Study Notes For Philippians

Chapter 1


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Philippians 1:1 –

  • Christianity began in Philippi when Paul was sent there by the Holy Spirit. That is when we read of the conversions of Lydia, her household, the keeper of the prison, and “all his” (Acts 16:1-40).

  • Later, there was at least one return visit to Philippi recorded (Acts 20:1-6).

  • Paul and Timotheus are identified at the opening of this letter as the ones writing/sending it as they also did other letters (II Corinthians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, I Thessalonians 1:1, II Thessalonians 1:1, and Philemon 1:1).

  • They identified themselves as servants of Christ (II Corinthians 4:5 and Galatians 1:10; cf. Luke 17:7-10).

  • They are writing to the saints in Philippi. Such is the same as saying “to the church, disciples, Christians, etc.” (Romans 1:7, I Corinthians 1:2, II Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, and Ephesians 2:19).

    • Even in the Old Testament believers were called saints (Psalms 30:4, Psalms 31:23, Psalms 37:28, Psalms 97:10, and Hosea 11:12).

  • The congregation there had bishops [overseers Acts 20:28; elders; Titus 1:5-7] and deacons (I Timothy 3:1-15).

  • We should take note that the elders would not receive this epistle and determine what to say about it, but rather all the saints were addressed (Colossians 4:16 and I Thessalonians 5:27).


Philippians 1:2 –

  • Grace is from God (Romans 5:20-21 and I Peter 5:5-12).

  • Jesus was full of grace and gave grace (John 1:14-17).

  • Grace was not first seen in the New Testament (Genesis 6:8, Psalms 84:11, and Jeremiah 31:1-2).

  • Grace is not just an “unmerited favor” some teach. We learn from grace (Titus 2:11-14), see grace in the salvation of others (Acts 11:19-23), continue in grace (Acts 13:43), are saved by grace (Acts 15:11 and Ephesians 2:1-10), are edified by the word of God’s grace (Acts 20:32), are under grace (Romans 6:14-15), is seen in giving to needy saints (II Corinthians 8:1-11), can fall from grace (Galatians 5:4), sing and speak with grace (Colossians 3:16 and Colossians 4:6), need to be strong in grace (II Timothy 2:1), have our hearts established with grace (Hebrews 13:9), grow in grace (II Peter 3:18), etc.

  • It is important not to receive the grace of God in vain (II Corinthians 6:1) nor frustrate the grace of God (Galatians 2:21).

  • Real peace is from God (John 16:33, Romans 5:1-2, I Corinthians 14:33, Philippians 4:6-8, Colossians 3:15, and II Thessalonians 2:16).

  • Do not confuse real spiritual peace by thinking it will bring carnal peace (Matthew 10:34-37 and Romans 8:5-8; cf. Galatians 5:22-23).


Philippians 1:3 –

  • Paul was thankful for the brethren in Philippi and mentioned them in his prayers as he often did for brethren (Romans 1:8-9, Ephesians 1:15-16, Colossians 1:3-4, I Thessalonians 1:2-3, II Timothy 1:3, and Philemon 1:4).

  • Paul had the right care and love for brethren (cf. I Peter 1:22) so his mindfulness of them correctly reflected that (I Thessalonians 3:4-10).

  • We should remember that Paul had all the churches on his mind (II Corinthians 11:28; cf. Acts 15:36, Acts 15:40-41, Acts 18:23, Colossians 2:1, etc.).


Philippians 1:4 –

  • Paul was thankful and mindful of them in every prayer of his. As we addressed in verse three, praying about brethren was a part of his prayer life (I Corinthians 1:4).

  • Being mindful of them was part of the joy Paul had (Colossians 2:5).


Philippians 1:5 –

  • They had shared in the gospel from the first with Paul. When you look back at Paul’s work you can see him in Philippi (Acts 16:6-12 and Acts 20:6).

  • His work in Philippi was reported of unto others (I Thessalonians 2:2).

  • Their fellowship in the Gospel [i.e. I Thessalonians 3:2] was displayed in their financial support of Paul that had been long standing (Philippians 4:10-18).

    • Fellowship [κοινωνία; Strong’s # 2842], as it relates… Galatians 2:9 and I John 1:3-7

    • Other variants of that term, in ways that apply to it’s usage here… II Corinthians 8:23, Galatians 6:6, and Philemon 1:7

    • Their fellowship went beyond financial support through the work shared with Paul through some of the members of the congregation in Philippi (Philippians 2:25-30 and Philippians 4:3).


