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New Testament Notes
The Epistle to the Philippians
The following notes are intended to supplement, not replace, the readings from the Bible and the text book.
Comments or questions should be sent to: Dr. Rollinson.
Philippi was established as a city in northern Greece by Philip of Macedon (the father of Alexander the Great). When the Romans gained control of the region in 168BC they built a major road, the Egnatian Way, which passed near Philippi, to Byzantium. Philippi became a major stopping place on the road. In 42BC the region was the scene of two battles between forces led by Marc Anthony and Octavian (later called Augustus), against Roman republican forces led by Brutus and Cassius (who had joined in the murder of Julius Caesar). The republican side lost, Brutus committed suicide, and Marc Anthony re-founded Philippi as a Roman colony and settled some of his veterans there. Augustus quarrelled with Marc Anthony, who joined up with Cleopatra VII of Egypt. In 31BC Augustus defeated Anthony and Cleopatra at the naval battle of Actium, and became sole ruler of Rome. He then settled more Roman veterans at Philippi, and granted the city the privilege of being governed by Roman law - the highest privilege possible in the provinces. There were temples to some of the Roman gods, also some to gods of Egypt and the local regions of Thrace.
Paul traveled to Philippi on his way into Greece, ca. AD 50, and it was in Philippi that the first Christian church in Europe was founded, and the first baptisms in Europe took place (Acts 16:9-40, I Thess. 2:2). Paul visited the region again, ca. AD 55 (Acts 20:1-6, 1 Cor. 16:5, 2 Corinth. 2:13, 7:5)
Paul probably wrote this epistle while he was in prison in Rome (Philippians 1:12-14, 4:22), though it seems that at the time he was still hoping to be set at liberty (Philippians 2:23-24).
- Philippians 1:1-2 : Greetings
- Philippians 1:3-11 : Thanksgiving and Prayers
- Philippians 1:12-26 : News of Paul's situation.
- Philippians 1:27 - 2:18 : Exhortation, and reminder that Jesus is Lord.
- Philippians 2:19-30 : Epaphroditus and Timothy will travel to Philippi:
- Philippians, chapter 3 : Exhortation to Christian life, and warnings not to be misled by false teachers.
- Philippians, chapter 4 : Exhortation to Christian life, and final thanksgiving and blessing.
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Last Updated : July 12, 2014