Book Overview - Philippians
by Matthew Poole
Paul, being called of the Lord to preach the gospel in Macedonia, having touched at Neapolis of Greece, came to Philippi, the first city, in regard of its situation, within that part of Macedonia, on his way from Samothracia (Acts 16:11-12) into that country, through Amphipolis and Apollonia, to Thessalonica. Appian describes this Philippi to be seated on a little hill near the foot of the Pangaean mountain, in old time called Crenides, from the fountains and gold mines adjoining, and Datus or Dathus, from the treasure, agreeing with the island Thasus near it; afterwards enlarged and fortified by Philip king of Macedon, who therefore gave it the name of Philippi, as a frontier town within his dominions on the confines of Thracia. Yet afterwards it fell into the hands of the Romans, and became memorable for the victory which Augustus and Antony obtained there over Brutus and Cassius; and in Paul's time it was a colony, Acts 16:12,21. But there is no evidence from Scripture, or the most authentic civil history, that it was (as a learned man would have it) the metropolis of Macedonia when this Epistle was written to it. For it doth not appear that it had so much as a proconsul, or deputy, (as in some other colonies of Macedonia), Acts 16:12, but rather that the magistrates and military officers (Acts 16:20, Acts 16:22, Acts 16:35-36, Acts 16:38) show themselves to be of an under city, which (some affirm) did depend on the great mother city Thessalonica, in a civil sense, and some centuries after (say others) in an ecclesiastical. However, it received Paul, who planted the gospel here; who now being prisoner at Rome, (probably the first, not second time), Philippians 1:7,, Philippians 1:13-14,, Philippians 1:16, with 2 Timothy 4:6, and having received by Epaphroditus, their messenger, Philippians 2:25, their acceptable and liberal present, Philippians 4:18, and understood from him their constancy in the doctrine they had received, (though it seems some affecting pre-eminencies did trouble them), he doth most pathetically, as full of paternal affections towards them his dear children, move them to persevere in faith and godliness; and not to be at all discouraged by his present sufferings, but to live as becomes the gospel, in humility and unity; intimating his tender love and care of them in designing to send Timothy to them, and then to come and visit them; whom he cautions to beware of seducers, who might else pervert them in mingling the law and gospel: whereupon he quickens them to a heavenly conversation in the exercise of several graces; and, expressing his thankfulness for their repeated bounty, concludes with his salutations and apostolical blessing.
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