Philippians 1:1-30

Philippians 1:1-30

by | Jan 27, 2006 | Uncategorized

Paul is the writer of this letter we know this from Philippians 1:1-2 and the many personal references in the letter. We know further by the perspective of the letter which is consistent with what is known of Paul from other New Testament sources, and the style and language are similar to all of Paul’s other letters. Only the most radical New Testament scholars question Paul’s authorship of this epistle, and their views have been almost universally rejected.

The letter was probably written while Paul was first imprisoned in Rome between 60-63 A.D., the association with Rome is mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:21-22. It is likely the last of the four Prison Epistles Paul wrote, the other three being Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. The letter was of course to the Philippian Believers. Paul may have written this letter with his own hand, but it was his custom to use an amanuensis (secretary).

Timothy and Epaphroditus were with Paul when he wrote the letter. The account of the founding of the church in Philippi is found in Acts 16:11-40. Paul visited Philippi on his second missionary journey, which lasted from A.D. 50-53, it was at this time Lydia and the Philippian jailer and his family came to faith. The congregation at Philippi which was in Macedonia was the first European church founded by Paul was the first primarily Gentile assembly.

With the opening statement we see an important truth in the success of the work of Paul in beginning congregations that would thrive; the discipleship of young People. A healthy congregation disciples and invests its time, energy and resources into young people. In the words in Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timothy” we see a father and son in the faith. There was deep affection that bound Paul and Timothy together. Paul imparted his wisdom and experience, and Timothy his hope and energy that comes with youth (2 Timothy 2:2).

A second thing we see in Philippians 1:1 is the statement that they were servants. The word “servant” (doulos) in the Greek means far more than just a servant. It means a slave totally possessed by the master. It means a bond-servant bound by law to a master. A look at the slave market of Paul’s day shows more clearly what Paul meant when he said he was a “slave of Yeshua the Messiah.”:

1) The slave was owned and totally possessed by his master. Paul was purchased and possessed by Messiah, the Son of the living God. Messiah loved him and bought him; therefore, he was now the possession of Messiah.

2) The slave existed for his master and he had no other reason for existence. He had no personal rights whatsoever. The same was true with Paul.

3) The slave served his master and he existed only for the purpose of service. He was at the master’s disposal any hour of the day. So it was with Paul: he lived only to serve Messiah—hour by hour and day by day.

4) The slave’s will belong to his master. He was allowed no will and ambition other than the will and ambition of his master. He was completely subservient and owed total obedience to the will of the master. Paul fought and struggled to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

5) The most precious thing that Paul meant by “a slave of Yeshua Messiah.” was that he had the highest and most honored and kingly profession in all the world. Men of God, the greatest men of history, have always been called “the servants of God.” It was the highest title of honor.

The believer’s slavery to Yeshua Messiah is not cringing subjection. It is a position of honor that bestows the privileges and responsibilities of serving the King of kings and Lord of lords. Moses was the slave of God (Deuteronomy 34:5;Psalm 105:26;Malachi 4:4).

Joshua was the slave of God (Joshua 24:9). David was the slave of God (2 Samuel 3:18; Psalm 78:70) The prophets were the slaves of God (Amos 3:7;Jeremiah 7:25). All believers are said to be the slaves of Yeshua Messiah (Acts 2:18;1 Corinthians 7:22;Ephesians 6:6;Colossians 4:12;2 Timothy 2:24).

The great need today is for men and women to become slaves of the Lord. When we become His slaves and do what He says then and only then will our kinsmen and the nations be reached so that their lives might be transformed.

A second truth in this first verse is that it is addressed to the “saints in Messiah Yeshua”. A healthy congregation is full of true saints. The word saints refer to the sanctified or holy ones. It simply means to be set apart and to be separated. Every believer who has come to faith in Yeshua is separated from the world and set apart to live for God. Every true believer is a “saint,” a person set apart unto God. In the Tenach Two words are used for saints: kodosh which means holy or separated unto God (Exodus 22:31).