Philippians 1:6 –

  • Paul, who had revelations from God (I Corinthians 2:9-10 and Galatians 1:11-12), had confidence in what he was about to write concerning the congregation in Philippi (cf. Galatians 5:10). These revelations included information about what was going on in congregations (I Corinthians 5:1-4).

  • God was working [performing] directly through them (Philippians 2:13).

    • One major difference with how God worked in the first century to how He works now is that miraculous spiritual gifts (Acts 19:1-7 and I Corinthians 12:3-11), which tie to this point (I Corinthians 1:7-9), have ceased (I Corinthians 13:8-13).

  • God had begun a good work in them (II Thessalonians 1:11-12 and Hebrews 13:20-21).

    • Good works” are defined by God, not us (Matthew 7:21-23, Colossians 1:10, and II Timothy 3:15-17).

  • Paul was confident that God would finish the good work He had begun in/through them (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).

  • Paul was in prison (Philippians 1:7). This verse is essentially telling them that the Lord was not going to allow Paul’s imprisonment to hinder their good works. The point is, the word couldn’t be stopped (II Timothy 2:9).

  • Paul saying this would be until the coming of Christ is the same as saying until the end of the world (II Peter 3:10-14).

  • This, in no way, means God was making them do or controlling them in doing anything against their own will (Philippians 2:12).


Philippians 1:7 –

  • It was “meet” [right; Strong’s # 1342] for Paul to think [same word used in Philippians 3:16 as “mind”] of their work in the Lord that they shared. This terminology, translated as “care” and “careful” shows they thought of him as well (Philippians 4:10).

  • He had them in his heart (II Corinthians 7:3 and I Thessalonians 2:8; cf. I Peter 1:22).

  • Paul was frequently imprisoned (Acts 20:23 and II Corinthians 11:23).

  • Whether in preaching, defending, or imprisonment; Paul wanted them to be partakers in His work (II Timothy 1:8).

    • He was a defender of the truth (Philippians 1:17) even if he was alone in such in the flesh (II Timothy 4:14-17).

    • Such is how we ought to be in answering and confirming the Gospel ourselves (I Peter 3:15).

  • Whether in the good or the bad (carnally speaking in the terms of “suffering”), partaking in the Lord’s work is rewarding for the faithful (II Corinthians 1:5-7).

  • Partakers in grace or “my grace” (Galatians 2:9 and I John 1:3-7).


Philippians 1:8 –

  • God is my record” (Jeremiah 42:5, Romans 1:9, II Corinthians 1:23, and I Thessalonians 2:5).

    • This statement is not to be taken lightly. Remember, in the first century, they’d be capable of confirming with God whatever witness Paul said God was (I Corinthians 14:37 and I John 2:27; cf. Romans 8:16).

  • Paul longed after them (Philippians 4:1).

  • Sometimes his longing to see brethren was to help them in some way (Romans 1:11) as well as to just see them (Colossians 2:1-2).

  • Bowels” is to indicate inward affection as of from the heart (cf. Jeremiah 4:19, Jeremiah 31:20, Lamentations 1:20, Philemon 1:20, and I John 3:17)

  • Following up “bowels” with “of Jesus of Christ” speaks to unification of interests in the Lord rather than Paul speaking of his own carnal interests or feelings (Philippians 2:1-2).


Philippians 1:9 –

  • This prayer is not “I hope”, but to “pray to God; to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship: — pray (x earnestly, for), make prayer” as the word indicates [Strong’s # 4336]. Though it is NOT the case here, “This I pray” can be like saying, “I hope you will” or “I desire you to” (Numbers 22:18-19, Isaiah 29:11-12, Micah 3:9, and Acts 27:34). That is why we are clarifying things.

    • Paul had been praying about and for them (Philippians 1:3-4).

    • The prayer here is similar to what we read in Ephesians 1:15-19 and Colossians 1:9-10. *Involving the work of the Holy Spirit.

    • The fulfillment of this prayer would be accomplished by the Spirit giving them the gifts of knowledge, etc. (I Corinthians 12:3-9). *Things that have long passed (I Corinthians 27:28-13:13).

  • He wanted to see their love abound [excel, be in abundance] (II Corinthians 8:7, I Thessalonians 3:12, and I Thessalonians 4:9-10).

    • Remember that the love of many became cold in the first century (Matthew 24:12).

    • Love [charity] is something we all have/had to grow into (II Peter 1:3-10).

  • Love in knowledge (Ephesians 3:17-19).

  • Love in all judgment (Amos 5:15).

  • Love is an action shown toward God (John 14:21-24 and I John 5:2-3) and man (Proverbs 27:5-6, Luke 10:25-37, II Corinthians 8:24, and I John 3:11-18).


