by David Sanford

The most joy-filled of all New Testament letters, Paul's epistle to the Philippians offers many counter-intuitive, heavenly-minded insights into life on earth. The more time we spend in this letter and allow its truths to shape our lives, the more joyful we will become.

When the apostle writes this letter to the followers of Jesus Christ in the city of Philippi, what is on his mind? His suffering and imprisonment for the gospel? Not at all! Paul is more concerned about the Philippian believers than himself. He encourages them to recognise God's work among them and to live in unity, pleasing God and being Christ-like, so that he may rejoice in their growth when he visits them again. (Already, his co-worker Timothy is planning to see them again. Before that, one of their own, Epaphroditus, will bring this letter.)

Sadly, false teachers have shaken the church while others apparently have left because of their godlessness. Paul does not want this to discourage or divide the believers. Instead, he encourages them to keep going strong in the Lord, just as they have been doing since the church's initial founding. What he says will encourage us, too!

The Structure of Philippians

Personal greetings and prayers

Living for Jesus Christ, no matter what happens

Loving Jesus Christ and others in all situations

Staying true to Christ and rejecting false religiosity

Embracing love, harmony, joy, peace, and purity

Thanksgiving, promises, greetings, and blessings

Key Verse
″For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.″ -Philippians 1:21

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