Johannes Schouten
Slideshow image

Philippians is known as a "letter of joy." Maybe no letter of Paul's is a joyful as this one.

And yet it is also full of so much pain, sorrow, suffering and trouble. How can this be? How can these 2 themes of "joy" and "sorrow" be woven together so much? And how can the author, Paul, be so joyful in the midst of all of the sorrow and trouble.

Here is a list of the trouble and suffering I find in Philippians:

1. “I am in chains” (1:13)

2. “some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry” (1:15)

3. “The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains” (1:17)

4. “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me” (1:22)

5. “those who oppose you” (1:28)

6. “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (1:29-30)

7. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (2:3)

8. “by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (2:8)

9. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (2:15)

10. “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering…” (2:17)

11. “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (2:21)

12. “Indeed he was ill, and almost died” (2:27)

13. “He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me” (2:30)

14. “Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh” (3:2)

15. "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (3:10)

16. “many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things” (3:18-19)

17. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord” (4:2)

18. “Do not be anxious about anything” (4:6)

19. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (4:12)

20. “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles” (4:14)

21. “not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only” (4:15)