Introducing Philippians

Joyful submission to Christ in the midst of difficulty is challenging for many of us, even as believers. Paul wrote Philippians to encourage a church facing suffering and opposition. Part 1 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”

A few things to know before we get into the text.

What is Philippians? It is a letter, made up not so much of doctrine but of affectionate exhortations and guidance. Yet the power of Christ and the glory of God are central.

About Philippi: An old city in eastern Macedonia, Philippi had been turned into a Roman colony. It was both Greek and Roman in its characteristics and population. Paul originally came to Philippi about AD 49 (see Acts 16:11-12).

Who was Philippians written for? Originally Paul wrote this letter to believers at Philippi, a young church (less than ten years old) consisting primarily of Gentiles. The church at Philippi began with a core group of women converts and the first house church was in the home of a woman merchant named Lydia (see Acts 16:14-15).

Paul does not assume that this church requires instruction in the matter of the content of the gospel, but rather encouragement in the process of sanctification following their belief in and daily walk of the gospel. This was particularly important for this church as they were in the midst of suffering and opposition (see Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians). Continue reading