1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown
in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes?
1 Thessalonians 3:13 May He strengthen your hearts so that you will
be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus
comes with all His Holy Ones.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 Brothers, we do not you to be ignorant about
those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God
will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.
15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still
alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede
those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead
in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be
with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not
need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the
Lord will come like a thief in the night.
3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them
suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape...............
9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive
salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live
together with him.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just in fact
as you are doing.
12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you,
who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live
in peace with each other.
14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the
timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be
kind to each other and to everyone else.
16 Be joyful always;
17 pray continually;
18 give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God's will for you in
19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
20 do not treat prophecies with contempt.
21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
22 Avoid every kind of evil.
23 May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ. (1* See below)
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Concerning the coming of our Lord jesus Christ
and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers,
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at
work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken
out of the way..
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will
overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His
coming. (1* See below)
Luke 21:34 "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with
dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on
you unexpectedly like a trap.
35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole
36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape
all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of
man.".(2* See below)
John 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust
also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and
take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.(3* See
1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits;
then when He comes, those who belong to Him.
1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all
sleep, but we will all be changed,
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the
trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be
53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal
immortality, then the saying
that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your
56 The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, Because you know that your
labor in the Lord is not in vain.. (4* See below)
2 Corinthians 5:1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live
in is destroyed, we have a building from God, and eternal house in Heaven, not
built by human hands..
2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our
3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because
we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that
what is mortal may be swallowed
up by life.
5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given
us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come..
6 Therefore we are always confident, and know that as long as we are at
home in the body we are away from the Lord.
7 We live by faith, not by sight.
8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the
body, and at home with the Lord.(5* See below)
Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you
also will appear with him in glory. (6* See below)
Ephesians 5:27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church,
without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (7* See below)
Philippians 3:11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection
from the dead.. (8* See below)
(Webmaster NOTE 1*: The first epistle to the Thessalonians was the
first of all Paul's epistles. It was in all probability written from Corinth,
where he abode a "long time" (Acts 18:11, 18), early in the period of his
residence there, about the end of A.D. 52.
The occasion of its being written was the return of Timotheus from Macedonia,
bearing tidings from Thessalonica regarding the state of the church there (Acts
18:1-5; 1 Thessa. 3:6). While, on the whole, the report of Timothy was
encouraging, it also showed that divers errors and misunderstandings regarding
the tenor of Paul's teaching had crept in amongst them. He addresses them in
this letter with the view of correcting these errors, and especially for the
purpose of exhorting them to purity of life, reminding them that their
sanctification was the great end desired by God regarding them.
The subscription erroneously states that this epistle was written from Athens.
The second epistle to the Thessalonians was probably also written from Corinth,
and not many months after the first.
The occasion of the writing of this epistle was the arrival of tidings that the
tenor of the first epistle had been misunderstood, especially with reference to
the second advent of Christ. The Thessalonians had embraced the idea that Paul
had taught that "the day of Christ was at hand", that Christ's coming was just
about to happen. This error is corrected (2:1-12), and the apostle prophetically
announces what first must take place. "The apostasy" was first to arise. Various
explanations of this expression have been given, but that which is most
satisfactory refers it to the Church of Rome.)
(NOTE:2* Gospels written by Luke: He does not claim to have been
an eye-witness of our Lord's ministry, but to have gone to the best sources of
information within his reach, and to have written an orderly narrative of the
facts (Luke 1:1-4). The authors of the first three Gospels, the synoptics, wrote
independently of each other. Each wrote his independent narrative under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Each writer has some things, both in matter and style, peculiar to himself, yet
all the three have much in common. Luke's Gospel has been called "the Gospel of
the nations, full of mercy and hope, assured to the world by the love of a
suffering Savior;" "the Gospel of the saintly life;" "the Gospel for the
Greeks; the Gospel of the future; the Gospel of progressive Christianity, of the
universality and gratuitousness of the gospel; the historic Gospel; the Gospel
of Jesus as the good Physician and the Savior of mankind;" the "Gospel of the
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man;" "the Gospel of womanhood;" "the
Gospel of the outcast, of the Samaritan, the publican, the harlot, and the
prodigal;" "the Gospel of tolerance." The main characteristic of this Gospel, as
Farrar (Cambridge Bible, Luke, Intro.) remarks, is fitly expressed in the
motto, "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the
devil" (Acts 10:38; comp. Luke 4:18). Luke wrote for the "Hellenic world." This
Gospel is indeed "rich and precious."
