NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 78
P h i l i pp i a n s 1
Although Paul was writing from prison, joy is a dominant theme in this letter. The
secret of his joy is grounded in his relationship with Christ. People today desperately
want to be happy but are tossed and turned by daily successes, failures, and incon
veniences. Christians are to be joyful in every circumstance, even when things are
going badly, even when we feel like complaining, even when no one else is joyful.
Christ still reigns, and we still know him, so we can rejoice at all times.
1. Joy in suffering
2. Joy in serving
3. Joy in believing
4. Joy in giving
E X P L A N AT I O N
Christ showed true humility when he laid aside his rights and privileges as God to become human. He poured out
his life to pay the penalty we deserve. Laying aside self-interest is essential to all our relationships. We are to take
Christ’s attitude in serving others, which can mean renouncing personal recognition and merit. When we give up
our self-interest, we can serve with joy, love, and kindness.
Christ suffered and died so we might have eternal life. With courage and faithfulness, Paul sacrificed himself for the
ministry. He preached the gospel even while he was in prison. Christ gives us power today to lay aside our personal
needs and concerns. To utilize his power, we must imitate leaders who show self-denying concern for others. An
attitude of self-centeredness helps no one; it only fuels greed and selfish resentment for what we don’t have.
Every church in every generation has divisive influences (issues, loyalties, and conflicts). In these situations, it is
easy for believers to turn against one another. Paul encouraged the Philippians to agree with each other, stop
complaining, and work together. We are called to do the same today. Believers should not contend with each
other but strive together for unity. When we are unified in love, Christ’s strength is most clearly expressed through
us. Keep before you the ideals of teamwork, consideration of others, and unselfishness.
Paul shows us how we are called to live the Christian life. We can become mature by being so identified with Christ
that his attitude of humility and self-sacrifice becomes ours. Christ is both our source of power and our guide.
Developing our character begins with God’s work in us. But growth also requires self-discipline, obedience to
God’s Word, and concentration.
Believers can have profound contentment, serenity, and peace no matter what happens. This joy comes from
knowing Christ personally and from depending on his strength rather than our own. We can have joy even in
hardship. Joy does not come from outward circumstances but from inward strength. As Christians, we must
not rely on what we have or what we experience to give us joy but on Christ within us.
1. Joy in suffering
Greetings from Paul
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 J esus,
including the church leaders* and deacons.
2May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
1:1 Or overseers, or bishops.
2 Cor 1:1
1:1 This is a personal letter to the Philippians, not intended for general
1:1 For more information on Paul, see his profile on page 1897. Timothy’s
circulation to all the churches as the letter to the Ephesians was. Paul
wanted to thank the believers for helping him when he had a need.
He also wanted to tell them why he could be full of joy despite his im
prisonment and upcoming trial. In this uplifting letter, Paul counseled the
Philippians about humility and unity and warned them about potential
problems they might face.
1:1 On Paul’s first missionary journey, he visited towns close to his
headquarters in Antioch of Syria. On his second and third journeys, he
traveled farther away, crossing from Asia Minor into Macedonia and
Greece. Philippi was one of the first towns he visited in Macedonia. Be
cause of the great distances between the new Christian communities
that Paul founded, he could no longer personally oversee them all. Thus,
he wrote letters such as this one under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
to teach and encourage the believers. Fortunately, Paul had a staff of
volunteers (including Timothy, Mark, and Epaphroditus) who personally
delivered these letters and often remained with the congregations for a
while to teach and encourage them.
profile is on page 2109.
1:1 The Roman colony of Philippi was located in northern Greece (called
Macedonia in Paul’s day). Philip II of Macedon (the father of Alexander the
Great) had taken the town from ancient Thrace in about 357 BC, enlarged
and strengthened it, and given it his name. This thriving commercial center
sat at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and was highly loyal to
Rome. In about AD 50, Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke crossed the Aegean
Sea from Asia Minor and landed at Philippi (Acts 16:11-40). The church
in Philippi consisted mostly of Gentile (non-Jewish) believers. Because
they were not familiar with the Old Testament, Paul did not specifically
quote any Old Testament passages in this letter.
1:1 Church leaders (bishops or pastors) and deacons led the early Chris
tian churches. The qualifications and duties of the church leaders are
explained in detail in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The qualifications
and duties of deacons are spelled out in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
1:2 Paul wasn’t offering something new when he started his letters
to churches with greetings of grace and peace. He was reminding his