Books of Bible
Summary of Paul's Letter
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
to the Church at Philippi
A. Greeting and encouragement (1:1-2).
1. Paul and Timothy sent the letter (1:1).
a. Paul does not call himself an apostle
b. He thinks of himself and Timothy as servants of Jesus
2. The letter is sent to saints, supervisors (bishops) and deacons
of the church at Philippi (1:1).
a. He begs for them grace and peace (1:2).
b. The source of grace and peace is God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ (1:2).
II. Paul's Thank You Letter (1:3-4:23).
A. Paul's thankfulness for the brethren in Philippi (1:3-11).
1. Paul prayed for them with joy (1:3-4).
2. His prayer included many things (1:5-11).
a. Thankfulness for their participation in his work of
advancing the gospel, being confident they would continue
b. They helped him to defend and confirm the gospel (1:7).
c. God knew how much he loved them (1:8).
d. Paul wanted their love to grow in knowledge and
discrimination (1:9). (Love is not sentiment only but is
connected with reason and judgment.)
e. Understanding would enable them to know truth and
approve what is right (1:10-11).
B. Results of Paul's imprisonment at Rome (1:12-30).
1. The gospel was preached (1:12-19).
a. Among the praetorian guard (1:13).
b. Brethren made bold to speak the word (1:14).
c. Some acted for unworthy reasons (1:15-16).
d. Paul was happy the good news of salvation was taught
regardless of the motive of the teacher (1:18-19).
2. Paul's only purpose in life was to honor Jesus (1:20-26).
a. He wanted to boldly magnify Jesus (1:20).
b. "To live is Christ, to die is gain" (1:21).
c. Paul hoped to see them again in this life (1:22-26).
3. He urges them to behave like citizens of heaven (1:27-30).
a. United and laboring for the one true faith (1:27).
b. Unafraid and hopeful (1:28).
c. Thankful for the gifts of salvation and suffering (1:29).
d. Paul once suffered in a Philippian jail and was now
suffering in a Roman jail (1:30).
C. Instructions to perform various duties (2:1-30).
1. There is in Christ consolation of love, fellowship of the
Spirit, tender mercies and compassion (2:1).
a. Paul urges them to make his joy full (2:2).
b. He wanted them to be of the same mind and love, being
of one accord and mind (2:2).
2. The example of Christ (2:5-11).
a. Jesus was equal with Jehovah (2:6).
b. He gave up the glory of eternity to assume the limits of
human flesh (2:7-8).
c. He was offered as a sacrifice for sin (2:8).
d. In consequence of his gruesome death--his perfect
obedience to the Father's will--he is today exalted (2:9-11;
3. Imitate Jesus example (2:12-18).
a. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (2:12).
b. Regardless of your condition God can work in you
c. Do not murmur (2:14).
d. Do right in an evil world (2:15).
e. Preach and defend the revealed word so as not to make
Paul's life meaningless (2:16).
f. I rejoice to be sacrificed for your faith (2:17).
g. You should also be happy because it works for you an
eternal reward (2:18).
4. The sending of Timothy (2:19-23).
a. He wanted to know their condition (2:19).
b. Timothy was good and faithful (2:20).
c. Others did not have Timothy's qualities (2:21).
d. Timothy helped in advancing and guarding the gospel
e. He would send Timothy to Philippi as soon as he knew
the outcome of his imprisonment (2:23).
5. If released, Paul would personally come to Philippi (2:24).
6. Epaphroditus brought relief to Paul from Philippi (2:25-30).
a. Epaphroditus had been sick to the point of death
b. Epaphroditus' health was recovered and Paul sent him
back to Philippi (2:29-30).
D. Encouragement to holy living (3:1-3).
1. Be happy and faithful (3:1).
2. Watch out for false teachers--they are dogs, evil workers
and mutilators (3:2).
3. Worship God, glory in Jesus, have no confidence in the flesh
and you will be right with God (3:3).
E. Paul's life (3:4-21).
1. His early life and education (3:4-6).
2. He renounced everything to gain Christ (3:7-11).
a. Earthly assets were rejected (3:7).
b. Worldly things are nothing when compared to eternal
c. Paul was not righteous because he kept the moral law of
God perfectly, but was pure because of his obedience of
d. Paul depended on Jesus' sacrifice for his salvation
3. Paul still had work to do (3:12-17).
a. Paul was not already safe in heaven, but was still
struggling on earth to receive the final reward (3:12).
b. Paul wanted to achieve the prize for which Jesus claimed
c. He forgot the past and looked to the future (3:13).
d. He pressed on toward the goal (3:14).
e. All who want to be saved should do the same (3:15).
f. We must walk by the rule God has given us (3:16).
g. Follow Paul as he followed Christ (3:17).
4. False teachers (3:18-19)
a. Many--not few--false teachers are in the world (3:18).
b. False teachers are enemies of Christ and will end up in
c. They worship their own belly and glory in their own
shame and think only of fleshly lust and desires (3:19).
5. The saint is noble (3:20-21).
a. The saint belongs to heaven and is waiting for the coming
of the Lord (3:20).
b. Jesus will reward the child of God with a heavenly home,
crown and throne (3:21).
III. Final Exhortations
A. Stand fast in the one Lord (4:1-3).
1. Commands Euodia and Syntyche to stop fussing (4:2).
2. Wants the church to help these women (4:3).
B. Be happy--it is your duty--and be faithful (4:4-7)
1. Rejoice--rejoice (4:4).
2. Let everyone see your gentleness (4:5).
a. Be good (4:5).
b. Jesus could come again at any time (4:5).
3. Do not be worried about earthly things (4:6).
4. The warrior peace of God guards your thoughts and hearts
C. Think on noble things (4:8-9).
D. Paul was grateful for their kind contribution to his material
1. They remembered him (4:10-13).
a. He knew how to be content with or without food
b. With Jesus help, Paul could do what he had to do--either
rejoice in the gift, or go without necessities (4:13).
2. Still, it was good for them to send money to his relief
3. They had a long partnership with Paul (4:15-16).
4. Paul's only interest was in their spiritual health (4:17).
5. They had supplied his physical needs and he was happy
6. God would reward them (4:19-20).
E. Closing remarks (4:21-23).