Overview: Philippians

Overview: Philippians

Paul’s letter to the Philippians The church in Philippi was the first Jesus community Paul started in Eastern Europe. That story is told in Acts chapter 16. Philippi was a Roman colony in ancient Macedonia. It was full of retired soldiers and it was known for its patriotic nationalism. There Paul faced resistance when he was announcing Jesus as the true king of the world. After Paul moved on from there, those who became followers of Jesus continued to suffer resistance and even persecution but they remained a vibrant community, faithful to the way of Jesus. Paul sent this letter from one of his many imprisonments. For a very practical reason, the Philippians had sent one of their members, Epaphroditus, to take a financial gift to Paul to support him in prison. Paul sent back this letter with Epaphroditus to say, “Thank you,” and to do a whole lot more. The design of this letter doesn’t develop one single idea from beginning to end, like many of Paul’s other letters. Rather, Paul has arranged a series of short reflective essays or vignettes. They all revolve around the center of gravity in this letter, which is a poem in chapter 2. It artistically retells the story of the Messiah’s incarnation, his life, death, resurrection and exaltation. Then in each of these vignettes Paul will take up key words or ideas from that poem to show how living as a Christian means seeing your own story as a lived expression of Jesus’ story. So Paul opens the letter with a prayer of gratefulness. He thanks God for the Philippian’s generosity, for their faithfulness and he expresses his confidence that the life transforming work that God has begun in them will continue into greater and more beautiful expressions of faithfulness and love. Paul then focuses on their obvious concern at the moment, which is his status in prison. Being in a Roman prison was no picnic. But, paradoxically it has turned out for good to advance the good news about Jesus. So all of the Roman guards, the administrators all know that Paul is in prison for announcing Jesus as the risen Lord. His imprisonment has inspired confidence in other Christians to talk about Jesus more openly. Paul is optimistic he will be released from prison but it is possible that he could be executed. As he reflects on it, that actually would not be so bad because, “For me,” Paul says, “Life is the Messiah. So dying would be a gain.” For Paul, his life in the present and in the future is defined by the life and love of Jesus for him. If he is executed, that means he will be present with Jesus, which would be great for him. And if he is released, well that would mean he could keep working to start more Jesus communities, which would be better for other people, so that is what he hopes for. Notice how his train of thought works here. Dying for Jesus is not the true sacrifice for Paul. Rather, it is staying alive to serve others. That is Paul’s way of participating in the story of Jesus, to suffer in order to love others more than himself. Paul then turns to the Philippians and he urges them to participate in Jesus’ example by taking up the same mindset. He says your life as citizens should be consistent with the good news about the Messiah. These Christians in Philippi were living in a hotbed of Roman patriotism. But their way of life was to be shaped by another king, Jesus. That might bring persecution. but they are not to be afraid because suffering for being associated with Jesus is a way of living out the story of Jesus himself, which leads Paul into the great poem of chapter 2. It is rich with echoes of Old Testament texts, specifically the story of Adam in his rebellion in Genesis 1 through 3, and the poems about the suffering servant in the book of Isaiah. This poem is worth committing to memory. It is a beautifully condensed version of the Gospel story. Before becoming human, the Messiah pre-existed in a state of glory and equality with God. And, unlike Adam, who tried to seize equality with God, the Messiah chose not to exploit his equal status for his self advantage. Rather, he emptied himself of status. He became a human. He became a servant to all. And, even more than that, he allowed himself to be humiliated. He was obedient to the Father by going to his death on a Roman execution rack. But through God’s power and grace, the Messiah’s shameful death has been reversed through the resurrection. Now God has highly exalted Jesus as the king of all, bestowing upon him the name that is above all names so that all creation should recognize that Jesus the Messiah is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Now, that last statement is astounding. Paul is quoting from Isaiah chapter 45. It is a passage where all creation comes to recognize the God of Israel as Lord. Paul’s point here is very clear. In the crucified and risen Jesus, we discover that the one true God of Israel consists of God the Father and the Lord Jesus. For Paul, this poem expresses his convictions about who Jesus is, and it does more. It offers the example of Jesus as a way of life that his followers are to imitate. That is why Paul immediately goes on to tell two stories first about Timothy, then about Epaphroditus, because they are both examples of people living out Jesus’ story. Timothy is like Jesus because he is constantly concerned for the well-being of other people more than his own. Epaphroditus, who the Philippians sent with their gift, ended up risking his life to serve Paul in prison. He got so sick he almost died trying to help Paul. But God had mercy on him and Paul by sparing him the loss of a friend. Paul’s point here is that these are the kinds of people who are living breathing examples of the story of Jesus. They are worthy of invitation. Paul then turns to his own story as an example. Those Christians who had been demanding circumcision of non-Jewish Christians, remember his letter to the Galatians, these people are still stirring up trouble for Paul. They keep reminding him of his own past when he used to persecute Jesus’ followers, when he tried to show his right standing before God by his zealous obedience to the laws of the Torah. But, like Jesus, Paul has given up all of that status and privilege. He now regards all of it as filth. The word he uses is actually much less polite. He has given it all up to become a servant like Jesus, to participate in his suffering and sacrificial love and he does all of it in the hope that Jesus’ love will carry him through death and out the other side into resurrection. So Paul says that for followers of Jesus, their true citizenship is in heaven, which, for Paul, does not mean that we should all hope to get away from Earth and go to heaven one day. Rather, heaven is the transcendent place where Jesus reigns as king. He says we are eagerly awaiting our royal savior to come from there and return here to bring his kingdom of healing justice and transforming love; to bring about a new creation. Paul then challenges the Philippians to keep living out the Jesus story. He first addresses two prominent women leaders in the church who worked alongside Paul. They are in some kind of conflict. So, Paul pleads with them to follow Jesus’ example of humility to reconcile and become unified. Paul then urges the Philippians not to give in to fear but, despite their persecution, to vent all of their emotion and their needs to God who will give them peace. That peace, Paul says, comes by focusing your thoughts on what is good and true and lovely. There is always something that you could complain about. But a follower of Jesus knows that all of life is a gift and can choose to see beauty and grace in any life circumstance. Which leads Paul to his conclusion. He again thanks the Philippians for their sacrificial gift He wants them to know that his imprisonments, that his times of poverty, are not true hardships for him. They have actually become his greatest teachers, showing him that no matter his circumstances, he has learned the secret of contentment. It is simple dependence on the one who strengthens him. Paul has come to see his own suffering as a participation in the story of Jesus. The letter to the Philippians gives us a unique window into Paul’s own heart and mind. He saw his entire life as a reenactment of the story of Jesus. You can sense in this letter his close connection to Jesus, his awareness that Jesus’ love and presence is closer than his own skin. That is what gave him hope and humility in his darkest hours. So Paul shows us that knowing Jesus is always a deeply personal transforming encounter. That is the kind of Jesus that Paul invites others to follow. And that is what Paul’s letter to the Philippians is all about.

