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Bible Commentaries
Philippians 1

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-2

The Salutation (Greeting) Philippians 1:1-2 serves at Paul’s customary salutation, or greeting, for the epistle of Philippians. A salutation is found in all thirteen of Paul’s New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity (2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

2 Thessalonians 3:17, “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timotheus” Comments (1) - On their second missionary journey, Paul had brought Silas and Luke as well as young Timothy with him into Macedonia and established the church in Philippi (A.D. 52). Scholars suggest that Timothy made at least two or three later visits to this church, although we have no direct confirmation in the Scriptures. Paul again sent Timothy along with Erastus ahead of himself to Philippi and Macedonia before his later arrival (Acts 19:22) (A.D. 57). Timothy was with Paul on his final trip from Corinth through Philippi that took the collection to the poor saints in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4-6) (A.D. 58). Thus, we know that Timothy played an important role in the founding and growth of the church at Philippi. This is perhaps the reason that Paul uses Timothy as an example of sacrifice in Philippians 2:19-23 to the Philippians, because they were familiar with his Christian service.

Comments (2) - As in any “master-servant” or “teacher-disciple” relationship, such a bond strengthens throughout the years until the student is lifted up near his teacher. We see here how Timothy has been faithful for so many years and Paul now makes him a part of his own writings, attesting to the closeness of this relationship. Philippians 2:20 says, “I have no man likeminded,” which literally means of one and the same mind. Timothy had come to think and to live much like Paul the apostle at this point in his life. Paul introduces himself in association with Timothy in six of his thirteen New Testament epistles.

2 Corinthians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:”

Colossians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,”

1 Thessalonians 1:1, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 1:1, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:”

Philemon 1:1, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,”

Philippians 1:1 “the servants of Jesus Christ” Word Study on “the servants” BDAG says the Greek word “servant” ( δοῦλος ) (1401) means “a slave.” The opposite of δοῦλος (slave) is ἐλεύθερος (free). Paul uses δοῦλος to describe himself on four occasions in his epistles (Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1).

Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”

Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

Philippians 1:1, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ , to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”

Titus 1:1, “Paul, a servant of God , and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;”

Comments - Leviticus 25:39-40 makes a distinction between a hired servant and a bondservant (slave).

Leviticus 25:39-40, “And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant : But as an hired servant , and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:”

Comments - One reason why Paul uses the phrase “servant of Jesus Christ” often in his epistles is because many Old Testament people used this word in their relationship to God:


Genesis 26:24, “And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake .”


Job 42:7-8, “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job , and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.”


Joshua 1:1, “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,”


1 Samuel 3:9, “Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”


2 Samuel 3:18, “Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.”

2 Kings 19:34, “For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake .”


1 Kings 3:9, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”


2 Kings 9:36, “Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:”


2 Chronicles 32:16, “And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah .”

Israel and Jacob:

Isaiah 44:21, “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant : I have formed thee; thou art my servant : O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.”


Daniel 6:20, “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God , is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”


Haggai 2:23, “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant , the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.”


Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”

Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

Paul became a servant at his conversion in Damascus (Acts 9:1-22), although Ananias prophesied of his future divine calling unto the nations. He spent about fourteen years evangelizing Damascus and the regions of Syria and Cilicia prior to being sent out with Barnabas as an apostle. Notice that Paul calls himself a servant before declaring himself an apostle. The Greek language often lacks our familiar word order of Subject-Verb-Object. Instead, the Greek places words in the order of their emphasis, or the order of importance to the thought being presented. Because Greek is so highly inflected, there is little or no confusion when distinguishing between the subject and the object to its respective verb.

Therefore, in Romans 1:1 we see Paul placing his servitude to Jesus Christ before his office of apostleship. Paul’s anointing to walk as an apostle is in direct proportion to his servitude to his Master. In the natural world, no business manager is worthy of his hire who is not first willing to carry out the will of the business owner. This is because the authority to rule over man is always based upon one’s willingness to yield to a higher authority. Paul knew that the secret to walking in the anointing as a apostle was to daily crucify his own will and serve his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Illustration - If anyone has ever had a servant that lived and worked in their home, they know that a servant is a person who abandons his own pursuits, and daily takes care of the pursuits and needs of the master. A servant does not have great plans for his own life. He literally gives his life so that the master's goals and plans may be achieved. This is the heart of a servant.

Illustration I was trying to comfort my precious wife one morning while we were serving the Lord in the mission field. After fifteen years working overseas, having left wonderful opportunities and a comfortable life in the United States, she said that she felt like a prisoner. She could not do what she wanted to do. She had her own dreams that she did not pursue. I then reminded her of Paul’s description of himself in his epistles as a slave and even a prisoner of Jesus Christ. We talked about our feelings and concluded that life is very short, and all that we have gained in this world is left behind when we die. Thus, we reconciled ourselves to our fate of serving the Lord at the cost of sacrificing our own will and desires. Paul must have felt the same on occasions, looking at his family and loved ones who were able to enjoy a normal lifestyle, and stable home, and the many comforts that a home and family brings to one’s life. While in the mission field planting churches in the Greco-Roman cities teaming with slavery, Paul identified himself with the life of a slave. While in prison, he called himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He gave himself daily to the will of God, often laying aside his own desires. (4 October 2012)

Comments - Within the epistle of Philippians, three people are referred to as servants. Paul and Timothy are called servants in this opening verse to the epistle, while the third being Jesus Christ as a servant of His Heavenly Father.

