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This is a personal Bible study in Philippians Ive been working on in the mornings. I have written in out mostly in commentary form. Please verify all things I have written imitating the Bereans in Acts 17:11 "they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so". Thank You! Robin Aylor 11/09/18.

Philippians 1 (ESV)

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

  • Paul and Timothy introduce themselves as servants of Jesus. That is now foundational in their identity. Paul used to identify himself as a Jewish Pharisee and Roman Citizen establishing his own righteousness through the Law… Timothy was likely younger and I believe his Father was Greek and his Mother Jewish and we dont know in what fleshly way he identified himself before he came to Christ… But now they’ve both been upgraded to servants of the Creator of the Universe. The same goes for pastors, deacons and teachers; they are all upgraded to servants. That includes all Christians. 

  • Recall how John the Baptist introduced himself to those who ask him who he was… 

    • John 1:19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straighth the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

  • Notice how he never told them his name. He never said: my name is John, son of Zechariah; pleased to meet ya. His true identity was now in Christ. That goes for Paul and Timothy and you and I as believers in Jesus. 


1 ...To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

  • The letter is sent to all the Saints at Philippi including the Spiritual servant leaders. Of course all believers are saints. The phrase “the saints in Christ Jesus” reminds us that the only way we can have righteousness and become a saint of God is in Jesus… in Jesus righteousness. Like Paul our own goodness at keeping Gods Law falls short of making us material for sainthood in ourselves.


2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Paul and Timothy vocalize their desire for grace and peace upon the Philippians. What more could one wish for another? These things come from God and not man. This chapter and the whole letter to the Philippians will keep giving us reasons to rejoice. Here is the first… Gods grace towards us and the peace that comes through Jesus. In mercy and grace the Father chose us before the foundation of the world and by his Son being paid the wages of our sin on the Cross, we have access by his righteousness through faith. Only by Gods grace through faith can we have peace with God. 

    • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

  • But the Gospel is not only for initial Salvation. It’s for every breath we take. We should pray for Gods daily grace and peace upon not only our own lives but other Christians. We need to walk in his mercy through faith always seeking to see Gods glory in Jesus more and more.  It’s still not of our own righteousness or abilities… It never has been. This is how the Gospel works out in our lives on a daily basis. 

  • In America we are programed from birth to be a “self made man or woman”. The culture today is a “me” society. But as believers we are not an island. Remember Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father”, “Give us”, “Forgive us”, “Lead us not” and “Deliver us”. We are family. We desperately need this mindset in our lives, families and churches today. Pray for grace and peace from God to be upon other believers.


3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

  • Paul was vocalizing his affection for the Philippi believers through this writing. He tells how he thanks God when he thinks about them and prays for them with joy. Paul also considered them to have a godly love for him as well which was evidenced through their mutual partnership in Christ. The Philippi believers brought joy to Paul in Christ and one purpose in writing this letter was that he wanted them to know he loved them much and that they find their ongoing joy in Christ as he has. We will see this again and again.

  • The Holy Spirits works similarly in all our lives with fellow Christians. When I think of the brothers I meet with I have joy in their participation in the mission of the Lord. I pray for many on a weekly basis and some more often. Many times something in my spirit smiles when their name comes to mind. Brad, Logan, Dwayne, Blake, Daniel, Hunter, Casey, Brittain, Ethan,… many more… Also I am thankful for those Believers who are struggling with sins and those pressed with doubt. I know I have been there myself and as God was and is at work in my life so he works in them for his glory. This brings joy to my heart that our God is capable and guarantees that his work in them will be completed.


6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 

  • Notice, these were not perfect Christians. Don’t expect to ever be surrounded by believers who have it all together. None of our mentors… no heroes you we might look up to in biographies you’ve read… No parents… No pastors… have it altogether. We all fight battles of sin every day and we are all a work in progress. So when we think of other Christians and when we pray for them with thanksgiving and joy… their flaws should not hinder our joy about the work God is doing in them. God has miraculously changed so many lost and believers alike; people that many Christians may have given up on a long time ago. You can likely think of those you had great doubts about and figured they were a lost cause but God preformed an amazing miracle in. Yes, God works in all believers 100% positionally upon initially seeing his glory, and then practically as a work in progress until the day of Christ Jesus. 

