Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beginning Our New Study of Philippians & Galations

For the next 3 months we will journey through Paul's letters to the Philippians and the Galations. We will begin this Sunday with an overview of Philippians. Our study guide covers Philippians in 4 units. I will do my best to get us through one unit per week. We will then move on to Galations, again beginning with an overview, followed by 6 weeks of indepth study. The units in the study guide generally cover individual chapters but there are variances.

So let's begin! The overview will follow my usual custom of answering the 5 "W" questions; Who, What, When, Where, and Why.


A. Who is the author? Paul, the missionary church builder, originally from Tarsus.
B. Who is the intended audience? The early christian church in the city of Philippi.


A. What is Philippians? It is a letter from Paul to the church he founded in the city of Philippi.
B. Philippians is Paul's warmest letter. It reflects the close personal relationship he had with the church members in Philippi.
C. Philippians may actually be two letters.
1. First letter being 1:1 - 3:1 and 4:4 - 4:23
2. Second letter may have been inserted 3:2 - 4:3
D. It principally has to do with Epaphroditus, a person the Philippians have sent to be Paul's personal servant while he is in prison.


A. Paul first visisted Philippi in 52 AD during his second missionary journey.
1. Details about this visit are found in Acts 16.
2. Three main characters revealed in Acts 16 are (1) Lydia, a merchant, (2) a slave girl, and (3) the Roman jailor.
B. Letter is believed to have been written around AD 63-64 while in prison in Rome not long before his martyrdom at the hands of Nero.


A. Where is Philippi? Major cross-roads from Europe to Asia.
B. Philippi had 3 major claims to fame
1. It was a major commercial center having been built in the neighborhood of gold and silver mines. Mines were long since played out by the time of the Roman Empire
2. City was found and named after Philip, the father of Alexander the Great in 368 BC. City founded at the site of the ancient city of Krenides.
3. Philippi had status as an official Roman colony


A. Letter of Thanks - for sending Epaphroditus
B. Letter of Explanation - why he is sending Epaphroditus home
C. Letter of Encouragement to the Philippians - almost all of Paul's letters offer encouragement to his flock
D. Appeal for Unity - like most churches, it is not without conflict

NEXT WEEK - UNIT 1 of Study Guide Covering Philippians Ch. 1:1-11


(1) Interpretation Bible Studies: Philippians and Galations, Stanley P. Saunders, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001
(2) The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, William Barclay, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003
(3) Interpretation Bible Commentary: Philippians, Fred B. Craddock, John Knox Press, 1985

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