Authorship and Audience

This letter was written by Paul to the believers in Philippi.

Date and Context

This book was most likely written from prison in Rome between 60 and 62 AD.


I argue that the thesis of Philippians is given in 1:27-30. As such, I break the book down into two primary themes:

  • Live as Citizens of Heaven (vs. 27). Paul stresses the importance and means of living in a way that is worthy of the Gospel to which believers have been called.

  • Handle Opposition Well (vs. 28-30). Paul also encourages believers in Philippi to handle suffering and false teachers well (that is, appropriately). I believe one of the reasons Paul mentions "joy" and "rejoice" so much throughout this letter is to highlight the fact that joy and rejoicing are appropriate responses even when suffering. Recall from Acts 16:22–34 that Paul and Silas had dramatically modeled this kind of rejoicing when they spent part of a night in the Philippian prison. Additionally, Paul wants to make sure that the Philippians respond well to false teachers by not letting such teachers draw them off course, away from the true Gospel.


0. Introduction [1:1-2]

I. Thanksgiving [1:3-26]

II. Thesis [1:27-30]

III. Living on Earth as Citizens of Heaven [2:1-18]

IV. Personal Aside [2:19-30]

V. Be Aware of Who You Follow [3 - 4:9]

A. Preface (or A Defense of Reiteration) [3:1]

B. Bad Examples: False Teachers [3:2-6]

C. Good Examples: Paul and Those Who Press On [3:7-16]

D. Exhortation to Follow Good Examples [3:17 - 4:9]

VI. Closing [4:10-23]

A. Philippians' Testimony [4:10-20]

B. Closing Greetings [4:21-23]


  • As mentioned in one of the themes above, the words joy or rejoice appear throughout this book (a combined 14 times in the NASB). Because of this, many people claim it is the/a central theme of the book. While I do not see joy as one of the primary themes, Philippians certainly gives us a glimpse into the basis for Paul's joy (2:2, 2:17, 4:1) even in the midst of suffering.

results matching ""

    No results matching ""