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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes


- Philippians

by E.W. Bullinger

Phi TH E EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. THE STRUCTURE AS A WHOLE. Philippians 1:1-2 . EPISTOLARY, AND SALUTATION. "GRACE" TO THEM. Philippians 1:3-26 . PAUL''S SOLICITUDE FOR THE PHILIPPIANS. Philippians 1:27 - Philippians 2:18 . EXHORTATION, AND EXAMPLE OF CHRIST. Philippians 2:19-24 . THE EXAMPLE OF TIMOTHY. Philippians 2:25-30 . THE EXAMPLE OF EPAPHRODITUS. Philippians 3:1-21 ; Philippians 4:1-9 . EXHORTATION AND EXAMPLE OF PAUL. Philippians 4:10-20 . THE PHILIPPIANS'' SOLICITUDE FOR PAUL. Philippians 4:21-23 . EPISTOLARY, AND DOXOLOGY. "GRACE" TO THEM. TH E EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS. INTRODUCTORY NOTES. 1. The apostle''s first visit to the city of Philippi, probably about A.D. 52-53 (Appendix- 180), is recorded in Acts 16:0 . He had as companions Silas and Timothy, and the use of the personal pronoun, in 1:10 of that chapter, indicates that a fourth worker was with him. Probably Luke, the "beloved physician". Although we have no particulars of later visits, yet Paul almost certain was twice at Philippi subsequently (Acts 20:1 ; Acts 20:6 ). 2. We infer that but few Jews would be at Philippi, there being no intimation of obstruction from them, and there was no synagogue there, unless, indeed, the "place of prayer" by the river-side refers to one. The believers had retained the fervency of their first love, and had sent once and again unto his need. The apostle''s gratitude is shown repeatedly, and he greatly honours his Philippian "brethren, dearly beloved and longed for", by designating them "my joy and crown". 3. No one of Paul''s Epistles is more elevated in character or more animating to believers. Nor, it may be added, one of betterdefined frame, as will be seen from the complete Structure (above). Written from Rome towards the end of his imprisonment, probably in A.D. 62, the apostle''s position was then one of waiting, for he was now close to the day for his cause to be heard before the tribunal to which he had appealed. And most likely this necessitated a more rigid condition of imprisonment than when he dwelt, as at first, in his own hired house. But this, instead of hindering, had even furthered the preaching of Christ. Hence one cause for the tone of rejoicing throughout the Epistle. Like golden threads, "joy" and its kindred words run throughout Philippians, as "grace" does in Ephesians. 4. The city of Philippi, a Roman colony, was situated about eight miles inland from its port, Neapolis, the modern Kavalla. Not being a commercial center, this may explain the paucity of Jews among the inhabitants. Philippi no longer exists, for although the nearest Turkish hamlet bears the ancient name in a corrupted form, it is not on the site of the old city.