This separation reflects God’s character, for He is holy (Leviticus 19:2). Holiness is more than a one-time separating and uniting activity. It’s a way of life. Saints are people who strive to live holy lives (Daniel 7:18-28) through the process of sanctification. Chesed means “to be kind or merciful.” These are qualities of God. Hasidim are godly people because they reflect His character. There are three stages of sanctification:

1)  There is initial or positional sanctification. When a person believes in Messiah, he is immediately set apart for God—once and for all—permanently (Hebrews 10:10).

2) There is progressive sanctification. The true believer makes a determined and disciplined effort to allow the Spirit of God to set him apart day by day. This is helped by daily reading of God’s Word and prayer, as well as regular fellowship. The Spirit of God takes him and conforms him into the image of Yeshua more and more for as long as he walks upon this earth (John 17:17;Ephesians 5:25-26).

3)  There is an eternal sanctification. The day is coming when the believer will be perfectly set apart to God and His service without any sin. That day is also known as glorification (Ephesians 5:27;1 John 3:2).

A third thing we see here is the expression Bishops and Deacons: a healthy congregation organizes for ministry and has leaders who lead by example and the assembly at Philippi had both bishops and deacons. Bishop’s were apparently the same as the elders as both are used interchangeably to refer to the same men (Acts 20:17,28;Titus 1:5).

4). The word “bishop” means to oversee or manage. The instructions in Titus say his duties included primarily exhortation and overseeing the lives of the believers. The bishop was the person who today is the pastor of a congregation. Deacons were spiritually minded men and women who had given their lives to the Lord to serve the saints and congregation. They were chosen to minister to the widows the poor and sick of the assembly in order to free the minister to concentrate on prayer and preaching.

Philippians 1:3-11 – The mark of a mature believer is found in these verses. The first mark that Paul writes of is a thankful heart. He was not alone in his faith in Messiah. He was part of a great family of believers. They, too, were living for God and sharing God’s love in Messiah a lost and needy world.

Paul was in prison in Rome when he wrote this letter all he had was the memory of their time together. As he remembered their love and care and support, his heart was filled with thanksgiving for them, and he thanked God for them. If Paul thanked God for believers who were so far away from him, how much more should we thank God for each other?

We have the love and care and support of each other week by week yet how often do we thank God for each other? We also should follow Paul’s example by thanking God for all believers every day. We are not alone in the world. A second mark of a mature Believer is prayer.

Paul says that he prayed all throughout the day for them. They were constantly on his mind and in his prayers. A third mark is joy even though Paul is in prison his heart was filled with joy. Joy is something that comes despite our outward circumstances it is an inner gladness.

Richard Lovelace wrote in poem thoughts that expresses Paul’s perspective: Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; If I have freedom in my love And in my soul am free, Angels alone, that soar above Enjoy such liberty. The joy of the Lord is not the same as the joy of the world. The world’s joy is always nagged by some incompleteness, some unfulfilled thing that lacks completeness and satisfaction.

Joy does not depend on circumstances or happiness. Happiness depends upon happenings, but the joy that God gives in the believer’s heart overrides all. A fourth mark of a mature believer is fellowship this is seen in Philippians 1:5 when Paul mentions their partnership in the Gospel.

We have a spiritual bond because we have experienced the same salvation, and have the same faith, we are fellow bond servants, and are committed to serving together and working together for the same Master. A sixth mark of a believer is confidence and assurance that God is at work in our lives and will complete and perfect it in us. He is confident through the work of God’s Spirit sanctifying him.

That work continues as long as we are on earth causing us to grow more and more. It is completed when the Lord returns and we receive our glorified body when we will be transformed into a perfect man and given a perfect body that will worship and serve the Lord Yeshua in perfection through all eternity.

A seventh mark of a believer is our partnership in the sufferings of believers. We suffer with others who are ill treated by the enemies of God. We are also partners in sharing the Good News with others to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. Toward that end we are also partners in the grace of God in his kindness to us and because of that kindness our kindness, forgiveness and patience with each other and those whom God sends our way.

In Philippians 1:9-10 we see an eighth mark of a believer and that is love. Love in the Bible does not focus on feelings but rather knowledge. If we truly love someone, we want to know all we can about them.