"Out of a total of 1151 verses, Luke has 389 in common with Matthew and Mark,
176 in common with Matthew alone, 41 in common with Mark alone, leaving 544
peculiar to himself. In many instances all three use identical language."
There are seventeen of our Lord's parables peculiar to this Gospel. Luke also
records seven of our Lord's miracles which are omitted by Matthew and Mark. The
synoptical Gospels are related to each other after the following scheme. If the
contents of each Gospel be represented by 100, then when compared this result is
Mark has 7 peculiarities, 93 coincidences. Matthew 42 peculiarities, 58
coincidences. Luke 59 peculiarities, 41 coincidences.
That is, thirteen-fourteenths of Mark, four-sevenths of Matthew, and two-fifths
of Luke are taken up in describing the same things in very similar language.
Luke's style is more finished and classical than that of Matthew and Mark. There
is less in it of the Hebrew idiom. He uses a few Latin words (Luke 12:6; 7:41;
8:30; 11:33; 19:20), but no Syriac or Hebrew words except sikera, an exciting
drink of the nature of wine, but not made of grapes (from Heb. shakar, "he is
intoxicated", Lev. 10:9), probably palm wine.
This Gospel contains twenty-eight distinct references to the Old Testament.
The date of its composition is uncertain. It must have been written before the
Acts, the date of the composition of which is generally fixed at about 63 or 64
A.D. This Gospel was written, therefore, probably about 60 or 63, when Luke may
have been at Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner. Others
have conjectured that it was written at Rome during Paul's imprisonment there.
But on this point no positive certainty can be attained.
It is commonly supposed that Luke wrote under the direction, if not at the
dictation of Paul. Many words and phrases are common to both; e.g., compare:
Luke 4:22; with Col. 4:6. Luke 4:32; with 1 Cor. 2:4. Luke 6:36; with 2 Cor.
1:3. Luke 6:39; with Rom. 2:19. Luke 9:56; with 2 Cor. 10:8. Luke 10:8; with 1
Cor. 10:27. Luke 11:41; with Titus 1:15. Luke 18:1; with 2 Thess. 1:11. Luke
21:36; with Eph. 6:18. Luke 22:19, 20; with 1 Cor. 11:23-29. Luke 24:46; with
Acts 17:3. Luke 24:34; with 1 Cor. 15:5.)
(NOTE 3* Gospel of John The genuineness of this Gospel, i.e.,
the fact that the apostle John was its author, is beyond all reasonable doubt.
In recent times, from about 1820, many attempts have been made to impugn its
genuineness, but without success.
The design of John in writing this Gospel is stated by himself (John 20:31). It
was at one time supposed that he wrote for the purpose of supplying the
omissions of the synoptical, i.e., of the first three, Gospels, but there is no
evidence for this. "There is here no history of Jesus and his teaching after the
manner of the other evangelists. But there is in historical form a
representation of the Christian faith in relation to the person of Christ as its
central point; and in this representation there is a picture on the one hand of
the antagonism of the world to the truth revealed in him, and on the other of
the spiritual blessedness of the few who yield themselves to him as the Light of
After the prologue (1:1-5), the historical part of the book begins with verse 6,
and consists of two parts. The first part (1:6-ch. 12) contains the history of
our Lord's public ministry from the time of his introduction to it by John the
Baptist to its close. The second part (ch. 13-21) presents our Lord in the
retirement of private life and in his intercourse with his immediate followers
(13-17), and gives an account of his sufferings and of his appearances to the
disciples after his resurrection (18-21).
