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  • This letter is generally accepted to be the work of Paul, but some scholars believe it is actually a compilation of three letters which were sent over several months from Paul to the church at Philippi. The overall tone of this letter is one of hope and joy, as the church at Philippi was a thriving and successful church, growing almost without pause.

    In these first two chapters, Paul is praising them for their growth and faithfulness to the gospel.

    From Paul the apostle and Timothy,

    To all my brothers and sisters at Philippi, greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. May the blessings of God the Father and our savior and the Holy Spirit fill you every day with prayers of thanksgiving for our salvation.

    I want you to know that Timothy and I remember you always in our prayers, for we rejoice to hear about the good things that are happening in Philippi. We remember how you took us in and listened to the truth of the gospel and allowed the Holy Spirit to enter your hearts. And we know that same Spirit which is in you will stay with you until the Lord returns to gather his saints for his new kingdom.

    I often think of you, for you are in my heart, even while I am in prison for preaching the gospel among men. You are with me, and I feel your prayers strengthen me daily. Keep praying and keep growing in the name and love of our Lord, Jesus. The more you study the word and increase your knowledge, the greater your impact will be in bringing souls to Christ. Do not fear the persecution which I am enduring, but take the example of my work and continue to be bold in preaching the truth and living Christian lives.

    As to my imprisonment, it is serving God. Some are preaching Christ to mock me and get me into deeper problems, while some are preaching Christ from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. But the main thing to remember is the name of Jesus Christ is being preached, our ministry is spreading among the unbelievers and the unwashed, and this is cause to rejoice. For no matter what the reason, Christ is being preached and pronounced among the people.

    If I should suffer because of the cause of Christ, so be it. I consider it an honor, and I know the Lord will reward my efforts when I am with him, as he will also reward yours. It does not matter if I live or die, for if I die, I will be with Christ in glory. If I live, I will continue to preach the word to save souls for Christ. The decision is not mine to make, but God's.

    But as long as I live, I will continue to pray for you and rejoice for your salvation, so that by your example, you will lead others to Jesus, and by that leading you will reap the rewards of the Spirit abundantly in Christ Jesus.

    So continue to preach the word and live a witness fitting to Christians, for whether I am able to return to you or not, I want to continue to hear of your good works and charity to the souls of the unsaved. Stay strong in your faith and work as one to unite the brethren under the banner of salvation which is the shed blood of Christ.

    Do not let the enemies of God discourage you or frighten you. They have no power over your soul or your salvation. You may indeed suffer for your faith, but no matter what is done to your body, you are the servant of Jesus, the redeemer and salvation of all. You are in his eyes the same as I am, a soldier in the army of God.

    So you are engaged in a war, a spiritual conflict which will not be won without sacrifice. And as you see me in prison, so will some of you suffer the same fate. But if there is consolation, it is in Christ and the comfort of God's love for us. So make me proud, stand fast in your faith and do not be moved. Be as I am, a soldier in captivity who continues to preach the word of God.

    Remember, this is not a war of swords, but a war of faith. Your enemy is not man, but the spirit of evil that lurks about ready to rob men of their souls. So be humble, obedient and faithful. Don't go looking for trouble. Don't start thinking there are spoils of war to be had.

    Instead of being like mortal soldiers, be like Jesus. We know that Jesus was not only God's son, but God himself in human form. He could have used his power for many things, and yet he chose to be a servant to men, not their master. He came to us as an itinerant minister, humble and lowly, and a servant to all. He sacrificed himself without hesitation so that all men could know redemption and reunion with the Father.

    God has placed him over the kingdom of heaven, and allowed him to send the comforter, the Holy Spirit, so every man may know the will of God directly. He is the savior promised by the prophecies, and on the day of his return, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ and the Lord Almighty.

    Continue in your faith, my beloved children, as you have obeyed in the past. For it is God who leads you to his purposes. When you have something to do, don't gripe or grumble. Be blameless before God and the Spirit, so that your witness is complete before all men. Be who you are, the sons of God, the givers of light and truth in a corrupt and evil world. Speak the truth at all times, and be ready to answer those who ask about your faith. If you do this, I will know I didn't do all that work in vain.

    If the verdict of Caesar is death, I will rejoice and set the example for you all, for I will not fail to thank God for all the blessings he has given me. Instead of mourning, I ask you to rejoice and give praise to God, and carry on the good works you have done this far.

    I will send Timothy to you soon, so you can comfort one another and he can return to me to tell me what is happening there. I trust no one more than him, for he is as determined to the word of God as any of us.

    Worldly men seek after their own things and do not understand or seek after the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But you know that Timothy is not a worldly man, and you know that I trust him implicitly. I hope you will trust him and treat him as you did me. I will send him to you as soon as I have word of what is to become of me. I may even accompany him, if that is what the Lord wants.

    I have entrusted this letter to Epaphroditus, also my brother and fellow servant in Christ Jesus, to bring to you, since I know you heard he was ill and suffered greatly. In fact, he was gravely ill, but the Lord healed his sickness and as you can see he is now healthy and able to serve again. Rejoice with me for his healing when he arrives, and thank God for his mercy. Know that God gives mercy to those who serve him faithfully, as Epaphroditus has.

    This theme will be continued throughout the letter, and will end off in the next two chapters with some excellent advice to the new Christians. But what should be strikingly apparent in this letter is the absence of basic instructions. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul was very specific in telling the new Christians how they should walk. Here, he instead praises them for their walk, and reminds them of the value of suffering for Christ, just as he is.
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