  • It’s sweet to remind ourselves that salvation is not our own work but Gods work through Jesus. 

    • Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    • Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

  • God created the World in 6 days and it was good. God has been working on many of us much longer than that; even for years. He is creating in us a masterpiece for his praise which all believers will share in as an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, all because of Jesus. Surly Gods amazing work in us is a reason to rejoice!

7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

  • This affection and joy Paul felt for the Philippians was understandable. Paul brings up this partnership again. You see we are partakers with one another in Christ. And think how that might be so… Consider those who were once enemies of God and now Believers in Jesus… and consider how these converted sinners; even us, share being partakers of the same grace and now as servants of God come to share the good news of Jesus at our workplaces, in our families and how some became Missionaries around the globe who would put their life on the line day after day. 

  • I heard yesterday about a friend who was recently beat up for pointing people to Christ in India and is to appear in Court for sentencing because he was actively converting others to another religion besides Muslim without State permission… as I write this… I believe his court date is this week some time. Others in his ministry have been killed and many persecuted for the cause of Christ. 

  • Look, we are fellow partakers, not only with Paul but one another, sharing in the same grace, the same joy and the same mission.  We have this most important thing in common. Gods grace that pulled us from fellowship with the darkness into fellowship with God in his wonderful light. It supersedes by an unfathomed sum any bonds we embrace on earth whether it be relationships within our own family, our best friends or commonalities with fans of our favorite football team.


8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 

  • This bond we share in Christ did not cause Paul to withdraw from other believers; but rather drew him towards them with a desire for more fellowship. Also we see how Pauls yearning is not his own; but Christs affection for believers had been internalized into the heart of Paul; (with the affection of Christ Jesus). As we see more of Gods glory we take on attributes of his character and are transformed. This yearning was the actual love of God abiding in Paul. We see other attributes of God imputed to us. Joy is a good example in John 15 and 17 we see how God actually gives us his own joy.

    • John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

    • John 17:13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.


  • God shares more and more of himself with us as we see more of his beauty and delight in him as good news. Not only his joy but peace and love and strength over sin… confidence in him and so many more attributes that we might bear much good fruit in him that lasts.

    • 2nd Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 

  • In Philippians 1 verse 6 Paul just said how God was doing a work in the Philippians and he would finish it. Here in verse 9 he expounds that work in more detail.


9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


  • Paul wants the Philippians to grow in love with knowledge and discernment and all these attributes of God he mentions. He uses the phrase “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ”. This is painting a picture of us as a healthy tree or plant bountifully doing what we were created to do in bearing fruit … We benefit in eternal spiritual health with this grace from God and we are lavished with all his goodness upon us for our advantage. We are happy and healthy plants which he waters and strengthens and grows; and yet, ultimately it is clearly for his glory and praise.


  • Next Paul is going to tell the Philippians about how the grace of God has sustained him in suffering, how his suffering has brought many to Christ and how God is glorified in brokenness. 



We have looked at how Gods amazing grace is lavished upon all us believers… This abundant mercy God grants us includes a broken world… actually a broken Creation. With this brokenness come trials, tribulations, troubles and all kinds of sickness and sufferings; again, for our good and ultimately for his glory and praise. Lets take a look at some of the various genre’s of brokenness that we face and see how it is for good and God is glorified.

1 - One kind of brokenness which we can be thankful for and rejoice in is one imposed by God; the curse he placed upon Creation in Genesis 3. 

  • Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”


  • 17 And to Adam…  …cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”


  • Genesis 5:28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us reliefd from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”


Romans 8 gives us more insight to the curse God placed on creation. I believe we can rejoice in this brokenness because it keeps reminding us to hope in Jesus and keep looking to the Cross until we are united with Christ in glory.

  • Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 


This entropy and brokenness affects all of Creation. Things fade, and rust; bodies are inflicted with disease and sickness; even death and decay. The rotation of planets slow down like a spinning top. But for Believers brokenness of Creation points us to all the promises of Christ. 


Samuel Rutherford said this: “Whenever I find myself in the cellar of affliction, I always look about for the wine.” 

You see as we are obedient to Christ in brokenness… if we look around we will find amazing joy. This is where God keeps the best wine of all.


2 - Besides the brokenness of sickness and troubles pointing us to joy, another kind of brokenness that brings good is persecution from non-believers. That is the one Paul is speaking of here. Lets read his words. 