Philippians 2:7, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant , and was made in the likeness of men:”

Timothy is also referred to as having served with Paul in the Gospel.

Philippians 2:22, “But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.”

Thus, three of the four examples that Paul uses as true servants to the Masters are called thus. The fourth example is Epaphroditus, who is not specifically given this title, but his life implies his servanthood.

Comments - To those churches and individuals in which Paul displayed his apostleship over them in order to give correction and doctrine, he introduces himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ” ( Rom 1:1 , 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1 and Titus 1:1). To the Philippians Paul describes himself as a “servant.” This is because within the context of this epistle Paul will give examples of himself (Philippians 1:12-30), of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:1-11), of Timothy (Philippians 2:19-24) and of Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30) as servants who laid aside their own wills and in order that to fulfill the will of those in authority over them. For this is the message and theme of Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. To Philemon Paul declares himself as a “prisoner of Jesus Christ,” because his message to Philemon was about a slave, or prisoner, who was serving Philemon. In his two letters to the church of Thessalonica Paul defers the use of a title in order to equate himself as co-workers with Silas and Timothy. He will refer to his apostleship in 1 Thessalonians 2:6, but he will be mindful to use it in the plural form as a co-worker with Silas and Timothy. This is because he emphasizes their need to labour together until Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:1 “to all the saints” Comments - Paul addresses his Church epistles to the “saints.” This description for his recipients reflects the underlying theme of his epistles, which is the sanctification of the Church. In contrast, Peter addresses his first epistle to the “the strangers scattered,” or “sojourners,” which is a reflection of its theme of the perseverance of the saints.

The epistles of Paul were written to the church, not to lost people, to people who were born again, not to the world. All of Paul's epistles were written to believers. This is a very important point in interpreting many passages in his epistles.

Philippians 1:1 “with the bishops and deacons” Comments - Some scholars may suggest that this phrase gives the epistle of Philippians the character of a late, first-century writing when the offices of church leadership were more developed. However, we know from Acts 14:23 that Paul and Barnabas begin ordaining elders in every church as early as their first missionary journey.

Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

We know in Acts 20:17 that Paul called the elders of the church of Ephesus together for a final meeting, which took place perhaps four years before the writing of the epistle to the Philippians.

Acts 20:17, “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.”

We find Paul using these phrases in his Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 3:0, Titus 3:0) as well as in his final address to the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:28) by equating a bishop with an elder. Paul also referred to church leadership in other epistles (Romans 12:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, Galatians 6:6). Thus, this phrase is perfectly in line with church structure during the time of Paul. The bishops and deacons were the two offices that Paul instituted in the churches he established simply because these were the two offices instituted in the mother church of Jerusalem. Paul was simply following this God-ordained structure.

Donald Guthrie [52] and Everett Harrison, [53] among many others, suggest that these offices of church leadership have been included by Paul in this particular epistle because these were the people who were largely responsible for collecting the offering that was brought to him by Epaphroditus.

[52] Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grover, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 541-542

[53] Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c1964, 1971), 342.

If we evaluate the phrase “with the bishops and deacons” within the context of the theme of Philippians, which is the believer taking care of God’s needs first so that the Father can fulfill our needs, we then see the bishop and deacons standing as clear examples of those church members in Philippi who have done just that. These titles have been given to those who were faithfully serving in the church in Philippi and joining with Paul to evangelize the city and region. Thus, Paul was mindful of these bishops and deacons as he sat down to write the Philippians because they served as examples of what he was about to write to the church.

Philippians 1:1 Comments - Paul’s letter to the Philippians was perhaps the warmest and most personal of all of his thirteen New Testament epistles. It is one of only four epistles in which he does not mention his title as an apostle of Jesus Christ (note also 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Philemon). This is because Paul’s intent was to thank them for their warm generosity and because there were no critical issues that Paul needed to give commandment to as an apostle. Thus, this letter lays aside an official tone and carries a warm and joyous mood of affection throughout its content. He speaks more as a father in a relationship than as an apostle in leadership.

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:2 Comments (The Pauline Greeting) - Scholars discuss the meaning of Paul’s epistolary greetings from two different angles, either an historical approach or a theological approach.

(1) The Historical Approach The historical approach evaluates the history behind the use of the words “grace” and “peace” in traditional greetings, with this duet of words limited in antiquity to New Testament literature. J. Vernon McGee says the word “grace” in Paul’s greetings was a formal greeting used in Greek letters of his day, while the word “peace” was the customary Jewish greeting. [54] More specifically, John Grassmick says the Greek word χαίρειν was a common greeting in classical Greek epistles (note this use in Acts 15:23; Acts 23:26, James 1:1), so that χάρις was a “word play” Paul used in conjunction with the Hebrew greeting “peace.” [55] Thus, Paul would be respectfully addressing both Greeks and Jews in the early Church. However, Paul uses these same two words in his epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, which weakens the idea that Paul intended to make such a distinction between two ethnic groups when using “grace” and “peace.” Perhaps this greeting became customary for Paul and lost its distinctive elements.