That is the reason for our Chavurah’s is to deepen and develop our knowledge of each other so that we can better love each other. Paul prayer for the Philippians’ is what God wants of us to know more and more about Yeshua and each other; more understanding, more discernment, more and more knowledge about each other.

The more we know about Yeshua and each other, the more our love for each other will grow. He tells us that this deepening love is necessary so that we will be able to approve things that are excellent. Only a growing love will help us to choose the excellent and the best. The more we love the Lord, the more we will choose the excellent and best for Him and the more we love each other, the more we will choose the excellent and best for each other.

A growing love will not want to do anything that would even come close to causing a person to stumble. Paul tells us that this kind of love is needed to be sincere and pure. Only a growing love will keep our eyes focused upon Yeshua. If we love Him, we will keep our eyes on Him, and it His love for us that motivates us and helps us to love others.

The last mark is in Philippians 1:11; is the fruit of righteousness (Psalm 1:3;Isaiah 5:2,Luke 13:6-9;Galatians 5:22-23).

Philippians 1:3-11 – The mark of a mature believer is found in these verses. The first mark that Paul writes of is a thankful heart. He was not alone in his faith in Messiah. He was part of a great family of believers. They, too, were living for God and sharing God’s love in Messiah a lost and needy world.

Paul was in prison in Rome when he wrote this letter all he had was the memory of their time together. As he remembered their love and care and support, his heart was filled with thanksgiving for them, and he thanked God for them. If Paul thanked God for believers who were so far away from him, how much more should we thank God for each other?

We have the love and care and support of each other week by week yet how often do we thank God for each other? We also should follow Paul’s example by thanking God for all believers every day. We are not alone in the world. A second mark of a mature Believer is prayer.

Paul says that he prayed all throughout the day for them. They were constantly on his mind and in his prayers. A third mark is joy even though Paul is in prison his heart was filled with joy. Joy is something that comes despite our outward circumstances it is an inner gladness.

Richard Lovelace wrote in poem thoughts that expresses Paul’s perspective: Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; If I have freedom in my love And in my soul am free, Angels alone, that soar above Enjoy such liberty. The joy of the Lord is not the same as the joy of the world. The world’s joy is always nagged by some incompleteness, some unfulfilled thing that lacks completeness and satisfaction.

Joy does not depend on circumstances or happiness. Happiness depends upon happenings, but the joy that God gives in the believer’s heart overrides all.

A fourth mark of a mature believer is fellowship this is seen in Philippians 1:5 when Paul mentions their partnership in the Gospel. We have a spiritual bond because we have experienced the same salvation, and have the same faith, we are fellow bond servants, and are committed to serving together and working together for the same Master.

A sixth mark of a believer is confidence and assurance that God is at work in our lives and will complete and perfect it in us. He is confident through the work of God’s Spirit sanctifying him. That work continues as long as we are on earth causing us to grow more and more. It is completed when the Lord returns and we receive our glorified body when we will be transformed into a perfect man and given a perfect body that will worship and serve the Lord Yeshua in perfection through all eternity.

A seventh mark of a believer is our partnership in the sufferings of believers. We suffer with others who are ill treated by the enemies of God. We are also partners in sharing the Good News with others to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. Toward that end we are also partners in the grace of God in his kindness to us and because of that kindness our kindness, forgiveness and patience with each other and those whom God sends our way.

In Philippians 1:9-10 we see an eighth mark of a believer and that is love. Love in the Bible does not focus on feelings but rather knowledge. If we truly love someone, we want to know all we can about them.

That is the reason for our Chavurah’s is to deepen and develop our knowledge of each other so that we can better love each other. Paul prayer for the Philippians’ is what God wants of us to know more and more about Yeshua and each other; more understanding, more discernment, more and more knowledge about each other.

Philippians 1:12-14 circumstances can often throw and defeat us. The mature Believer will learn to live above circumstances. Paul faced difficult circumstances as a prisoner in Rome. Paul was waiting to appear before Nero in a trial though he was innocent. In jail he awaited the arrival of his Jewish prosecutors with their trumped-up malicious charges.

