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Bible Commentaries

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

Philippians 1

Verse 1

Philippians 1:1

Book Comments

Walking Thru The Bible

PHILIPPIANS

Introduction

THE CHURCH: The Philippian church was established by Paul on his second missionary journey, ca. AD 50 (cf. Acts 16:1). He was there "many days." The church seems to be the least Jewish of all the communities where Paul established churches. Several women were prominent in the history of this congregation; there was Lydia, the first convert there, and Euodia and Syntyche who are designated as Paul’s fellow-laborers in the Gospel.

This congregation seems to have been exceedingly mindful of Paul’s needs while he was traveling as a missionary preaching the gospel and sent money to him again and again. They were concerned about his comfort and necessities while in prison and again sent him relief.

PLACE, DATE, AND OCCASION OF WRITING: The letter reflects that it was written during an imprisonment of some duration (Philippians 1:7, Philippians 1:13 f, Philippians 1:17). While Paul was in prison at several different places the evidence is strongest that it was written from Rome. He refers to the praetorium guard (Philippians 1:13) and Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22). The date of the epistle if written during first Roman imprisonment would be AD 61-64.

The letter was occasioned by a series of communications between the Philippian church and Paul. They heard of Paul’s imprisonment and need and sent their minister, Epaphroditus, to Rome with an offering for Paul. Epaphroditus became seriously sick but God spared him in answer to Paul’s prayers. The Philippians then heard of their minister’s sickness and were grieved over him. Epaphroditus is now well and Paul sends him back home with this letter of thanksgiving for the gift sent to him.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EPISTLE: Philippians is a letter to personal friends, not a sermon as Romans, Hebrews and I John. It is a love letter and Paul praises his beloved friends. It is filled with commendation and encouragement, gratitude and love.

It is a letter of joy. Paul might be scourged in the day but by midnight he could be rejoicing. It has some important teachings on God, and especially of Christ and his pre-incarnated state.

SERMON OUTLINE

THE MIND OF CHRIST

Introduction:

1. Nineteen times Paul mentions joy, rejoicing, or gladness in this epistle. This is even more meaningful when we notice Paul’s situation when he wrote the letter. If we can master Philippians we should be filled with joy as we live the Christian life.

2. Paul wrote not wanting anything to mar the joy of the Philippian Christians. He did not want the "Joy Stealers" to get the upper hand.

a. Illustration about "Happiness Robbers"

b. "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (John 15:11) Isn’t it sad today that so many Christians walk under clouds of gloom when we could be walking in the sunshine of joy.

3. Just how does Christian joy differ from ordinary happiness?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

4. The Christian secret of joy is found in the way we _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (Proverbs 23:7)

A. Notice the contrast between Mark Twain and Paul.

5. Paul indicates four thieves that could rob us of our joy and how we can prevent it. Four broad categories suggested by Paul are:

Chapter 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Chapter 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Chapter 3 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Chapter 4 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

6. How can we prevent these thieves from taking what is ours in Christ?

a. By cultivating the Christian mind and attitude (Philippians 2:5).

b. Paul used the word "mind" ten times, and "think" and "remember" five times each. Let us notice how Paul develops the right "mind-set" in each of the chapters:

I. The Single Mind Chapter 1 (Key verse 21)

1. How does Paul describe the singlemindedness that James mentions? "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)

It is having all of one’s life centered on Jesus Christ. Everything we think, plan. do, hope for, takes its meaning and purpose from the Lord.

2. Does a single-minded person simply ignore the circumstances in which he finds himself, acting as if they didn’t exist?

II. The Submissive Mind Chapter 2 (Key verse 3)

1. In chapter 2 Paul focuses on people and provides us with four wonderful examples of the submissive mind (Luke 14:11).

2:1-11 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (v.6-7)

2:12-18 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (v.16-17)

2:19-24 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (v.20)

2:25-30 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (v.30)

2. The Christian with the submissive mind doesn’t expect others to serve him.

3. We see how in chapter 1 Paul puts Jesus first, and in chapter 2 he shows us to put others second. That means you put yourself last, and notice how that spells JOY!