[54] J. Vernon McGee, The Epistle to the Romans, in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on Romans 1:1.

[55] John D. Grassmick, “Epistolary Genre,” in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

(2) The Theological Approach - Another view is proposed by James Denny, who explains the relationship of these two words as a cause and effect. He says that grace is God’s unmerited favor upon mankind, and the peace is the result of receiving His grace and forgiveness of sins. [56] In a similar statement, Charles Simeon says the phrase “‘grace and peace’ comprehended all the blessings of the Gospel.” [57]

[56] James Denney, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, in The Expositor’s Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 15-16.

[57] Charles Simeon, 2 Peter, in Horae Homileticae, vol. 20: James to Jude (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 285.

Comments (The Pauline Blessing) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host (Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God’s peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God's peace upon it.

Matthew 10:13, “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

This practice of speaking blessings upon God’s children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. We see in Ruth 2:4 that this blessing became a part of the Jewish culture when greeting people. Boaz blessed his workers in the field and his reapers replied with a blessing.

Ruth 2:4, “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.”

We also see this practiced by the king in 2 Samuel 15:20 where David says, “mercy and truth be with thee”.

2 Samuel 15:20, “Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.”

So, this word of blessing was a part of the Hebrew and Jewish culture. This provides us the background as to why Paul was speaking a blessing upon the church at Philippi, especially that God would grant them more of His grace and abiding peace that they would have otherwise not known. In faith, we too, can receive this same blessing into our lives. Paul actually pronounces and invokes a blessing of divine grace and peace upon his readers with these words, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” I do not believe this blessing is unconditional, but rather conditional. In other words, it is based upon the response of his hearers. The more they obey these divine truths laid forth in this epistle, the more God’s grace and peace is multiplied in their lives. We recall how the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, with six tribes standing upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes upon Mount Ebal to curse the disobedient (Deuteronomy 27:11-26). Thus, the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28:1-68 were placed upon the land. All who obeyed the Law received these blessings, and all who disobeyed received this list of curses. In the same way Paul invokes a blessing into the body of Christ for all who will hearken unto the divine truths of this epistle.

We see this obligation of the recipients in the translation by Beck of 2 Peter 1:2, “As you know God and our Lord Jesus, may you enjoy more and more of His love and peace.

Verses 3-8

Paul’s Thanksgiving for Their Partnership The epistle of Philippian can be viewed as a thanksgiving epistle in response to their partnership with Paul in the Gospel from the first day he met them until now (Philippians 1:5). He will explain that their financial offerings are the way they communicated with, or partook of, his ministry (Philippians 4:15). In this partnership they were able to partake of the same divine blessings from God that he was partaking of, for Paul says, “ye all are partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7). Thus, this epistle will teach the Philippians how their participation in fulfilling Paul’s work will result in God fulfilling His divine plan of redemption in each if their personal lives.

Philippians 1:5, “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;”

Philippians 4:15, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”

Philippians 1:7, “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace .”

These blessings that they partake of with Paul mean that God will supply their needs because they have supplied God’s needs first by giving to Paul’s ministry. One Old Testament illustration of how partners partake of the grace of others, as Paul says in Philippians 1:7, is in David and his six hundred men. These men shared in the anointing that David received as they fought his enemy. In fact, thirty of these men walked in a mighty anointing (see 2 Samuel 23:8-39).

In Philippians 1:3-8 Paul thanks the church at Philippi for their partnership with him in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It could be paraphrased, “When I am reminded to pray for you, I am filled with joy as I mention you before the Lord. (Philippians 1:3-4). I rejoice for your fellowship with me in the Gospel. I remember the many times you have given to me and supported this ministry from the first time I met you until now (Philippians 1:5). I am certain that because you have stood with me until now, God is going to stand with you until the end (Philippians 1:6). This is the proper way to think since your labours to give financial gifts into this ministry translates into fellow-labours with me as I am imprisoned and endeavour to defend and even establish the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth (Philippians 1:7). God knows my heart, that I have a genuine love for you (Philippians 1:8).”

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

Philippians 1:3-4 Comments- Paul’s Prayer Life - Paul prayed often for his partners. Philippians 1:3-4 indicate that Paul had learned to live a lifestyle of prayer and intercession for them. He understood that the Lord would often bring others to his mind so that he might begin to pray for them immediately. Because of Paul’s spiritual authority over the churches he planted, the Lord laid upon him a responsibility to pray for them.

It is interesting to note that when Paul remembered the believers at Philippi, his heart was lifted with joy. These two verses could be paraphrased, “When I am reminded to pray for you, I am filled with joy as I mention you before the Lord.”

In contrast, there were times when Paul had to administer discipline to certain churches and it brought him heaviness and grief, such as the church at Corinth.

2 Corinthians 2:1-5, “But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.”

Also, Paul felt a continual heaviness at the thought of his own countrymen who rejected the message of the Gospel.

Romans 9:1-3, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”

We are to live our lives so as to be a source of encouragement to our pastors and spiritual fathers rather than a grief to them.