True, he had some privileges, he was able to rent his own house and receive friends but there still were great pressures on him. He says in Ephesians 3:13, that his tribulations were intense and lingering. But Paul did not grumble and complain or question God and wonder why or give up his faith; he used his circumstances to share the Good News. Paul did not see himself as a prisoner of Rome or Nero.

He saw himself as a prisoner for Yeshua. He didn’t see himself as a victim, but as the Lord’s bond servant. Paul was bound in chains, in Ephesians 6:20 he calls himself an “ambassador in chains.” Paul was bound to a Roman guard every day for over two years. What do you suppose Paul talked about with the guards?

He tells us: “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Paul spread the gospel through the Praetorian Guard, the elite of the Roman army. These soldiers were the Imperial Guard of Rome, hand-picked to protect the emperor and to carry out the major armed functions of the state.

There were sixteen thousand of them, most of whom were stationed in Rome at any given time. If we are living for the Lord, we must need to know and understand that God is in control of our lives.

He will strengthen us to endure whatever situation we are in. We must use those circumstances to demonstrate God’s grace and power in us that others might embrace that wonderful hope. This is the testimony that overcomes the world. Our lives are not our own we have been bought with a price and so we are to glorify God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Philippians 1:15-18 – Mature Believers are not jealous or desire credit for their service to the Lord. If we are bond servants we are simply doing what servants are to do. Some who claimed to disciples of the Lord were jealous of Paul and envious of the results he was having and the favorable attention he was gaining from the centurions and by the growing movement in society.

These were genuine believers because Paul agreed with their teaching; he just regretted their opposition to him. Instead of supporting him, they were speaking out against him, hoping to silence his influence and to get rid of him. Not all were opposed to Paul those who were sharing the Gospel with love were encouraging their followers to show their love for Paul by visiting and supporting him in his ministry. This sadly is a scene being repeated today.

There are many believers and those in ministry who are jealous and envious of the success of others. How many of us begin to question and speak one of the Lord’s servants because of these things may God forgive us. I love the words of John the Baptist when his disciples came to him concerned over the success of Yeshua’s ministry (John 3:25-27).

Philippians 1:19-21 Paul further models for us an assurance that God will work everything out as it should be it will result in his deliverance. We need to remember Paul’s circumstances: he was in prison, but he was, as always, sharing with everyone he came in contact with God’s love found in Messiah.

No matter what his circumstances he was hopeful and positive. Tremendous results were occurring: unbelievers from all over were coming to faith while other believers were being encouraged to step forward and become bolder witnesses for Messiah. Paul is sure God will save and deliver him from the criticism and opposition. He is sure of God’s help because of the prayers of those who supported him and because he knew that the Holy Spirit would supply whatever he needed to get through his circumstances.

Paul then articulates the basis for his hope in the midst of his trials and struggles and that is to glorify the Lord in his body. The words “earnest expectation” in Greek means to look into the distance like a watchman on a tower. It is turning the eyes away from everything else and focusing on one object with total concentration. Paul’s “earnest expectation and hope” was that Yeshua would be glorified through him. Paul knew the weakness of the flesh, how it tended to doubt, question, be self-centered prone to pride, boasting, laziness, and neglecting and ignoring God.

But when he came to faith in Yeshua, Paul totally committed himself to magnifying the Messiah. And there was only one place where Messiah could be magnified and seen, and that was in his body. The only place that men can see Yeshua living is in the body or life of a person. Yeshua is no longer on the earth and the only way that He is seen is through His embodiment in us. Paul was facing death. He didn’t know if he was going to die or continue living.

If he was to be executed, he wanted to be as faithful as ever and to magnify Yeshua in death. If he was to be declared innocent and set free, he wanted to continue to magnify Yeshua in his body. The reason wanted Yeshua to be glorified in his body was so that he might not be ashamed in anything. Paul knew that he was going to face the same thing that every believer is to face: the judgment seat of Messiah. He knew that everyone of us has to give an account for what we have done with our bodies while on earth; four years earlier Paul wrote that truth to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Paul declared “to me, to live is Messiah, and to die is gain”. This meant that he presented his body as a living sacrifice to the Lord, Yeshua the Messiah (Romans 12:1); he struggled to control his mind (2 Corinthians 10:5;Philippians 4:8); he committed himself to work for love and justice (Matthew 7:12;22:39); and to reach and minister to as many people as possible in the time he had (John 20:21;Matthew 20:28).

