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by William Baxter Godbey
Philippi was the first city in Europe complimented by the gospel. Paul, accompanied by Luke, his amanuensis, Silas and Timothy, his fire- baptized preachers, responsive to his heavenly vision, sailed over the Aegean Sea from Asia to Europe, and began his evangelistic work at Philippi, the capital of Macedonia, availing himself of the Jewish city mission, in which Lydia and other daughters of Abraham were preaching the Old Testament gospel to the people of that heathen city. How grossly inconsistent for Europeans and Americans to criticize woman’s ministry, when our gospel traveled that road! Paul is gospel father.
A woman’s meeting opened to him the first door to preach the gospel to our progenitors.
Paul reached Rome a prisoner, in February, A. D. 61, and spent two years preaching the gospel in his hired house. At the expiration of that period, Burrus, the commander in chief of the Praetorian army, which guarded the emperor’s palace and person, and the staunch friend of Paul, died, leaving not a solitary influential person at the imperial court to defend him. Consequently, Paul was taken out of his hired house and carried to the barracks, where, surrounded by thousands of soldiers and closely guarded night and day, he dictated this beautiful, sweet, and triumphant letter to his faithful scribe.
The Philippian letter is certainly pre-eminent for its beauty, brevity, vivacity, heroism, diversity in unity, comprehensibility, and especially for the shout of triumph which rings from Alpha to Omega. The rigor of the administration, the military environments, the abandonment of fainthearted friends, and the imminence of cruel martyrdom, all conspired in a pre-eminent sense to put him on shouting ground. The Bible plan is for God’s saints to shout down all the Jerichos the world, the flesh, and the devil can rear up against us. Glory to God! the shout of faith will knock them all down. Paul had learned how to make them tumble. Hence, this epistle is a constant roaring shout.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29