As I prepared this study, I began by just meditating on each verse and asking myself questions about each of them. This weekend we began with a “big picture” view of the book; now we are going to begin breaking it down and getting to the meat of the text. I’m going to start by posting the observations I made and the questions those observations caused me to ask of myself. You can jot down these questions and answer them on here and in your notebook, or you can use them as a guide as you work through the text and ask yourself some tough questions. Please post your questions and your observations. Discuss as much or as little as you like for each section! I will post a chunk of chapter one each day this week, then we will pull back and review and do “big picture” reading on Saturday and Sunday. This will also give you a chance to catch up if you miss a day or if you want to go back and dig even deeper in a section.
- Paul describes himself and Timothy as “servants of Christ Jesus.”
- What does it mean to be a servant of Christ?
- How does a human servant relate to her master?
- If someone were to watch you throughout the day, would she know you are a servant of Christ, or would she assume you are your own master?
- Some translations say they are “bond-servants” of Christ Jesus. This is a different term than just servant or slave. A bond servant is one who has been freed by his master, yet chooses to remain a servant of that person. This person voluntarily turns his will over to another. This idea of being a servant recurs throughout the book—Paul stresses humility over and over again in Philippians.
- He is writing to the “saints” at Philippi: saints or holy ones indicate a people who are set apart and pure. Am I set apart from the world? Do I look different from those around me? Where else does Paul talk about being “set apart”? Do some digging and look through some other books to learn more about what it means to be set apart for Christ.
- Paul’s greeting is standard for the time in which he was writing. But don’t overlook it as a “hi, how are ya?” statement. Grace and peace are two words that are rich in meaning and help us understand more of who we are as children of God. Use a concordance and a Bible dictionary (http://bible.crosswalk.com has a great concordance and Bible dictionary) and look up the terms grace and peace. What new insights about your relationship with God did you discover?
3-5. Paul says he is praying for them with joy and thanksgiving. This convicted and challenged me greatly. I don’t spend a lot of time just thanking God for the body of believers he has placed in my life.
a. Are you thankful for the body of Christ?
b. When you pray about people at church, is it with a spirit of thanksgiving, or is it complaining? Do you just pray to ask God to do things for people?
c. Think about your prayer time. What do you spend most of your time praying about? What would you like to pray about more? What would you like to pray about less?
5. Paul is thankful for their partnership or participation in the Gospel. This is the word koinonia, which we usually translate as fellowship. This word is more than partnership, because when we use a word like that, it’s usually in a formal, business sense. Today, we have even cheapened the idea of fellowship and have often reduced it to mean eating ice cream together after a Sunday service. But this word carries an intimate, committed dedication to those who are in this fellowship. It’s a vow of commitment. Koinonia is not for fair-weather Christians. This partnership is not a social gathering, but deep commitment to walk with one another through both joy and suffering. I spent quite some time thinking about my commitment to the body of Christ.
a. Check out some passages that talk about loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. John talks about loving one another extensively in 1 John. Paul refers to this love in Colossians 3.12-14.