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(d) Both Colossians and Philippians are written in the name of Paul and Timothy, but we find no trace of the latter in connection with Paul's imprisonment at Cæsarea. (e) The great metropolis of the world was a much more likely refuge than Cæsarea for a runaway slave like Onesimus.
With regard to the order in which these four epistles were written, many critics have been disposed to assign Philippians to a later date than the three others. But none of their arguments when examined appear to have much weight. Philemon—which can be shown to be contemporaneous with Colossians (see p. 168)—affords as probable an indication of having been written when the imprisonment was drawing to a close as anything to be found in Philippians. We cannot infer much from such expressions, as the apostle's prospects may have undergone various vicissitudes during his imprisonment; nor yet from the absence of salutations on the part of Luke and Aristarchus in Philippians as contrasted with Colossians and Philemon; for there are several ways of accounting for this.2
on safer ground when we base our judgment on the general character of the several epistles. When we do so we are led to the conclusion that this epistle marks the transition from Romans to Colossians and Ephesians. While the former of these resembles it in many points both verbal and doctrinal,3
i Philemon ver. “ But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I hope that through your prayers I shall be granted unto you.”
E.g. Luke may have been temporarily absent from Rome when Paul wrote to the Philippians, and Aristarchus may not yet have arrived. It will scarcely do, however, to say (with Lightfoot) that the salutations are also absent from Ephesians, if that epistle is regarded as an encyclical, for the absence of all such personal messages is then to be regarded as one of its peculiar features. (See p. 181.)
3 Cf. Phil. i. 3-8: “I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in every supplication of mine on
behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he which began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ : even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus”; Rom. i. 8-12: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God
we discern in the two latter a new phase of doctrine of which scarcely any trace can be found in the Epistle to the Philippians. No doubt this peculiarity of Colossians and Ephesians was partly due to their being addressed to the theosophic Christians of Asia Minor instead of to Churches in Europe; but if Philippians had been written subsequently to them, it could scarcely have failed to bear very distinct traces of the speculative questions which had so recently engaged the apostle's attention.
While Philippians therefore was probably anterior in date to the three others, the effects which the apostle's "bonds" are stated to have already produced in Rome, as well as the account of Epaphroditus' mission from Philippi to Rome, with its attendant circumstances, 2 imply that some considerable time had elapsed since the apostle's arrival. We may therefore assign this epistle to the early part of 62 A.D., and the three others to the close of the same year or the beginning of 63 A.D. 3
is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if by any means now at length I may be prospered by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.” Phil. i. 10:
approve the things that are excellent”; Rom. ii. 18 : approvest the things that are excellent. Phil. iii. 5: “of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews"; Rom. xi. 1: “For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Phil. iii. 9: "and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith"; Rom. X. 3,4: “For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. Phil, iii. 1o, II : " that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, be
coming conformed unto his death; if
1 Phil. i. 12-14: "Now I would have
3 It is possible the apostle may have written other letters during his imprisonment. His anxiety about his own prospects did not prevent him from engaging in active labour among the soldiers and others brought into contact with him, or from superintending by means
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE
1. Authorship. The Pauline authorship of this epistle is generally admitted. 1 It is a characteristic outpouring of the apostle's tender, affectionate, and devout heart; the circumstances which gave rise to it come out in the course of the epistle in a casual and unaffected manner; and corroboration of them is found in the Book of Acts and elsewhere. It is difficult to imagine what purpose a forger could have had, or how he could ever have achieved success, in fabricating a letter of such a distinctly personal character.
With regard to external evidence, traces of expressions used in the epistle may be found in many of the earliest Christian writers (outside of the New Testament) whose works have come down to us. 2 By the close of the second century its general acceptance in the Church is beyond the possibility of doubt. One writer (Tertullian, about 200 A.D.) states that it had all along been read and acknowledged by the Church of Philippi.
2. The Readers. “ To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.”3 Philippi was the first place at which St. Paul preached the Gospel in Europe,
of his colleagues and envoys the various Churches which looked to him for guid
In this connection the following names occur in the epistles :-Luke, Timothy, John Mark, Demas, Jesus Justus, Epaphroditus (of Philippi), Tychicus (of Ephesus), Epaphras (of Colossä), and Aristarchus (of Thessalonica).
