Philippians 1-4

Summary

Philippians chapter 1, Paul testifies his thankfulness to God, and his love towards them, for the fruits of their faith, and fellowship in his sufferings; daily praying to him for their increase in grace; he shows what good the faith of Christ had received by his troubles at Rome; and how ready he is to glorify Christ either by his life or death; exhorting them to unity; and to fortitude in persecution.

Philippians chapter 2, Paul exhorts them to unity, and to all humbleness of mind, by the example of Christ’s humility and exaltation; to a careful proceeding in the way of salvation, that they be as lights to the wicked world, and comforts to him their apostle, who is now ready to be offered up to God. He hopes to send Timothy to them, and Epaphroditus also.

Philippians chapter 3, He warns them to beware of the false teachers of the circumcision; shewing that himself has greater cause than they to trust in the righteousness of the law; which notwithstanding he counts as dung and loss, to gain Christ and his righteousness; therein acknowledging his own imperfection. He exhorts them to be thus minded; and to imitate him, and to decline the ways of carnal Christians.

Philippians chapter 4, From particular admonitions, he proceeds to general exhortations, shewing how he rejoiced at their liberality towards him lying in prison, not so much for the supply of his own wants as for the grace of God in them. And so he concludes with prayer and salutations.

Insights and Prayers

  • Paul uses the word “joy” or “rejoicing” 17 times in Philippians, reflecting his happiness when writing to these believers. There were no doctrinal or moral problems he had to confront. Also this was a church that supported him with prayer and money. He calls them “my joy” (4:1), just as a father gets joy from his children. Lord, teach me to rejoice in the victories and growth of other believers, whether or not I led them to Christ. My greatest joy in life is to lead someone to Christ and see him grow to maturity. Amen.
  • Paul prayed that the love of the Philippians would “abound yet more and more” (1:9), so that what was in their hearts would flow in tangible deeds to others. Lord, give me a growing love for others and show me ways to let my love flow into their lives. Amen.
    Paul prayed that the Philippians would be “filled with the fruits of righteousness” (1:11, KJV). Even though they were serving Christ, Paul wanted even more fruit in their lives, so he prays accordingly. Lord, I ask for more fruitful Christian character, and more fruit from my service for You. Amen.
  • Paul exhorts the Philippians to be humble and think of others, rather than thinking only about themselves. “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (2:2, KJV). Paul reminds them to be humble, “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (vv. 3-4, KJV). Lord, I know my weaknesses and sinful nature, so I know I am nothing, but Christ is everything. I will think of the good things others do, and I will pray for them. Amen.
  • To be humble, the Christian must have the same attitude as Christ. Paul told them, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (2:5-7, KJV). Because Jesus came to serve others, we should not think more highly of ourselves than we should, but give our lives for others. Lord, thank You for the example of servanthood in Jesus, He came to serve others and I’ll do the same; I’ll serve others. I’ll be like Jesus and make Him my example in thought and deed. Amen.
  • Because Jesus gave Himself in death for others, God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him above every name. In the future, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (2:10-11, KJV). Lord, I join all angels and believers to worship Jesus Christ for what He has done for me and all believers of all ages. He is not only the Lord of the universe, He is also my Lord. Amen.
  • Help me do everything without griping or complaining so that I have a blameless and faultless testimony to all. Help me live a clean life as Your child so I’m a light in a dark and lawless world. Amen.
  • Paul described his zeal for self-righteousness before he was saved (3:4-6), but keeping the law didn’t make him righteous. His passion-“That I may know Him”-should be the desire of every believer. Paul testifies, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (v. 8). Lord, I want to know You more intimately. May Your passion flow through my life for others. Amen.
  • Lord, thank You for the privilege and strength for everything I’ve accomplished in the past. But that’s behind me. I will build on my past and reach out to do more in the future. Amen.
  • Paul wants the Philippians to be happy in their Christian faith (4:4) and live daily for Christ in light of His soon coming (v. 5). He told them, “Be anxious for nothing” (v. 6), but “let your requests be made known unto God” (v. 6). This is a picture of God’s child bowing in prayer to tell the heavenly Father about every anxiety and worry in his or her life. Lord, teach me to pray instead of worrying about things. I’ve done all I can about the problem. Now work out all the details to Your glory. Amen.
  • Paul gives us four prayer words that will guard our thoughts from anxiety and worry.
    • First, “everything by prayer.” The word for prayer is proseuchomai, meaning “toward God’s face.” It has the idea of fellowship with God. When God’s Word tells us to pray about everything, we ought to do it.
    • Second, “supplication” is a specific petition focusing on our need.
    • Third, the word “thanksgiving” means we must be thankful for the privilege of speaking to God and we must be grateful for all requests that He answers.
    • The fourth word “ask” is aito which means” to request.” Remember, we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). When we pray about our anxieties in these four different ways God “shall keep your hearts and minds” (Phil. 4:7, KJV).
  • Lord, I come to You with questions and anxieties. Hear my requests and grant me peace in heart and mind. Amen.
  • Paul claims, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (v. 13, KJV). We are limited by our own strength and weak faith, but we are unlimited when we are related to Christ, who can do all things. The key is relationship, and isn’t prayer a relationship with God? When we are properly related to Christ, we will not pray about impossible things conceived by our selfish ambitions. Also we will not limit ourselves by small things, because of weak faith. We will pray properly when we relate properly to our strength in Christ. Lord, I will trust You for big things because You want Your servants to do big things in this world. Keep me from praying in the flesh for things too big or too small. I will seek to pray properly. Amen.

Sources

  • Bible Summary – Adapted from The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by R. A. Torrey
  • Insights and Prayers – Adapted from The Prayer Bible
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