Greetings to the ladies of our Philippians study!
Welcome to Week Four~ This study and the following lessons, for the next four weeks, will be a condensed version of Mining God’s Word – How To Study the Bible; Foundation Series by Bethlehem College and Seminary Press. I highly recommend that you purchase your own workbook at www(dot)bethlehemcollegeandseminary(dot)org - it would be a great tool for you to have!
Let us look at Proverbs 31 to begin our study.
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than Jewels…She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” (Pr. 31:1, 26-28)
May we be wives who are more precious than jewels, and with whom our husbands’ hearts can rest.
Thinking about verse 1:12, did the Philippians think that Paul’s imprisonment would keep the gospel from spreading because of what happened to him? That they would be fearful? It sounds like Paul may be answering this concern by telling the Philippians that his imprisonment has actually been beneficial for the spread of the gospel. (1:12-14)
Are you curious as to whom “all the rest” are in verse 13?
Why would someone want to preach Christ (vs.15) if they do not love Christ? It looks like they want to get Paul into even more trouble than he already is! (vs.17)
Why was Paul concerned about not being ashamed, “…that it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage, now as always Christ would be honored in my body whether by life or by death.” (20-21)? Have others been ashamed? Have they brought shame unto the Lord Jesus by their actions?
Why is Paul revealing to the Philippians the tug-of-war that is raging in his heart about wanting to die and be with Christ and yet live for the sake of the Philippians (vs. 21-24)? I think it shows us how close the saints at Philippi and Paul were to each other, that he should share with them such a deep, personal, battle he was experiencing.
We have already spoken a little bit about context. Context is what is happening around the verse, or verses, we are looking at, that will help us determine the meaning of our text. But, how many verses surrounding our text should we look to find the context? The verse before or after our text? Two verses before or after? The chapter before or after? The entire book? It can be a bit confusing and overwhelming, but it is something we should pay attention to.
There is a term ‘canonical interpretation’ which means that we view a specific text in relation to how it fits into the Bible as a whole. Scripture cannot and does not contradict itself. (We may not understand what is being said if we think parts do not fit together.) This means that the New Testament was written in light of the words, promises, and actions of the Old Testament. Remember, in Paul’s day, there was no New Testament. The Old Testament is what the Jews memorized and quoted from. Jesus and his disciples knew the OT and it guided their lives, thoughts and actions. So, as we read our New Testaments, and we notice that a part of Scripture is referencing an Old Testament passage, it is good for us to go back into the OT, check the reference and see what was occurring at the time it was written.
So, let’s look at two passages: Matthew 4:1-4 and Deuteronomy 8:1-10. As you read these two passages, I want you to be looking for words that are repeated in both. On a piece of paper, write down the words written in both passages. (Be sure to know your contexts!) Do that and then come back to class and I’ll walk us through this.
Words that are the same (or very similar):Led, wilderness, tempted (tested), forty, hungry, Son, command, bread.(Our translations might have this list slightly different, but they should be close.)
Why do you think Jesus quoted this passage from Deuteronomy when Satan was tempting him? The Deuteronomy passage is talking about how God has cared for His chosen people, the Israelites. He is making a covenant with them; He is telling them what they need to do, (vs. 1, 2, 6) and reminding them what He will do - how He loves them and how He will bless them. However, did the Israelites obey their side of the covenant? Were they faithful to their God? No.
In Matthew, Jesus is using this OT scripture, to show that He is the faithful Israelite. Jesus does in the wilderness what the Israelites were supposed to do, but failed. And what is that? To humble himself and rely on God’s promises to care for Him - to keep the commands of God! And Jesus obeyed even greater than they. He does not use his own ability as the second person of the Triune God, to care for himself. Rather, He completely humbles himself to the will of God. His obedience, here and on the cross, redeems God’s people from sin, and is leading them into the Promised Land. (Amen!)
Seeing Matthew in light of the OT passage gives the scene between Satan and Jesus a broader, and clearer meaning.
Our homework for this week will follow along this idea. Most of our Bibles have notes that cross-reference Scripture with other Scripture. Sometimes it is only words that are repeated, and sometimes the cross-reference is to an idea, or theme. We will use Philippians 1:27 –2:11 for this week’s homework and practice using our cross-referencing.
Day 1) Read Phil. chapters 1 & 2, then go back and read Phil. 1:27 – 2:11. Re-read these verses a few times. Begin to look up the cross-references listed in your Bibles regarding these passages. Can you find any Old Testament references? Record on paper what you are finding.
2) Continue to look up the cross-references, and record what you find.
3) Continue to study your cross-references. There is at least one OT cross-reference. Be sure to get the context for the cross-reference by reading the entire chapter in the OT. What is happening in the OT?
Day 4) As you examine your OT cross-reference, write down what relevance you think it has to our NT passage. Does it answer any questions? Does it clarify any statements? Does it broaden our understanding of our verses in Philippians?
Day 5) Write down a summary of what you think this passage in Philippians is saying.
And we’re finished!
Thank you ladies, for studying and making God’s Word an important part of your day. May God honor your desire to know Him by blessing you with wisdom, grace and great joy!
Thank you, Becky, for once again giving me your time and your blog space to write this down.
Until next week,
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,