Philippians 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Philippians 1:5 Word Study on “fellowship” Strong says the Greek word ( κοινωνι ́ α ) (G2842) means, “partnership, participation or (social), intercourse or (pecuniary) benefaction.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 20 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “fellowship 12, communion 4, communication 1, distribution 1, contribution 1, to communicate 1.”

Paul is saying that the Philippian church had become a partner, an associate, a comrade, a companion, a partner, a sharer, in his work and also in his rewards. He will use this same Greek word again in Philippians 2:1 and Philippians 3:10 in reference to fellowship with the Holy Spirit and of partakers of Christ’s sufferings. However, in Philippians 4:15, Paul will use this word in its verb form to acknowledge their financial offerings to him ( κοινωνε ́ ω ) (G2841).

Philippians 4:15, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.”

Philippians 1:5 Comments - Paul rejoices in their fellowship as he remembers how they have supported him in this ministry since the first day they met. The church at Philippi began to support Paul’s ministry immediately after he left their presence. We have a record of four occasions when they gave financial contributions to Paul. When Paul departed from the city of Philippi during his second missionary journey, his next stop was Thessalonica. We have a record that the Philippians sent a number of financial gifts to Paul while he was still in Thessalonica (Philippians 4:15-16) on his first missionary journey. During Paul’s second journey, while he worked for eighteen months in Corinth (A.D. 50 51), the Philippians send him an additional offering (2 Corinthians 11:7-9). We also have evidence of a third occasion when the Philippian church contributed greatly to Paul’s collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem at the end of Paul’s third missionary journey, for Paul referred to the sacrificial offering of the churches in Macedonia when exhorting the Corinthian church to give (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). We know that the Philippians would have helped him during this two-year imprisonment at Caesarea, but they lacked the opportunity (Philippians 4:10). About ten years after Paul established the Philippian church, they send him our fourth recorded evidence of an offering by the hands of Epaphroditus, having learned of his Roman imprisonment (Philippians 4:18).

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Philippians 1:6 Comments (1) - Paul could not praise very church he wrote to about their good works. The churches in Galatia were having serious problems, but here in Philippi, the Lord was doing a great work in the lives of the saints. As a result, Paul is able to teach lessons that some other churches were not ready to receive.

Comments (2) - In Philippians 1:6 Paul is saying that because they have stood with him until now, he is certain the Lord will stand with them until their end. This statement reveals the secondary theme of Philippians, which teaches us how God the Father is at work in each of us to fulfill His purpose and plan in our lives. However, unlike the epistle of Ephesians, which emphasizes the role of the Father, Philippians places emphasis upon the role of the Church. Philippians explains that the secret to God supplying all of our needs (Philippians 4:19) is when we take care of God’s servants first (Philippians 2:20). This is God’s way of bringing each of us into the fulfillment of our destiny.

The statement of “He which hath begun a good work in you” refers to the foreknowledge of God the Father who called us and to the justification found in our salvation through Jesus Christ. The phrase “will perform it” is fulfilled in our sanctification by the work of the Holy Spirit. The phrase “until the day of Jesus Christ” is a reference to our future glorification.

Comments (3) - How was God going to perform a work in the lives of the believers at Philippi? We see in Philippians 2:12-13 that God would work in their lives (by the power of the Holy Spirit) as they served Him in the fear of the Lord.

Philippians 2:12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Comments (4) - This promise in verse 6 that God will complete the good work in them is made to those who had partnered with Paul in the ministry in order to help him complete his good work (note verses 5, 7). Therefore, this promise is only for those believers who qualify just as those in the church of Philippi qualified by supporting Paul’s ministry. He had received the hospitality of Lydia (Acts 16:15) and the jailer and his family (Acts 16:33-34) on his first visit to Philippi. He later received financial support from them while at Thessalonica (Philippians 4:16) and at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:9), as well as the more recent one brought by Epaphroditus (Philippians 4:18).

Philippians 4:16, “For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”

2 Corinthians 11:9, “And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.”

Philippians 4:18, “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.”

Therefore, the church at Philippi had given support to Paul on numerous occasions. As a result, the next verse goes on to explain this special blessing for these partners, because they now are partaking of the same grace that God is giving to Paul.

Just because someone becomes a Christian does not mean that God will be able to complete a particular work in his life. Nor is this verse intended for Christians who read this verse and claim it for themselves without under girding their pastor. This verse is a promise for those who partner and support God’s servants. When we become partners with an anointed ministry, we then come under the same grace and blessings that the minister walks in.

The believers were helping Paul complete his good work, and thus, God would now help these believers to complete a good work in their lives. This was all because of partnership. Note:

Luke 16:12, “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?”

Illustration (1) - Years ago, the Lord spoke to me and said, “You take care of My needs first.” I knew that the Lord was telling me that if I would take care of His needs, that is, the ministries that He was raising up across this world, then He would take care of my needs. For example, Isaiah 58:0 tells us that when we begin to care for the needs of those who are around us, then God will bless us in every area of our lives.

Isaiah 58:8, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.”

