Outline of Philippians
1. Opening Greetings (Philippians 1:1-2)
In a section that, in partnership with the letter’s closing verses (4:21-23), forms a ring around the letter, Paul and Timothy greet “all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.”
2. Opening Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession (Philippians 1:3-11)
The letter’s authors thank God for the Philippians and intercede on their behalf. These prayers express the intimate, personal relationship that the writers share with the believers in Philippi.
3. Life Centered in Jesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God’s saving act for humanity More Christ as Servant and Lord (Philippians 1:12-2:30)
In a section structured in a concentric pattern, beginning and ending with mention of Paul’s imprisonment and proclamation, A Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More acknowledges the reality of persecution for the sake of the gospel. At the center of this section, bracketed by discussion of the reality of life in Christ, is a hymn that proclaims Jesus Christ as servant and Lord of all (2:6-11).
4. Life Centered in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Philippians 3:1-4:9)
This section is also structured in a concentric pattern, beginning and ending with Paul expressing concern for issues in the Philippian community and identifying issues that detract from the centrality of Christ by focusing on the self. At the center of this section, surrounded by calls to live in expectation of the Lord’s return, is an early Christian hymn or confession that proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (3:20).
5. Closing Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession (Philippians 4:10-20)
Prayers voice thanksgiving for the Philippians’ life in Christ and the riches that are present in Christ.
6. Closing Greetings (Philippians 4:21-23)
The letter concludes as it begins, with greetings. This completes the book’s overall concentric literary pattern.