Philippians: My Notes & Quotes

Paul often wrote letters to correct errors, often instructing and chastising churches for missing the mark. Not so in the letter to the Philippians. With the exception of a short exhortation for unity and humility (Phil 2:15), this letter is full of compliments, confidence, and appreciation. The Philippians had proved their generosity and obedience to the faith. These faithful converts lived what Paul taught, and gave financially to support his needs. He extolled them with words such as “My brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil 4:1).

In fact, in his short letter to the Philippians he uses the word “joy” or “rejoice” an unprecedented sixteen times. His heart could sing with joy even though his body groaned in pain. He was teaching by example—rejoice always; keep your eyes on Jesus. ~ Steve Ray

These are poetic words, yet they contain some of the most profound theological and Christological insights ever uttered by Paul. Paul’s primary intention here is to teach humility, not Christology (interestingly, it seems to be almost an afterthought). ~ Steve Ray

“And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (1:6).

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…” (1:9).

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21). 

“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, engaged in the same conflict which you saw and now hear to be mine” (1:29-30). 

“Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves” (2:3). 

“Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:511).

“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling . . . holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Phil 2:12, 16).

  • He loves them dearly and tells them so. He loves them so dearly that he challenges them to run for the prize: the resurrection of the dead and eternal life through faith and obedience.

“Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8). 

He explains his own resolve by declaring, “[I press on] that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:1114).

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Phil 4:4).

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:6-7). 

“I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (4:13)

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