I’m merely a layman. This is my study of the Letter to the Philippians. As you read it, you may note that I change my mind about some things. That’s because I’m a layman. I do not “know” what the seminaries teach. I do know what I have heard. And as I study this letter, I discover that what I’ve always thought is not what is actually written. I have read through the Bible a few times. I have read the New Testament a couple more times. And I actually read Philippians again–I thought I read it carefully–before beginning this study. One thing is absolutely certain: reading is not studying.
So, I hope you will join me in a study of this letter. We will not, by any means, get all there is to learn from it. But as you go through this process with me, I do pray that you will learn more about the Bible and as a result, you will learn more about Our Lord.
We think we know that Philippians is the one letter St. Paul wrote that is full of Joy and Happiness. It sometimes seems that just about every verse is highly quotable. We find “He who began a good work in you will complete it…” or something like that. There’s also “To live is Christ and to die is gain..” That’s right, isn’t it? And then there’s that great poem that contains the line, “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” Finally, there’s “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice.” Surely peoople quote that correctly, don’t they? When I skim through the letter I see other, slightly less familiar, but still wonderful to quote verses.
So, this must be one of the happiest, most joyful letters ever written. After all, you don’t always have to read the Bible to know what’s in it. People will tell you.
These days the political parties in the USA are busy with “Fact Checking” what their opponents say. Perhaps we need to ‘fact check’ what others say about the Bible. As we read through the Epistle to the Philippians we will be able to see if what others say about it is, actually, what St. Paul wrote.
The map below shows St. Paul’s missionary journeys. You may note that Philippi is on the north coast of the Agean Sea, numbered #20. It is northeast of Thessalonica about halfway between the Grecian Penisula and what is now the country of Turkey. You can find this map with this link. It is listed as ‘public domain’.
Another interesting link is this Google Search for images of Philippi. There are some nice pictures here. Wikipedia has a nice article on the history of the city. Acts chapter 16 has the story of St. Paul’s first visit to Philippi. We will refer to it as we study the letter. All that should give you more than enough background to start reading the letter. So, when you’re ready, you can use the menu above to move on to the first section of chapter one.