Christ Our Life: Joy in Service in Spite of Opposition
Philippians 1. In the first chapter Paul updates the Philippians on his condition and state of soul.
- Salutation: Paul and Timothy to the Saints in Philippi (1:1-2)
- Thanksgiving and Prayer (1:3-11)
- Paul’s Circumstances and Attitude (1:12-26)
- Exhortation to Walk Worthy of the Gospel Despite Opposition (1:27-30)
Salutation: Paul and Timothy to the Saints in Philippi (1:1-2)
1 Paul and Timotheus, bondmen of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and ministers; v.1 Writer and Recipient. The epistle was written by the apostle Paul, but he does not write as an apostle. He writes as a servant, or bondman, of Jesus Christ. Writing as a fellow-servant, Paul includes Timothy with him in writing, as Timothy was serving with him as his own son in the faith. Writing as a servant, Paul’s epistle to the Philippians takes a peculiarly personal tone. The epistle was addressed to the “all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi”, not to the assembly there exactly, but to the believers in general. This is fitting with the character of the epistle, because the truths contained in it are especially fitting for individuals, although necessary for believers collectively as well. Nevertheless, it is evident from the expressions in the epistle that there was a local assembly in Philippi, and those Paul was addressing would have composed the local assembly. The saints are said to be “in Christ Jesus”; i.e. the place they are “set apart” to (such is the meaning of “saints”), is the position of being in Christ’s place before God. Those whom Paul was addressing were in the full Christian position; they had believed the gospel and had been sealed with the Spirit of God. Special mention is made of “the overseers” (‘episkapois’ or elders) and “ministers” (‘diakonois’ or deacons).
2 grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer (1:3-11)
Thanksgiving: Their Work in the Gospel and Mutual Love for Paul (vv.3-8)
3 I thank my God for my whole remembrance of you, 4 constantly in my every supplication, making the supplication for you all with joy, 5 because of your fellowship with the gospel, from the first day until now; 6 having confidence of this very thing, that he who has begun in you a good work will complete it unto Jesus Christ’s day: 7 as it is righteous for me to think this as to you all, because ye have “me” in your hearts, and that both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the glad tidings ye are all participators in my grace. 8 For God is my witness how I long after you all in the bowels of Christ Jesus.
Prayer: That Their Love Would Abound in Full Knowledge (vv.9-11)
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in full knowledge and all intelligence, 10 that ye may judge of and approve the things that are more excellent, in order that ye may be pure and without offence for Christ’s day, 11 being complete as regards the fruit of righteousness, which is by Jesus Christ, to God’s glory and praise.
Paul’s Circumstances and Attitude (1:12-26)
The Persecution Had Resulted in the Furtherance of the Gospel (vv.12-18)
12 But I would have you know, brethren, that the circumstances in which I am have turned out rather to the furtherance of the glad tidings, 13 so that my bonds have become manifest as being in Christ in all the praetorium and to all others; 14 and that the most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord through my bonds, dare more abundantly to speak the word of God fearlessly. 15 Some indeed also for envy and strife, but some also for good will, preach the Christ. 16 These indeed out of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the glad tidings; 17 but those out of contention, announce the Christ, not purely, supposing to arouse tribulation for my bonds. 18 What is it then? at any rate, in every way, whether in pretext or in truth, Christ is announced; and in this I rejoice, yea, also I will rejoice;
Christ Glorified Either by Paul’s Life or Death (vv.19-26)
19 for I know that this shall turn out for me to salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ; 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but in all boldness, as always, now also Christ shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death. 21 For for me to live is Christ, and to die gain; 22 but if to live in flesh is my lot, this is for me worth the while: and what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 But I am pressed by both, having the desire for departure and being with Christ, for it is very much better, 24 but remaining in the flesh is more necessary for your sakes; 25 and having confidence of this, I know that I shall remain and abide along with you all, for your progress and joy in faith; 26 that your boasting may abound in Christ Jesus through me by my presence again with you.
Exhortation to Walk Worthy of the Gospel Despite Opposition (1:27-30)
27 Only conduct yourselves worthily of the glad tidings of the Christ, in order that whether coming and seeing you, or absent, I may hear of what concerns you, that ye stand firm in one spirit, with one soul, labouring together in the same conflict with the faith of the glad tidings; 28 and not frightened in anything by the opposers, which is to them a demonstration of destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God; 29 because to you has been given, as regards Christ, not only the believing on him but the suffering for him also, 30 having the same conflict which ye have seen in me, and now hear of in me.