Philippians 1:10 –

  • That you may approve [prove (I Thessalonians 5:21), examine (I Corinthians 11:28), discern (Luke 12:56), things that are excellent (Ephesians 5:10).

    • The word “translated” excellent has various meanings. The fitting one here is similar to it’s translation in Matthew 10:31 and Luke 12:7of more value”.

    • Thus, the point of verses 9-10 is that they would have the spiritual gifts of knowledge and judgment so that they can examine [try] things to establish what is of more value (i.e. I John 4:1).

  • The goal to be sincere (Ephesians 6:24) and without offense till the day of Christ (I Corinthians 1:8, Ephesians 5:27, I Thessalonians 5:23, and II Peter 3:9-14).


Philippians 1:11 –

  • Putting together the context, Paul was praying for them to grow in love through knowledge and proper discernment. Such growth would allow them to examine what is of more value. This then would equip them, as we are discussing now here in Philippians 1:11, to be fruitful.

  • Filled with the fruits of righteousness (Galatians 5:22-23, Romans 6:22, Ephesians 5:9, and Colossians 1:10).

  • Which are by Jesus Christ (John 15:1-5, Romans 3:22, Ephesians 4:24, Philippians 3:8-9, James 3:13-18, and I John 2:29).

  • Unto the glory and praise of God (John 15:8, I Corinthians 6:20, I Corinthians 10:31, and I Peter 4:11).


Philippians 1:12 –

  • Paul is trying to prevent the brethren from being discouraged because of the things he had suffered for he was still comforted (II Corinthians 1:1-10).

  • He points out that the Gospel has progressed through his sufferings rather than having been hindered (II Timothy 2:9-13).

    • We can see this even when he was delivered to Rome and put on house arrest (Acts 28:1-31).

    • Consider the Philippian Jailor as one who, even knowing what can happen for being a Christian, is converted because of Paul being persecuted (Acts 16:15-34).

  • Though not addressed here by Paul, we should all be mindful that no matter what we suffer for the faith our relationship with God is not hindered (Romans 8:31-39).

  • Even under severe persecution the work of teaching continues (Acts 8:1-4 and Acts 11:19-21).


Philippians 1:13 –

  • Paul’s sufferings and even things that awaited him at future times were not kept secret (i.e. Acts 21:1-14).

  • Remember, from the beginning at his conversion, the Lord said Paul would suffer (Acts 9:10-16).

  • The whole palace [common hall; governor’s courtroom; judgment hall (Strong’s # 4232)] (Matthew 27:27, Mark 15:16, John 18:28, John 18:33, John 19:9, and Acts 23:35) knew of Paul’s bonds.

  • Others knew of his bonds because he worked from prison (Ephesians 6:20-21 and Colossians 4:3).

  • Even behind enemy lines the Gospel worked (Philippians 4:22).

  • Paul wanted the saints to remember him being in bonds (Colossians 4:18) for a reason (Hebrews 13:3).


Philippians 1:14 –

  • Consider that Paul sometimes referred to the Jews in the flesh as his brethren (Acts 13:13-16; 26, Acts 23:6, and Romans 9:1-4). Thus, to clarify that he is speaking of brethren in the Lord as such was expedient as a distinction (Luke 8:19-21, John 20:17, Colossians 1:2, and Revelation 1:9).

    • Paul wasn’t the only one that referred to the Jews as brethren (Acts 2:29, Acts 3:17, Acts 7:2, etc.).

    • This certainly wasn’t wrong then, for the Jews [Israel] were brethren in the flesh and under the Law of Moses (Exodus 2:11, Exodus 4:18, I Chronicles 28:2, Ezekiel 11:15, Matthew 23:1; 8, etc.).

  • It was Paul’s desire that brethren in the Lord not faint because of his suffering (Ephesians 3:13 and I Thessalonians 2:1-3:8).

  • They preached the word boldly (Acts 4:18-33).

  • Standing without fear (Luke 12:4-5, Philippians 1:27-28, I Peter 3:14-16, and I Peter 4:1-2; 12-19).

  • Facing prison should not bring fear in respect of the reward (Revelation 2:10; cf. James 1:12).

  • Paul was a good example, a source of encouragement through his sufferings, because he had the right mindset… Acts 20:20-24.


Philippians 1:15 –

  • Some of those preaching did not all have pure motives (Matthew 23:1-5 and II Peter 2:1-3).

    • Some preached of envy (Proverbs 27:4 and Mark 15:9-10).

    • Some preached of strife [wrangling; contention] (I Corinthians 1:11 and I Corinthians 3:1-3).

