Paul wrote to the members of the church at Philippi to thank them for their support and prayers, and to give updates on the welfare of Epaphroditus, Timothy, and himself.
Philippians is a letter of thanks and updates. It is also written to encourage the church members’ faith and growth. More specifically Philippians is written:
• to spur them on to progress in their Christian growth (Phil. 2:12; 3:12–17)
• to warn of those who proclaim another gospel (Phil. 3:2, 18–19)
• to reiterate the true gospel and encourage them to hold tightly to it (Phil. 3:3, 13-16)
• to encourage their unity and confront any lack of unity (Phil. 2:1–4; 4:2–3)
• to call them to joy and thankfulness and peace (Phil. 2:18; 3:1; 4:4–7)
• to plead with them to keep their eyes on Christ and the hope of heaven (Phil. 3:2–21)
Philippians is an amazingly practical letter—sort of a “101” on Christian living—but it is also a deeply doctrinal letter. For example, in Philippians 2:5–11, we find some of the clearest and most important teachings in all of Scripture on Christ and his incarnation. And yet the primary purpose of this section of the letter is to show Jesus as a model of humility and selfless service so that the Philippian Christians might be further unified and Christlike. The doctrinal and practical elements are inseparable and intermingled throughout Philippians.