As a seminary student, I know that many people are interested in learning more about the information and ideologies presented in the Bible. Yet because the book is so complex and intricate, they often find themselves intimidated or overwhelmed when they attempt to understand its form and content. For this reason, quick reference guides which offer readers a brief overview of the Bible’s content can be helpful. Here’s one on the first chapter of book of Philippians.
The book of Philippians was written by the apostle Paul. Most scholars agree that it was composed in AD 61. There are four sections or chapters of this epistle, and each articulates a theme or concept that is of importance to individuals who practice the Christian faith. In the first chapter of the book, Paul expresses his desire that the grace and peace that comes from God be upon the saints at Philippi (v.1-2). He goes on to express his delight with these saints by stating that his prayers for them are marked by joy (v.4). In informing them of what he prays for them, he states that he wants them to abound more and more in love, knowledge, and judgment (v.9). He also wants them to try doing things that are excellent (v.10). Paul also notes that the challenges he has had as a minister of the gospel are working together for good. He states that his bonds are actually helping the gospel (v.12). He goes on to point out that this imprisonment is making some brethren even more confident in preaching (v.14). Some, he notes, preach Christ out of envy and strife (v.15). Others do so out of good will (v.15). In either case, he says, the word of God is being preached and this makes him happy (v.18).
As the first chapter of Philippians continues to unfold, Paul discusses the central role that Christ plays in his life. In articulating this concept, he notes that to live is Christ and to die is gain (v.21). After stating this, Paul notes that although he is ready to die in order to be with Christ (v.23), he feels that it is better for him to remain alive for the purpose of furthering the gospel (v.25). As the chapter closes, Paul urges the believers to maintain good behavior that parallels the type of mindset advanced by the gospel of Christ (v.27). He also urges them not to be terrified by their adversaries (v.29). After noting that suffering for the name of Christ is inevitable (v.29), he states that this is a reality he also faces (v.30).
Although the first chapter of Philippians contains many different ideas, the basic concept is threefold: Paul expresses his delight in the spiritual progress of the saints at Philippi, informs them that his own trials are resulting in the spread of the gospel, and encourages them to persevere in the face of persecution.
Readers who want to learn even more about this dynamic chapter of Philippians can check out the following articles:
1. “Basic Background Study: Philippians” by David DeWitt
2. “Bible Study Helps: Overview of Philippians” by Wendy Dawn
Critically thinking about the first chapter of Philippians has taken my understanding of biblical concepts to a new level. I hope this brief overview helped you, too!
Jocelyn Crawley is a 28-year-old college student currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation to become a pastor. She holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies.