Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:
(a) Paul most likely wrote this letter to the church in Philippi while he was in a Roman prison. The Philippian Christians had sent him a gift via a man called Epaphroditus (Php. 4:18). Paul sent Epaphroditus back to the church with this letter (Php. 2:25).
(b) Timothy, Paul’s spiritual son and co-worker, was visiting Paul at the time this letter was written.
(c) Bond-servants of Christ Jesus; see entry for Rom. 1:1.
(d) The saints. In the New Testament, Christians are known as saints, not sinners (Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:2). Sanctified in Christ, Christians are a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5).
(e) In Christ Jesus. There are no saints outside of Christ Jesus and no sinners in Christ Jesus, for all who are in Christ are sanctified by Christ. Sanctification is one of the many blessings we enjoy as a result of being in union with Christ. See entry for Philemon 1:6.
(f) The saints in Christ Jesus. In the New Testament, Christians are known as saints, not sinners (Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:2). Sanctified in Christ, Christians are a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5).
(g) Who are in Philippi. Paul founded the church in Philippi (Acts 16:12ff).
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The grace and peace of God were at the heart of everything Paul wrote (see entry for Rom. 1:7).
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
(a) I am confident. There are more than 130 scriptures guaranteeing the eternal security of the believer, and this is one of the best. You can be confident that the good work Jesus began in you, he will see through to completion.
Further reading: “The top 12 promises on eternal security”
(b) The day of Christ Jesus refers to the return of the Lord; see entry for Php. 1:10.
For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.
(a) The gospel that Paul preached was the gospel of grace (see entry for Acts 20:24). Through this gospel the Philippians had become partakers of grace.
(b) Partakers of grace. It is not enough to merely hear about grace, you need to receive it by faith (Eph. 2:8). The gospel of grace is true whether you believe it or not, but it won’t do you any good unless you believe it.
so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
The day of Christ. Some talk about the second coming of Jesus, but the phrase “the second coming” is not found in the Bible. Instead, the scriptures refer to the day or coming of the Lord or the coming of the Son of Man (Matt 24: 37, 1 Th 4:15). It is the “day of Christ” when “Jesus is revealed from heaven” (Php 1:10, 1 Pet 1:13).
Further reading: “90 scriptures about the final coming of Jesus”
having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Filled with the fruit of righteousness. Jesus is the Righteous Branch foretold by the Old Testament prophets (Jer. 23:5, 33:15). One with the Lord, we are as righteous as he is and are filled with his righteous fruit (John 15:5). See entry for Righteousness.
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
(a) Granted. The original word (charizomai) means to show favor or kindness. It’s closely related to the word that means grace (charis). Although God is never the cause of our sufferings, he redeems them to reveal good things about himself.
(b) Suffer for His sake. The suffering the Philippians were experiencing was not the result of illness but persecution (see previous verse).
Paul understood from first-hand experience that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). To suffer for his sake is to be persecuted on account of Jesus. When you are persecuted on account of Jesus, you can cry about it, or you can embrace it as a badge of honor (Matt 5:11-12). You’re in good company.
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- Philippians 1:1
- Philippians 1:2
- Philippians 1:6
- Philippians 1:7
- Philippians 1:10
- Philippians 1:11
- Philippians 1:29