“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless.” (vv. 9-10)

Philippians 1:1-11 Tuesday 30 September 2014


Despite the fact that Paul ended up in prison on his first visitto Philippi it is clear that he has fond memories of some of thefolk there, as can be seen in this letter and the way in which itis addressed. The first thing to notice is the way in which hegreets the people at the head of the letter, not only is hegreeting the friends he has made on his visits there, but also thebishops and deacons. This would seem to indicate that the church inPhilippi is already becoming established to some extent and hasappointed folk to oversee it and helpers to assist with thework.

Moving to the body of the letter, it is striking that,considering the circumstances in which he finds himself, writingagain from a prison cell, he thinks not about himself but speaks ofthe way in which he remembers the people. He gives thanks for allthat they have done as a burgeoning church and offers prayer forthe ongoing work. This greeting is reminiscent of the greetings tothe church at Colossus and Ephesus but is particularly warm in tonehere. It may be that he has heard of the work they were doing onthe ground, alternatively he could be speaking of the financialhelp he had received for his ongoing work through their generosity.He also seems to be particularly encouraged by the way in whichtheir faith is holding firm even though times are difficult andexpresses his wish that it will continue to hold firm, until as thetext says the imminent day of Christ (verses 6, 10).

There is some sense of vulnerability in his longing so see thepeople to whom he is writing, which seems to demonstrate thedifficult and lonely circumstances he finds himself in.

To Ponder

  • It is unlikely that we will find ourselves in the position Paulfinds himself in as he writes - but who are the people we would begiving thanks for as we follow a faith journey?
  • 'The imminent day of Christ' - how do we rationalise the factthat the day which was expected so soon didn't arrive?
  • What  similarity can you see in the events in the MiddleEast at the moment with the stress the early Church was goingthrough at the time of Paul's letter?
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