Paul had a long history with the Philippian Christians, beginning with the conversion of Lydia’s family, a demon-possessed girl, and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:14-40). Paul returned to Philippi at least twice, but mutual care and communication between the apostle and the Philippian church seemed regular. He frequently prayed for them with much thankfulness and affection (Phil 1:3-11). The Philippians stood with Paul when others did not (Phil. 1:7; 4:14-16). Concerning Paul’s present imprisonment (Phil 1:12-19), they sent one of their best men, Epaphroditus, to bring financial support and minister to Paul’s needs (Phil. 2:25).
While he was imprisoned in Rome, in roughly AD 62, Paul penned this letter we now know as the book of Philippians. He wrote it to thank the members of the Philippian church for their care for him and support of his ministry. He wrote it to assure them that despite his imprisonment, the gospel was still spreading (Phil. 1:12-18) and that he was well cared for (Phil. 4:18). He also relayed that Epaphroditus, their messenger, was well after having become ill on his journey to Paul (Phil. 2:26-30). Epaphroditus then returned to the Philippians with Paul’s letter. In the letter, we see that Timothy, Paul’s “right-hand man,” might have been coming to Philippi in due course (Phil. 2:19) — and that Paul himself was eager to do the same if the Lord permitted (Phil. 1:8, 25-26).