The Word Is Alive


This letter was written by Paul from his Roman prison to the church in Philippi, a Roman colony located in Macedonia. It was a church of great importance to Paul as it was the first church he planted in Europe and was the scene of his dramatic release from prison by divine intervention. His first convert to the faith was a business woman called Lydia, who subsequently held the church in her home.

REgional Map

The chief theme of Philippians is encouragement: Paul wants to encourage the Philippians to live out their lives as citizens of a heavenly colony, as evidenced by a growing commitment to service to God and to one another. The way of life that Paul encourages was manifested uniquely in Jesus Christ; it was also evident in the lives of Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus.

Paul explains what spiritual progress will look like. Christian maturity does not come through special mystical insights available to only a few, but rather through the patient practice of the familiar virtues of love and service to others. Paul presents himself as one model for such a lifestyle, and he commends Timothy and Epaphroditus in similar terms. But the supreme model for progress in faith is Jesus himself, and the centrepiece of Philippians is the magnificent ‘hymn of Christ’ in Philippians 2:5–11.

Those who follow Christ’s example have the hope that God will also vindicate them on the day of Christ, and thus they can rejoice. They can also be confident that God will not leave them alone to make their way through the world as best they can. Spiritual progress involves effort: they are encouraged to ‘work out their own salvation with fear and trembling’. But they can do so knowing that it is God who works in them, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Book Youtube Date
Introduction Watch 05 May 14
Chapter One Watch 09 May 14
Chapter Two Watch 13 May 14
Chapter Three Watch 20 May 14
Chapter Four Watch 22 May 14
Summary Watch 22 May 14

There is some supplementary material for the book and a mind map of its structure that may prove useful for study.