Paul had made three earlier visits to Philippi: Acts
16:12ff (compare 1 Thess. 2:2); Acts 20:1; & Acts 20:3-6.
Unique feature of Philippi: There was no synagogue. How do
we know this? (See Acts 16:13 and contrast with it Acts 13:5
(Salamis), Acts 13:14 (Antioch of Pisidia), Acts 14:1 (Iconium),
Acts 17:1 (Thessalonica), Acts 17:10 (Berea), Acts 17:16
(Athens), Acts 18:4 (Corinth), and Acts 16:19 (Ephesus).
What would the lack of a synagogue suggest about the
prevalence of Jews in Philippi?
What does the presence or absence of a large Jewish population
suggest about persecution?
In spite of the conclusions drawn on the basis of these
observations, what danger at Philippi concerned Paul? (See
Women played a prominent role in the church at Philippi. See
Acts 16:13-14, Phil. 4:2-3.
Was Paul a woman-hater as some have said?
Do the instructions of such passages as 1 Tim. 2:11-15 and 1
Cor. 14:34-35 prevent women from playing an important role in a
Were most of the Philippians most likely well-to-do, or
relatively poor? See 2 Cor. 8:1-2 (cf. Acts
The occasion of the letter is clear from Phil. 4:18;
2:25-20. Paul used Epaphroditus' return as an opportunity to send
a letter in which he might thank the Philippians, warn them, and
most of all, encourage them. That is, he intended to do for them
what he described in 1:14. "Philippians" is thus a letter, not
a treatise. Contrast the subject matter and flow of thought with
Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. As a letter, and not a treatise,
it does not provide itself to useful outlining.