This study brings together Philippians 1:1-11
and adds the context of the Book of Acts
and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ
Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to
you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my
remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for
you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day
until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good
work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For it is only
right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart,
since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of
the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness,
how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I
pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and
all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent,
in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been
filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to
the glory and praise of God.
Paul had visited Philippi on various occasions, but the most significant
time was when he first visited the city, as recorded in the Book of the
Acts. Paul was on his second missionary journey at the time, having started
in Jerusalem accompanied by Silas (Acts 15:36-41).
36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and
visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the
Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark,
along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take
him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to
the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they
separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away
to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren
to the grace of the Lord.41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia,
strengthening the churches.
When they came to Derbe and Lystra, Timothy joined them and was with Paul
and Silas when Paul received a vision from the Lord to go to Macedonia
1 Paul came also to Derbe and
to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish
woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, 2 and he was well
spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted this
man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews
who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the
decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in
Jerusalem, for them to observe. 5 So the churches were being strengthened in
the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
6 They passed through the
Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to
speak the word in Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to
go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8and passing
by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night:
a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over
to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we
sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the
gospel to them.
11 So putting out to sea
from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following
Arriving at Philippi, the most important city in that part of Macedonia and
a colony of the Roman Empire, they preached the gospel to those who gathered
at a riverside (vv. 12, 13).
12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the
district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for
some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a
riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer;
and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.
At Philippi a woman named Lydia trusted Christ as Savior and provided
hospitality for Paul and his companions. It was there that Paul had rebuked
an evil spirit in a girl being used to bring her masters profit. As a
result, he and Silas were brought before the magistrates of the city, beaten
and thrown into prison.
First Convert in Europe
14 A woman named Lydia, from the
city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was
listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by
Paul.15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us,
saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my
house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
16 It happened that as we were
going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met
us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17Following
after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants
of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of
salvation.” 18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly
annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of
Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
19 But when her masters saw that
their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them
into the market place before the authorities, 20 and when they had brought
them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city
into confusion, being Jews, 21 and are proclaiming customs which it is not
lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
22 The crowd rose up together
against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and
proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23 When they had struck them
with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard
them securely; 24 and he, having received such a command, threw them into
the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 But about midnight Paul and
Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners
were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so
that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all
the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the
jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was
about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul
cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all
here!” 29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he
fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Jailer Converted
31 They said, “Believe in the
Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they
spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his
house. 33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their
wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 And he
brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly,
having believed in God with his whole household.
35 Now when day came, the chief
magistrates sent their policemen, saying, “Release those men.” 36 And the
jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have
sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul
said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are
Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away
secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.”
Later, when Paul and Silas were delivered from prison by a miracle of God,
the rulers of the city were horrified to learn that Paul and Silas were
Roman citizens (v. 38).
38 The policemen reported these words to the chief
magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,
For one of the rights of a Roman citizen was freedom from scourging, and the
magistrates realized that they might be in trouble with the imperial
government for what they had done.
39 and they came and appealed to them, and when they had
brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.
Paul was in no hurry to leave the city, and it was only after he had visited
with the believers that he finally left (v. 40).
40 They went out of the prison and entered the house
of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.
The believers at Philippi followed Paul’s ministry with interest and even
sent contributions to further his work (Philippians 4:15, 16).
15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first
preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in
the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even
in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
As Paul wrote his Philippian letter, he was in prison in Rome; thus, it is
referred to as one of the “prison epistles” along with Ephesians,
Colossians, and Philemon. This was an earlier imprisonment than the one
during which he wrote his last letter, II Timothy.