7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
It is believed Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Philippi while under house arrest in Rome as noted in Acts 28:14-31 where he lived by himself with a soldier to guard him (Acts 28:16b). For two years he was under house arrest there and while there he continued his evangelism as written about in Acts 28.
After Paul finishes the introductions in this he provides the reason for this letter which was to thank the Philippians for the gifts they had sent him when they learned of his house arrest in Rome.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
And then again in chapter four as this letter comes to a close
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
In the city of Philippi and surrounding area there was a large population of retired Roman soldiers who had been given land there. There appear to be few to no Jews living in Philippi, thus no mention of a synagogue or in this letter of Paul quoting the Old Testament to them. I believe Paul was especially speaking to the retired soldiers there when he said
I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1
For they knew what it meant to stand firm as battle scarred veterans who had seen battle as few of us can imagine. Their resolve to stand firm in their new found faith must have truly touched Paul’s heart while also encouraging others to accept the Good News of Jesus Christ and to stand firm as these military men did.
Thus it is no wonder when Paul writes to Philippi, he says It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
These retired military men knew what it meant to stand firm no matter the circumstances and in their new found faith – such an incredible change from their past lives – they were glad to help and support Paul. In fact they were among the very first, if not the first, to support Paul when he needed support as noted in chapter 4
15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.
Paul loved all of his brothers and sisters in Christ, but I believe he had a special love set aside for those in Philippi.