Illustration (2) - In his two-volume book God’s Armorbearer, Terry Nance says, “In 1982, we started a mission school to reach around the world. My call was to direct that school and place missionaries wherever the Lord led. One night in 1983, the Lord quickened my heart to read the story of David and Saul. I turned to 1 Samuel 16:21 and read, ‘And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.’ At that time, the Lord said to me, ‘Son, I have called you to be Pastor Caldwell’s armorbearer.’….The Lord said, “Run with the vision I have given him, and I will see to it that yours will be fulfilled.” [58]

[58] Terry Nance, God’s Armor Bearer: Book II (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, Inc., c1994), 14.

Terry Nance goes on to write, “One day I asked God, ‘What about my dreams and desires?’ He told me to give them to Him and to work at fulfilling the desires and visions of my pastor, assuring me that if I would do so, He would see to it that my dreams and desires would be fulfilled. He reminded me that that is exactly what Jesus did. He gave up His own will and desire in order to do the Father’s will for His life. In turn, the Father made sure that Jesus’ dreams and visions were all fulfilled.”

Thus, we see in the epistle of Philippians where Paul refers to four men, Paul, Jesus Christ, Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of those who have laid down their will and chosen to do the will of their Heavenly Father.

Philippians 1:6 Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

Psalms 138:8, “ The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me : thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”

Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

Philippians 1:7 “and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel” Word Study on “confirmation” Strong says the Greek word “confirmation” ( βεβαίωσις ) (G951) means, “stabiliment.” BDAG says it means, “confirmation, establishment.”

Comments - Paul was building a foundation, establishing a beachhead in the kingdom of God so that it could be freely preached in the Roman Empire.

Comments - The confirmation of the Gospel comes with signs, wonders and miracles (Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:3-4).

Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

Hebrews 2:3-4, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

Comments - Goodspeed translates this phrase as “when I am defending and vindicating our right to preach the good news.” In the time of Paul, Rome saw the Christian religion as a sect of Judaism. Although Judaism was legalized, the Christian religion was considered illegal. Thus, Paul is making reference here to his reason for appealing to Caesar. If God allowed his defense to win in the highest court of the Empire, this would allow all Christians the freedom to live and preach the Gospel unhindered. Paul well knew the importance of following the legal system in an effort to accomplish a task. Remember how he followed such protocol as a persecutor of the Church before his conversion.

Acts 9:1-2, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues , that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

Acts 22:5, “As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren , and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.”

Acts 26:10-11, “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests ; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”

Paul learned then how to work within the religious framework of the Jews and the legal framework of the Romans. Paul again makes a reference to his defense of his right to preach the Gospel in verse 17.

Philippians 1:17, “But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.”

Philippians 1:7 “ye all are partakers of my grace” Comments (1) - How were the Philippians partakers of Paul’s grace: because they gave into his ministry? Note other references in this epistle of how this church gave to Paul for the work of the ministry:

Philippians 4:10, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again ; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”

Philippians 4:14-18, “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity . Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you , an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.”

One way that the Philippians were sharing in Paul’s grace is found in Philippians 4:15, where Paul acknowledges that they gave him financial support. In Philippians 1:5, Paul says, “for your partnership in the Gospel.” In Philippians 1:19, the Philippians also shared in Paul’s grace by praying for him.

1. Partners thru giving finances - Philippians 4:15

2. Partners thru prayers - Philippians 1:19

3. Partners thru suffering - Philippians 1:29-30. Also, in Philippians 3:10, Paul says, “partnership, or fellowship of His sufferings.”

4. Partners in his joy - Philippians 2:17-18

As partners in this grace, the Philippians will share in receiving Paul's eternal rewards (Matthew 10:41).

Matthew 10:41, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward ; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward .”

One way in which we, as believers, partake of God's grace is by joining a church and becoming an active member. Just as those early believers were able to partake of Paul's grace, so do believers today partake of the grace that God bestows on His congregations. This means that one's presence and unity to a local church congregation will bring him under a covering of grace and blessings that we cannot receive in any other way.

Comments (2) - In Philippians 1:29-30, Paul will tell the Philippians that they also are to be partakers of Christ's sufferings, “to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”

Philippians 1:7 Comments - Paul wants the Philippians to think and reason as he does, which is to see that their labours to give financially into his ministry mean that they are fellow-labourers with him in his bonds and in his efforts to defend and establish the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth; for they will receive that same reward with him because they have join him in this work.

Illustration - As a matter of illustrating Philippians 1:7, I attended a thanksgiving service in Uganda on 7 September 2006. This event was called by the President of the Nation to thank God for the discovery of oil in this African nation. Much hard work had been put into this effort to keep Uganda in control of its oil reserves. One part of this service involved handing out a certificate of appreciation to the entire team of Ugandan men and woman who worked hard on this project to discover the oil, identify the quality of this oil, plot sections for future drilling, and to prepare to build the nations own refinery. In other words, all of these people shared in this reward and recognition from the President.

Philippians 1:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:8 “in the bowels of Jesus Christ” - Comments - The desire in Paul’s heart was put there by God. It is Jesus inside of him giving him that yearning.

Anyone who goes on into Christian maturity the Lord and begins to make a sacrifice in his or her lives will come to a place where God transforms their heart to become a broken heart. Their heart will become broken for a lost and dying world. They will not be like other Christians, looking out for the good things in life, but they will not hesitate to suffer for His name's sake.

