Philippians 1:1, 2
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi…
The Apostle Paul is as characteristic in his greetings as in the substance of his epistolary writings.
I. THE AUTHORS OF THE GREETING. "Paul and Timotheus, bond-slaves of Jesus Christ."
1. The apostle associates Timothy with himself as one who had labored at Philippi and was well known to the Christians of that city. Timothy, besides, was then his companion at Rome. It was natural that he should name the disciple who was associated with him through a longer range of time than any other - extending, indeed, from the date of his first missionary journey till near the very time of his martyrdom.
2. He does not call himself an apostle, because the assertion of his official designation was not needful at Philippi, but places himself on a level with Timothy, by bringing into prominence their common relationship to the Lord as "bond-slaves of Jesus Christ." They belonged to him as Master, and bore his marks in their very bodies, and were supremely devoted to his service.
II. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE GREETING WAS ADDRESSED. "To the saints which are in Christ Jesus at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons."
1. They dwelt in Philipi, an important city of Macedonia, which, thirty-four years before, was the scene of a great battle which determined the prevalence of the imperial system of Rome. It was still more celebrated as the first city in Europe which received the gospel - "thus opening up the long vista of what has become Western Christendom."
2. They were "saints in Christ Jesus;" with a ten years' history. The title must have had a special force in the case of those addressed with such a warmth of affection. Their saintship was grounded in their union with Christ. It is interesting to mark the prominence of female names both in the first founding of the Church and in its later developments, as noticed in the Epistle. Who can say whether the delicate and untiring generosity of the Philippian Church to the apostle may not have been mainly due to these saintly women, who enjoyed in Macedonia, as women, a far more independent position than in other parts of the world? There is at all events a sweet tenderness in Philippian piety which made the designation of "saints" peculiarly appropriate.
3. The greeting was extended to the bishops and deaths along with the saints.
(1) This implies that Philippian Christianity was fully organized.
(2) It suggests that the bishops and deacons may have taken an active part in the contribution to the apostle's wants.
(3) Yet the apostle, by his mode of greeting, lends no sanction to hierarchical usurpation, for, instead of greeting "the bishops and deacons, together with the saints at Philippi," he assigns the first place to the Christian flock.
III. THE FRIENDLY GREETING OF THE APOSTLE. "Grace to you and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ" (see Homilies on Galatians 1:3 and Ephesians 1:2).
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: