"THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS"
Salutation To The Philippians (Ph 1:1-2)
1. In our previous lesson we introduced the book of Philippians as a book
that is very relevant to our times
2. As we actually begin our study of this epistle, we shall examine
Paul's salutation as found in the first two verses...
[First, we notice...]
I. THE "AUTHOR" OF THIS EPISTLE
A. IDENTIFIED AS "PAUL"...
1. This is the apostle Paul, of course
2. Who was once the "persecutor" - Acts 8:1; Acts 8:3
3. But is now the "persecuted"
a. For he is writing this while in Roman custody - Ph 1:12-14
b. During the time period mention in Acts 28:30
B. HE IS JOINED IN THE SALUTATION BY "TIMOTHY"...
1. A travelling companion who joined Paul during his second
journey - Acts 16:1-3
2. He was a young man, devoted to serving Paul, whom Paul loved as
a son - Ph 2:19-22
3. He later was the recipient of two other epistles by Paul (1 & 2 Timothy)
C. TOGETHER, THEY ARE DESCRIBED AS "SERVANTS"...
1. A title of humility, it denotes dependence, obedience, and
acknowledgment of ownership
2. Used in connection with Jesus Christ...
a. It is a word with real dignity
b. Indicates intense devotion to the Lord
[Having considered those responsible for this epistle, we next take a
look at those to whom it is addressed...]
II. THE "RECIPIENTS" OF THIS EPISTLE
A. IDENTIFIED AS "SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS"...
1. The term "saint" was a common term by which ALL Christians were
called in the New Testament
a. Literally, it means "holy one" - cf. 1 Pe 2:9
b. The basic idea behind the word is that of "separation", for
the purpose of consecration
2. But note that they were called saints "in Christ Jesus"
a. It is in Him that we are set apart
b. Only by virtue by being in Him and having our sins forgiven
by His blood can we we be called saints - cf. Rev 1:5-6; Rev 5:9-10
3. It is interesting to notice the contrast between "servants"
a. By using such terms, Paul immediately humbles himself and
exalts those to whom he is writing
b. Thereby practicing what he later preaches in regards to
humility - cf. Ph 2:3
B. IN PARTICULAR, THEY ARE THE SAINTS "WHO ARE IN PHILIPPI"...
1. That is, the church in Philippi
2. The beginning of the church is found in Acts 16:9-15
a. Prompted by the "Macedonia Call"
b. Started with the conversion of Lydia
3. Its early growth is also found in Acts 16 (verses 16-40)
a. With the conversion of the Philippian jailor and his
b. With the church meeting in Lydia's home
c. And with Luke staying at Philippi after Paul's departure
4. Several things may be said about the characteristics of the
a. It appears to be predominantly Gentile (lack of a synagogue
in Philippi would suggest this)
b. It appears to be predominantly female (implied by meeting in
Lydia's home and the reference to women in Ph 4:2 )
c. They were very supportive in the preaching of the gospel
- Ph 4:15-16
d. They provided for needy saints in other areas - 2 Cor 8:1-5
e. They cared for Paul in his distress - Ph 4:10; Ph 4:14
C. ALSO ADDRESSED WERE THE "BISHOPS AND DEACONS"...
1. In this verse, we see the organization of a local church as
a. It is made up of "saints" (the members)
b. It is overseen by "bishops"
c. It is served with the assistance of "deacons"
2. Concerning the "bishops" (translated "overseers" in some
a. These were men charged with guarding the flock and providing
b. They were also called "elders" (or "presbyters"), and
"pastors" (or "shepherds") - cf. Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; 1 Pe 5:1-2
1) For they were older men
2) And they were to feed (or pastor) the flock under
c. According to the New Testament...
1) They had to meet certain qualifications before they were
appointed to serve as "elders-bishops-pastors" - 1 Tim 3:1-7;
2) There was always a plurality in the congregation, never
just one - cf. Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17; Ph 1:1
3. Concerning the "deacons"...
a. The term means "servants" or "ministers"
b. They also had to meet certain qualifications - 1 Ti 3:8-13
c. They served the needs of the congregation, under the
oversight of the bishops (elders-pastors)
[So the recipients of this epistle was a well-established congregation,
one that had demonstrated their love and support for the apostle Paul.
Finally, we briefly notice the greetings given to them...]
III. THE "GREETINGS"
1. This was the common greeting of the Greeks
2. It speaks of wishing unmerited favor and kindness upon them
1. This was common greeting of the Jews ("Shalom!")
2. It speaks of the result of receiving favor and kindness
C. "FROM GOD OUR FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST"...
1. This is the source of grace and peace which Paul desires the
Philippians to receive
2. For when one has received unmerited favor and kindness from God
through His Son Jesus Christ, one truly receives peace:
a. Peace with God - Rom 5:1
b. Peace with men - Pro 16:7
c. Peace with one's self - Ph 4:6-7
1. At this point, we can see that this epistle is a personal letter
a. A man in chains who is accompanied with a dear friend
b. And a congregation of holy people whose love for this man has
been demonstrated on several occasions
2. In the next lesson, we shall examine the "joyful thanksgiving" on the
part of Paul for the fellowship he has enjoyed with the church at
In the meantime, are you experiencing the grace and peace that comes only
from "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"...?
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