When Paul arrived in Philippi, he discovered that the man of Macedonia was actually a woman by the name of Lydia, holding a prayer meeting by the riverside (Acts 16:13-15). Paul got rough treatment in the city because he cast the demon out of a girl who, by the spirit of divination, was making money for her owners. Paul and Silas were imprisoned. When they sang praises to God at midnight, the prison was shaken, and this led to the conversion of the jailer (read Acts 16). He and his family were some of the converts in this church who were especially drawn to the apostle Paul in the bonds of
Christian love


“The Earthly Walk of a Heavenly People”

WRITER:  Paul (Philippians 1:1)

DATE:  A.D. 62; Written at the same time as Ephesians, it is one of the prison epistles.

CITY OF PHILIPPI: Philippi was a Roman colony. Although it was a miniature of Rome and imitated and aped Rome in every way, it was nonetheless a city which had a higher cultural level than other cities visited by Paul.


1. It was less Jewish and more Gentile than were all others (the names of individuals mentioned are Greek and Roman). This was the first church established in Europe (Acts 16:6-40), which gives special meaning to Gentiles.

2. Women occupied a prominent place in this church. Paul attended, first of all, not the synagogue, but a prayer meeting of women (Acts 16:12-15). A woman named Lydia was the first convert in Europe. Two women were prominent in the church (Philippians 4:2), and there were others who labored in the church (Philippians 4:3).

3. It was generous in its gifts to the Lord’s work (Philippians 4:10-16). Paul cited them as examples to others in giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

OCCASION FOR EPISTLE: There were two specific circumstances that occasioned the writing of this epistle:

1. The church at Philippi had been generous in support of Paul, and he wrote this letter to thank them. When he was in prison in  Rome, they sent help by the hands of Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus became ill in Rome, and when he recovered, Paul wrote this letter and sent it by the messenger who had brought him help.

2. A deeper reason was evidently the division that was arising because of the misunderstanding between two of the women (Philippians 4:2). One of the phrases that Paul used again and again is “you all,” speaking to and of all the believers in the church.

KEY: The epistle is practical; its key thought is joy. It has been labeled  “The Secret of Joy.” Some form of the word occurs 19 times. It answers the question, “How may I have joy in my heart?”  The man who wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice”  (Philippians 4:4), was in the Mamertine prison in Rome. Joy does not depend upon circumstances.

Philippians Commentary Video

Philippians (75.5 mb) Download entire Commentary here.



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