Friday, March 15, 2013

Bible Study: Partnered in Ministry - Philippians - Chapter 1

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, winter 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 1 of the book of Philippians. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

Written during Paul’s 1st Roman imprisonment, 60-62 AD. For background on Paul’s first visit to Philippi, read Acts16. For background on why Paul was imprisoned, read Acts 21:17-23:35. He was about 60. Life expectancy at the time was 50-55.

1:1 – Paul was with Timothy. Timothy would become the Bishop of the Ephesian church in 65 AD. He would serve there 15 years.

Why call themselves “slaves”? Why call the Philippians “saints”? “Saints” means “set apart ones”. We are set apart to serve Jesus.

Overseers and deacons – there was a church hierarchy.

1:3 – For whom do you thank God every time you remember them?

1:4 – Who always prays for you? That is someone to be thankful for. For whom do you always pray? If you don’t have any, get some faithful prayer partners.

1:5 – The word for participation used here is “fellowship”. With whom have you partnered to spread the gospel?

1:6 – good work – the Philippians’ partnership with Paul in the spread of the gospel. They funded him, paying for food, housing, medical care and other necessities while he was in prison. Paul was able to minister because they fed him and kept him healthy.

Again, I ask, with whom have you partnered to advance the gospel message? What about your Pastor? Or a missionary you sponsor?

1:7 – Paul and the Philippians were dear to each other.

They were partnered in furthering the gospel.

1:9 – How can your own love abound even more? Are you praying for spiritual wisdom, knowledge and insight?

1:10 – On what do you base your decisions? Do you pray about everything?

For more on blameless living, study Psalm 15.

1:11 – Righteousness is a fruit, a byproduct of living with Christ. How is Jesus the source of our righteousness?

1:12 – How are your current circumstances serving to advance the gospel? They do. Take some time to contemplate.

1:13 – Paul told everybody about Jesus!

1:14 – He hoped that he would inspire others to speak the word fearlessly. Does he inspire you?

1:15-17 – What is your motive for preaching Christ? Do you think there is a wrong motive? Explain.

1:18 – Do you rejoice in the fact that the good news is spreading?

1:19 – How might Paul have hoped to be delivered?

1:20 – How bold are you in your witness? How could you escalate this?

1:21 – What does this verse mean to you?

Living means continued opportunity to preach Christ? Dying is gain because we will be with Jesus?

Christ – anointed?

1:22-24 – Paul struggled with life and death.

1:24 – Paul practices what he teaches by prioritizing others’ needs above his own. See 2:3.

1:27 – Paul wanted the Philippians to stand strong even if he never returned to them. How might his absence (or death) have harmed the church at this point?

Are you empowering those with whom you are partnered to continue on without you? How might you do this if you’re not doing it, now?

1:28 – Don’t allow opponents to intimidate you. Pray for this.

1:29 – Suffering for Christ is a privilege.

• The book of Philippians emphasizes how we can partner with others doing ministry. What new ideas do you have about how you might do that in a creative way?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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