“From start to finish, Philippians is a letter that makes you smile!” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
Joy prompts healing—both physically and emotionally. What an amazing gift from the Lord is this joy, supplied to all who know Jesus as Saviour! In this poignant letter of friendship and faith, the Apostle Paul advocated for a lasting joy to undergird the life of all believers.
This letter was originally addressed to a small pocket of Christians living in Philippi—a Roman colony located in Macedonia, a few miles inland from the Aegean Sea. Though writing during a time of his own house arrest, Paul urged his readers to rejoice in suffering and to trade their anxious thoughts for a sentinel of peace to guard their minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
For the apostle, his aim was threefold:
- To encourage his friends at Philippi (1:3–30)
- To warn them about the dangers of false teachers and the risk of falling from their faith (3:1–4, 15–19)
- To thank beloved believers for their partnership in the spread of the Gospel (4:14–16)
Paul wrapped his strong arms of encouragement around the Philippian believers in this letter of affection. And though not intended as a theological treatise, Paul’s words flowed with rich doctrinal overtones (2:1–11). In his message, Chuck makes this important interpretive statement:
The great love songs of the past were written for one person, most often...yet they have stirred the hearts of millions of other lovers to whom the song was not written. So it is with these great letters. I personally think we have fallen into the wrong pattern of thinking when it comes to interpreting them (the epistles) for today. They are letters to be read, understood, and applied personally. But to think of them as treatises, needing each verb or noun or adjective dissected, is to miss the point. That is especially true of Paul’s Philippian letter. It is one to be enjoyed and appreciated not merely analyzed. You can sense Paul’s deep sentiment in his opening greeting.
Thank You, Father, that in Your presence is fullness of joy and that in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore! Please do whatever needs to be done to form that joy in me by Your gracious Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.