Online Bible Commentary

Philippians 1:1

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Note 1 at Philippians 1:1: Although Timothy’s name was used with the Apostle Paul’s as a fellow sender of this letter, Timothy was probably not a co-author. Throughout this letter, when Timothy is mentioned, he is spoken of in the third person (Philippians 2:19-24). Paul was the author, and he simply included Timothy in the greeting because Timothy had ministered with him in Philippi and knew these people (see note 1 at Acts 16:1). Note 2 at Philippians 1:1: Paul opened this letter not with a list of all his accomplishments and virtues but by identifying himself as a slave of Jesus Christ (Greek: “DOULOS” - see note 1 at Romans 1:1). Carnal people use their past accomplishments to impress others and open doors. Godly people are not out to impress others with themselves, but with who their Master is. Paul was prouder of his Master than he was of his service to his Master. Paul was quick to note that Jesus had elevated the Philippians to the position of “saints.” As believers, all of us have been made saints through what Jesus did for us (see note 5 at Acts 9:13), but not all of us have become slaves. Slavery to Christ is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1), but it is voluntary. Faith in Christ as Savior is essential for salvation, and submission to Christ as Lord is essential for victory and true joy in this life. Note 3 at Philippians 1:1: Paul mentioned two special groups of people in this verse: bishops and deacons. The word “bishop” is derived from the Greek word “EPISKOPOS.” This Greek word was translated “overseers” in Acts 20:28. The word “deacon” (Greek: “DIAKONOS”) is probably derived from the Greek word “DIAKO.” DIAKO means “to run on errands” (Strong’s Concordance). The King James Version translated “deacon” elsewhere as “servant” or “servants” (Matthew 22:13, 23:11; Mark 9:35; John 2:5, 9, 12:26; Romans 16:1, and 27), and “minister” or “ministers” (Matthew 20:26; Mark 10:43; Romans 13:4, 15:8; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 6:4, 11:15, 23; Galatians 2:17; Ephesians 3:7, 6:21; Colossians 1:7, 23, 25, 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; and 1 Timothy 4:6). The early New Testament church was organized. The “bishop” and the “deacon” were leadership positions. Note 4 at Philippians 1:1: The bishops and deacons were the leadership of the church at Philippi. Notice that those outside of leadership were called saints. This clearly identifies every believer as a saint. There is no scriptural basis for elevating just a few Christians to an elite status of sainthood.

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