    • If those motive would have become known, such men needed to be withdrawn from (I Timothy 6:3-5 and Titus 3:9-11).

  • The phrase “preaching Christ” indicates they were teaching the truth (Acts 5:42, Acts 8:5, Acts 9:20, I Corinthians 15:12, etc.).

  • Remember, even if someone preaches the truth, if they’re not living it they’ll be judged for that (Romans 2:1-29).

  • Some preached of “good will” which is a phrase that says a lot (cf. Ephesians 6:5-8).


Philippians 1:16 –

  • The motives of strife and contention do not come from God (James 3:14-18).

  • Some weren’t sincere [chaste; clean; pure] (I Timothy 1:5 and II Timothy 2:22).

  • Faithful men are sincere (Acts 20:20, II Corinthians 2:17, and II Corinthians 4:1-2).

  • Some preached in a way to add affliction to Paul (Romans 3:8).


Philippians 1:17 –

  • Some preach out of love (II Corinthians 2:4, I Thessalonians 3:12, and Revelation 3:19).

    • Pure motives and love in regard to teaching are necessary for the messenger to be saved (Romans 1:11-16, II Corinthians 12:12-19, I Thessalonians 2:3-12, and I Peter 1:22).

  • Those with pure motives knew Paul was set for the defense of the Gospel (Acts 9:20-22, Acts 17:16-34, Acts 19:8-10, Galatians 2:11-17, and I Thessalonians 2:2; cf. I Timothy 6:12, II Timothy 2:1-4, II Timothy 4:2-5, and Jude 1:3-4).


Philippians 1:18 –

  • As pointed out in verse 15, Christ was being preached. The problem was not the difference between truth and error, but about motives. See notes on verse 15 as we see impure motives are not excused (Matthew 23:14).

  • Regardless of motives, Paul rejoiced that Christ was preached. This shows Paul’s goal was totally minded on the furtherance of the Gospel and that alone (Philippians 1:23-29).

  • Again, that does NOT mean that the impure motives of some would go unpunished (Mark 12:38-40).

  • Paul did not seek the glory for preaching (I Corinthians 15:9-11).

  • This also shows that if you are taught by a person with impure motives, all that matters for YOU, is the doctrine you obeyed not who did the teaching (Romans 6:17).

  • You cannot knowingly be taught by one having impure motives and then say or do nothing about it (II John 1:6-11).


Philippians 1:19 –

  • Paul knew his sufferings were worth the reward (Romans 8:17, II Thessalonians 1:4-9, II Timothy 2:10-12, I Peter 1:3-9, and Revelation 2:10).

  • Through their prayers has to be kept in the understanding of the miraculous dispensation as it is tied to the Spirit (II Corinthians 1:8-11; cf. Acts 12:1-19 and Acts 16:1-10).

  • The Spirit of Christ is in reference to the Holy Spirit (II Samuel 23:2 and I Peter 1:10-11; cf. II Peter 1:20-21).


Philippians 1:20 –

  • Even though Paul was suffering he maintained that in nothing he’d be ashamed (Romans 10:11, II Timothy 1:8-12, and I Peter 4:12-19).

  • Dependence upon the Lord allows one to not be in shame (Psalms 62:5, Proverbs 10:28, and Hebrews 10:23).

  • With all boldness (Ephesians 6:19-20).

    Christ would be seen in him in life and death (Romans 14:7-8 and II Corinthians 4:8-5:1).


Philippians 1:21 –

  • To live Christ (John 14:6, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:1-4, II Timothy 3:12, I John 2:1-6, and I John 5:12).

  • Gain in death (Luke 16:19-31, Luke 23:39-43, Acts 20:22-24, II Corinthians 4:5-5:10, and Revelation 2:10).


Philippians 1:22 –

  • His life in the flesh was spent toward eternal fruit (Matthew 25:14-48, Romans 6:22, Colossians 1:10, and James 5:7).

  • Concerning, “what I shall choose I wot not”... As we will address in verses 23-24, this is a choice of conflict for Paul. Is it better to live or die? Better for whom? He is still needed (II Corinthians 11:28).

  • Paul’s reasoning of concern in death is clearly displayed in how he prepared for his death (II Timothy 2:1-4 and II Timothy 4:1-8).

  • To be clear, it was not in his choosing to die at a specific moment (II Samuel 14:14 and Psalms 89:47-48). What was in his choosing is which to desire more – life or death?


Philippians 1:23 –

  • A strait betwixt two signifies internal stress, pressing of spirit, or restraint (cf. Acts 18:5).

  • He wanted to leave this world (Philippians 3:13-14).

