TITLE. AUTHOR AND DATE
The title “Philippians” is due to the church of Philippi, the first in
Europe. The author without a doubt is the apostle Paul –one of his “prison”
letters- as we find from the introduction 1:1, and in many details of the
style of Paul. Externally Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, the
Canon of Muratori or Marcion, as well as Clement of Alexandria and
Tertullian give testimony. The date is around 61-62 A.D. from the prison of
Rome. It does not mention the destruction of the Temple, which is prophecy
of Jesus Christ - Yahshua.
RECIPIENTS AND PURPOSE
Paul writes to the church of Philippi, to the saints in Christ who were
there, together with their bishops and deacons. Paul gives thanks to the
Philippians for their love in Christ, the offerings that they gave for the
support of the saints since the beginning. Being imprisoned in Rome, it is
virtuous to read so many mentions of joy of God in Christ that Paul
expresses in this letter in which he tells of his happiness with the way
they proceed, but also he wants them to be conscious of the dangers that
persecute the Christian faith and warns them, as pastor that he is of the
Church, of the risk of the legalism, the perfectionism and the egocentrism.
He also informs them of the conquest of the Gospel 1:12-26. He wanted them
to know the importance of having sent Epaphroditus and that they would know
his plan to send Timothy.
Paul is in prison in Rome, despite of he still rejoices in the midst of
suffering because he finds the Philippians in the Way of Christ, and he
exhorts them also in learning to rejoice in such situations. From there, for
about two years he writes to the Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. The
city was named after Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. The first
church established in Europe by Paul, in Macedonia, where Lidia and the
prison guard received Christ, after being imprisoned due to the conflict
with the fortune teller. They were set free by an earthquake, but not for
escaping but because they stood which touched the heart of the prison guard
who throw himself to his feet, taking them home and healing them. (Acts.
16:25-34). Epaphroditus almost died due to an illness, when he carried the
offering to the Philippians.
Philippians bases its theology in the doctrine of the humiliation of Christ
and from it, takes the example so that the Church feels the joy in every
circumstance through which it must go through for the cause of the Cross of
Christ. Chap. 1 focuses in the joy in the persecuted evangelism. In 2 the
joy of the ministry under that circumstance. In 3 in the joy of the
discipleship leaving behind the legalism and the libertinage that separate
the Christian from God. In 4 the joy of living in Christ in thanks giving
and worship. The letter is dedicated to the personal counsel from this
theology. It warns them to not accept the doctrine of the judaizer “dogs”
and to continue to be light of God in the world.
POSSIBLE INTERPRETATIVE PROBLEMS
Philippians 2:7 tells that Christ took off from Himself, but this must not
be interpreted that He left the attributes of His divinity, which the Nicene
Creed calls “True God and true man”, but that Christ, in a voluntarily way
faced death, and death on the Cross as a man, to pay for our sins without
using the shield of His divine gifts.