ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bible: What Does Philippians 1 Teach Us About Paul and Evangelism?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Apostle Paul


Young Timothy with His Mother


Offices of the Local Church

The Epistle to the Philippians

Considering Timothy, his apostolic representative, and himself as bondservants of Christ—slaves who had no rights, except those their master grants to them—Paul greets three groups of believers—the saints, bishops and deacons—in the church at Philippi, a small, Roman military outpost city in Europe (v. 1).

[“Saints” (hagioi) do not represent a class of believers who especially distinguish themselves, but signify ordinary believers whom Christ has set apart for Himself at salvation.

“Bishops” (episkopoi) oversee or manage the spiritual affairs of the local church; “deacons” (diakonoi) work alongside the bishops and primarily care for the temporal concerns of the church].

As is his custom, the apostle asks God that the members might receive grace and peace from the Father and from Christ (v. 2).

Paul tells the Philippians that he joyfully thanks God every time he thinks about and prays for them, because they have cooperated with him and supported his ministry since he founded them as a church (vv. 3-5).

He knows with certainty that the Lord will continue His sanctifying work among them until the Rapture (“the day of Jesus Christ”) [v. 6].

Paul thinks it is right for him to feel an especially close bond with them, because they have been ministering to him from the time he began his defense of the gospel until the time of this writing (v. 7).

He lets them know that God sees how much the apostle would love to be with them (v. 8). Paul prays a three-fold request on their behalf: he wants God

(1) to continue to mature them in their understanding of how to love;

(2) to enable them “to differentiate between highest matters and side issues” (Ryrie, New Testament Study Bible 352); and

(3) to cause them to progress in love and discernment, so that they would conduct themselves righteously, manifest good character through Christ’s power, and bring glory to God when the Lord returns (vv. 9-11).

Praetorian Guard


Saints: Ordinary or Special People?

Do you believe the true Church makes special people saints?

See results

Jail Evangelism

Addressing the Philippians as brethren, Paul informs them that God has used his jail cell testimony to spread the gospel to the Praetorian guard, as well as the bold, fearless preaching of “most of the brethren in the Lord” to evangelize many other Roman citizens (vv. 12-14).

[Why (or how) would Paul’s imprisonment make Christians bolder in their witness?]

Paul acknowledges that some insincere, envious preachers “evangelize” with selfish motives, seeking to cause the apostle more discomfort (vv. 15a, 16).

[What might they say to hurt Paul’s ministry or Paul himself?]

He also commends those who perform the ministry for godly reasons because they believe God chose him to be an apologist for the gospel (v. 17).

Since his sole concern remains the spread of the good news, Paul does not allow the wicked motives of a few pretenders to prevent him from rejoicing in godly progress (v. 18).

Knowing that his situation would resolve itself through the Philippians’ prayer and the support of “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” either by his release from prison or by his “deliverance” from this life, Paul only hopes and expects to make known the greatness of Christ through a bold, unashamed witness (vv. 19-20).

He considers the two “options” before him: life and death.

On the one hand, if God allows him to live, he will serve the Lord and bear fruit through his labor, for Paul finds his meaning in life in Christ’s service (vv. 21a, 22a).

On the other hand, if the Lord permits his death, then Paul is content, regarding his departure to be with Christ as “gain” and “far better” than his earthly life (vv. 21b, 23b).

The apostle seems to believe that God has given him the ability to choose either outcome, for he confesses the difficulty of the decision (“hard-pressed”) [vv. 22b-23a].

He resolves the issue by considering the spiritual needs of the Philippians as more important than his own desire to be with Christ.

Believing that God wanted him to continue his teaching ministry in the Church, Paul states confidently that the Lord will deliver him and send him once more to the Philippians amid abundant rejoicing in Christ (vv. 24-26).

[Did Paul receive revelation that God would save him from death, or did he just know God’s mind so well that he knew what He would cause to occur?]

Regardless whether he can visit them again or not, Paul wants the Philippians to live good Christian lives; he wishes to hear positive news about them, news of their unity as they work together in their evangelistic outreach, and not negative reports of their shrinking back in fear of their enemies (vv. 27-28a).

Their continued unity signals both the future destruction of their adversaries and the Philippians’ salvation (v. 28b).

Paul informs them that God has permitted them not only to believe Christ for their eternal salvation, but to suffer in the same conflict the apostle himself suffers--all for the Lord’s sake (vv. 29-30).

© 2013 glynch1


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)