The official designation is omitted, as in 1 and 2Thessalonians and Phlippians. It is not easy to explain the use or omission of the title apostle in all cases. Here, and in Phlippians and 1Thessalonians, its omission may be accounted for by the general, unofficial, personal, affectionate character of the letter. In 2Corinthians and Galatians the reason for its use is apparent from the fact that Paul's official authority had been assailed. But it is also omitted in 2Thessalonians, which has an admonitory and rebuking character. Its use in the epistles to Timothy and Titus, private letters, is explained by the fact that Paul is addressing them not only as friends, but as pastors. In Romans, while there is no evidence of any challenge of his apostolic claims, there is an authoritative exposition of Christian doctrine which appears to warrant the title.
Associated with Paul as in the introductions to 2Corinthians and the two Thessalonian epistles. Timothy assisted Paul in founding the Philippian church Acts 16:1, Acts 16:13; Acts 17:14. Two visits of Timothy to Philippi are recorded, Acts 19:22; Acts 20:3, Acts 20:4. He is evidently preparing for a third visit, see Phlippians 2:19. His only part in this letter is his name in the salutation, and in Phlippians 2:19.
To all the saints ( πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀγίοις )
In Paul's personal addresses in this epistle the word all occurs nine times. It is sufficiently accounted for by the expansiveness of grateful christian feeling which marks the entire letter, and it is doubtful whether it has any definite or conscious connection with the social rivalries hinted at in the epistle, and which call forth exhortations to unity, as if Paul were disclaiming all partisan feeling by the use of the term. For saints, see on Colossians 1:2; see on Romans 1:7. The word is transferred from the Old Testament. The Israelites were called ἅγιοι holyseparated and consecrated, Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2, Deuteronomy 14:21; Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:22, etc. The christian Church has inherited the title and the privileges of the Jewish nation. Hence it is ἔθνος ἅγιον aholy nation, 1 Peter 2:9. The term implies, but does not assert, actual, personal sanctity. It is a social, not a personal epithet. See on Acts 26:10.
In Macedonia. Travellers by sea landed at Neapolis, and then travelled ten miles to Philippi along the Via Egnatia, which traversed Macedonia from east to west. The site was originally occupied by a town called Datus or Datum, and was known as Krenides from its numerous springs. It was called Philippi in honor of Philip of Macedon, who enlarged and fortified it. Its situation was important, commanding the great high road between Europe and Asia. This fact led to its fortification by Philip, and made it, later, the scene of the decisive battle which resulted in the defeat of Brutus and Cassius. Its soil was productive and rich in mineral treasures, which had yielded a large revenue, but which, in Paul's time, had apparently become exhausted.
Augustus planted at Philippi a colonia
. See on Acts 16:12
. A variety of national types assembled there - Greek, Roman, and Asiatic - representing different phases of philosophy, religion, and superstition. It was therefore an appropriate starting-point for the Gospel in Europe, a field in which it could demonstrate its power to deal with all differences of nation, faith, sex, and social standing.
Bishops ( ἐπισκόποις )
Lit., overseers. See on visitation, 1 Peter 2:12. The word was originally a secular title, designating commissioners appointed to regulate a newly-acquired territory or a colony. It was also applied to magistrates who regulated the sale of provisions under the Romans. In the Septuagint it signifies inspectors, superintendents, taskmasters, see 2 Kings 11:19; 2 Chronicles 34:12, 2 Chronicles 34:17; or captains, presidents, Nehemiah 11:9, Nehemiah 11:14, Nehemiah 11:22. In the apostolic writings it is synonymous with presbyter or elder; and no official distinction of the episcopate as a distinct order of the ministry is recognized. Rev. has overseers in margin.
Deacons ( διακόνοις )
The word means servant, and is a general term covering both slaves and hired servants. It is thus distinct from δοῦλος bond-servantIt represents a servant, not in his relation, but in his activity. In the epistles it is often used specifically for a minister of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7. Here it refers to a distinct class of officers in the apostolic church. The origin of this office is recorded Acts 6:1-6. It grew out of a complaint of the Hellenistic or Graeco-Jewish members of the Church, that their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food and alms. The Palestinian Jews prided themselves on their pure nationality and looked upon the Greek Jews as their inferiors. Seven men were chosen to superintend this matter, and generally to care for the bodily wants of the poor. Their function was described by the phrase to serve tables, Acts 6:2, and their appointment left the apostles free to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The men selected for the office are supposed to have been Hellenists, from the fact that all their names are Greek, and one is especially described as a proselyte, Acts 6:5; but this cannot be positively asserted, since it was not uncommon for Jews to assume Greek names. See on Romans 16:5. The work of the deacons was, primarily, the relief of the sick and poor; but spiritual ministrations naturally developed in connection with their office. The latter are referred to by the term helps, 1 Corinthians 12:28. Stephen and Philip especially appear in this capacity, Acts href="/desk/?q=ac+6:8-11&sr=1">Acts 6:8-11. Such may also be the meaning of ministering, Romans 12:7. Hence men of faith, piety, and sound judgment were recommended for the office by the apostles, Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Women were also chosen as deaconesses, and Phoebe, the bearer of the epistle to the Romans, is commonly supposed to have been one of these. See on Romans 16:1.
Ignatius says of deacons: “They are not ministers of food and drink, but servants
( ὐπηρέται , see on Matthew 5:25
) of the Church of God” (“Epistle to Tralles,” 2). “Let all pay respect to the deacons as to Jesus Christ” (“Tralles,” 3). “Respect the deacons as the voice of God enjoins you” (“Epistle to Smyrna,” 8). In “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” the local churches or individual congregations are ruled by bishops and deacons. “Elect therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord; men meek and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved; for they too minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers. Therefore despise them not, for they are those that are the honored among you with the prophets and teachers” (xv., 1,2). Deaconesses are not mentioned.