  • Understanding to be with Christ is not to say in Heaven, but to use a statement similar to Stephen (Acts 7:59-60). Paul knew that literally being with Christ, finally, was something withheld until the resurrection (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).


Philippians 1:24 –

  • Paul was not selfish (Acts 20:32-35, I Corinthians 9:19-27, I Corinthians 10:33, and II Corinthians 12:15-19).


Philippians 1:25 –

  • Paul’s confidence was rooted in faith (Ephesians 3:12). God kept Paul from fatal harm when he had work for him to do (Acts 16:1-10).

  • While he was willing to die (Acts 20:22-25 and Philippians 2:17), Paul knew at times that he was not going to die. God told Paul as much (Acts 23:10-12 and Acts 27:9-25).

  • He also knew, at least in some way, when death was approaching (II Timothy 4:6-8). Peter knew his death was coming too and had rightfully placed his confidence in the Lord as well (II Peter 1:12-21).


Philippians 1:26 –

  • He wanted them to be capable of rejoicing in Christ (Philippians 3:1-3, Philippians 4:4, and I Thessalonians 5:16).

  • Paul had planned to come and see them (Philippians 2:24).

  • It is very important to have personal visits to brethren in whom one is teaching from afar (Romans 15:28-29, I Corinthians 11:34, II Corinthians 1:15-17, I Thessalonians 2:17-20, I Thessalonians 3:9-13, II John 1:12, and III John 1:13-14).

  • Their rejoicing in Christ tied to their relationship with Paul (II Corinthians 1:14).


Philippians 1:27 –

  • The word “conversation”, as used here, means “to behave as a citizen” (Strong’s #4176). It is used also in one other passage (Acts 23:1).

    • We know we are not to behave as though we belong in this world (Romans 12:1-3 and Hebrews 11:13).

    • We are citizens of a greater kingdom (John 18:36, Philippians 3:20, Colossians 1:12-24, Hebrews 12:22-29, and Revelation 1:9).

    • Therefore, our conduct should reflect our citizenship in Heaven while not using our citizenship as excuse for lawlessness here (I Peter 2:6-17).

  • The Gospel, the word of the Lord, is the standard we live by (Luke 4:4 and II Timothy 3:14-17) and will be judged by (John 12:48 and Romans 2:16).

  • When one is not walking according to the Gospel, he or she is erring (Galatians 2:11-17).

  • Conduct becoming of the Gospel (Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, I Thessalonians 2:11-12, I Thessalonians 4:1-2, Titus 2:7-8, and II Peter 3:11).

  • Paul would hear of their reputation (I Corinthians 1:11, I Corinthians 11:18, Ephesians 1:15, Colossians 1:4, and I Thessalonians 3:6).

  • One’s reputation means something (Proverbs 22:1 and Ecclesiastes 7:1; cf. I Timothy 3:7).

  • Their reputation should show:

    • Standing fast (Philippians 4:1).

    • Being of one spirit (Ephesians 4:1-6).

    • Unified in mind (II Corinthians 13:11 and Philippians 2:2).

    • Striving [seek jointly] together for the Gospel (Philippians 4:3 and I Thessalonians 3:2).


Philippians 1:28 –

  • Don’t be terrified by your adversaries (Luke 12:4-5, Romans 8:31-39, Hebrews 13:5-6, and Revelation 2:10).

  • Sometimes there are many adversaries (I Corinthians 16:8-9).

  • Evident token [indication; proof] of perdition [destruction]. Meaning, those who are adversaries of the faithful have certain destruction ahead of them (Romans 12:17-21, II Thessalonians 1:3-12, and Hebrews 10:30-31).

  • On the other hand, staying faithful through such results in salvation (Luke 6:22-23, Romans 8:17, II Timothy 2:12, and I Peter 4:12-19).


Philippians 1:29 –

  • It is a given that you must believe on Christ (John 8:23-24, I Timothy 1:15-16, Hebrews 11:6, and Revelation 21:8).

  • You must also suffer for His sake (John 15:18-20, John 16:33, Acts 14:22, I Thessalonians 3:3-4, II Timothy 3:11-12, and I Peter 5:8-10).


Philippians 1:30 –

  • Having the same conflicts [fights] seen in Paul (Philippians 1:13)If faithful, all share in such at the times wherein persecution of the faithful abounds (I Thessalonians 2:14, II Timothy 1:7-8, and Revelation 1:9).

  • Remember, sometimes the conflict is even internal because of what is happening externally (II Corinthians 7:5).


Index of Studies In Philippians



© 2017 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain.  Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful!   Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies.  – Brian A. Yeager
























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