Philippians 1:1-11 (Paul’s Love and Prayer for the Philippians)

Phil 1:1-2     What was Timothy’s relationship to the Philippians that Paul should include him in the greeting?  See Phil 2:19, Acts 16:1,3, 11-12, 19:22, 20:4.  What words does Paul use to describe himself and Timothy, and those to whom he is writing?  Do these words describe God’s ministers and people today?  What two categories of church officers are mentioned in Phil 1:1?  Note: in the second century NASB “overseer” = KJV “bishop” was elevated as an ecclesiastical rank higher than that of a pastor or elder.  How did the early church understand the relationship of a pastor, elder, and bishop/overseer?  See Acts 20:17,28, 1 Pet 5:1-2.  What is the significance that both overseers and deacons are plural?  See also Mat 23:8-10.  In the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church a saint came to refer only to one who had been beatified by the church, and the Scriptures came to be read only by those in authority so that they were even withheld with threat of death from those who held no ecclesiastical office; how is this radically different from the few words we read in Phil 1:1?

Phil 1:3-8     For what does Paul thank God in regard to the Philippians?  See Phil 1:5.  In what way were they “sharing in the preaching of the gospel” (see NASB text note)?  See Phil 4:10-16.  Consider the great joy of the apostle Paul in this letter: see Phil 1:4,18,25, 2:2,17-18,28-29, 3:1, 4:1,4,10.  Considering that he had been unjustly imprisoned for almost 4 years, how could he be so full of joy?  See Phil 1:12,18, 4:10,17, Mat 5:10-12; see also Acts 16:25 where Paul and Silas were in the jail of the same people to whom he is now writing.  Describe the great affection of Paul for the Philippians, and explain why.  See Phil 1:5,7-8; note that because the Philippians had evidenced his unjust treatment and imprisonment in Acts 16 they could easily see past the stigma of his imprisonment now; and recall that Paul frequently traveled through Philippi on his journeys.  What is the great promise of God Paul mentions in Phil 1:6?  Why was he confident that it would be fulfilled in regard to the Philippians?  See again Phil 1:5.

Phil 1:9-11   What one word describes Paul’s prayer for the Philippians in Phil 1:9?  What channels does Paul pray would direct the flow of the Philippians’ abounding love?  Note: “all discernment” (NASB) = “depth of insight” (NIV), “all judgment” (KJV).  Why is it important that real knowledge and discernment regulate the current of our Christian love?  See Phil 1:10, and note the NASB “approve the things that are excellent” = NIV “discern what is best”; see also the NASB text note, “distinguish between the things which differ”.  What is the ultimate goal of the abounding love for which Paul prays in Phil 1:9?  See 10b.  Note: “sincere” is pure and unsullied, and means literally “found pure when unfolded and examined by the sun’s light”, see 1 Cor 4:5; “blameless” means without offense or not stumbling in sin.  What must necessarily precede our becoming sincere and blameless?  See Phil 1:11.  What is the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ?  See Gal 5:22-23 and note that in both cases the singular “fruit” refers to a collective righteousness.  Does Paul say that we should not expect to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ?  Why is it important that in the day of Christ we already be found sincere and blameless?  See Mat 24:45-51, 2 Thess 1:7-9.  If our lives were unfolded right now and examined by the flaming fire of the Son’s light, would we be found sincere and blameless?  See also Mat 24:27.

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