Faith in  Christ   leads to action


 page 8 of 14


Jesus Our Lord and the Model for Us

            The reasons for Paul writing the letter may be inferred in general according to the following. “Paul took the opportunity of Epaphroditus’ necessary trip home to warn the Philippians against the errors of his other churches, to commend the Philippians’ messenger for a job well done, and to urge the Philippians, amid the challenge of pagan opposition, to ‘stand firm in one Spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel’ (1:27).”[1] An expanded assessment of the reasons for Paul writing the letter is offered in the following description. “The apostle appears to have had a number of purposes in mind as he wrote it, namely to express his gratitude to his Philippian friends for their generosity, to explain why he decided to send Epaphroditus back so quickly, to inform his readers of his present circumstances and how his imprisonment has served to advance the gospel, to indicate his possible future plans including the visit of Timothy and his hopes of visiting them himself, to warn the Philippians of the dangers posed by the Judaizing opponents from outside the congregation, and especially to urge his Christian friends to stand firm for the gospel and to be united in Christian love.”[2]

            Living faithfully in Christ and maintaining unity of the church are major themes of the letter. Joy is another such theme, saturating the letter. “Contemplation of the Philippians’ ready acceptance of the gospel and their perseverance in the Christian faith causes Paul joy – an overarching theme of this letter. He prays for their continual increasing in Christian love, informed by mature knowledge and guided by discernment.”[3] These overarching themes provide an important framework within which to read and consider the passage.According to Acts, Chapter 16, after a vision of a man from Macedonia begging for help, Paul and his companions quickly went to Macedonia. “We set sail from Troas and took a straight

[1] Thielman, NIV Application Commentary: Philippians, 22.
[2] Peter T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), 38.
[3] Richard N. Longenecker, “The Letters,” in The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible, ed. Gordon D. Fee and Robert L. Hubbard Jr. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011), 675.

Act_17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.