The Book of Philippians: Summary, Key Verses and Lessons

The book of Philippians can be summarized in the word “encouragement”.  Throughout this letter, Paul is encouraging the people of Philippi to live out lives that are obedient God and that are uplifting to one another.  Paul wrote this letter while in prison to the church to also tell them how he was doing.

Key Verses

Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 1:21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Main Characters

Paul – Paul is the writer of this letter to the Philippian church

Jesus Christ – Paul reflects on Him throughout the entire letter.

Timothy – Timothy is with Paul while Paul is in prison.  Paul is hoping to send Timothy back to the church in Philippi as soon as possible

Epaphroditus  - He has been longing to visit Philippi also, but has been under severe illness, almost to death.  By God’s mercy, Epaphroditus is healed completely so that he can return.

Euodia and Syntyche – These are two women who are arguing with each other in Philippi.  Paul is urging the people to help them both to agree in the Lord.

Basic Overview: A Quick Run-through by Chapter

Chapter 1

Here, Paul greets the Philippian church with much admiration and love.  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5)  He also explains how his imprisonment has done a great deal to advance the Gospel. (Philippians 1:12-18)  He finishes this chapter by encouraging the people to live like Christ and to conduct themselves as Christ would conduct Himself.

Chapter 2

In verses 1-11, Paul is addressing the issue of humility.  “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you not only look to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)  He goes on to talk about how Jesus humbled himself to become a servant to the point of dying on the cross.  For this reason He is exalted and that is why “every tongue (will) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.” (Philippians 2:10b)  He encourages them to do everything without complaining so that they will shine like lights in the world. (Philippians 2:14-15).  Finally, he concludes this chapter with the hopes that he can send Timothy and Epaphroditus to Philippi soon.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 deals with 3 aspects: being aware of those who put confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:2-3), throwing out self-righteousness to be found in Christ (Philippians 3:8-11), and straining on towards the goal of heaven (Philippians 3:12-21).  In this chapter, Paul is encouraging the people to throw out their confidence in the flesh and attain righteousness through faith in Christ.  He wants to know Christ so well that he “may share in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” (Philippians 3:10)  Because of Christ, Paul encourages the people to strain on towards the goal of heaven by “straining forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13b)  He explains how enemies of Christ have set their minds on earthly things and that is their destruction.  This is why we all need to strain forward towards heaven by thinking about heavenly things instead of earthly things.

Chapter 4

This final chapter starts with Paul urging the people to help Euodia and Syntyche to “agree in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2)  There is no explanation as to what they are fighting over, only that they make amends.  He then assures the people that if they continue to ask God for everything in prayer and supplication, God will give them peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7)  Paul then encourages the people to think about things that are good, pure and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8)  He ends the letter with thanking the people for sharing in his troubles because they were the only church that partnered with him.  He assures them that he is doing fine and then tells them his final greetings.


As you can see, this book is all about encouragement and I am encouraged every time I read it.  Christ is proclaimed over and over in this book and it is a great reminder how we all ought to live our lives as believers in Christ.  God bless!

Resources- The Holy Bible, English Standard Version“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”, photo credit: Wonderlane via photopin cc ,