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[Series showing the progressive unfoldment of the Christ, Truth, throughout the Scriptures.]

The Letters from Prison

From the November 1976 issue of The Christian Science Journal

We are fortunate to possess some fruits from the period of Paul's captivity at Rome, the epistles to the Philippian, Ephesian, and Colossian churches and the brief note to Philemon.

The members of the church at Philippi had been loyal and generous to Paul since his first stay at Corinth, when they supplied his needs. During his captivity in Rome they sent another contribution through Epaphroditus, their messenger. The apostle was deeply grateful to his brethren (Phil. 4:10): "Your care of me hath flourished again." Epaphroditus also was a great source of comfort, for Paul describes him as "my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, . . . [who] ministered to my wants" (2:25).

It was probably late in A.D. 60 that Paul wrote his Epistle to the Philippians (although some scholars suggest an earlier imprisonment spurred the letter—perhaps nearer Paul's residency in Ephesus). He assures them in 1:12, 13 that his trial was really advancing the faith, for the gospel was being manifest in many places, including "all the palace" (literally, the praetorium). He was not afraid to lose his human life, and indeed desired to depart and "be with Christ" (v. 23). But yet he was willing to remain for their sakes, hoping to visit them again (see 2:24), and meanwhile urging them to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (1:27).

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