When the church in Philippi received the letter from Paul, it was an occasion. The whole church gathered together and listened intently as it was read from beginning to end. There is something about reading it start to finish—things jump off the page, and themes emerge that we might miss if we only read the letter in small chunks. As we finish our time in Philippians, we encourage you to set aside 20 minutes to read through the letter in one sitting. You might also consider listening to Philippians or reading it aloud.
- As you read or listen to Philippians, choose one or two of the Digging Deeper questions to guide your time.
READ THE WORD: PHILIPPIANS 1-4 (ESV)
Online versions of Philippians can be found at: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%201-4&version=ESV or at http://www.esvbible.org/Philippians+1/
In addition, audio versions of Philippians can be found at:
- Count the number of times Paul used the words joy and rejoice in the letter to the Philippians. What or whom was Paul’s source of joy?
- In one sentence, describe how Paul felt about the Philippians. What was Paul’s hope for the Philippians?
- Write a sentence to describe the main point of each chapter. Write one sentence to describe the main point of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. What do you think was Paul’s primary purpose in writing to the Philippians?
- If you were imprisoned for your faith, what would your attitude be: frustrated, fearful, or angry? What was Paul’s attitude while imprisoned? Was Paul more concerned for himself or for the Philippians? How did he show his concern?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul wrote a tender, pastoral letter to the Philippians expressing concern and compassion for them and encouraging them to hold fast to Jesus, regardless of the circumstances. He wrote while imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Jesus, yet his constant refrain throughout his letter was “rejoice.” Paul’s letter is an encouragement to hold fast to Jesus, to live joyfully in spite of our circumstances, and to be conformed to Christ within the context of a unified church body.
- Ask God to give you a joyful heart today, and to show you how to rejoice regardless of your circumstances.
- Ask God to show you whom you might encourage to hold fast to Jesus.