New Testament Survey: The Book Of Philippians

Written By: Steve Shirley


The Book Of Philippians

Author:  Paul (Phil 1:1)
(For more on Paul see: Survey: Biography Of Paul)

The Stats:

Date Written:

Place Written:  Rome

1. We know that some considerable time must have elapsed after Paul's arrival at Rome before he could have written this Epistle; for the news of his arrival had been carried to Philippi and a contribution to his needs had been raised among his friends there, and Epaphroditus had carried it to Rome. In Rome, Epaphroditus had become seriously sick and the news of this sickness had been carried back to Philippi and the Philippians had sent back a message of sympathy to him. At least four trips between Rome and Philippi are thus indicated, and there are intervals of greater or less length between them. The distance between the two cities was some 700 miles. There were many making the trip at all times, but the journey would occupy a month at least, and the four journeys suggested in the Epistle were not in direct succession.

2. Paul says that through him Christ had become known throughout the whole praetorian guard (Phil 1:13). It must have taken some time for this to become possible.

3. The conditions outside the prison, where Christ was being preached, by some in a spirit of love, and by others in a spirit of faction, cannot be located in the earliest months of Paul's sojourn in Rome (Phil 1:15-17). They must belong to a time when Christianity had developed in the city and parties had been formed in the church.

4. Luke was well known at Philippi, yet he sends no salutation to the Philippians in this Epistle. He surely would have done so if he had been with Paul at the time of its writing. He was with the apostle when he wrote to the Colossians, and so was Demas (Col 4:14). In this Epistle, Paul promises to send Timothy to Philippi, and says, "I have no man likeminded, who will care truly for your state" (Phil 2:20). This must mean that Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke were all gone. They had all been with him when he wrote the other Epistles.

5. His condition as a prisoner seems to have changed for the worse. He had enjoyed comparative liberty for the first 2 years of his imprisonment at Rome, living in his own hired house and accessible to all his friends. He had now been removed, possibly to the guardroom of the Roman soldiers. Here, he was in more rigorous confinement, in want and alone.

6. Paul writes as if he thought that his case would be decided soon (Phil 2:23-24). He seems to be facing his final trial. He is not sure of its outcome. He may die a martyr's death, but he expects to be acquitted and then to be at liberty to do further missionary work. This was not his immediate expectation when he wrote the other Epistles, and therefore, they would seem to be earlier than this.

Written To:  The church at Philippi.

Key Verses:  (Phil 1:6,9-11,21)(Phil 2:5-12)(Phil 3:7-8)(Phil 4:4-7,11-13)


1. To express his love for his "beloved" Philippian church and thank them for the gift they had sent by Epaphroditus.

2. To give them some information about his circumstances and his condition in the Roman prison.

3. To encourage and strengthen them, and tell them how to find joy in Jesus Christ regardless of circumstances.

4. To explain why he was sending back Epaphroditus prematurely.

5. To exhort them to be unified and not divided.

6. To warn them about Judiazers and their legalistic teachings, as well as antinomians (those who held that because of grace, moral laws no longer needed to be followed because salvation is by "faith alone").

About The City:

About The Church:

Special Emphasis:


1. Christ, the believer's life, rejoicing in suffering, 1:1-30.

2. Christ, the believer's pattern, rejoicing in lowly service, 2:1-30.

3. Christ, the believer's object, rejoicing despite imperfections, 3:1-21.

4. Christ, the believer's strength, rejoicing over anxiety, 4:1-23.

(Survey from Scofield Reference Notes [1917 ed.]: Public Domain)