1. Because this letter was very likely, in its original form, a scroll (so if the writer was not identified until the end as is true of most modern letters, the scroll would have to be wound to the end and then wound back to the beginning) it is appropriate that the letter begins by letting the reader know who wrote it. Both Paul and Timothy are mentioned as writers (Philippians 1:1). See the introduction lesson to find out more on the writers and the church at Philippi. Two groups of members are mentioned in particular. They are the _________________ and the ______________ (Philippians 1:1). In the New Testament, the terms “overseer” and “elder” are used synonymously to refer to the leaders of a local church (see Acts 20:17 and 28; Titus 1:5 and 7). Characteristics of these men may be found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The term “deacon” is used in the scriptures to identify someone who is a servant (for examples see Acts 6:1-6; Romans 16:1; I Corinthians 3:5; II Corinthians 6:4). For characteristics of deacons, see I Timothy 3:8-13. The greeting is completed by Paul’s wish for them of ______________ (greeting used toward Gentiles) and _________________ (greeting used to Jews). Both are made Christian by the addition of, “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:2).
2. Paul opens his comments to the church by describing his close relationship with them in Philippians 1:3-11. He talks about his memory of them, his prayers for them and his joy in his connection with them (Philippians 1:3-4). This is because of their “________________ in the _____________ from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:5). This partnership had taken on several forms. They had stood beside him as “partakers with me of ____________” by standing with him during his imprisonment, while he defended the gospel (Philippians 1:7). This included a gift from them to help meet his personal needs (Philippians 4:14). The closeness of the preacher and the church is evidenced in statements like, “I hold you in my _______________” (Philippians 1:7) and “I __________ for you all with the ______________ of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8). An interesting comparison can be drawn between Paul’s opening comments to the Philippians and those he made to the Galatians (see Galatians 1:6-10). Many of the same problems existed for the two churches and Paul was in identical situations when he wrote the letters.
3. In Philippians 1:9, Paul shares the content of his prayer for them. First, he prayed that their _________ would abound more and more. Without love, not much else counts in the Christian life (see I Corinthians 13:1-3 and 8). With that love, he prayed that they would also have _______________ and that this knowledge would be backed up with all _________________. Knowledge is an important part of the Christian life (see I Corinthians 12:8; I Corinthians 14:6; II Corinthians 2:14; Colossians 1:9-10; I Timothy 2:4 and Titus 1:1). However, knowledge is not enough; it takes discernment to live the Christian life also. This is seen in Hebrews 5:14 where the mature Christian is described as one who has her/his “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish ___________ from ____________.” The effect of these three ingredients (love, knowledge and discernment) in ones’ life is that you (1) “may approve what is _____________,” (2) “be __________ and blameless,” and (3) be “filled with the _____________ of _________________” (Philippians 1:10-11). This will bring glory and praise to God.
4. Paul’s primary interest in life was the spreading of the gospel. He told the Colossians that, “So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me” Colossians 1:28-29 Phillips Translation). This being the case, Paul could put imprisonment into a proper perspective: “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). The proof of this is that the gospel “has become known throughout the whole ______________ ____________ and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ” (Philippians 1:13). The preaching had been effective too. In Philippians 4:22, even members of _______________ household were sending greetings to the Philippian church. Remember, this talk about being in prison and furthering the gospel would especially make sense to those in Philippi. After all, one of their members had been converted by Paul when he was in such a situation in their own city (see Acts 16: 25-34). Seeing Paul’s role model had given confidence to others to preach the gospel too (Philippians 1:14). The fact that some preached for less than honorable reasons (Philippians 1:15-17) did not stop Paul from ________________ in the fact that the gospel was being preached (Philippians 1:18).
5. In spite of the fact that Paul could rejoice over the effective preaching being done, he felt it necessary to talk about the future, his and theirs (Philippians 1:19-30). There, of course, was the possibility that Paul would be released (Philippians 1:19-20 and 24-26). He also had to consider that he might become a martyr for the faith, “to _____________ and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23). While he considered that being with Christ would be “far better,” he knew that, “For me to __________ is Christ, and to _________ is gain” (Philippians 1:21). What a wonderful position to be in! If you live, you can look forward to “fruitful labor” (Philippians 1:23). If you die, you can look forward to a place that is “far better” (Philippians 1:23). This passage gives one great insight into what motivated the apostle Paul.
6. After contemplating his own future, Paul turns to theirs. The key is in the way one lives his/her life, that is, “Let your _______________ of life be___________ of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). Paul would be the first to point out that one does not become worthy because of the things that she/he does (see Philippians 3:4-9 and II Thessalonians 1:5 and 11). The other side of the coin is that followers are to lead a life worthy of the calling of being a Christian (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10 and 22; and I Thessalonians 2:12). While Paul was more than willing to count any righteousness that he had as _____________ (Philippians 3:7-8), he also always taught that the Christian is to live a life of holiness (see Romans 12:1-2; I Corinthians 3:17 and 6:19; II Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 1:9). They cannot be concerned that there may be a consequence for their preaching. His advice is don’t be frightened; this is something that has been granted you. It will show the enemy’s destruction and your salvation (Philippians 1:28-30).
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