The Book of Philippians: Summary

Updated May 24, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Book of Philippians

The Book of Philippians is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Philippian church during his Roman imprisonment, which is why it’s also known as the Letter of Paul to the Philippians.

This letter is one of the prison epistles, along with Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, which Paul wrote during his imprisonment in Rome. But what historic and religious discoveries can be found in this important text? In this overview, we will explore the history, key themes, exhortations, and messages in the New Testament’s Book of Philippians.

The History of Philippians

Paul's second missionary journey took him to Philippi, a city in Macedonia, where he established the Philippian church. The Philippian church was primarily composed of Gentiles, and Paul's letter was written to address some issues related to the Judaizers, who were trying to impose Jewish customs on the God-fearing and Gentile Christians.

The Book of Philippians is one of the books of the New Testament that provides insights into the early church. Paul mentions several individuals in the letter, including Timothy, Epaphroditus, Lydia, and the jailer. He also refers to the role of deacons in the church.

Who Wrote Philippians?

The first chapter is important because it reveals the identity of the author and the intended audience of the letter.[1] The verse reads: "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons” (Philippians 1:1). This verse shows that the letter was written by Paul and Timothy and addressed to the saints in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.[2] Understanding the context and intended audience of the letter is important for interpreting the themes and messages contained within it.

Paul's Imprisonment

The Book of Philippians was likely written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome. Despite his difficult circumstances, Paul remained committed to the gospel and encouraged the Philippians to do the same. He saw his imprisonment as an opportunity to advance the gospel and to “bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Philippians, Scripture, and Books of the Bible

The Book of Philippians contains many references to scripture, including Philippians 3:8 which says, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." The letter also mentions other books of the Bible, such as 1 Thessalonians.

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Philippians: Key Themes

The Book of Philippians contains key messages that are relevant to Christians of all ages and are fascinating for any scholar of scriptures or history.[3] In this section, we will explore the most important themes, including joy, Christianity, the day of Christ, the faith of the gospel, and good work.

Joy and Rejoicing

One of the key themes in the Book of Philippians is joy and rejoicing. Paul encourages the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always“ (Philippians 4:4). He also shares his own joy despite being in prison and facing persecution “for the sake of Christ”. According to him, Paul's joy was not dependent on his circumstances but on his relationship with Jesus.

Christian Life

The Book of Philippians also provides guidance on living the Christian life. Paul exhorts the Philippians to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27) and to imitate Christ's humility (Philippians 2:5-8). He also reminds them of the importance of prayer and putting their faith into action.

Selfish Ambition

Paul warns the Philippians about the dangers of selfish ambition and encourages them to put the needs of others before their own. He reminds them of Christ's example of selflessness and encourages them to follow it.

The Day of Christ

Paul emphasizes the importance of the day of Christ, which refers to the second coming of Jesus. He encourages the Philippians to be blameless and pure when Christ returns (Philippians 2:15).

Faith of the Gospel

Often focussed on in Bible study due to its importance to the religion, Paul emphasizes the importance of faith in the gospel, which refers to the core beliefs of Christianity. He reminds the Philippians to stand firm in their faith and not be swayed by false teachings.

Good Work

Paul encourages the Philippians to continue doing good work and to persevere in their faith. He also thanks them for their support and generosity and assures them that their good work will not go unnoticed.

The Book of Philippians: Letters From Prison

The Book of Philippians is a powerful letter that provides guidance and encouragement for the Christian life. Its themes of joy, humility, and selflessness are timeless and relevant to people of all ages and backgrounds. As we read this letter, we are reminded of the importance of putting our faith into action and living a life worthy of the gospel of Christ.

If you are interested in more Biblical content, explore the Old Testament Books in Order or the Book of Deuteronomy: Summary. Plus, can you name these Creatures from the Bible?

People Also Ask...

Do you have any burning biblical questions? You're not alone, so we've collected some common queries from other readers below.

What Is the Main Message of Philippians?

The main message of Philippians for Christians is to rejoice in the Lord always, even in difficult circumstances, and to imitate Christ's selflessness and humility. Paul also emphasizes the importance of standing firm in the gospel of Christ and pursuing good works.

What Is Special About the Book of Philippians?

The book of Philippians is significant because it provides important insights into Paul's teaching on joy, selflessness, and the gospel of Christ. It also offers guidance and exhortations for Christian living and is a valuable resource for religious Bible study.

What Is the Famous Philippians Verse?

One famous verse in Philippians is Phil. 4:13, which states, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This verse is often quoted as a reminder that with Christ's help, the faithful can face any challenge or obstacle. It is a powerful affirmation of faith and a source of inspiration for many Christians.

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Sources +

[1] Philippians 1:1 Commentaries. Retrieved May 24, 2023 from

[2] Who Wrote Philippians? Retrieved May 24, 2023 from

[3] Epistle to the Philippians: Summary. Retrieved May 24, 2023 from

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