The book of Philippians was written by Paul, an inspired man of God (1 Tim. 3:16), to the saints (“holy ones”) in Philippi “with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1). The same congregation that Paul helped establish during his second missionary journey approximately A.D. 49-51, he now addresses from afar. Though Paul was not in a prison bound in fetters he was under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30-31) which restricted his freedom and most certainly could have become a discouragement. Still, even under house arrest Paul found a reason to rejoice, namely, the Gospel was progressing (Phil. 1:12-18). In fact Paul found many reasons to rejoice when reflecting upon the Philippian brethren even though the congregation was not perfect (Phil. 4:2). These reflections moved him, through the avenue of prayer, to thank his God continuously for the Philippian brethren; for their persistent participation in aiding him. (Phil. 1:3-5).
Paul wrote that he was so thankful that he made his request with joy for (“because of”) their “fellowship in the Gospel” (Phil. 1:5a). The word translated here as “fellowship” denotes the idea of “joint-participation.” Paul was thankful that the brethren in Philippi were participating with him in the furtherance of the Gospel, obviously by their financial support (Phil. 4:15). It cannot be over-emphasized how thankful we are at the WVSOP for the eagerness of various congregations to participate with us in the work being undertaken by the Church of Christ at Hillview Terrace. Your eagerness to give financial assistance demonstrates that you understand that you are vital to the success of this school.. We thank our God for your joint-participation in the Gospel.
Paul was equally thankful for their persistence. He wrote that he was thankful for their fellowship in the Gospel “from the first day until now” (Phil 1:5b). The Church in Philippi was not inconstant in their support of Paul and ultimately their support of the progress of the Gospel. When they could help they helped (Phil. 4:10). It seems that Paul was reminiscing about the actions of the first known member of the Church in Philippi with his words “from the first day.” Lydia not only accepted the Gospel and was baptized but she also showed a great measure of hospitality to Paul and his coworkers by insisting they come into her house to abide (Acts 16:15). Their fellowship did not begin and end with Lydia, rather Paul explained that their fellowship was continuing “until now.” He wrote this letter approximately A.D. 60-62 which demonstrates that the Philippian brethren had supported Paul consistently for over ten years! In like manner, the West Virginia School of Preaching has been operating for many years and it is because of your unwavering support. It is because of your persistence that we have graduated scores of men, many of whom have developed into successful Gospel preachers. It is because of your persistence that we have a facility in which learning is cultivated. It will be because of your persistence that we will have success in the future. We ask that you continue to support the school with prayers, finances, and appointments to speak to your congregation. We trust that God will continue to perform these good works through you (Phil. 1:6). We thank our God for your persistence.