My beautiful bride requested that I post an outline and major themes of the letter. And what Allison wants, Allison gets.
For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to use Dr. Craig Blomberg’s outline in his book From Pentecost to Patmos: An Introduction to Acts through Revelation. This is a must for your library, an excellent companion for reading the New Testament letters.
I. Greetings and Thanksgiving (1:1-11)
A. Greetings (1:1-2)
B. Thanksgiving (1:1-11)
II. Reassurance about the Sender: Description of Paul’s Imprisonment (1:12-26)
III. Request for Reassurance about the Recipients: Call to Christlike Living (1:27-2:18)
A. Living in a Fashion Worthy of the Gospel (1:27-30)
B. Imitating Christ’s Selfless Sacrifice (2:1-11)
IV. Information about Movement of Intermediaries: Concerning Timothy and Epaphroditus (2:19-30)
V. Special Concern: Warnings about the False Teachers (3:1-4:1)
VI. Final Instructions, Thank-Yous, and Greetings (4:2-23)
A. A Plea to Two Quarreling Women (4:2-3)
B. Commands to Rejoice, Pray, and Dwell on the Good (4:4-9)
C. A Thankless Thank-You (4:10-20)
D. Closing Greetings 4:21-23
Here are some themes that I expect to reoccur throughout the letter:
- Community in Christ
- Partnership of the Gospel
As far as a central theme or overall message, I’d like to wait on that. Otherwise, we might be tempted to read everything through those lenses. At the end of our study let’s see if we can detect an overriding concern or central message.
 Craig L. Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos: An Introduction to Acts through Revelation (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2006), 329.