“This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
- Paul writes calling himself a “slave of Christ Jesus” rather than an apostle as he does in other letters. (Galatians, Philemon) He is making a personal appeal rather than stressing his apostolic authority.
- Paul includes the greeting to elders and deacons as an endorsement of their authority in leadership of the church at Philippi.
- Paul’s wish for other believers in other churches was “grace”(unmerited favor) and “peace”(inner assurance from God).
- “Joy permeated Paul’s prayers even while he prayed for their needs.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
- Koinonia is the word used here for the partnership in the spreading the Gospel. The Philippians had previously sent Paul a gift to help him. He responded with prayers and thanks. They saw themselves as united in the common goal of sharing the Good News about Jesus with those around them.
- Paul encourages the people in the church at Philippi to remember that God not only began the work in their lives, but would also continue to do the work through them.
Application questions –
- Do you see yourself as a “slave of Christ” in your approach to others?
- Do you speak about church leaders in a respectful way? Of course there is a time to ask questions or bring concerns. When you have an issue or problem with something happening in your church, make an appeal to leaders prayerfully, privately and respectfully. Gossip really is the devil’s radio!
- Is your prayer for other believers even in the church down the street – “grace” and “peace” realizing we have the common goal of sharing the Gospel? Do you ever feel competitive or jealous when you hear of another church, small group or ministry growing or thriving? Take a moment to pray grace and peace for that church or ministry until your heart feels genuine koinoina towards them.
- Knowing that Christ started the work in your life, what is one specific way you can more fully depend on Him today for what He is presently doing in your life? Is there any area where you have been trying to rely on your own logic, initiative, or talent rather than fully depending on the Lord?
- Adoration: Praising God that He will finish the work in your life and that He will return someday.
- Confession: Confessing any sins of jealousy or competition that God reveals.
- Thanksgiving: Thanking God for the believers that He has placed in your life to partner with in sharing the Gospel.
- Supplication: Asking God for Joy in Him as you study through Philippians this month.