Philippians is a part of the often called prison Epistles. So when I read this book this is often what I try to keep in mind. What is Paul trying to tell his audience while in jail in Rome. I also remember the date. Many argue when it is written but we can narrow it down to 60-62 AD because this was Paul first imprisonment. Also since it is house arrest and they are not planning to kill Paul tells us it had to be prior to 62 AD because this is when Nero went off the deep end and started rounding up Christian to kill in the colosseum and to be tar and pitched to light up his gardens. So it is unlikely they would let Paul have house arrest in those circumstances.
So this is no doubt a start to the persecution. So Paul wanted to let them all know what is happening and going to happen chapter 1:12-26
This book is probbaly the most straight forward books of Paul. We know he is primarily dealing with gentiles also because there are no OT quotes.
The most important aspect I find in this chapter is Paul speaking of the cross of Christ. If you notice in all Paul's writings he tends to focus on Jesus and the cross. In Corinthians he said I know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified. So in verses (12-18) Pauls is telling them that their gifts of support are allowing Christ to be preached. Paul is actually joyous inspite of imprisonment that the cross is be proclaimed. (19-26) Paul encourages them that even though circumstances are not perfect Chris is centered. The often quoted verse for me to live is Christ (while he is alive he will keep preaching) and to die is gain (even if I die that just means I go to Christ so it is win win)(27-30) can cut you. Paul is trying to tell us that our conduct must be worthy of the gospel. Basically he is saying how you act as a Christian tell people more of Christ then your words.
So what I took from Chapter 1 was
1- It is about the cross
2 In Christ it is win win
3- Am I living worthy of the gospel? If not better change