100 thoughts on “Overview: Philippians

  1. The book has always been my favorite, but now after seeing this it's hands down my favorite I love this book. Its a very strong and edifying book. God Bless to ALL!

  2. Thank you very much guys, Just loved the video and it had been a great help to finish my Assignment for Bible Study.

    May GOD Bless you and your work.

  3. I want to thank you for making these videos, as they are almost the only short clips going through the themes and compositions of the scriptures.

    However, I would have loved it to be more of a scholarly approach than a interpretive and preaching approach.

    There is so much of "this is what I think this means" and all of the time you spend preaching your views could have been used on putting more information from the scriptures themselves into the videos.

  4. Love your videos and Tim’s teaching voice. The videos are done so well and they help tremendously with my personal Bible study time. Thank you again.

  5. WONDERFUL!! Thank you for using your gifts and talents to promote God's Holy Word!! I just found this today, looking forward to watching other posts from you! Thank you!

  6. Great video guys! I'm working toward a video commentary of every chapter of the Bible…halfway through Philippians now. Great to see other Biblical teachers teaching on this awesome book. Blessings!

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  8. Paul still taught obedience to Torah, and defended himself against accusations to the contrary, just like Stephen.

    Obedience is always expected AFTER salvation is freely granted.

    God saved Adam out of an eternal life of sin and then expected him to live in obedience to the command to subdue the earth and live according to His Word.

    God saved Abraham out of Babylon, and then expected obedience by circumcision.

    God saved the Israelites out of Egypt and then gave them His Torah.

    God saved us all from the foundation of the world by the Lamb who was Slain, and He expects us all to live in obedience to Him because of His salvation. We can, of course, choose to reject that salvation and live against His will, to our own destruction.

    Jesus said the law still stands intil heaven and earth pass away… they are still here.

    Jesus said he will tell the lawless to depart from Him.

    Jesus said if you love the father, keep His Commandments and they are NOT burdensome.

