a selfless life

ch 3 The Excelling Christ – Christ the experience of a satisfied life

ch 4 The Enabling Christ – Christ the enabler of a strong life

The Principles of the Assembly

The Saints and the Assembly – Believers maintaining testimony

ch 1 By confidence in the Gospel

ch 2 By Christlike character

ch 3 By Consistent living

ch 4 By Commitment and consecration

The Servant and the Assembly – Paul Motivating the Assembly

ch 1 To be Steadfast amidst the conflict

ch 2 To Selflessness amidst their problem

ch 3 To Strive for the goal

ch 4 To Security amidst their Stress

The Sovereign and the Assembly – God Ministering to the Assembly – (ch 4:19)

ch 1 God granting grace for the trials

ch 2 God guiding to unity (ch 2:12-13)

ch 3 God and growth spiritually (ch 3:15, 16)

ch 4 God garrisoning the assembly (ch 4:7)

The Savior and the Assembly – Christ Molding the Assembly

ch 1 His Person Captivating – chains, critics, circumstances are nothing

ch 2 His Pattern Conforming

ch 3 His Prospect Controlling: vision, values, virtues

ch 4 His Power Enabling

The Peril of the Assembly: ch 2:12-13 with ch 4:2-4

The Panacea for the Assembly: ch 2:5-11

Prominent words in the epistle: joy and rejoice, fellowship, mind

brethren: 1.12; 2:25; 3:1, 13, 17; 4:1, 8, 21; always: 1:4; 1:20; 2:12; 4:14;

beloved: 2:12; 4:1,1 gospel: 1:5, 7, 12, 17, 27, 27; nothing:1:28; 2:3; 4:6; all: 1:3, 4, 4, 7, 7, 8



ch 1 The Priority of His Life

ch 2 The Pouring out of Himself

ch 3 The Pursuit of His Life

ch 4 The Power for His Life (Pupil)

Fruit in Philippians

ch 1 Steadfastness Amidst Affliction

ch 2 Submission and Service in Light of Christ

ch 3 Separation from Society

ch 4 Sacrificial Giving

That I Might Know Him

ch 1 The Servant amidst His Circumstances – His Person Captivating

ch 2 The Sacrifice at the Altar – His Pattern Conforming

ch 3 The Struggler in the Race – His Prospect Controlling: vision, values, virtues

ch 4 The Student in God’s School – His Power Enabling