Saturday, September 25, 2010

Unit I - Joy and Thanksgiving for the Philippian Congregation

Philippians Chapter 1:1-11

I. A Provocative Salutation (v. 1-2)

A. Salution follows typical pattern

1. Signature - who is this from
a. Paul and Timothy
b. No need to establish authority, Philippians know Paul
2. Address - to whom is it written; "all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi"
3. Greeting - "Grace to you and peace from God..."

B. Timothy - why is he referenced?

1. Paul wants to convey that he and Timothy are a team
2. Later in Ch. 2 we learn Timothy will be going to Philippi
3. Thus, Paul is building Timothy up and establishing his authority

C. "Slaves"

1. Greek word Paul used is "doulos"
2. Paul in choosing this word is saying 3 things
a. He is an absolute possession of Jesus Christ - Christ loves him and paid the price for him. He can never belong to anyone else.
b. He owes absolute obedience to Christ
c. To be Christ's slave is to be a king

D. All the "Saints"

1. Is not referring to only the holiest of the Philippians
2. Rather, it is referring to God's claim on us. We are separate from other's who have not accepted Christ.
3. Greek word in "hagios" - holy, set apart
4. We have dedicated ourselves to service and worship

E. "Bishops" and "Deacons"

1. Not referring to specific titled people in the congregation
2. These roles as we think of them today didn't come about until a couple of generations later.
3. Rather, was referring to individuals in the congregation who lead the effort to provide financial assistance to him and his ministry.

F. "Grace" and "Peace"

1. Grace - Greek word is "charis"
2. Peace - Greek word is "eirene", Hebrew word is "shalom"
3. Paul bringing together best of two cultures Greek and Hebrew
4. Paul is praying that they should have the joy of knowing God as Father and the peace of being reconciled to God, to others, and to themselves.

II. A Joyous Prayer of Thanksgiving (v. 3-11)

A. Theme of Paul's prayer is one of Joy

B. Paul gives thanks for the past, present, and future (i.e., what God has done, is doing, and will do for the Philippians)

1. The Past - How it has been between Paul and the Philippians (v. 3-6)
a. Grateful for his rememberence of them
b. Grateful for their partnership in the gospel
c. v4 is paranthetical and gives us the first clue that all is not right between Paul and some members of the church at Philippi. Paul's emphasis of all is intentional.
2. The Present - How is it now between Paul and the Philippians (v. 7-8)
a. Paul expresses his love for all of the Philippians (again emphasis on all implies all is not right)
b. Paul asserts they are with him in his imprisonment and in his defense of the gospel (is he alluding to their gift of Epaphroditus?)
3. The Future - How Paul hopes it will be with the Philippians (v. 9-11)
a. Paul prays the Philippians will grow and mature in love
b. Paul also prays that on Judgement Day the Philippians will be pure and blameless, having not stumbled nor caused others to stumble.

Next Week: Unit II - Ch. 1:27 - 2:16

(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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