For you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. . . So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favour of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.Phil 1:5, 7-8
But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me. Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.Phil 1:24-27
When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he travelled down to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia. Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.Acts 20:1-6
Do you see what I have done for you? I have laid out the passages of Scripture which summarise for you the nature of Paul’s on-going contact with these precious people, the Philippian believers.
Paul’s Later Visits:[Source: E-Sword ISBE – “Philippi”]
Paul and Silas, then, probably accompanied by Timothy (who, however, is not expressly mentioned in Acts between Act 16:1 and Act 17:14), left Philippi for Thessalonica, but Luke apparently remained behind, for the “we” of Act 16:10-17does not appear again until Act 20:5, when Paul is once more leaving Philippi on his last journey to Jerusalem. The presence of the evangelist during the intervening 5 years may have had much to do with the strength of the Philippian church and its steadfastness in persecution (2Cor 8:2; Php 1:29, Php 1:30). Paul himself did not revisit the city until, in the course of his third missionary journey, he returned to Macedonia, preceded by Timothy and Erastus, after a stay of over 2 years at Ephesus (Act 19:22; Act 20:1). We are not definitely told that he visited Philippi on this occasion, but of the fact there can be little doubt, and it was probably there that he awaited the coming of Titus (2Cor 2:13; 2Cor 7:5, 2Cor 7:6) and wrote his 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians (2Cor 8:1 ff; 2Cor 9:2-4). After spending 3 months in Greece, whence he intended to return by sea to Syria, he was led by a plot against his life to change his plans and return through Macedonia (Act 20:3). The last place at which he stopped before crossing to Asia was Philippi, where he spent the days of unleavened bread, and from (the seaport of) which he sailed in company with Luke to Troas where seven of his companions were awaiting him (Act 20:4-6). It seems likely that Paul paid at least one further visit to Philippi in the interval between his first and second imprisonments. That he hoped to do so, he himself tells us (Php 2:24), and the journey to Macedonia mentioned in 1Tim 1:3 would probably include a visit to Philippi, while if, as many authorities hold, 2Tim 4:13 refers to a later stay at Troas, it may well be connected with a further and final tour in Macedonia. But the intercourse between the apostle and this church of his founding was not limited to these rare visits. During Paul’s first stay at Thessalonica he had received gifts of money on two occasions from the Philippian Christians (Php 4:16), and their kindness had been repeated after he left Macedonia for Greece (2Cor 11:9; Php 4:15). Again, during his first imprisonment at Rome the Philippians sent a gift by the hand of one of their number, Epaphroditus (Php 2:25; Php 4:10, Php 4:14-19), who remained for some time with the apostle, and finally, after a serious illness which nearly proved fatal (Php 2:27), returned home bearing the letter of thanks which has survived, addressed to the Philippian converts by Paul and Timothy (Php 1:1). Timothy intended to visit the church shortly afterward in order to bring back to the imprisoned apostle an account of its welfare (Php 2:19, Php 2:23), but we do not know whether this plan was actually carried out or not. We cannot, however, doubt that other letters passed between Paul and this church besides the one which is extant, though the only reference to them is a disputed passage of Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians where he speaks of “letters” written to them by Paul.
Below I have given you the remaining selected verses from the Philippian letter which indicate the nature of the continued relationship between Paul and believers in Philippi.
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.Phil 2:12
If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along.Phil 2:19
I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon. Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill.Phil 2:23-26
For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.Phil 3:18
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work. Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.Phil 4:1-3
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.Phil 4:9-10
As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then travelled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. . . Give my greetings to each of God’s holy people—all who belong to Christ Jesus.Phil 4:15, 21
These verses address the question of how Paul could have such a good relationship with a group of people he had met for a only a short time, supposedly for a few days during his visit to Philippi on the second missionary journey when he and Silas were imprisoned. Then for a few more days squeezed in between travel in Macedonia over three months and the days spent in Philippi before heading to Troas. (See the verses above which I clipped from Acts 20 for you.) It is more than likely Paul spent a considerable time in Philippi spread over the months moving around Macedonia while Paul used Philippi and likely Lydia’s house as his base.
I am grateful now to finally have my website functioning and no longer have to cut and paste segments from earlier Gems into new Gems I write. Now I can simply give you a link to relevant past Gems. In Bible Gem 1703 I spent some time outlining the reasons I suspect Paul developed such a good relationship with the Philippian believers.
We will meet up again at Lydia’s house in time for the next Gem.
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.Frederick Buechner
Loving my neighbour isn’t doing nothing, saying nothing being nothing.Ian Vail
Loan someone your strength instead of reminding them of their weakness.Andy Stanley
The people who make a difference in the world are not the people who believe right. They are the people who act and react when something isn’t right.Andy Stanley