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Who wrote the book of Philippians? Who was the author of Philippians?

author of Philippians

The book of Philippians was written to the church of Philippi by the apostle Paul, author of a large portion of the New Testament. The apostle began the epistle with a proper first-century salutation: “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:1–2). The salutation provides internal evidence that Paul wrote the letter. Timothy was with him. Philippians is one of the four Prison Epistles, along with Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon.

Paul ministered at Philippi and brought many to faith in Christ, including a businesswoman named Lydia (Acts 16:13–15) and the Philippian jailer (16:22–34). He and Silas had suffered much during their time there on the second missionary journey. Paul had a close bond with the church (Philippians 1:7–8). His tone throughout the letter exudes appreciation and affection, resembling a proud parent encouraging his child (see Philippians 2:12). Unlike the epistles to Corinth and Galatia, Paul did not write Philippians in response to a crisis, and rejoicing is one of the themes of the letter, earning it the nickname “Epistle of Joy”.

Internal evidence strongly suggests that Paul wrote this letter in custody (Philippians 1:7, 13–14), likely during his Roman detention (4:22). He also wrote Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon while incarcerated. Philippians was delivered by Epaphroditus, Paul’s co-worker (2:25), though there was a delay due to Epaphroditus’ illness (2:26–27). Paul’s imprisonment in Rome was around AD 61 and 62, when he wrote the letter.

The Pauline authorship of Philippians is uncontested, but some scholars argue against the unity of the letter, proposing instead a three-letter hypothesis. Proponents of this hypothesis theorize that Philippians is a composite letter containing more than one correspondence. They cite an abrupt change in tone or focus (for example between 3:1–11 and 3:12—4:1). Also, they cite the statement “It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again” (3:1) as a clue that Paul referred to a different letter.

However, these objections to theunity of the book of Philippians can easily be explained. It is possible for someone to change tone and focus in a letter, especially in such a personal letter as Philippians, just as we do in texts, calls, and emails. The statement in Philippians 3:1 may serve more as an emphasis, which can be done within a letter. It’s also possible that Paul is alluding to other (non-extant) letters he wrote to the church in Philippi.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians contributes to our understanding of what it means to live as a follower of Jesus. There are many oft-quoted passages in this epistle, which teaches that proper Christian experience is the outworking of the life, nature, and mind of Christ living in us (Philippians 1:6, 11; 2:5, 13). The glorious pinnacle of the book is 2:5 –11, highlighting the humiliation and exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Who wrote the book of Philippians? Who was the author of Philippians?
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This page last updated: March 14, 2024