Illustration - In the mid-eighties, I woke up one morning and began to weep for a lost and dying world. It was an emotion that I knew was not my own, but was an emotion from the heart of God. It felt supernatural. This experience has never left me.

Illustration - In a documentary about Arthur Blessitt, he recounts his twenty years of carrying a wooden cross around the world. During this testimony, he broke down and began to weep, full of sorrow for a lost and dying world. [59] This is an emotion that God gives to those who will allow God to transform their heart. This passage of Scripture reveals how much God had transformed his heart to become like God's heart, to feel as God feels and to experience the very divine emotions that God feels for His people.

[59] Arthur Blessitt, Arthur A Pilgrim, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, 27 October 1999).

Romans 9:1-3, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart . For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”

Verses 3-11

Predestination and Calling - After greeting the church (Philippians 1:1-2), Paul opens this epistle thanking them for their fellowship, or partnership, in the ministry (Philippians 1:3-11). This passage reveals that God has predestined and called the believers at Philippi to abound with love, being sincere and without blame, filled with the fruits of righteousness until Jesus comes back. The foundational theme of the epistle of Philippians is God the Father’s office and ministry in His plan of redemption. However, it places emphasis upon the church’s role and participation in this plan. Therefore, Philippians 1:3-11 describes His plan by describing how the believer participates, or partners with God, in fulfilling this plan of redemption.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Paul’s Thanksgiving for Their Partnership Philippians 1:3-8

2. Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians Philippians 1:9-11

Verses 9-11

Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians Paul begins many of his epistles with a prayer, a feature typical of ancient Greco-Roman epistles as well, [60] with each prayer reflecting the respective themes of these epistles. For example, Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving to the church at Rome (Romans 1:8-12) reflects the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in redeeming mankind. Paul’s prayer of thanks for the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:4-8) reflects the theme of the sanctification of believers so that the gifts of the Spirit can operate through them as mature believers walking in love. Paul’s prayer to the Corinthians of blessing to God for comforting them in their tribulations (2 Corinthians 1:3-7) reflects the theme of higher level of sanctification so that believers will bear the sufferings of Christ and partake of His consolation. Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:15-22) reflects the theme of the believer’s participation in God the Father’s great plan of redemption, as they come to the revelation this divine plan in their lives. Paul’s prayer to the Philippians (Philippians 1:3-11) reflects the theme of the believer’s role of participating with those whom God the Father has called to minister redemption for mankind. Paul’s prayer to the Colossians (Colossians 1:9-16) reflects the theme of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the life of every believer, as they walk worthy of Him in pleasing Him. Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4) reflects the theme of the role of the Holy Spirit in our complete sanctification, spirit, soul, and body. Paul’s second prayer of thanksgiving to the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4) reflects the theme of maturity in the believer’s sanctification.

[60] John Grassmick says many ancient Greek and Roman epistles open with a “health wish” and a prayer to their god in behalf of the recipient. See John D. Grassmick, “Epistolary Genre,” in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

Paul basically prays that the believers at Philippi might abide in Christ and bear much fruit. We find this same teaching in John 15:1-8, where Jesus Christ teaches that He is the vine and we are the branches. Because the Philippians were in fellowship, or partnership, with Paul’s ministry, they were abiding in Christ’s love and bearing fruit for the kingdom of God. Since they had continued to take care of Paul’s needs from the beginning, Paul could promise them that God was going to take care of their needs until the end (Philippians 1:6). This church was bearing much fruit. Paul will refer to the fruit of his labours shortly in Philippians 1:22 since this is the topic being discussed in this passage of Scripture.

Philippians 1:22, “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.”

In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul prays for the church at Philippi. It could be paraphrased, “As my love abounds towards you, I pray for your love to abound continuously as He gives you knowledge and insight into His divine ways (Philippians 1:9); for with this knowledge and insight into the ways of God you will be able to discern how to live a superior and better life that pleases God. This choice to live at a higher level of Christian service will produce within you sincerity and blamelessness when you stand before the Lord on the Day of Judgment (Philippians 1:10). Your life will be certain to be fruitful both in this life as it brings much praise and glory and honor unto God, and this fruit of righteousness will bring great rewards in that Day (Philippians 1:11).”

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Philippians 1:9 “in knowledge and in all judgment” Comments - That is, their love will continue to be expressed in many ways in the future as the Spirit of God reveals to them how their offerings are actually God’s way of them being able to partake of Paul’s sacrificial services and eternal rewards. Paul prays that God would give the Philippians revelations into the divine truths of giving and reaping.

Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

Philippians 1:10 Comments - With this knowledge and insight into the ways of God Paul tells the Philippians that they will be able to discern how to live a superior and better life that pleases God. This choice to live at a higher level of Christian service will produce within them sincerity and blamelessness when they stand before the Lord on the Day of Judgment (Philippians 1:10).

Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Verses 12-18

Paul Recognizes Divine Providence in the Midst of His Trials In Philippians 1:12-18 Paul acknowledges God’s hand a work in the midst of his trials while imprisoned in Rome. The issues surrounding this imprisonment were beyond his ability to control. He had the spiritual maturity to entrust himself to the Lord, and God showed Paul that He was a work all around him. This imprisonment had become an opportunity to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the very heart of the Roman government, thus affecting the decisions made throughout the empire.

Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Philippians 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

Philippians 1:13 Word Study on “the palace” The Greek word “praetorium” ( πραιτω ́ ριον ) (G4232) is translated “palace” in the KJV in Philippians 1:13. The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 8 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “judgment hall 4, hall of judgment 1, common hall 1, praetorium 1, palace 1.” The word “praetorium” is of Latin origin, and according to J. B. Lightfoot it properly means, “the general’s tent,” or “the head-quarters in a camp.” [61] BDAG says it originally referred to “the praetor’s tent in camp, with its surroundings,” but that this word was later used to refer to the residence of Roman governor, who presided over a province. E. W. G. Masterman says that the Romans customarily seized the existing palaces of local kings or princes and made it into their official “praetorium.” [62] According to BDAG, the “praetorium” mentioned in the Gospels where Jesus was tried refers either to Herod’s palace located in the western part of the city of Jerusalem, or “to the fortress Antonia” located “northwest of the temple area.” (see Matthew 27:27, Mark 15:16, John 18:28 a,b, John 18:33; John 19:9) In Acts 23:35 Paul’s trial would have taken place in Herod’s palace in Caesarea, which was used as the residence of the Roman governor. Thus, these palaces were used to hear disputes by the governor and pass judgment. Regarding the use of this word in Philippians 1:13, since Paul’s imprisonment is generally believed to be in Rome, J. B. Lightfoot supports the popular view that the word “praetorium” refers more specifically to “the imperial guard,” rather than to a building. Lightfoot believes that “in Rome itself a ‘praetorium’ would not have been tolerated.” He thus translates this word as “the imperial guards.” [63]

[61] J. B. Lightfoot, Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (London: MacMillan and Co., c1868, 1903), 99.

[62] E. W. G. Masterman, “Praetorium,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

[63] J. B. Lightfoot, Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (London: MacMillan and Co., c1868, 1903), 101-102.

Philippians 1:15-18 Comments - Christ Is Preached Evangelical churches are known for their emphasis upon the office and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as head of the Church. As a result of preaching Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour and man’s need to repent and be saved, people are born again and growing in the knowledge of God’s Word. Although some of the teachings they receive in churches are not all doctrinally sound, the Holy Spirit that lives within them can lead them into all truth (John 16:13). God’s Word is quick and powerful (Hebrews 4:12), speaking the language of man’s heart. If a person has a sincere heart, the Holy Spirit will guide him into God’s divine truths and help him overcome man-made teaching and words.

John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Verses 12-30

Justification Philippians 1:12-30 reveals God’s plan for justifying mankind through the preaching of the Gospel. In this passage Paul gives himself as an example in fulfilling this plan, and the exhorts Philippians to follow his example by “striving together for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27). Paul tells of how he left the Jewish religion to know Christ and how it cost him everything (Philippians 1:12-26), then exhorts his readers to follow his example (Philippians 1:27-30). This passage closes with Paul stating that they “have been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” (Philippians 1:29).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

A. A Description of Paul’s Sacrifice Philippians 1:12-26

B. Exhortation to Follow His Example Philippians 1:27-30

Philippians 1:12-26 A Description of Paul’s Sacrifice In Philippians 1:12-26 Paul gives the believers a description of his sacrifice to follow Christ. He will give himself as the first of several examples of men who have decided to put God first, doing His will before their own will. Paul will then exhort the Philippians to follow his example (Philippians 1:27-30), then give the supreme example of Christ Jesus’ example of doing the Father’s will, and receiving glory as a reward of His great sacrifice on Calvary (Philippians 2:1-11). Paul will exhort the Philippians to follow the example of Christ (Philippians 2:12-18), then give two final testimonies of men who had also sacrificed their lives to do God’s will, using Timothy (Philippians 2:19-24) and Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30), men whom the Philippians knew well.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Paul Recognizes Divine Providence in the Midst of His Trials Philippians 1:12-18

2. Paul’s Struggle to Depart or to Stay Philippians 1:19-26

Verses 19-26

Paul’s Struggle to Depart or to Stay Philippians 1:19-26 reveals how Paul was struggling whether or not to depart and go to Heaven, or to stay and continue his ministry to the churches. With this struggle, he decided that it was more needful at the time to stay with the Church. This passage implies that Paul is being given a choice as to whether to depart and be with Christ or to remain and continue his ministry to the saints; for he says, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:23-24) It is very possible that Paul has finished his course by testifying before Caesar. This is because the book of Acts ends with Paul’s first imprisonment. We find very little information about his ministry and travels after his release, as if to say that these final years did not matter because he had taken the Gospel to Rome and fulfilled his divine calling.

