If you had asked Paul which of the New Testament churches was his favorite, he might probably have said: the church at Philippi. God directed the apostle by a vision to go to Macedonia after he tried to enter Bithynia (Acts 16:9). Philippi was a major city in the region. Still, at first, it must have seemed not promising.
Paul began his evangelistic outreach in the synagogue. The Jewish community at Philippi was small; only a handful of women met by a river outside the city gate. But the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, a wealthy businesswoman from Thyatira, and her home became Paul’s base of operations (Acts 16:14–15).
Luke does not say how long Paul and Silas stayed in Philippi, but their visit was long enough to be marked by conflict. They were arrested and beaten, with the jailer being the only other convert that Luke mentions in Acts 16. Despite these small beginnings, this church became an unwavering supporter of Paul’s ministry. They shared Paul’s faith and generously shared their finances despite their poverty (see also 2 Cor. 11:9). When Paul speaks of their “partnership,” in verse 5, he uses the word koinonia which means “sharing.”
The apostle looked at this church as much more than a source of funding. Although he was the first to bring the gospel to them, he did not look down on them. Despite being an apostle, he saw them as peers in their experience of the grace of God through Christ (v. 7). Therefore, Paul prayed for them, giving thanks and asking God to cause their love and knowledge to grow. This letter is part of God’s answer to that prayer.
>> The loving bond the Philippians shared with Paul has blessed the church in all ages. Can you partner with someone in the gospel? You don’t have to possess much to have a great impact.
We have all received Your grace, from the newest believer to the most seasoned. May our shared gratitude unite us in worship, adoration, and joyful obedience to You! We owe all to You.