Peace Beyond Understanding
There are no doubts about the authorship of this epistle. Paul wrote the epistle from Rome,
during his house imprisonment there, probably around 61-62 AD.
It is a letter. It is not a treatise, as Romans, Hebrews, and 1 John are. It is not an encyclical full
of general observations and exhortations capable of application at any time and anywhere, as
the Epistle to the Ephesians and the Epistle of James and the Epistles of Peter are. It is a
simple letter to personal friends. It has no theological discussions and no rigid outline and no
formal development. It rambles along just as any real letter would with personal news and
personal feelings and outbursts of personal affection between tried friends. It is the most
spontaneous and unaffected of the Pauline Epistles. It is more epistolary than any of the
others addressed to the churches.
Our relationship with Christ appears in every chapter:
Christ is our life,
He controls our life.
Christ is our example,
the pattern for our life
Christ is our object,
the goal of our life
Christ is our source of joy,
the strength of our life
Victor M. Eskew
Outline of Philippians
Paul’s life is for the defense of the gospel and them (1:12-26)
Live your life to become the gospel of Christ (1:27-2:2)
Let Jesus be the example (2:3-11)
Work out your own salvation (2:12-13)
Hold forth the word of life (2:14-18)
Receive Timothy & Epaphroditus (2:19-30)
I press toward the mark (3:1-14)
Walk by the same rule (3:15,16)
Follow Paul (3:17-4:1)
Personal notes (4:2-4)
The peace of God (4:5-9)
Thank you (4:15-23)
Philippians 2:5-11 is considered a hymn by many.
Some thoughts from Philippians:
Set for the defense – There is no contradiction between defense of the gospel and
evangelism. The word apologetics comes from the Greek word for defense here. It means
providing evidence and reason to believe. No one was more concerned with reaching the lost,
but no one took a second seat to Paul in being willing and able to defend the gospel.
Work out your own salvation – The responsibility of each person is to take care of their own
salvation. Don’t leave it up to someone else. You are responsible for your eternal destiny – it’s
not up to your parents, your spouse, your relatives or your friends, not even your religious
leaders. You will stand by yourself at the judgment bar, and give an account of your deeds both
good and bad.
Thought it not robbery – There are very few passages that seem to give people more
problems than this.
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God,
counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself,
taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; (Philippians 2:5-7 ASV)
The concept taught is the humility of Christ. He was willing to relinquish the position that He
had on equality with God to become flesh for our good.
That same humility should guide us in our actions. We should have the same attitude. We are
never too good to do whatever we need to in order to help others.
Press toward the mark – Sin is missing the mark; and Paul here says he will continue
striving to hit the mark. Sin will not deter him. Sin will not stop him. He will continue on,
realizing that he is not sinless; but, realizing that he has a responsibility toward God to
continue striving to do the will of God his entire life.
The peace that passeth all understanding – Peace in the midst of
difficulty and turmoil is the most difficult of concepts to comprehend. It is beyond
our understanding. Peace, however, does not come from outward
c circumstances; it comes from the inner consolation of our heart, mind,
and soul. What we concentrate upon, what we meditate on, what we dwell
on, creates the status of our inner spirit. It creates peace within, regardless
of what our outer circumstances may be.
To be content – To learn to be content with what we have, no matter
how much or how little is difficult. No matter how much most people have, it is not
enough. Most people think, if they only had 10% more, they would be content – no
matter how much they have. Paul talks about being content with much or with
little. As with peace, happiness does not depend upon the outward
c circumstances. If you can not be happy with little, you can not be happy with
much. Having food and raiment, let us be content. There is little that we truly need. As one
popular post on personal media says, all our graves are the same size.