The Epistle to the Philippians is the last prison epistle written by Paul from Rome. It is a thank you letter for their help. It was written by Paul while waiting trial before Nero (Acts 28:30). This is the first church formed during Paul's second missionary journey in Europe (Acts 16:12). It was an established church with elders and deacons ( Philippians 1:1). The occasion of the epistle was to acknowledge thanks for the gift brought to the apostle by Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:27; 4:18). The letter is intensely personal in nature. This church was very close to Paul’s heart
(2 Cor 8:1-6). This epistle is known as the epistle of joy. “Joy or rejoicing “is mentioned about 18 times in this letter. This letter teaches that joy is a Christian experience and it does not depend on our circumstances. The key verse of the epistle is “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). In chapter 1, Paul emphasizes the principle of Christian life. Chapter 2 gives the pattern of Christian life. The chapter 3, explains the goal of Christian life. And Chapter 4, reveals the power of Christian life. This epistle declares the profound truth about the humiliation and the exaltation of Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-11). Paul rejoices in the Lord because he found the purpose of his life in Christ (Philippians 1:21). Christ is the example for him to live (Philippians 2:5-9). Christ's humiliation and exaltation is the key passage of this epistle. Paul's heart overflows with joy for the faithful partnership of Philippians in the ministry.
This letter was written from Rome during Paul’s first imprisonment in A.D 60 (Acts 28). The references to the palace guards and the Caesar’s household confirm this. This church was founded in obedience to Paul’s "Macedonian call" on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:10-15). This was the first church founded in Europe. The epistle was written from Rome, approximately 10 years after Paul founded this church. The church membership was largely gentiles. Philippi was a Roman colony and the center of Emperor worship. Today it lies in ruins.