A Joyous Greeting
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:1-2)
The letter to the church at Philippi was written by Paul while he was in prison. The church consisted of believers who came to the saving knowledge of Christ during Paul’s first missionary journey. Philippi was a Greek city, named after the father of Alexander the Great, Philip II of Macedon, located in modern day northern Greece. It was known for its rich gold mines and was home to many pagan religions. Paul’s purpose of writing this letter was to encourage the believers and help give advice to their current problems.
On that note, we see in the first verse that both Paul and Timothy are present at the time of the writing of the letter. Verse 3, we see the usage of “I,” meaning that Paul was the sole author of the letter, but Timothy was present to help Paul during his incarceration. As a reminder, prisons didn’t operate the same as we do in the modern era; people outside the prison had to provide for you food and clothing and medicine. Both Paul and Timothy identify as “servants of Christ,” emphasizing that they were fully submitting to God’s leading for their lives. This is very evident, as again, Paul was writing in chains this letter of encouragement while Timothy faithfully sacrificed to take care and help Paul during this time.
The letter was addressed “to all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi.” Anders defines a saint, “as not someone who has died but one ‘set apart for the purposes of God.’ Every person who possesses Christ—or more accurately is possessed by Christ—is a saint.” Therefore, Paul is writing to Christians, fellow believers. Paul also mentions, “together with the overseers and deacons,” meaning pastors and deacons, church leadership.
Closing out the introduction, Paul gives a commonly used greeting among Christians during the time, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The true source of grace and peace is only found in God.
Knowing that Paul was in chains during the time of writing this letter just shows that we can still be used by God to do amazing things for His kingdom regardless of our own personal circumstances. As long as we are obedient to His leading, God will use us. He will fill you with joy, grace, and peace if you go to Him.
Isaac De Guzman