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Acts 28: his gift of miraculous healing is quite unimpaired (Acts 28: 8, 9)? This
certainly must be faced from Scripture, and we should like to know the answer.
It has been asserted that because the word "mystery" does not occur in Philippians, the
epistle cannot be written after Acts 28: By the same argument II Timothy, Paul's
last letter, would have nothing to do with the Mystery, for likewise the word does not
occur there! The word `sanctification' does not occur in Philippians. Are we to conclude
then, that this church was not sanctified? Let us face the fact that an argument from
silence is exceedingly weak unless accompanied by strong positive evidence. If Paul had
to mention every basic or important truth in every letter he wrote, he would have been
compelled to have written long volumes concerned with doctrine rather than letters.
Those with dispensational leanings who place Philippians in the Acts should weigh over
very carefully what they are losing in precious truth belonging to the Body of Christ as
against anything they think they are going to gain by so doing.
We have said nothing about the question of "bishops and deacons" (Phil. 1: 1) as this is
no problem as related to the Mystery when viewed Scripturally: but we hope we have
made it clear that we have good ground for placing the epistle to the Philippians after
Acts 28: and written from Paul's house-imprisonment in Rome.
The Epistle to the Philippians (2).
pp. 212 - 216
Having given our reasons for believing that this epistle was written from Paul's
imprisonment at Rome, and therefore circulated after the Acts, we note that it is a letter
pre-eminently of unselfish service, in connection with the gospel and the fullness of Truth
made known after Israel's defection. This letter does not go over the ground again of
Ephesians. There was no need to do this. Philippians deals with the responsibility that
comes from receiving the riches of grace and glory that are revealed in Ephesians and
Colossians, the working out of our salvation with a prize or Divine reward in view, and
thus it balances II Timothy with its similar emphasis on a crown (II Tim. 4: 8 and cp.
We are not surprised therefore to find service stressed in the first verse:
"Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints . . . . . at Philippi, with the
bishops and deacons" (R.V.),
and it is the only epistle of Paul's to begin in this way. The word `servant' is literally
`slave', and on the surface it seems extraordinary that the champion of liberty (Gal. 5: 1)
should so describe himself. But ever since his conversion, the Apostle's conception of
redemption was that he had been purchased by the Lord and thus he was entirely the
Lord's property, as his very first question showed (Acts 9: 6). Only those who have this
experience and realize its implications to the full know what real freedom is. Before we