Illustration - Trinity Broadcasting Network airs a documentary entitle “Miracles” in which one lady gives a similar testimony as Paul gives in Philippians 1:19-26. She was a young married woman with her husband fighting for the U.S. in Vietnam. When a terrible illness put her in the hospital, she found herself in heaven, with her spirit having departed from her body. Soon, Jesus Christ walked up to her and took her by the hand. With His eyes of love, he asked her if she were ready to come or did she want to go back. With a sense of guilt, she told her Saviour that she felt she should go back for the sake of her husband and family. Jesus looked at her and said, “I would have been disappointed if you had said any other thing.” She then found herself being led by an angel who showed her a battlefield. As she looked closely, she recognized her husband. The angel told her that she must decide quickly and be sure that she wanted to go back. As she was enjoying looking upon her husband, for she had not seen him in over a year, a grenade landed by him. The angel spoke, “Decide now.” As the young lady said, “No,” a divine hand was placed over the grenade so that it did not go off. She immediately found herself back in her body. Her husband returned home from the war safely. One day, she asked him if he had ever had any encounters of being almost killed. He then told her about the grenade that landed beside him, but did not explode. She then explained to the host of the program that God had given her a choice for her and her husband to go to heaven, or to continue on earth a few more years. She, too, made the choice that Paul made here. [64]

[64] Trinity Broadcasting Network, Santa Ana, California, television program.

It is possible that Paul went through a similar experience during his first Roman imprisonment, for Philippians 1:23-24 expresses such a struggle. He may have had a divine visitation in which he was given a choice. Oh, how he would have wanted to go on to Heaven, but he felt it more necessary to stay with God’s people longer. This choice was made out of his great love for people.

Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Philippians 1:19 “that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer” Comments - A leader of a ministry depends upon his partners and their faith in prayer in order to be able to take a ministry further than his individual faith could take him, further than he could go by himself.

Philippians 1:19 Comments - We can find an illustration to help us understand what Paul is saying in Philippians 1:19 by referring to his prayer for the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 3:14-21. In this passage in Ephesians Paul prays that the believers might be empowered with the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the calling that God has placed within each of their lives and thus to be equipped to fulfill the calling of the church itself as a corporate body. These two passages of Scripture are related in the fact that both Ephesians and Philippians have a common theme, which is the office and ministry of God the Father. While Ephesians places emphasis upon the Father’s role in planning all things by equipping the Church with spiritual blessings, the book of Philippians emphasizes the role of the believer in making sure that their spiritual leader fulfills his calling and this will ensure that God will fulfill the calling in each of their lives. The empowering of the Holy Spirit is part of God’s provision for enabling the believer to fulfill his personal divine calling in life. Thus, the prayers of the Philippians believers will result in the Holy Spirit’s operation in Paul’ life.

Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Philippians 1:23 Comments - When Paul says that he has a desire to depart, he is referring to the desire of the spirit of a man; for mortal flesh will be left behind when we enter heaven. Therefore, the eternal man is our spirit, not the flesh. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul calls him the “inner man.” Peter calls this inner man the “hidden man of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4). Therefore, the outward man is simply our physical body, the temple that our spirit dwells in while on this earth.

2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

1 Peter 3:4, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Paul had seen visions of heaven. He had met the Lord and seen the wonderful glories of heaven. Once someone has tasted of this realm, he no longer desires the things of the earth. The presence of the Lord is too glorious to want to leave.

Philippians 1:24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

Philippians 1:25 Comments - Paul most likely knew the immediate outcome of his imprisonment because God had divinely revealed it to him. This is because God often revealed to Paul the immediate future (Acts 16:6-10; Acts 20:22-23; Acts 27:23-24).

Acts 16:6-10, “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”

Acts 20:22-23, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.”

Acts 27:23-24, “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.”

Philippians 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Verses 27-30

Exhortation to Follow His Example After giving himself as an example of someone who has forsaken his will to do the will of God, Paul exhorts the believers to follow him in the same.

Philippians 1:27 “that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs” Comments Philippians 1:27 gives us the clearest indication in the Scriptures that news from the affairs of this life does actually reach the gates of Heaven. For here, Paul states that even if he is absent from this earth, he will hears of their affairs.

Philippians 1:28 Comments The believer’s steadfastness in Christ in the midst of persecutions certifies the genuineness of their faith, and it certifies the certainty of the divine judgment of their oppressors.

Philippians 1:30 Comments The Philippians had seen Paul in prison in their city (Acts 16:24-34) and now they have heard of his imprisonment in Rome, even as Paul describes it in this first chapter. Paul tells the Philippians to have this same conflict, or fight the same fight ( BBE), even if it resulted in imprisonment or giving their lives for the Gospel's sake. Paul sets himself as an example (Philippians 1:12-26) and then tells the believers at Philippi to follow (Philippians 1:27-30). He will tell them later to be followers together of him (Philippians 3:17).

BBE reads, “Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and now hear about me.”

Philippians 3:17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

Soon, in Philippians 2:8, Paul is going to paint a greater example for them of Christ's suffering, even till death on the cross.

Philippians 1:29-30 Comments The Geneva Bible Translation notes say that n ow Paul shows the reason he mentioned his afflictions earlier in this chapter, which was in order to demonstrate to them how they must also suffer for Christ's sake. [65] Having given himself as an example, he will give them the example of Christ's sufferings.

[65] The Bible, that is, the Holy Scriptures Containing the Old and New Testament, Translated According to the Hebrew and Greek, and Conferred With the Best Translations in Divers Languages (London: Robert Barker, 1615).

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Philippians 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/philippians-1.html. 2013.
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