    How hard is it to rest on a Saturday?? Apparently too hard for most people.

    How hard is it to avoid swine, crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops, oysters? Apparently too hard for some people.

    How hard is it to celebrate Passover in remembrance of being brought out of the bondage of death? How hard is it to celebrate the only man who ever lived and died without leaven? How hard is it to celebrate our Risen Messiah, the First Fruits of the Resurrection? How hard is it to celebrate the giving of both the law and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost? How hard is it to celebrate the coming day of the coronation of our King? How hard is it remember that Jesus atoned for our sins in the heavenly temple? How hard is it to go camping for a week to celebrate Jesus temporary shelter with us here on earth? Apparently too hard.

    Our culture is a slave to Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc… and people don’t even realize it. SLAVES. There is FREEDOM in giving up unholy days!!

    God does not change, folks. Any doctrine that tells you He does is a doctrine of demons.

  9. What a beautiful depiction of Philippians. Such a great ministry you have!!! I'll definitely keep following this! It's so simplified that it can be for youth->adults. GREAT JOB.

  10. I came here expecting a good video. A good overview of the book.

    What I didn't expect was a completely fantastic video.

  11. Man this is so biased. God is not all good, but rather perfectly good. He does commit some evil, deceives and manipulates as well to maintain the balance between good and evil. This guy should not be such a sycophant for god.

  12. Wondering is there any subtitles or scripts I can download from the website? I am not a English native speaker so would be great if I read scripts with the video. Thank you.

  13. Wow! Wow! Wow!……Super presentation that gets one to be focused throughout. Do you have other Books?

  14. Thanks for this video guys. Usually Philippians gets flattened to “joy in Christ” and then even further to bumper sticker theology. Thank you for exegeting and not eisegeting.

  15. My favourite book. Filled with joy despite the harsh circumstances of Paul and the Philippians. And I've learned yet another theme to this, which is how the central poem echoes through the entire epistle.

    Jua 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    Jua 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    Jua 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
    1Ts 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
    1Ts 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    1Ts 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    1Ts 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    1Ts 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

  17. Isn't "Jesus Community" failing to recognize that it is actually a diverse multi-ethnic Jesus Community"?

  18. I wonder if the imposing of circumcision in Paul’s time was the same as the time of the patriarchs who imposed on Shechem and Hamor to get their spoils?

  19. “A follower of Jesus knows that all of life is a gift, and can choose to see beauty and grace in any life circumstance.”

    Thank you!

  20. @thebibleproject I'm confused, I don't think I read that Adam wanted to be equal with God. And I don't think he picked the fruit, I thought Eve did?

  21. gods or god is an invention of invented religions and cults…get past your bronze age boogeyman story…there are therapies available for you

  22. I absolutely LOVE these videos.  I've made it a practice to review the video prior to reading the book of the Bible.  It gives me an amazing overview and understanding prior to diving into the details.  Seriously…these are great and my kids even like to listen/watch.

  23. @ 7:06 Boooooo! Christians look forward to heaven, not some made up utopia on earth this video calls heaven. Jesus will come to judge and destroy the heavens and the earth and create a new one. Our corrupted sinful bodies will be made new. Jesus isn't ultimately about you being a better person by imitating Him-we will continually fail to imitate Jesus in this life. The "cross of Christ" refers to that he has come to wash away your sins, give you his own righteousness and to take you to heaven. By reducing the cross, and heaven, to "justice" and "love" on earth this video surely acts as "enemies of the cross" that proclaims eternal life, peace, forgiveness, and righteousness. There is no gospel in this video. There is gospel in Philippians.

  24. can someone help me?? so i love the illustration approach, espesially has it relates to the poem being the center of the letter. however, i struggle to see it as clearly when just reading through. is a typical Jewish literary approach? were can i look to find out?

  25. You guys do a great job! I do my own thinking but I usually agree with everything you say! That’s a miracle in itself! 😉

  26. So your saying jesus existed before he was born in a manger? Are you saying he was a person in heaven? Before he was born?

  27. 4:31 Scientific studies have shown that it would not be possible for nails to be driven into your palms. It would not be possible for that to support all the weight of a person. Instead, the drove the nails in between bones right under your wrist. good work on this and great drawing

  28. Matthew 24 :36 " No one knows about that day and hour, not even the angels of Heaven, not even the Son, but only the Father."

  29. The literary, hermeneutic work here is just priceless. Thank you so much for not phoning it in here. God bless you guys.

