Philippians 1


Philippians 1:1

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 (see entry for Acts 26:18). 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).


Philippians 1:2

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).


Philippians 1:5

in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for what Paul referred to as “my gospel” or the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.


Philippians 1:6

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. You can be confident that the good work Jesus began in you, he will see through to completion. He will bring you safely to his heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18).

(b) Will perfect it. Christ alone sustains you (Rom. 11:18, Eph. 5:29), and he will keep you to the end (1 Cor. 1:8-9). See entry for Eternal Security.

(c) The day of Christ Jesus refers to the return of the Lord; see entry for Php. 1:10.


Philippians 1:7

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.


Philippians 1:10

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


Philippians 1:11

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.


Philippians 1:14

and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

(a) My imprisonment. Paul was not imprisoned because he preached the old covenant law. He became a target of Jewish animosity and Roman justice because he dared to tell people about the grace of God revealed in his Son. (See also 2 Tim. 2:9.)

(b) The word of God is the good news of Jesus.

See entry for Word of God.


Philippians 1:22

But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.

Live on in the flesh. Continue living in this mortal body. See entry for the Flesh.


Philippians 1:24

yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

To remain on in the flesh. Continue living in this mortal body.


Philippians 1:28

in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

(a) Salvation. The original word for salvation means deliverance or rescue. Jesus is the great Deliverer who rescues us from our enemies (Luke 1:71).

(b) From God. Manmade religion says we can save ourselves, but salvation is the Savior’s business. Our salvation is not something we can manufacture, for salvation is entirely of God (Rev. 19:1). It is only on account of his grace that we may be saved (Acts 15:11, Eph. 2:5). “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Tit. 3:5).

See entry for Salvation.


Philippians 1:29

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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