At the time of writing the letter to the Philippians, Paul was being held in prison, though the letter does not say the location of his imprisonment. It is thought that on this occassion he was imprisoned in Rome. Paul was visited in prison by Epaphroditus, the Philippian church’s representative, to give Paul whatever help he needed, including a gift from the church. Epaphroditus then most likely carried the letter back to Philippi. Paul asked the Philippians not to be discouraged by his situation. Rather, he was rejoicing that he had opportunity to spread the gospel and enjoy good fellowship with the christians in Rome. His letter is very up-beat! It radiates with joy in the Lord which, in spite of his imprisonment, flows from his awareness of the presence of Jesus, his confidence that he is in Christ’s hands, his pleasure over the advancement of the gospel, and his single-minded desire to know Jesus. As christians, we are to be joyful, even when things are going badly, even when we feel like complaining. Christ still reigns, and we still know him, so we can rejoice at all times.
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