Philippians 1:27 begins the body of the letter. In this section in which Paul urges his readers to live a life worthy of the gospel. Living such a life does not mean that you will live a perfect life. Rather if we actually believe the gospel is true, we now see the world differently and, we begin to view some things as right, proper and good, and begin to view other things as wrong, selfish and evil. And we choose accordingly.
Around 60-62 AD, Paul was imprisoned in Rome, and was waiting to learn whether he will be released or executed. The Philippian church generously sent him financial support. Paul wrote this letter to thank them and send back news to them.
Paul had 3 purposes in writing this letter
- to express his joy that their faith has led them to support him financially;
- to encourage them to live lives of obedient persevering faith;
- to update them on his circumstances.
In 1:1-11, we saw the first 2 purposes. Paul expressed his gratitude for their faith that led them to support him financially. He prayed that they would have a genuine faith that manifests itself in wisdom which leads them to love one another, and that they would persevere in that faith until the end.
In 1:12-26 we saw the third purpose. Paul said, he rejoiced that the gospel was going forward in spite of his circumstances. The gospel was advancing in 2 ways:
- The gospel was spreading through the elite Roman guard as they took turns guarding him and hearing him teach.
- Others had started proclaimed the gospel while Paul was imprisoned, some out of good motives and some out of selfish motives.
The introductory remarks end with 1:26 and 1:27 begins the first section of the body of the letter. This section continues through the end of chapter 2.
27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. 2:1So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 1:27-2:4 ESV
- 1:27 is the thesis statement or main point of this section.
- Saving faith is not a theological test that you can forget once you turn in your paper. It is a belief that should change your life.
- Some of the choices we make conform to and reflect the implications of the gospel. We would say those choices are worthy of it.
- Some of the choices we make are contradictory to the values, principles and applications of the gospel. Those choices are not worthy of the gospel.
- This relationship between belief and lifestyle does NOT mean we will live a perfect life, without sin or failure.
- Paul urges them to stand firm in the face of persecution and remain united in their thinking, purposes and faith.
- Paul talks about unity because it was an issue his readers were struggling with at the time.
- He wants them to be unified around their fellowship in the gospel and to have the kind of unity that results from being committed to the same gospel.
- Unity does not mean sameness. Our goal is oneness not sameness. We can be diverse and be unified.
- Christ unifies us, not by making us the same, but by teaching us in our diversity to follow the same gospel.
Please listen to the podcast for more detail and explanation.
Previous: 03 Philippians 1:12-26 To Live is Christ
Series: Philippians: Choose Life
Study: Philippians Resources
Scripture references are from the English Standard version.