The peculiarities of this Gospel are the place it gives (1) to the mystical
relation of the Son to the Father, and (2) of the Redeemer to believers; (3) the
announcement of the Holy Ghost as the Comforter; (4) the prominence given to
love as an element in the Christian character. It was obviously addressed
primarily to Christians.
It was probably written at Ephesus, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem
(A.D. 70), became the centre of Christian life and activity in the East, about
(NOTE 4* First epistle to Corinthians was written from Ephesus
(1 Cor. 16:8) about the time of the Passover in the third year of the apostle's
sojourn there (Acts 19:10; 20:31), and when he had formed the purpose to visit
Macedonia, and then return to Corinth (probably A.D. 57).
The news which had reached him, however, from Corinth frustrated his plan. He
had heard of the abuses and contentions that had arisen among them, first from
Apollos (Acts 19:1), and then from a letter they had written him on the subject,
and also from some of the "household of Chloe," and from Stephanas and his two
friends who had visited him (1 Cor. 1:11; 16:17). Paul thereupon wrote this
letter, for the purpose of checking the factious spirit and correcting the
erroneous opinions that had sprung up among them, and remedying the many abuses
and disorderly practices that prevailed. Titus and a brother whose name is not
given were probably the bearers of the letter (2 Cor. 2:13; 8:6, 16-18).
The epistle may be divided into four parts:
(1.) The apostle deals with the subject of the lamentable divisions and party
strifes that had arisen among them (1 Cor. 1-4).
(2.) He next treats of certain cases of immorality that had become notorious
among them. They had apparently set at naught the very first principles of
morality (5; 6).
(3.) In the third part he discusses various questions of doctrine and of
Christian ethics in reply to certain communications they had made to him. He
especially rectifies certain flagrant abuses regarding the celebration of the
Lord's supper (7-14).
(4.) The concluding part (15; 16) contains an elaborate defense of the doctrine
of the resurrection of the dead, which had been called in question by some among
them, followed by some general instructions, intimations, and greetings.
This epistle "shows the powerful self-control of the apostle in spite of his
physical weakness, his distressed circumstances, his incessant troubles, and his
emotional nature. It was written, he tells us, in bitter anguish, 'out of much
affliction and pressure of heart...and with streaming eyes' (2 Cor. 2:4); yet he
restrained the expression of his feelings, and wrote with a dignity and holy
calm which he thought most calculated to win back his erring children. It gives
a vivid picture of the early church...It entirely dissipates the dream that the
apostolic church was in an exceptional condition of holiness of life or purity
of doctrine." The apostle in this epistle unfolds and applies great principles
fitted to guide the church of all ages in dealing with the same and kindred
evils in whatever form they may appear.
This is one of the epistles the authenticity of which has never been called in
question by critics of any school, so many and so conclusive are the evidences
of its Pauline origin.
The subscription to this epistle states erroneously in the Authorized Version
that it was written at Philippi. This error arose from a mistranslation of 1
Cor. 16:5, "For I do pass through Macedonia," which was interpreted as meaning,
"I am passing through Macedonia." In 16:8 he declares his intention of remaining
some time longer in Ephesus. After that, his purpose is to "pass through
(NOTE 5* Second epistle to Corinthians, Shortly after
writing his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul left Ephesus, where intense
excitement had been aroused against him, the evidence of his great success, and
proceeded to Macedonia. Pursuing the usual route, he reached Troas, the port of
departure for Europe. Here he expected to meet with Titus, whom he had sent from
Ephesus to Corinth, with tidings of the effects produced on the church there by
the first epistle; but was disappointed (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 1:8; 2:12, 13). He
then left Troas and proceeded to Macedonia; and at Philippi, where he tarried,
he was soon joined by Titus (2 Cor. 7:6, 7), who brought him good news from
Corinth, and also by Timothy. Under the influence of the feelings awakened in
his mind by the favorable report which Titus brought back from Corinth, this
second epistle was written. It was probably written at Philippi, or, as some
think, Thessalonica, early in the year A.D. 58, and was sent to Corinth by
Titus. This letter he addresses not only to the church in Corinth, but also to
the saints in all Achaia, i.e., in Athens, Cenchrea, and other cities in Greece.