This needs to be our goal as well. The second point Paul makes here is his statement “to die is gain.” He knew that everything on earth was passing away including him. He knew that beyond life was something eternal lasting and wonderful not filled with the frustrations, trials and temptations that faced him while here on earth.

Philippians 1:22-26 Paul spoke of the internal battle he wrestled with to live or to depart and be with the Lord. In the Greek the word “depart” has a meaning that speaks to the heart of a believer. It means to break or loosen as in breaking camp and loosening the ropes of the tent.

The same picture is true of the believer when he departs this life. We don’t cease to exist we simply break camp release our tent pegs and move our tent to a permanent building. Paul says that he is caught between two great desires: One desire is to live a life of fruitful service for the Lord and the other is to depart and be with the Lord which is far better. He knew what a believer knows to be true that we don’t really die or even taste death but rather are transferred or transformed into the presence of Messiah instantly (2 Corinthians 5:8;1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Paul’s desire was to serve sacrificially. This is an interesting statement by Paul. Sitting there in prison waiting for the trial which would determine whether he lived or died, something happened to Paul. Either through thinking about the needs that existed in the world and in the churches, or through some sense from the Holy Spirit, Paul became convinced that he would be found innocent of the false charges and released from prison. But note why not for his sake and enjoyment of life, but so that he could continue to serve others.

Philippians 1:27-30 As we end this first chapter Paul’s concern for the Philippian assembly was to remind them what makes for a great and effective congregation. The first mark of a great congregation is conduct that is becoming to followers of God. This word is used only twice in the New Covenant (Acts 23:1 and here).

Another Greek word is used when it refers to behavior or conduct, a word meaning how a person should walk day by day. Why is a different word used? It likely has to do with the fact that Philippi was a proud Roman colony proud of their citizenship and identity with Rome even though they were surrounded by those whom Rome occupied and were not citizens. This reason Paul uses the word politeuesthe is that it means the conduct and behavior of citizenship.

They would understand that when they came to faith their pride was no longer in their citizenship with Rome but rather heaven. And so they should conduct themselves with that mindset which was far superior to the majesty and glory that was Rome.

The second mark of a great congregation is to honor the Gospel or Good News that is to bring dishonor to the message that their congregation existed to proclaim to the world as the only hope for life.

A third mark was to firmly remain united with “one spirit and one mind.” This is a call that all who are members of the assembly are be born of the same Spirit, and filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. And being of one mind means that they all needed to be agreed with the same purpose; following Yeshua and building His Kingdom (1 Corinthians 1:10;Philippians 2:3-4).

The fourth mark of a great congregation is courage in the face of opposition. We are not to be frightened by those who oppose us. There are four reasons why:

1) Persecution is a sign that they are destined for judgment; it is a sign to them. The Spirit of God is able to take their persecution of us and convict their hearts of the evil they do. That conviction will give them a better chance of coming to faith and reconciliation with God.

2) Their persecution is a sign of salvation for us that can actually strengthen our faith.

3)  Persecution is a privilege that we are counted worthy to suffer for our faith in Messiah. He should not be an embarrassment to us but the One in whom we glory; our glorious King and Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

4) We have the example of Paul and the prophets who also had been arrested, beaten, and jailed for their faith which because of their trials enabled us to have the faith that we have. We stand because they were willing to suffer. Perhaps others might come to faith because of our willingness to offer ourselves in similar sacrifice (John 15:20;2 Timothy 3:12).

GET YOUR COPY OF

Where Jesus Walked: A Jewish Perspective of Israel's Messiah

ONLY $3.99

JOIN OUR BIBLE STUDY

©2021 Finding Shalom with Roy • All Rights Reserved • Website Designed by Sequena Luckett Design Studio