From the "Exploring..." Bible Study Series.
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
The apostle Paul's words to the believers in Philippi ring down through the centuries with a message both cheerful and challenging. Joy and contentment? What a testimony from a man in prison for his faith! What was the secret of Paul's joyful contentment? The key verse of the epistle expresses it well: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (1:21).
Ponder the heartwarming, mind-stimulating truths of this enriching epistle. As you study chapter 1, seek to partake of the life of Christ Jesus. Learn from Paul's prayer how to challenge your own prayer life. Set yourself "for the defense of the gospel," purpose that "Christ shall be magnified in [your] body," and "let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ."
Chapter 2 will inspire you to posses the mind of Christ Jesus. "Be likeminded" with a Scriptural brotherhood. Let Jesus' condescension and consecration be the pattern of your mind so that you may adore the glory of His coronation. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Live in a way that identifies you with "the sons of God." Follow the faithful examples of others.
As you meditate on chapter 3, pursue the prize through Christ Jesus. Exchange the emptiness of false teaching and fleshly confidence for the values of truth and "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus." Exercise spiritual vitality as you "press toward... the prize" and as you blend with the brotherhood of believers. Daily express the heavenly vision by identifying as a citizen of heaven and by anticipating a future glorification with Christ.
Finally, as you ponder chapter 4, plumb the fullness of joy in Christ Jesus. Determine to cultivate the attributes of a joyful heart and the expressions of a joyful life that the apostle Paul enjoined, enumerated, and exemplified in very practical terms.
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
Table of Contents
- Part 1: Introducing the Epistle to the Philippians
- Part 2: Partaking of the Life of Christ Jesus (Chapter 1:3-30)
- Part 3: Possessing the Mind of Christ Jesus (Chapter 2)
- Part 4: Pursuing the Prize Through Christ Jesus (Chapter 3)
- Part 5: Plumbing the Fullness of Joy in Christ Jesus (Chapter 4)
- Suggested Answers to Study Questions