The contents of this epistle may be thus arranged:
(1.) Paul speaks of his spiritual labors and course of life, and expresses his
warm affection toward the Corinthians (2 Cor. 1-7).
(2.) He gives specific directions regarding the collection that was to be made
for their poor brethren in Judea (8; 9).
(3.) He defends his own apostolic claim (10-13), and justifies himself from the
charges and insinuations of the false teacher and his adherents.
This epistle, it has been well said, shows the individuality of the apostle
more than any other. "Human weakness, spiritual strength, the deepest tenderness
of affection, wounded feeling, sternness, irony, rebuke, impassioned
self-vindication, humility, a just self-respect, zeal for the welfare of the
weak and suffering, as well as for the progress of the church of Christ and for
the spiritual advancement of its members, are all displayed in turn in the
course of his appeal."--Lias, Second Corinthians.
Of the effects produced on the Corinthian church by this epistle we have no
definite information. We know that Paul visited Corinth after he had written it
(Acts 20:2, 3), and that on that occasion he tarried there for three months. In
his letter to Rome, written at this time, he sent salutations from some of the
principal members of the church to the Romans.)
(NOTE 6* Epistle to the Colossians was written by Paul at Rome
during his first imprisonment there (Acts 28:16, 30), probably in the spring of
A.D. 57, or, as some think, 62, and soon after he had written his Epistle to the
Ephesians. Like some of his other epistles (e.g., those to Corinth), this seems
to have been written in consequence of information which had somehow been
conveyed to him of the internal state of the church there (Col. 1:4-8). Its
object was to counteract false teaching. A large part of it is directed against
certain speculatists who attempted to combine the doctrines of Oriental
mysticism and asceticism with Christianity, thereby promising the disciples the
enjoyment of a higher spiritual life and a deeper insight into the world of
spirits. Paul argues against such teaching, showing that in Christ Jesus they
had all things. He sets forth the majesty of his redemption. The mention of the
"new moon" and "Sabbath days" (2:16) shows also that there were here Judaizing
teachers who sought to draw away the disciples from the simplicity of the
Like most of Paul's epistles, this consists of two parts, a doctrinal and a
(1.) The doctrinal part comprises the first two chapters. His main theme is
developed in chapter 2. He warns them against being drawn away from Him in whom
dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead, and who was the head of all spiritual
powers. Christ was the head of the body of which they were members; and if they
were truly united to him, what needed they more?
(2.) The practical part of the epistle (3-4) enforces various duties naturally
flowing from the doctrines expounded. They are exhorted to mind things that are
above (3:1-4), to mortify every evil principle of their nature, and to put on
the new man (3:5-14). Many special duties of the Christian life are also
insisted upon as the fitting evidence of the Christian character. Tychicus was
the bearer of the letter, as he was also of that to the Ephesians and to
Philemon, and he would tell them of the state of the apostle (4:7-9). After
friendly greetings (10-14), he bids them interchange this letter with that he
had sent to the neighboring church of Laodicea. He then closes this brief but
striking epistle with his usual autograph salutation. There is a remarkable
resemblance between this epistle and that to the Ephesians (q.v.). The
genuineness of this epistle has not been called in question.)
(NOTE 7* Epistle to Ephesians was written by Paul at Rome about
the same time as that to the Colossians, which in many points it resembles.
Contents of the Epistle to the Colossians is mainly polemical, designed to
refute certain theosophic errors that had crept into the church there. That to
the Ephesians does not seem to have originated in any special circumstances, but
is simply a letter springing from Paul's love to the church there, and
indicative of his earnest desire that they should be fully instructed in the
profound doctrines of the gospel. It contains (1) the salutation (1:1, 2); (2) a
general description of the blessings the gospel reveals, as to their source,
means by which they are attained, purpose for which they are bestowed, and their
final result, with a fervent prayer for the further spiritual enrichment of the
Ephesians (1:3-2:10); (3) "a record of that marked change in spiritual position
which the Gentile believers now possessed, ending with an account of the
writer's selection to and qualification for the apostolate of heathendom, a fact
so considered as to keep them from being dispirited, and to lead him to pray for
enlarged spiritual benefactions on his absent sympathizers" (2:12-3:21); (4) a
chapter on unity as undisturbed by diversity of gifts (4:1-16); (5) special
injunctions bearing on ordinary life (4:17-6:10); (6) the imagery of a spiritual
warfare, mission of Tychicus, and valedictory blessing (6:11-24).
Planting of the church at Ephesus. Paul's first and hurried visit for the space
of three months to Ephesus is recorded in Acts 18:19-21. The work he began on
this occasion was carried forward by Apollos (24-26) and Aquila and Priscilla.
On his second visit, early in the following year, he remained at Ephesus "three
years," for he found it was the key to the western provinces of Asia Minor. Here
"a great door and effectual" was opened to him (1 Cor. 16:9), and the church was
established and strengthened by his assiduous labors there (Acts 20:20, 31).
From Ephesus as a centre the gospel spread abroad "almost throughout all Asia"
(19:26). The word "mightily grew and prevailed" despite all the opposition and
persecution he encountered.
On his last journey to Jerusalem the apostle landed at Miletus, and summoning
together the elders of the church from Ephesus, delivered to them his remarkable
farewell charge (Acts 20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
The following parallels between this epistle and the Milesian charge may be
(1.) Acts 20:19 = Eph. 4:2. The phrase "lowliness of mind" occurs nowhere else.
(2.) Acts 20:27 = Eph. 1:11. The word "counsel," as denoting the divine plan,
occurs only here and Heb. 6:17.
(3.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 3:20. The divine ability.
(4.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 2:20. The building upon the foundation.
(5.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 1:14, 18. "The inheritance of the saints."
Place and date of the writing of the letter. It was evidently written from Rome
during Paul's first imprisonment (3:1; 4:1; 6:20), and probably soon after his
arrival there, about the year 62, four years after he had parted with the
Ephesian elders at Miletus. The subscription of this epistle is correct.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing of this letter, as
already noted. Paul's object was plainly not polemical. No errors had sprung up
in the church which he sought to point out and refute. The object of the apostle
is "to set forth the ground, the cause, and the aim and end of the church of the
faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type or sample of the church
universal." The church's foundations, its course, and its end, are his theme.
"Everywhere the foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the course
of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the church is the
life in the Holy Spirit." In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes from the
point of view of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ; here he
writes from the point of view specially of union to the Redeemer, and hence of
the oneness of the true church of Christ. "This is perhaps the profoundest book
in existence." It is a book "which sounds the lowest depths of Christian
doctrine, and scales the loftiest heights of Christian experience;" and the fact
that the apostle evidently expected the Ephesians to understand it is an
evidence of the "proficiency which Paul's converts had attained under his
preaching at Ephesus."