III. The Spiritual Mind Chapter 3 (Key verse 19)

1. Eleven times "things" are mentioned. We see that ’most people’ mind "earthly things"

a. Paul probably has in mind things which are always sinful, but he doesn’t list them.

b. "Things" that concern us may include some necessary but secondary things as food, clothing and shelter. "The worst enemy of the best is the second best." Matthew 6:33.

2. Christians are to mind "heavenly things" (verse 20). The person with a spiritual mind looks at things from heaven’s point of view. What a difference.

3. Paul uses several figures of speech in chapter 3 as he considers the need for the Christian to develop a spiritual minds from the standpoint of:

! Accountants-- with right values (v. 1-11) v.7

! Athletes-- with right vigor (v. 12-16) v.14

! Aliens-- with right vision (17-21) v.20

III. The Secure Mind Chapter 4 (Key verse 7)

1. The Christian with joy has a peaceful and secure mind. The great enemy of the secure mind is _ _ _ _ _ .

a. "Peace of mind," the basic characteristic of Christian joy cannot coexist with worry for that involves feelings of insecurity or feelings of threatened danger.

2. Paul indicates that worry involves the mind--

wrong thinking

and that worry involves the heart (emotions)--

wrong feelings

about circumstances, people and things. So if we develop the single mind, the submissive mind, and the spiritual mind as we should we will not have much problem with worry.

3. Four wonderful spiritual resources we have in Christ for joyful, peaceful, worry-free minds are:

a. (4:1-9) God’s P _ _ _ _ v.7

b. (4:10-13) God’s P _ _ _ _ v.13

c. (4:14-19) God’s P _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ v.19

d. (4:20-23) God’s P _ _ _ _ _ v.21-22.

Conclusion:

1. What should you and I do?

2. Notice that each chapter in Philippians begins with either "in Christ" or "in the Lord." When we give ourselves to Christ we no longer belong to the world.

3. We can see how the Philippians gave themselves to God in Acts 16.

a. They were told to: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (Acts 16:31)

b. We see evidence of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (Acts 16:33)

e. We see that they were _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ in obedience to the commands of the Lord (Acts 16:33, Mark 16:16).

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Verse Comments

For establishment of the church at Philippi, see Acts 16

Date established, A.D. 50

Date epistle written AD 61-62

Paul was imprisoned see Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:13; Philippians 1:17; Philippians 4:22

Key Word: Joy (19 x)

Key Verse: Philippians 4:4

"The Joyful Life in Christ"

(Ephesians = "The Supremacy of the Christian Life")

The Joy Stealers (Illustration: Happiness Rustlers, like cattle rustlers)

ch 1 Circumstances

ch 2 People

ch 3 Things

ch 4 Worry

Ch. 1 The Philosophy for the Christian - Philippians 1:21

Ch. 2 The Pattern for the Christian - Philippians 2:5

Ch. 3 The Prize for the Christian - Philippians 3:14

Ch. 4 The Power for the Christian - Philippians 4:13

ch 1 Saviour - centered

ch 2 Self-emptying Life

ch 3 Sound Life

ch 4 Serene Life

Verse 2

Philippians 1:2

Verse 3

Philippians 1:3

A. 1-11 The Fellowship of the Gospel (v.5)

1) 1:3-6 In My Mind v.3

2) 1:7-8 In My Heart

3) 1:9-11 In My Prayers cf v. 3-4

B. 12-26 The Furtherance of the Gospel - v.12

Verse 4

Philippians 1:4

Verse 5

Philippians 1:5

v. 5 Fellowship of the gospel

Philippians 2:1 Fellowship of the Spirit

Philippians 3:10 Fellowship of His suffering

Verse 6

Philippians 1:6

He -- God’s work

Verse 7

Philippians 1:7

You all -- 9 times

In my heart -- 1) In my Mind - Philippians 1:3-6

2) In my Heart - Philippians 1:7-9

3) In my Prayers - Philippians 1:3; Philippians 1:9

Verse 8

Philippians 1:8

Bowels -- "tender mercies"

Verse 9

Philippians 1:9

I Pray .. 1) In my Mind - Philippians 1:3-6

2) In my Heart - Philippians 1:7-9

3) In my Prayers - Philippians 1:3; Philippians 1:9

3) v9-11 In My Prayers

1. He prays that they would have more love in their hearts.

2. He prays for maturity, cf Philippians 1:6, Philippians 1:10

3. " " Not cause others to stumble, Philippians 1:10 b

4. " " for their service (probably fruits of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23) Philippians 1:11

Verse 10

Philippians 1:10

Verse 11

Philippians 1:11

Fruits of righteousness -- cf. Galatians 5:22-23

Verse 12

Philippians 1:12

The furtherance of the gospel ..