Philippians 1:12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

  • I like the way Paul begins verse 12… Common, not elite… personal, not domineering but with a bond of closeness and family. “I want you to know, brothers…” Paul continues the letter writing from prison and yet explaining how God is not restricted at all. It is a well known fact that all over the world the Church has experienced revival in times of horrific persecution.

  • Consider John Bunyan the common speaking Baptist Pastor who was put in prison because he would not preach within the guidelines which the church of England dictated. Over his many years in bonds he penned much of the book “Pilgrims Progress” which was published in numbers 2nd only to the Bible. This little allegorical book helped changed the lives of millions of people for Christ and still continues to this day.


  • Trials seem to draw us as believers to the truth we know in Christ and drive distracting sin from our hearts. As heat is to Silver making it pure, separating the dross of trash and debris, so the hot water of trials purge believers pointing them to their Lord. Christians thrive with joy in persecution while onlookers see Jesus as good news better than life itself.

    • Matthew 5:11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


So the brokenness of persecution brings joy and gladness and promises of future reward.


3 - There is another kind of brokenness that is changed into joy through suffering. It is the brokenness of sin in our own lives. Of course, all brokenness came into the world because of sin… but God also may choose to grow us practically to become victorious over sins through personal sufferings of various types. These are Gods tools working for our good and his glory. We find great joy in how God is transforming us practically every day… that is… transforming our character and attributes to be more like him. 

  • Romans 5:3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


  • James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers,b when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


This goes right along with the verse I already mentioned: 

  • 2nd Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 


Paul continues:

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Another way joy is seen in brokenness lay in the fact that the truth of Gods word accomplishes Gods purpose. Even if satan himself quotes Gods word, our God is able to quicken his own word within our hearts by his Spirit so we will see him as beautiful, overcoming any intentions of the darkness. Nothing can stop Gods purpose.

  • Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

A lot of people did not like Paul very much… Well for starters he was in jail. But apparently many were jealous of him… even some so called Christians. Some likely envied him because of his fame while others despised all he stood for. In days before newspapers and internet people had itchy ears to hear the latest news and gossip. I imagine people all around had heard rumors and stories of this high brow Jewish Pharisee who was prominent upon the ladder of Judaism and how he was converted 100% to Christianity overnight. How he traveled about and taught that Jesus was the promised Messiah mentioned in the Hebrew writings. He claimed Jesus was crucified for our own sins and then was raised from the dead. Paul himself was even said to preform miracles. There were tales of him being stoned and left for dead  and seen walking around the next day… Some saw him whipped or beat around their own villages. This Paul had not even been one of Jesus disciples. He must have been disowned by Jews, threatened by the Greek and untrusted by Christians. 

We do not know the details of how others defamed Paul or what he is eluding to in this text. Maybe much of this persecution on top of his imprisonment came from people who claimed to be Christian. Whoever it was it seems to me that these people had a form of self righteous religiousness that in their rivalry and jealousy for Paul they put him down personally with mud slinging character assassinations and slander calling him a fake. They apparently proclaimed the Gospel to some extent but were jealous of the popularity and fame of Paul. Like some tv preachers we have seen they did not seek the light to be on Jesus but they wanted the spotlight for themselves. 


Pauls persecutions seemed to come from all sides, even among fellow believers. At one point Paul says how he was abandon by all. 

  • 2nd Timothy 4:16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


As believers, we too will face contention, possibly even among believers. What will our response be? I hope like Paul we will say our hope is that “Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice”.

At the end of verse 18 Paul begins a new sentence repeating himself with highlighted enthusiasm along with another incentive for rejoicing:

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,


Paul had the same promise from Jesus that you and I have; Jesus. And though Christ was ascended into heaven he was still with Paul and would accomplish all the purposes he had for him. Prison and defamation could not stop God.

  • Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inb the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus is with us as we are on his mission and so like Paul we can rejoice!