2 Clement of Rome (apparently), Ignatius, Polycarp (who, writing to the Philippians, refers to the epistle which Paul had addressed to them), Justin Martyr; and the authors of the Letter to Diognetus, and of the Epistle sent by the Churches of Vienne and Lyons. It is also found in the Muratorian Canon and the Syriac and Old Latin Versions of the second century, and was acknowledged by Marcion.
i It was rejected by Baur on very slender grounds; and his opinion has not been adopted by Hilgenfeld, the chief living representative of the “ Tübingen" school.
3 i. I.
in the course of his second missionary journey, 52 A.D. A very full and graphic account of this visit is given by St. Luke, who along with Timothy and Silas accompanied the apostle on the occasion. The city lay a few miles inland from the coast of Macedonia, at the confluence of Asiatic and European life on the great Egnatian highway, where there was a pass in the mountain barrier stretching north and south. Founded on an ancient site by Philip, king of Macedonia (who named it after himself) in the middle of the fourth century B.C., the city was raised to the dignity of a Roman colony by Augustus (42 A.D.) in commemoration of his great victory over Brutus and Cassius gained in the immediate vicinity. As a colony it became politically "a miniature likeness of Rome"; and the high sense of Roman citizenship which pervaded the community may be seen at several points in Luke's narrative ? as well as in allusions in the epistle. There were comparatively few Jews in the place, as we may infer from the want of any regular synagogue 4 and the absence of any Hebrew name in the list of converts; and to this fact the constant loyalty of the Philippians to the person and teaching of the apostle was probably in some measure due. Only three members of the Church are specially mentioned in the account of Paul's visit. These are a proselyte of Asia, a Greek, and a Roman5—representing the catholic nature of the Church
1 Acts xvi. II-40.
" And when they had brought them unto the magistrates, they said, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and set forth customs which it is not lawful for us to receive, or to observe, being Romans. But when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. And the jailor reported the words to Paul, saying, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore come forth, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men that are Romans, and have cast us into prison; and do they now cast us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and bring us out. And the serjeants reported these words unto
the magistrates: and they feared, when
“ Behave as citizens worthily
“And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer."
(1) “Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God"; (2) “a certain maid having a spirit of divination"; and (3) “the jailor.” The order of their conversion, as Lightfoot remarks, is significant of the historical progress of Christianity : first the proselyte, next the Greek, then the Roman.
which Paul had come to establish,-representing, too, the liberal and liberating spirit of the Gospel, two of them being women, and one of the two a slave, the absolute property of her master. The consecrating influence of the Gospel on family relations is brought out here for the first time in the history of the Church,–Lydia's “household being baptized with her, and the jailor rejoicing greatly “with all his house."I The prominence assigned to women both here and in the neighbouring Churches of Thessalonica and Bercea 2 is in harmony with what we know from other sources to have been characteristic of Macedonian society.
Paul's visit to Philippi was memorable not only for the converts whom he made but also for the sufferings he endured and the signal deliverance that was granted to him. The Church which he then formed excelled all others in its devoted attachment to his person and its repeated acts of
1 xvi. 15, 34•
2 Acts xvi. "And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate (i.e. at Philippi) by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which were come together.” Acts xvii. 4, 12: “And some of them were persuaded, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few (i.e. at Thessalonica). Many of them therefore believed ; also of the Greek women of honourable estate, and of men, not a few" (i.e. at Bercea). Cf. iv. 2, 3: “I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yea, I beseech thee also, true yoke-fellow, help these women, for they laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellowworkers, whose names are in the book of life."
3“The extant Macedonian inscriptions seem to assign to the sex a higher social influence than is common among the civilized nations of antiquity. In not a few instances a metronymic takes the place of the usual patronymic; and, in other cases, a prominence is given to women which can hardly be accidental. For instance, one inscription records how
a wife erects a tomb 'for herself and her dear husband, out of their common earnings '; another, how a husband erects a tomb ‘for his devoted and darling wife, and himself,' also from their common savings. There are also cases of monuments erected in honour of women by public bodies. Again the deferential language used by the husband speaking of the wife, is worthy of notice (e.g. 'Eutyches, in memory of Stratonica, his life-partner and lady.').” – Lightfoot on Philippians, p. 55.
4 Acts xvi. 22-26: “And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent their garments off them, and commanded to beat them with rods. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely : who, having received such a charge, cast them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prisonhouse were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened; and every one's bands were loosed."