Relation between this epistle and that to the Colossians (q.v.). "The letters of
the apostle are the fervent outburst of pastoral zeal and attachment, written
without reserve and in unaffected simplicity; sentiments come warm from the
heart, without the shaping out, pruning, and punctilious arrangement of a formal
discourse. There is such a fresh and familiar transcription of feeling, so
frequent an introduction of colloquial idiom, and so much of conversational
frankness and vivacity, that the reader associates the image of the writer with
every paragraph, and the ear seems to catch and recognize the very tones of
living address." "Is it then any matter of amazement that one letter should
resemble another, or that two written about the same time should have so much in
common and so much that is peculiar? The close relation as to style and subject
between the epistles to Colosse and Ephesus must strike every reader. Their
precise relation to each other has given rise to much discussion. The great
probability is that the epistle to Colosse was first written; the parallel
passages in Ephesians, which amount to about forty-two in number, having the
appearance of being expansions from the epistle to Colosse. Compare:
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14 Eph 1:10; Col 1:20 Eph 3:2; Col 1:25 Eph 5:19; Col 3:16 Eph
6:22; Col 4:8 Eph 1:19-2:5; Col 2:12,13 Eph 4:2-4; Col 3:12-15 Eph 4:16; Col
2:19 Eph 4:32; Col 3:13 Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9,10 Eph 5:6-8; Col 3:6-8 Eph
5:15,16; Col 4:5 Eph 6:19,20; Col 4:3,4 Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1
"The style of this epistle is exceedingly animated, and corresponds with the
state of the apostle's mind at the time of writing. Overjoyed with the account
which their messenger had brought him of their faith and holiness (Eph. 1:15),
and transported with the consideration of the un-searchable wisdom of God
displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his astonishing love towards
the Gentiles in making them partakers through faith of all the benefits of
Christ's death, he soars high in his sentiments on those grand subjects, and
gives his thoughts utterance in sublime and copious expression.")
(NOTE 8* Epistle to the Philippians was written by Paul during
the two years when he was "in bonds" in Rome (Phil. 1:7-13), probably early in
the year A.D. 62 or in the end of 61.
The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their messenger, with contributions to
meet the necessities of the apostle; and on his return Paul sent back with him
this letter. With this precious communication Epaphroditus sets out on his
homeward journey. "The joy caused by his return, and the effect of this
wonderful letter when first read in the church of Philippi, are hidden from us.
And we may almost say that with this letter the church itself passes from our
view. To-day, in silent meadows, quiet cattle browse among the ruins which mark
the site of what was once the flourishing Roman colony of Philippi, the home of
the most attractive church of the apostolic age. But the name and fame and
spiritual influence of that church will never pass. To myriads of men and women
in every age and nation the letter written in a dungeon at Rome, and carried
along the Egnatian Way by an obscure Christian messenger, has been a light
divine and a cheerful guide along the most rugged paths of life" (Professor
The church at Philippi was the first-fruits of European Christianity. Their
attachment to the apostle was very fervent, and so also was his affection for
them. They alone of all the churches helped him by their contributions, which he
gratefully acknowledges (Acts 20:33-35; 2 Cor. 11:7-12; 2 Thess. 3:8). The
pecuniary liberality of the Philippians comes out very conspicuously (Phil.
4:15). "This was a characteristic of the Macedonian missions, as 2 Cor. 8 and 9
amply and beautifully prove. It is remarkable that the Macedonian converts were,
as a class, very poor (2 Cor. 8:2); and the parallel facts, their poverty and
their open-handed support of the great missionary and his work, are deeply
harmonious. At the present day the missionary liberality of poor Christians is,
in proportion, really greater than that of the rich" (Moule's Philippians,
The contents of this epistle give an interesting insight into the condition of
the church at Rome at the time it was written. Paul's imprisonment, we are
informed, was no hindrance to his preaching the gospel, but rather "turned out
to the furtherance of the gospel." The gospel spread very extensively among the
Roman soldiers, with whom he was in constant contact, and the Christians grew
into a "vast multitude." It is plain that Christianity was at this time making
rapid advancement in Rome.
The doctrinal statements of this epistle bear a close relation to those of the
Epistle to the Romans. Compare also Phil. 3:20 with Eph. 2:12, 19, where the
church is presented under the idea of a city or commonwealth for the first time
in Paul's writings. The personal glory of Christ is also set forth in almost
parallel forms of expression in Phil. 2:5-11, compared with Eph. 1:17-23; 2:8;
and Col. 1:15-20. "This exposition of the grace and wonder of His personal
majesty, personal self-abasement, and personal exaltation after it," found in
these epistles, "is, in a great measure, a new development in the revelations
given through St. Paul" (Moule). Other minute analogies in forms of expression
and of thought are also found in these epistles of the Captivity.)