Cue the Confetti! It’s time to begin!!! I am so excited to begin our study of Philippians with you!
Overview of Philippians~
The book of Philippians is one of the four Prison Epistles, meaning Paul wrote them while he was in prison in Rome. The other three are Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon. Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem and was held in Caesarea for two years while waiting for his appeal to Caesar. During this time, he was chained to a Roman guard for 24 hours a day; many of whom were from Caesar’s household. Paul took this as an opportunity to share the gospel with a literal captive audience. Even though Paul spent two years as a prisoner in Rome, he didn’t allow his joy to be dampened.
The Book of Philippians is a book of joy.
Paul used the words joy and rejoicing 17 times! This book will encourage you to find joy in Christ and live out your faith in the midst of challenging circumstances. It offers practical guidance for Christian living and emphasizes the importance of Christ-like humility and selflessness. This letter to the Philippians reminds us to pursue contentment as a unified body of Christ. It also serves as a warning against the dangerous heretical teachings that were threatening to infect the church.
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Philippi, a prosperous Greek city near the island of Thasos. During his second missionary journey, he established the Philippian church, which proved to be a comfort and help to him in hard times. Unlike other letters that Paul wrote, he is not rebuking them or responding to troubles in their church, instead he is thanking them for their gifts and support and encouraging them on to maturity in their faith.
While Paul first and foremost wrote this letter to thank the Philippian church for their generous gift, he also used it as an opportunity to call them to unity and greater spiritual maturity.
The Author: The Apostle Paul
Time Period: Around A.D. 61
Key Verse: Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
1. Salutation (1:1-2)
2. Thanksgiving and Prayer (1:3-11)
3. To Live is Christ (1:12-30)
4. Walk in Humility and Unity (2:1-30)
5. Righteousness Through Christ Alone (3:1-11)
6. Press Toward the Goal (3:12 -4:1)
7. The Attitude and Conduct of a Christian (4:2-9)
8. God Provides (4:10-20)
9. Conclusion (4:21-23)
For an even more in-depth Introduction to this week’s reading, watch this video. It is a great explanation of Philippians!
NOW LET’S GET STARTED!
This Week’s Bible Reading Plan:
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This week’s Reflection & Discussion Questions
(Leaders: Copy and paste these into your groups. If you do not have a group, use these for a personal time of reflection.)
As this letter begins, we see Paul and Timothy humbly refer to themselves as servants of Christ Jesus. The Greek word for servant is “doulos”, which means bondservant. A bondservant was bound for life to the one they serve and so Paul and Timothy were declaring themselves bound to Christ for life. Then they offer a greeting to all the believers in Philippi including the overseers and deacons. This shows us that this was a mature church with strong leadership. Their desire was that all the saints would experience God’s grace and peace in their lives.
In 1 Corinthians 6:20, Paul tells us that we were bought with a price, and we are not our own. While God gives us free will, it comes with an expectation that we will lay it down and humbly surrender to him as his servant, submitting ourselves to a lifetime of obedience to God. How well are you doing as a servant of Christ? Have you fully surrendered your will to him, or are you still holding back parts of your life? If there is an area of your life that you still have not surrendered, pray and commit that area of your life to the Lord now.
Verse 6 is a key verse. The rest of the book is about verse 6 as Paul shows what a mature Christian looks like, sounds like, acts like and does. Paul says that God has begun a good work in them and he will bring that good work to completion “at the day of Jesus Christ”, or the day that Christ returns. While we live on this earth, God will always be working in us. Psalm 138:8 promises that God will perfect (or complete) that which concerns us. We can hold to these promises in those times when we feel like God’s hand has stalled in our life, or that despite our daily Bible study and prayer, we aren’t growing or maturing. Just because we can’t see his work, doesn’t mean that he has left or abandoned us. He is at work in our lives and will not stop until Christ comes again.
If you have received Christ as your Savior, he has begun a work in your life. Sometimes it seems that the work he is doing in us is slow. Many times, it’s like losing weight. We look at ourselves in the mirror and don’t realize the subtle changes that are happening until one day we try on that old pair of pants to find that they no longer fit like they used to. God has begun a good work in you, and he promises to complete that work in your life. Have you been discouraged lately? Has it seemed to you that despite your faithfulness to God, he isn’t hearing your prayers or has stopped working in your life? Take some time today to write these two promises down and carry them with you to help remind you throughout the day that God will never stop working in you to make you more like him.
Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians from a Roman prison while chained to a Roman guard 24 hours a day. Rather than complaining that his circumstances are horrible and unjust, he recognized that he had an opportunity to share the gospel with a new Roman guard every 24 hours. He quite literally had a captive audience, and he took advantage of this divine opportunity God had given him. As a result, many Roman guards, and even many of those in Caesar’s household, came to Christ during this time.
Paul recognized that there are times when God will ordain situations in our life that seem unjust or unfair; perhaps it may even seem that God has lost control over our lives when in reality he is laying the stage for something greater that we can’t yet see. We simply need to trust that he knows things that we don’t yet understand. In Romans 8:28, Paul reminds us that all things work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to his purpose. Are you walking through something that seems unjust or unfair to you? We often default to asking why God would allow something like this to happen, when perhaps our question should be, “God, what is your purpose in this?” Paul saw the purpose in his imprisonment was to share the gospel, and he saw many of the palace guards and Caesar’s household come to Christ. If you are struggling to see God’s purpose in your trial, take some time today to pray and ask him to reveal it to you. James 1:5 promises that God gives wisdom when we seek him for it.
Whether ministering in churches, preaching to the guards, or writing letters, Paul was continually sharing the gospel and admonishing the ever-growing early church. He was not at all distracted or deterred by those who preached Christ with ulterior motives. He could authentically rejoice that Christ was being preached without getting caught up in trying to figure out other’s motivations because his life was not wrapped up in his own reputation. His life was wrapped up in Christ being preached and glorified.
Now he sits in prison awaiting his turn to stand before Caesar Nero, the crazed ruler of Rome who was notorious for using Christians as human torches to light his gardens. While hopeful that his life would be spared, he did not know how things would turn out. While we may be tempted to look at the death of a young person as a pity or shame, as a life snuffed out too soon, Paul had a completely different outlook on the death of a Christian. If he lived, he had more time to preach Christ, but if he died, he would gain Christ. Either way, he won!
What are you living for right now? What are your priorities and life goals? Jesus reminded us that the only indestructible treasures are the ones we lay up in heaven. When we lay up heavenly treasures, we are free to authentically rejoice when others win, even when their motivations may not be entirely pure. We are also free to view death from a heavenly perspective, free from fear. If your priorities and goals have been misplaced lately, take some time to sit with Jesus and allow him to show you where you can begin adjusting your priorities so that you are laying up indestructible, heavenly treasures that glorify Christ.
Paul is urging the Philippian church to see themselves beyond being Roman citizens and begin seeing themselves as citizens of heaven. They are born again, they have a new identity and a new citizenship that does not belong to this world, and their conduct reflects that. Paul admonishes them to behave in way that a good citizen of heaven would behave.
While in some of his other letters Paul listed behaviors that were unacceptable for the believer, as well as the visible, spiritual fruit a believer should exhibit; in this letter to the Philippians Paul mainly encourages them to remain unified and courageous in the face of the persecution they would inevitably face. Interestingly, Paul didn’t see adversity and suffering as a lack of faith in a believer, but as a natural biproduct of living our lives in a way that glorifies Christ and is worthy of our spiritual heritage. Do you truly see yourself as a citizen of heaven? How does your behavior reflect your spiritual heritage? Do you identify more with your earthly heritage or your heavenly heritage? How well we identity with our heavenly citizenship will be reflected in how well we handle adversity. In what ways are you suffering today? How does remembering your citizenship in heaven comfort you?
To print the 20 Reflection and Discussion Questions for Philippians –> Click Here
This Week’s Verses of the Day:
(Leaders: You can use these images in your groups by using right click and “save as” or screen shoting them.)
Here’s the Printable Bible Bookmark for Philippians.
Here’s another explanation of the SOAK Bible Study Method and Bible Coloring Chart if you need more guidance:
Here is the SOAK method I refer to in the video:
And the Bible Coloring Bookmark:
Click HERE to Print the full page Coloring Chart
or Click HERE for the Bookmark Coloring Chart
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Have a wonderful week in God’s Word – I’ll see you back here on the blog this Friday as we go deeper into God’s Word together! Don’t forget to join me every weekday morning out on Facebook and Instagram!
Keep walking with the King,
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