We have seen in the last couple of posts a little bit about the Philippian people. Today I would like to look at the world those people lived in. This will be an extremely brief synopsis because the details would take too much time and space.
First we must understand a little about the world outside of Philippi. The world outside of Philippi was a largely (if not entirely) Roman dominated world. This is before the final and catastrophic downfall of Rome. It is a world where , for now, the Pax Romana still held. It is a world where travel was fairly safe –not counting the unforeseen acts of the weather while at sea. It also had been a fairly prosperous world.
Second we must understand that it was not a completely stable world. The politics of the are were in a mild flux, the economy was tanking and the social order was being threatened. You see, in the church there was no Jew or Greek, Male or female, or even masters and salves. (Paul did teach that those in the roles mentioned fulfill them with honor and faithfulness.) But all in all this was a new social construct. Paul tells us in another letter that the Macedonian churches gave out of their extreme poverty to the saints at Jerusalem. The church of Philippi was one of those churches!
Third, we must know that the world of the people of Philippi was a very religious world. Caesar worship was a common thing. The lack of a Jewish synagogue would indicate that there was only a small populace of Jews in the area. We also know from historical records that many temples were in evidence . These would have been dedicated to once Greek gods now worshipped in the Roman province under their Latin names. Also in evidence was the fact that it was not uncommon to worship more than one God.
So what does this mean to us? It means that we now understand the basic setting of the stage when Paul and his companions entered Philippi and first delivered the Gospel. The effect of that first encounter will be our topic next time. God bless!