NLT - 1 This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
It was Paul’s custom on arrival in a new city to preach first to the Jews. However, on his first arrival in Philippi about 50 C.E., he found these few in number and apparently without a synagogue, for they used to meet for prayer on a riverbank outside the town. Paul’s preaching quickly bore fruit, one of the first converts being Lydia, a businesswoman and Jewish proselyte, who readily embraced the truth about the Christ and insisted that the travelers stay at her house. “She just made us come,” writes Luke. Opposition was soon encountered, however, and Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and then imprisoned. While they were in the prison, an earthquake occurred, and the jailer and his family, listening to Paul and Silas, became believers. The next day Paul and Silas were released from prison, and they visited the brothers at the home of Lydia and encouraged them before leaving the city. Paul carried with him vivid memories of the tribulations surrounding the birth of the new congregation in Philippi.—Acts 16:9-40. A few years later, during his third missionary tour, Paul was again able to visit the Philippian congregation. Then, about ten years after first establishing the congregation, a touching expression of the love of the brothers in Philippi moved Paul to write them the inspired letter that has been preserved in the Holy Scriptures under the name of that beloved congregation.
There are only two times in the book of Acts where we are told that Paul visited Philippi. However, it is almost certain there was a third visit, and many scholars believe there must have been a fourth also. His first visit was on his second missionary journey, after the Spirit had prevented them from going into Asia or Bithynia, and had led them to Troas, on the coast (Acts 16:6-8). At Troas Paul had a vision of a man across the Mediterranean Sea asking him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). Recognizing that this was divine direction, Paul “got ready at once to leave for Macedonia” (Acts 16:10). The trip took two days by ship, and when they arrived at the port of Neopolis, the gospel had arrived in Europe. Neopolis was the port for Philippi, the largest city in that region, about ten miles inland from the coast. Paul’s arrival in Philippi is recorded in Acts 16:12, and the rest of that chapter tells of their experiences there. As for when this was, most evangelical scholars would date this at around AD 50. On Paul’s third missionary journey, he visited a number of churches he had previously planted. In Acts 20:1-2 we are told “he travelled through [Macedonia], speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece.” Though Philippi is not mentioned by name, it was a significant city along the main road through Macedonia, and it is nearly inconceivable that he would not have visited it at this time. On the way back from Greece (the province of Achaia in southern Greece) three months later, he retraced his steps, “back through Macedonia” (Acts 20:3). While some of his entourage sailed ahead over to Troas, Paul and his close associates stayed in Philippi long enough to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:5-6). Most scholars place these visits around AD 55-56. These are the only visits told us in the book of Acts, which ends with Paul imprisoned in Rome awaiting trial. By comparing things Paul said about his imprisonment in Acts with things he said in the prison epistles and pastoral epistles, as well as references in some early Christian writers, a case can be made that Paul may have been released from prison and taken another missionary journey. In Philippians 2:22-24 he tells the believers in Philippi that he intends to send Timothy to them, and is confident he will be able to come a little later himself. He reminded Timothy of how when he (Paul) went to Macedonia, he urged Timothy to stay in Ephesus and minister there (1 Timothy 1:3). The circumstances of this visit to Macedonia are difficult to match with any described in Acts, but may have happened on a proposed fourth journey, which would also have involved visits to Spain, Crete, Miletus, Colosse, Ephesus, and Nicopolis. It would have ended in a second Roman imprisonment, this time ending in Paul’s Martyrdom. The route and timing of this fourth journey is quite tentative, but his visit to Philippi may have been around AD 65-68.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.