Welcome Valley Bible Studies

Introduction to the Study on Philippians

This study is different than the other studies in the Welcome Valley Bible Study series. It was originally developed in 2006 to meet a requirement for a distance learning course from Hobe Sound Bible College. The course assignment established the format for the study and set the number of lessons. As a result, the study on Philppians includes fewer lessons and involves more of my own comments. Hopefully you will find it useful.

You will notice the presence of verse numbers with the Bible texts rather than a reference followed by unnumbered text as in the other studies. This change should make it easier to find individual verses. You may already know that the original manuscripts of the Bible weren’t divided into chapters and verses. Philippians is a letter that God directed the Apostle Paul to write to the church in the ancient city of Philippi. It was written by hand in the Greek language. Much later, scholarly effort divided it and the rest of the Bible into chapters and verses. Most conservative Bible students believe that the original Bible manuscripts are what God actually inspired. In that case, the chapter and verse divisions aren’t really part of the Word of God, but they do make it much easier for us to find our way around.

In the studies on 1, 2, and 3 John as well as the first lessons on the Gospel of John, I carefully copied the text from the King James Bible myself. In the Philippians study I utilized a public domain copy of the King James Bible downloaded from the internet. This edition was developed by Derek Andrew of Canada in 1992. My thanks to this gentleman for his diligent effort to share God’s Word with us all. I have reinserted the italic typeface for those words that the translators felt necessary to add to clarify the text.

You are welcome to send any questions or insights you may have to mail@welcomevalley.com. I will try to help with your questions. You would also do well to discuss your questions with a godly pastor or a Christian friend.

As usual, I am unable to credit all the sources of the background information included in the study. I’ve heard and seen too much information in too many places over the years to keep who said what straight. I have tried to document recent sources in the text where needful. I’m sure the textbook used in the course that generated this project also influenced the study. (Picirilli, Robert, Paul the Apostle: Chicago: Moody Press, 1986) If you find unattributed direct quotes let me know, so I can rectify the situation.

The following Scripture passage is from the Acts of the Apostles. Please read it for background to discover Paul’s earlier experience in the city of Philippi and the beginnings of the church there. This passage may well be the best introduction available for the student of Philippians.

C. David Cash

From Acts 16

[6] Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, [7] After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.  [8] And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

[9] And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. [10] And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

[11] Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; [12] And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

[13] And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. [14] And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. [15] And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

[16] And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: [17] The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. [18] And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 

[19] And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, [20] And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, [21] And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. [22] And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. [23] And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: [24] Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

[25] And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. [26] And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. [27] And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

[28] But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

[29] Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, [30] And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

[31] And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. [32] And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

[33] And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. [34] And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

[35] And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. [36] And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

[37] But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

[38] And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. [39] And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.

[40] And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

This introductory essay and the related Bible study are in the public domain and may be copied and distributed freely.

This study is in the public domain and may be copied and distributed freely.