In verse 19 Paul also says the prayers of believers make a difference. Sometimes we take Gods sovereignty for granted but it includes all prayers for missionaries, for sick, for one another. Prayers are listed right along with the Spirit of Jesus as leading to Pauls deliverance and should be a daily part of our victories as believers. As Pauls salvation was initiated and kept by God it still included God giving him by grace, an earnest to work for Christ…


We all know how faith without works is dead. Even so, the Mission of Christ which was entrusted to Paul and now to you and I goes forward by the work of prayer… This privilege is gracefully given by God to the Church. Also it is necessary as well as a command throughout the New Testament. We already mentioned how we were commanded many times in the Lords prayer to pray for one another as we pray for ourselves. As a believer we should all participate in this way of praying for our brothers and sisters. 

20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 


  • We can see two contrasts in verse 20. Two options… two possible outcomes. One: Paul would be ashamed if he did not glorify God in life… or two: He would go forward with full courage that God receives honor with the body God had given him. Paul faced death over and over and he got up again and again with full courage and went forward for Christ. He wanted to glorify God in how he not only faced death but how he lived life.


21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

  • Look, if Christ really is with us to the end of the age… if our bodies are truly his temple… If he abides with us and in us… Then as long as our bodies are alive on this earth, Jesus is alive and working in us and through us. So if we are living then Jesus lives as he is practically doing a work in us. 

  • On the other hand if our bodies die Christ does not die. We cannot say that with the death of our bodies we are separated from Christ. I think of it as though while alive he is with us and when we die we are with him. Still, we cannot be separated from him. 

    • Romans 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Paul continues to explain the differences and benefits of Christ being with us and us being with Christ.

 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire isto depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 


  • Pauls desire to be with Christ in death is in conflict with his desire to remain in his body where Christ is with him. To remain here on mission was necessary for the spiritual growth of the Philippians. His work and writings have greatly aided many throughout history including us today. 


25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

  • Paul’s mission was not for himself; it was not about him… His end goal was not even for the Philippians. Although Paul and the Philippians benefited greatly from all God did in Pauls life, the foundational and end goal was that God would be glorified. That is where all believers find joy.


27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[h] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 

  • Imagine in a war zone the General tracking down his Captains, Lieutenants and Sergeants with all their soldiers  and finding out they are not working together toward the objective he gave them. Some were out buying and selling on the black market for personal gain. Others spent their time in the village taverns. Some just hid out staying away from the action.

  • The spiritual war we engage in as believers… against spiritual wickedness in high places, (Ephesians 6:12) is no different. We must be standing firm for the mission, side by side, striving with one mind together for the faith of the gospel. This is what Paul is telling the Philippians they are to do.


He continues.

28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

  • As we suffer we are following the same path as believers who went before us including Paul. We are suffering for the sake of Christ who suffered for us. 

  • The text says we have been granted this which seems as though it is an honor that we have been given the privilege to face persecution. In the sentence structure, suffering for Christ is elevated and held high next to believing in Jesus surrounded with the same emphasis that accompany the grace in our salvation. So this allotment of suffering for Christ is an amazing gift right up there with belief.

Another note from Paul on suffering:

  • Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Did Christ suffering lack something that might hinder our salvation? No!

  • 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 

  • Consider the context of Pauls words. He was all about the mission of sharing the Gospel of how Jesus is good news… Jesus is beautiful… Find true delight in him… The only hope for the sins of the world… and he wanted believers to grow in Christ. As Paul lived out the Gospel, he realized only a few people physically saw how Jesus faced daily persecution and few were there to see how he willingly gave his life on the Cross that we might have righteousness and fellowship with God. They did not see how when he was reviled he did not respond defensively with physical force or in anger with hateful words but rather love.


Let me read verse 24 again.

  • Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,


Now, since Jesus is with us, we are the mirror that shows the heart of Jesus facing persecution and suffering. One of the greatest witnesses one can give is to have joy and give forgiveness while suffering for Christ. In our own bodies we get to show the world how Jesus faced suffering. What an honor.

Remember how we considered that many revivals take hold in troubled times and how Christians thrive in persecution and suffering for Christ. In Philippians 1 verse 28 Paul says not to be “frightened in anything by your opponents.”. Fear is a marker or sign of doubt. Instead of fear God promises grace and joy for today and tomorrow even in suffering as we walk with faith in him.

Then let us count it as a privilege and honor given to us as amazing grace from God that we can not only believe in Jesus but suffer for Christ and in our suffering be a witness of his glory in suffering to others. May we walk with Christ in overflowing confidence and joy as we suffer for our Lord.



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