B. v.12-26 The Furtherance of the Gospel

Things which happened -- God’s Providence works to help us achieve our goals in ways we may never dream possible. (Begin in Acts 21:17).

Furtherance -- A pioneer advance - A Greek military term refers to the military engineers who go before the troops to open up the way into new territory.

Pioneers were needed in Rome - Acts 19:1, Romans 1:15. (cf. Philippians 1:25 Pioneer and Joy of faith.)

1) Paul’s Chains - v.12-14

2) Paul’s Critics - v.15-19

3) Paul’s Crisis - v. 20-26

Verse 13

Philippians 1:13

1) Paul’s Chains - v.12-14

2) Paul’s Critics - v.15-19

3) Paul’s Crisis - v. 20-26

My bonds -- Paul was in chains. see note on Philippians 1:14.

Verse 14

Philippians 1:14

My bonds -- God sometimes uses strange things: Moses’ rod’ Gideon’s pitcher; David’s sling; etc. The chains did not bind God’s power, but released it. 2 Timothy 2:9.

a) Gave contact with the lost; 1) soldiers; 2) officials

b) Gave courage, v. 14

To speak -- not preach.

Verse 15

Philippians 1:15

2) Paul’s Critics

Who? Possibly same as those of Galatians 1 because there he condemned, here he rejoices.

Verse 16

Philippians 1:16

Contentions -- Canvassing for office to get people to support you. Political contending. Paul’s aim was to glorify Christ, not himself.

Verse 17

Philippians 1:17

Set -- stationed like a guard at his post.

Defense -- apology, legal term.

Verse 18

Philippians 1:18

Joy -- rejoice -- in the furtherance of the gospel.

Verse 19

Philippians 1:19

Salvation -- Prob. ref. to deliverance from prison, victory.

Supply -- English word chorus; When a Greek city put on a festival and needed funds for singers, etc. they called for lavish support "to provide generously and lavishly."

Verse 20

3) Paul’s Crisis

Because of chains, Christ was known - v.13

Because of critics, Christ was preached - v.18

Because of crisis, Christ was magnified - v.20

Verse 21

Philippians 1:21

2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23

V. 21 - Single Minded

Fill in: "For me to live is _ _ _ _ _, to die is _ _ _ _."

money -- leave it all

fame -- to be forgotten

power -- to lose it all.

Verse 22

Philippians 1:22

Verse 23

Depart -- The word is used of a soldier breaking camp, "taking down your tent and move one"; of sailors, to "loose a ship and set sail"; and of a farmer unyoking the oxen and "freeing them from burden."

cf. see notes at 2 Corinthians 5:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:8; "Where are the Rightesous Dead," and "Five Minutes After Death"

Verse 24

Philippians 1:24

Verse 25

Philippians 1:25

Furtherance -- Advance.

Verse 26

Philippians 1:26

Verse 27

Philippians 1:27

C. v. 27-30 The Faith of the Gospel

Battle Stations -- Soldiers Defending the Gospel

Faith = 1) The processing of Believing and Trusting

2) The Substance or Teaching which we believe

Striving -- sunathleo - athlete - "team work" exerting efforts along with others for a goal.

cf. Judges 1:3; 2 Corinthians 10:4

One spirit -- "Spirit" doesn’t always mean the Holy Spirit. Here "one common attitude, or ambition", like as if one man,

One mind -- single minded, one person.

I. Consistency - v.27 gives evidence

II. Cooperation - v.27(b) team work

III. Confidence - v.27-30 (esp. v.28)

Verse 28

Philippians 1:28

Perdition -- your adversaries view of you

Verse 29

Philippians 1:29

Privileges for Christ

Verse 30

Philippians 1:30

Conflict -- word is agonia, agony, struggle cf Luke 22:44).

Ye saw -- As seen in Acts 16 when Paul was with them at Philippi.

Now hear -- About Paul in the Roman prison.

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Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Philippians 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/philippians-1.html. 2021.