Paul had several purposes in writing this letter: 1) He wanted to express his love and gratitude for the financial gift they had sent him; 2) to give them an updated report of his own circumstances; and 3) to encourage the Philippians to stand firm in the face of persecution and to rejoice regardless of the circumstance; 5) to exhort them to live in humility and unity; finally, 6) to warn them of the legalistic “Judaizers” who had slipped in among them.
One of the key themes is joy. “Joy” in one form or another, the word is used 16 times in this short book! Chapter two has significant teaching regarding the Person of Christ, Who emptied Himself in coming to earth. And in chapter four, Paul shares the secret of contentment (4:11-13).
Here is an outline of Philippians:
I. Salutation and Thanksgiving for the Philippians (1:1-11)
II. The Circumstances of Paul in Rome: the preaching of Christ (1:12-30)
III. The Pattern of the Christian Life: Having the Mind of Christ (2:1-30)
IV. The Prize of the Christian Life: Having the Knowledge of Christ (3:1-21)
V. The Peace of the Christian Life: Knowing the Presence of Christ (4:1-23)