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Time to Study Philippians -Week Three-


Good morning ladies of our Philippians study!

Welcome to Week Three!

This study and the following lessons, for the next five 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!

To begin this third week, let us ask our Father in heaven for wisdom, for James tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”(Jas. 1:5) 

Let us look at our homework from last week. You may have more or less sections in your Philippians outline, or more information within in each section than I do. Be careful not to pick it apart so much that you miss the overall message in each of Paul’s divisions. Just like any letter we write today, or papers your children may be writing for school, Paul’s letter has an introduction (or an opening), a body, and a conclusion (or a closing).

Here is the brief outline:

In the left-hand margin, I have written 

Introduction. Vs. 1:1-11

1)    Who is sending the letter, who is the letter is written to, blessings and encouragement
2)    Speaks of his affections for the Philippians
3)    Tells them how he prays for them

Body (This is when Paul begins to talk about why he is writing the letter.)

       A) Paul’s experience in prison (this is in my margin) (1:12-26)
            1)  He tells them of the good that has come about and his joy
            2)  Speaks of his release and wanting to return to Philippi for their sake.

        B) He exhorts them to be in unity with one another (in my margin) (1:27-2:11)
1)    Not to be afraid when in conflict but be united
2)    To continue to be united, have humility, and care for one another
3)    Shows how Jesus is the perfect example of all of these things.

         C) Their sanctification and joy (in my margin) (2: 12-18)
1)    Paul commands them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling
2)    Exhorts them to stop grumbling and be lights in this world
3)    That their Godly lives would make Paul’s trials worthwhile.
4)    He rejoices with them even while he is suffering.

          D) News of Timothy and Epaphroditus (in my margin) (2:19-30)
1)    Hoping to send Timothy back, commend Timothy for being focused on their well-being.
2)    News of Epaphroditus, and mentions he will also send him to them.

           E) Paul’s Godly example and his teaching to oppose false teachers (in my margin)(3:1-16)
1)    Warning Philippians about finding their worth in something other than Christ
2)     Paul uses himself as an example of Jewishness (value of his heritage)
3)     Paul shows it is all has no value compared to knowing Christ Jesus
4)     Even still, Paul is not perfect, but he continues forward living for Christ.

            F) Final exhortations and instructions (in my margin) (3:17-4:9)
1)     Have wisdom in whom they imitate, standing firm in their knowledge
2)     Paul points out Euodia and Syntyche to agree with one another
3)     How to pray, what to think about, what to do

Conclusion – Thanksgiving for their gifts and Paul’s benediction to them (in my margin)

1)    Acknowledges their efforts, past and present, to send him aid, he also thanks them.
2)    Lets the Philippians know that he has learned contentment during his trials and persecution, with whatever the Lord has provided.
3)    Final greetings from himself and other saints (notice where some of the other saints live!), and blesses them.

There is something I would like to point to us as women, and that is this: Euodia and Syntyche will be remembered for all of history as women who couldn’t get along. They were even Paul’s fellow workers, busy with the church and the gospel. Do we want to be remembered as women who bicker and quarrel with one another?

How did you like reading in Acts 16:6-17:1, Thessalonians2:1-2, and then again Acts 28:16-31? Isn’t exciting to learn about Paul and Timothy’s relationship? How it began? Learning about Timothy’s relations? He describes in Acts how he (Paul) was previously beaten and thrown into prison when he was traveling in Macedonia, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Even though at the time Paul was writing Philippians he was in prison in Rome, it opens our eyes a bit more to understand what he might have been experiencing while writing this letter to the Philippians. Also, the Philippians understood what happened when someone was sent to prison. In Phil. 1:27-30, it would seem that Paul is reminding them of his time in prison in Macedonia, and now also in Rome as an encouragement to them-“let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…not to be frightened by their opponents… but that it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear I still have.” What a view into the past!

As we continue on in our study of Philippians, I would like to point out the importance of understanding what a verse says within the context it was written. If you were interviewed, and then misquoted, you would know that what was written down was not what you said or possibly even meant. The same is true when it comes to our Bibles. The Holy Spirit was (is) active and moving in the men who wrote these sixty-six books. To misquote them or misrepresent any text, would show that we do not love God and His Word as we ought to. So, stay within the context when you are quoting scripture!

Here is an example: I have a friend who once told me that, “The Bible says that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8, 16).” “But,” she went on, “if God is love then, then how comes he sends people to hell?” In her view, either the Bible is wrong, or God is not love. What she didn’t understand is that there is a third and a fourth option. The third option is that she doesn’t understand what her Bible is telling her. The fourth option is she doesn’t understand what love is. So, let’s look at the passage she was using. Please read 1 John 4:8, 16. Now read 1 John 4:7-20 (You’re welcome to read more, but this will give us the correct context of the passage.)

Does this passage define love as ‘not sending people to hell?’ No. This passage shows us what love is, as defined by the one who made love – God.  It is talking about the love that should exist between believers because of God’s love for them. (4:11-12) It is describing how God manifested his love to us or showed his love to us. “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (4:9-10) God’s love shows us that, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we don’t have to go to hell for our sins. Context is important.

Here’s another example: “Why are you pointing my sin out to me?” You’re a Christian. The Bible says you’re not supposed to judge people, (Matt. 7:1), so don’t judge me.”

Read Matthew 7:1 and then read Matthew 7:1-5. Yes, the Gospel of Matthew does say, “Do not judge”, but that is not all it says. Jesus teaches us that judging someone else (removing the speck from their eye) while we have sin (plank in our eye) is hypocritical. (vs. 5) Jesus tells us that how we judge someone else (thereby assuming we will) is how we in turn will be judged (vs.2). The point here is the way we judge someone else – do it without hypocrisy. Context is important.

To prepare us for our homework, let us look again briefly at Philemon. Read it through once more and while you read, notice if any questions come to mind. Do you wonder who Apphia and Archippus are? Do you wonder how Paul and Onesimus met? Did they meet before prison? Just how old is Paul? Are there questions that the text answers for you?

Use this same idea for this week’s homework.  

Day 1 – read Philippians 1:12-26. Think of five questions that come to mind while reading these verses. Write them down. Can you answer any of them from the text?

Day 2 – re-read Philippians 1:12-26. Think of five more (different) questions. Write them down. Can you answer any of them from the text? Can you think of more than five more?

Day 3 – re-read Philippians 1:12-26. Are there any questions that you can think of? Look at all the questions you have written down so far. Choose any five for class next week, and I’ll tell you what five I found.

Day 4 – Write down what you think the main point of Philippians 1:12-26 is, and we’ll go over it this next week.

That’s it ladies!

Thank you for another week together. Thank you, Becky!

Let us live this coming week in light of what James tells us. “My dear brothers [sisters], take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (Jas. 1:19-21)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Your sister, Eileen

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