Philippians 1:1-5 begins with a positive expression of joy and thanksgiving. Paul also discusses identity and encourages the Philippian church to continue growing in their faith.

Philippians 1:1-5 discusses Christian servanthood

Paul starts by identifying himself and his audience.

Identity is a big deal in today’s culture. On one hand it’s a polarizing topic. But on another, confusing. Who am I? What determines it? How should I express myself?


Write a sentence or two that describes your identity and how you reached this conclusion. What influences and experiences formed and affirm it?

Paul identifies himself and Timothy as servants of Jesus Christ and his audience as saints.

The Greek word for servant is doulos, which means slave. Slavery was an accepted and common practice in the ancient world. Although its practice during that time was perhaps, different than how it’s perceived in American history.

The Old Testament also describes Moses, Jeremiah and Daniel as servants. Read Exodus 12:31, Jeremiah 25:4 and Daniel 9:6. The Hebrew word used is for servant is ebed. It means slave too, although it also presents a sense of authority. In other words, these prophets are messengers used as instruments, chosen by God.

Paul might be saying this about himself. He is first, a humble servant of Christ. But in the Philippian letter, he also carries the weight of authority.


Describe your relationship with Jesus Christ. Is it a slave and master relationship? Are you an instrument for God? What shapes your thoughts on this? Do your actions and attitudes support or contradict it?

Philippians 1:1-5 discusses Christian sainthood

When used in a modern context, a saint often implies a sense of moral superiority. Someone who has reached a higher spiritual level than others. But that’s not what Paul means here. Because the Greek word for saints is hagios and also translated holy. It means to be set apart.

To be set apart as a follower of Jesus Christ does involve a distinction. It means to separate yourself from an immoral lifestyle and dedicate yourself to God through intentional, righteous living.

It doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Or morally superior. Because you still sin. The difference is you strive not to sin. And demonstrate a life that is visibly recognizable as a follower of Jesus Christ.


Rate yourself on a scale between 1-10 as a saint set apart to God. What are some ways your life demonstrates it? How might you do better? What makes the difference?

Philippians 1:1-5 discusses Christian partnership

Making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel

Christian ministry is not a spectator sport. Where pastors and church staff do the work and members of the congregation cheer them on. It’s a partnership. A we’re all in this together endeavor.

Paul expresses joy that the members of the Philippian church “get it.” They support him financially, but also spiritually and emotionally. And in spite of imprisonment, he prays for them with a sense of joy as they demonstrate lives obedient to Christ.

The point is, God desires his church to move together in community and ministry. And to work in unity. It’s not the promise of an easy life. But one filled with joy.

Join me next week as we look at Philippians 1:6-11. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.