Philippians overview

The letter of St Paul to the Philippians is not to be confused with the Philippine islands. There are many great people from the Philippine islands such as Father Manny, Father Burt, Father Ariel and many more. They are usually filled with joy and full of compassion. I am so glad to know them myself and have them for my brother priests. In a similar way, Paul seems to have an affection for the people of Philippi called the Philippians. I suppose that may be why the Spaniards named them after those at Phillipi.

To clarify a little:  Today’s Philippine (notice, no “a” in the name) islands is in the Far East. It is in the western part of the Pacific Ocean with about 7,640 islands. This is where Fr Manny, Burt and Ariel are from. Whereas the people Paul wrote to are from Philippi which makes them Philippians (notice the “a” in the name referring to the people of the area). Phillipi was in Greece and was founded by Alexandria’s father, Philip of Macedonia.

You may be able to find Philippi in the map in the Bible. You will not find the Philippine islands in the Bible.

In previous letters, we find Paul writing letters to correct bad behavior in various communities. We find this with the Corinthians and Galatians. But here, Paul is trying to encourage them to remain steadfast in faith due to many hardships they will have to endure. God does not promise heaven here on earth. If He did, then we would be waiting for no purpose.

Paul finds hope and even joy in suffering. He wants to bring the followers of Christ that same joy. He also wants to prevent them from division, as they will need each other in the coming times.

Scholars believe this letter was written during Paul’s first imprisonment.

More recently, they think it may have been in Ephesus whereas before believed to be in Caesarea. Most agree that it would have been written in the mid-50’s. That would make it about 20 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Father Barr

(A map of the Phillipi Islands, as they were in ancient history)