It is well said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In the first verse of his letter to Philippi Paul sets the tone for church unity, a theme that he will develop through the remainder of the letter. There are three characteristics of unity in a local church that Paul displays at the very beginning. The first is humility. Paul, the great apostle, does not pull rank or grab for prominence, but shares the letter with his fellow servant Timothy, his young son in the faith. Second, Paul recognizes the officers of the church, the bishops and deacons. These are the gifts (Ephesians 4:11–12) that the Lord has given to rule the church (Hebrews 13:7). Paul does not usurp this authority. A third characteristic of church unity is impartiality, an non-party spirit. Paul addresses “all the saints” he alienates none and includes all.
Reading: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.”—Philippians 1:1