Hub Network – Philippians

hub-network-philippians-pngThe New Testament letter that most exudes encouragement is Philippians. Paul is encouraged. Timothy is encouraged. The people with them are encouraged. The Christians in the city of Philippi have been putting courage into Paul and his team consistently for quite some time… and for that Paul is extremely grateful:

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. – Philippians 1:3-5 NLT

This is an intimate letter of deep friendship and profound fellowship, revealed by Paul’s personal comments:

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:7-8 NLT

In the midst of great hardship and imprisonment, Paul is remarkably confident about God’s plans to continue accomplishing his work through the Christians in Philippi. In his reflection, Paul is encouraged by the partnership they all have with Timothy:

If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.Philippians 2:19-20 NLT

And another encouraging champion names Epaphroditus (who most likely delivered this letter):

Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need… Welcome him in the Lord’s love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve. For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn’t do from far away. Philippians 2:25-30 NLT

But there is also friction in this letter. Paul warns of people outside their group who intend to disrupt the faith of the Philippians. More astonishing, however, may be the fact that two of the Christians inside the church are fighting with one another. This is especially disheartening to Paul, because these two have been co-workers in very strategic ministry:

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner,[b] to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.Colossians 4:10-11 NLT

In all, Philippians mentions 6 people by name, along with multiple house groups and many churches in multiple cities. This letter builds the case that Paul didn’t believe in a lone-ranger or “hero” approach to ministry. He practiced an every-person, hub-networked, co-worker concept.




1 Corinthians





    1. Thanks! Each of the letters represents a particular person or group mentioned in the book of Philippians. P = Paul; T = Timothy; PC = Philippian Church; ED = Elders & Deacons in Philippi; E = Epaphroditus; E = Euodia; S = Syntyche; C = Clement; CH = Ceasar’s Household; Looks like instead of GB (Galatian Believers) I forgot to add RB = Romans Believers (1:13) I’ll need to update that.

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