  30. Why are you calling them "jesus communities," and not churches? I know we have our struggles with the local church…is rebranding the solution?

  31. wow, this is spectacular! I'm blown away by the simplicity of the explanation and yet how much work must have gone into it. thank you so much for making it! I have been looking for "devotional" type videos to watch in the morning and could never find anything short enough, or "just right". this vid was both of those and an answer to prayer. thank you!!!

  32. At 1:25: "to show how living as a Christian means seeing your own story as a lived expression of Jesus' story." That truly encapsulates what it means to be a follower of Christ. Very well done!

  33. Great job again! I'm reading through the Bible and these videos really let the content come alive.

  34. John 5:43. Jesus said people will refuse to listen to /accept him but a man will come in his own name (Saul gave himself the name Paul) and people would believe and accept him.
    Paul destroyed the entire gospel of Jesus and remained his entire life an unrepentant murderer of an innocent man sent to teach him not to kill people.
    Paul is a sly liar that says Jesus is the seed/flesh of David= the biological son of Joseph from fornication with Mary before marriage.
    The Jews will call Jesus "Christ", as shown in Matthew1, all Jesus has to do is say Joseph begat Jesus. Jesus refuses to do that because it is true Jesus is the only begotten son of God. Paul curses the Angel of God that told Mary that she will have a virgin birth because Paul does not
    believe it and that is not the gospel Paul preaches. Galatians 1:8.
    Understand the only one that preached the death of Jesus saves, Christ crucified, is Pharisee Paul and those deceived with his guile to be in
    his inferior church that do not call Paul a sinner for lying about God.
    1 Corinthians 1:23
    “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” The stumblingblock of Jesus Christ of Nazareth was his
    Gospel that said NO son of Abraham is the Christ and they will not escape the damnation of Hell if they do not accept water baptism for
    removal of sin instead of blood sacrifce. The Son of God is the Christ and Jesus is NOT a son of Abraham, seed of David. Jews stumbled on that truth.
    1 Corinthians 1:25
    Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. "
    Foolishness of God? Weakness of God? GOD has no foolishness and does not approve of liars that preach against the gospel, WORDS of God. Do you believe God agrees He has foolishness and weakness and approves of men that claim God has those inferior traits on any level? What is the weakness of God? To have any weakness or foolishness is saying God is imperfect. Having weakness means almighty power does not exist.
    Foolishness is inabilty to make correct judgements.
    What is the foolishness of God? Why do you follow a verbose liar that serves man made kings not God?

    Jesus said 3 things regarding Paul specifically=
    1.Jesus will not be found in the Desert, the road TO Damascus is out in the desert.

    2. Paul claims Jesus is a High Temple priest giving blood sacrifices to Abraham as did Melchizedek in whose footsteps Jesus follows. Jesus taught against High Priests, was leading people away from the temple not into it and Jesus said he will never be found in a secret chamber. A secret chamber is where no one but a High Priest is allowed to enter, the chamber blood sacrifices for sin removal are made. Jesus tells us he does not make blood sacrifices for sin nor is he a blood sacrifice for sin. Jesus is not ever going to give honor to the man Jesus called the Devil, Abraham and his blood sacrificing, "viper" killer of people over religious belief, sons. The Son of God walks behind NO man, Jesus said all that came before him were robbers and thieves so that includes Abraham and Melchizedek.

    3. Paul is not going to escape the damnation of hell unless he accepts water baptism removes sin NOT blood sacrifice.The purpose Jesus our Shepherd and his saved Lamb, John the Baptist were sent to the world by GOD is to make the Hebrew/Jews cease to be a nation by teaching their religious beliefs are man made not from GOD. Abraham is the father of the lie he and his race/sons are the chosen by God blessed forever to rule land allowed to kill to attain it. The truth is God is not racist and loves all people, all races and does not accept pagan blood sacrifices or religious war.
    The flesh and blood of Jesus is his NEW testament he sheds=teaches that removes belief in the burden/yoke of man made religious laws. Jesus fulfills the laws of GOD, not the religious laws of a pagan, child killing, extortionist, infidel killing, self exalting, war mongering, talking snake cult.
    Jesus knew he was going to die because he was teaching unrepentant murderers that exalted their beliefs above truth, to learn truth and not kill people.

  35. I like it. A good overview of the work. Now I have formed a habit that everytime I read bible, I watch this beforehand to understand it.

  36. Thank you for doing these videos, they help a lot with visualizing what is going on in the Bible!! The explainations are really good too.

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