(From Notes Supplied by Mr. R. Lundin Brown).

John Ritchie, Publisher of Christian Literature

By employing the Apostle Paul to write the seven Epistles to churches gathered from among the Gentiles, the Holy Ghost evidently means us to keep all the truth together; learning, and making use of the whole. Not taking a part and leaving the rest, or occupying ourselves with one side to the exclusion of the others. A living Christ as the centre, the rallying-point, and all God’s truth to keep us right with Him, is what the Holy Ghost constantly keeps before us in these Epistles. The word “Philippians” means “Those who love horses.” The teaching of the Epistle shews how we are to fight, and to surmount difficulties. The key word of the Epistle is that word in chapter 3:8— “That I may win Christ.” Paul had seen Him up there in heavenly glory, and the theme of Philippians is how to disregard and count everything loss, in order to reach Him, that I may “win Christ,” or “get Christ for my gain.” Here we have traced how we are to apprehend that for which we are apprehended of Christ Jesus. The Epistle regards believers as pressing on towards the mark for the prize of God’s calling up on high—through God working in us day by day. In Philippians we have the saints as “fighting ones,” in Thessalonians as “victorious ones.” Both go together.

“Since I must fight if I would reign,
Increase my courage, Lord.”

Paul was a prisoner in Rome when he wrote this Epistle (chap. 1:13, 14), yet how happy and contented he is! What a triumphant strain pervades the whole! How full of Christ a man may be, even though his surroundings are anything but comfortable. Philippi all through, was to Paul associated with suffering and joy, hard times without, with joy and gladness within.

When the Apostle with his companions in labour went there first with the Gospel, they were “shamefully entreated” (1 Thess. 2:2), their feet made fast in the stocks of that inner prison, yet they “sang praises” there to God. Their hearts were glad in the Lord, and the very prison became the scene of God’s saving grace and power. Lydia and her house, the jailor and his family were converted, and the Philippian church was founded amid persecution mingled with joy (Acts 16:11-34). And it grew and prospered even though the world was against it. It held on its way, and there was little to correct, as among the churches of Galatia, or in the church at Corinth.