01 Philippians 1:1-8 Introduction

by | Sep 13, 2017 | 01 Podcasts, Introductions, Philippians

Paul’s message in Philippians is essentially the same as Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19-20: Choose life by loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him.


The author of this letter, the Apostle Paul, first visited Philippi during his second missionary journey.  His visit is recorded in Acts 16:1-40.

More: Who was Paul?

Paul and Silas were traveling through Asia Minor.  They met Timothy in Lystra and he joined them on the rest of the trip.  Luke (the author of Acts) joined Paul & Silas in Troas and accompanied them to Macedonia.

As a Roman colony, Philippians had Roman citizenship.  Latin was their official language.  They adopted Roman customs and culture, and modeled their city government after Rome.

Typically, when Paul entered a new city, Paul proclaimed the gospel in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Paul went to a “prayer meeting” by the river instead, so presumably there was no synagogue.

Lydia, a wealthy merchant, and her household are among his first converts.

Paul & Silas were arrested and beaten for proclaiming non-Roman customs.

When Paul left Philippi, he left behind a small church, comprised of Lydia’s household, and the jailer’s household plus some others.  Apparently, Luke also stays behind.

Paul returned to Philippi on his third missionary journey (see Acts 20).

For a discussion of why Paul baptized an entire household as recorded in Acts 16, see this podcast.

Around 60-62 AD, Paul was under house arrest in Rome.  The Philippians sent him a financial donation through Epaphroditus.  Paul sent Epaphroditus back to Philippi with this letter of thanks.


1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:1-8 ESV

Paul is grateful that the gospel was so important to the Philippians that they wanted to support him financially.


I thank my God because of all the ways you have remembered me, including this financial gift.  My prayers for you are filled with joy because of the way you have partnered with me in spreading the gospel from the day we met until now. My joy is rooted in this: God began work in you, he gave you a faith that led you to value and support the ministry of the gospel, and I am confident that he will continue to mature and perfect your faith such that you will persevere until the day Christ returns.  It is only right that I have these joyful feelings for you because you have been my partners in this ministry of grace while I have been imprisoned and struggling to defend and confirm the good news.


  1. Paul claims his prayers reveal what is most important to him.  For Paul, prayer is not a ritual or routine; prayer is an expression to God of what we care about most.
  2. Similarly, the way we spend our money reveals what we value and consider important. Thus Paul is grateful for what their financial gift reveals about the Philippians.

Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.

Next: 02 Philippians 1:9-11 Paul’s prayer

Series: Philippians: Choose Life

Study: Philippians Resources

Scripture references are from the English Standard version.

Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash