Philippians 1:1-2

Talks for Growing Christians

The Salutation of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians

Philippians 1:1-2

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Lesson Number 1

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. It is significant that the term, “overseer,” is plural.
  2. It is significant that only two church offices are mentioned.

Practical Application

  1. Are you a saint or an ain’t?


  1. Discuss Paul’s circumstances at the time he wrote this letter.
  2. How did the Philippian church come into being?
  3. What was the problem that prompted Paul to write this letter?
  4. What are overseers responsible for? What are deacons responsible for?
  5. What is the biblical line of spiritual authority for the local church?


  1. This letter was written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in the early 60s A.D. Under house arrest, although he was chained to a Roman guard, Paul was able to preach, teach and write. See Acts 28:16.
  2. The church was founded on Paul’s second missionary journey, about ten years this letter was written. After having received the Macedonian vision to bring the gospel to Europe, Paul, Silas, Luke and Timothy sailed across the Aegean Sea and came to Philippi. The missionary team joined a group of people by the riverside, where they customarily prayed. Lydia was one of this group, and the Lord opened her heart to the gospel. She and her household were baptized. Soon imprisoned for preaching the gospel, Paul and Silas led the Philippian jailer to a saving knowledge of the Lord. He and his household were baptized. See Acts 16:9-34.
  3. Epaphroditus came from Philippi to visit Paul in Rome, bringing a gift from the church and news about them. A minor rift was beginning to develop within the church. Paul wrote this letter urging the Philippian believers to work hard at coming to unity.
  4. Overseers are responsible for guiding, teaching and disciplining the flock. Deacons deal with the more temporal matters of the church.
  5. The line of spiritual authority proceeds from Christ to the spiritual leaders of the church. Overseers are also known as elders, pastors, or bishops.


  1. How does the problem in the Philippian church affect our churches today? Give specific examples.
  2. What does it mean to be submissive to the line of authority of the church? Is your attitude toward the leadership pleasing to God?


  1. Consider your spiritual position before God. Are you a saint or an ain’t? Think what it means to be a saint. Think what it means to be an ain’t. How does God see you?

Key Verses

  • “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” Philippians 1:1-2

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