Philippians 2:14-18 (Without Grumbling or Disputing)

Phil 2:14-16 Note: In Phil 2:15 NASB “prove yourselves” (KJV “be”) is literally “become” (see NASB text note).  NASB “above reproach” (KJV “without rebuke”) means unblemished or without defect, and is the word found throughout the OT to describe the sacrifices acceptable to God (e.g. Ex 29:1, Lev 1:3); see also Eph 5:27, Col 1:22, Heb 9:14, 1 Pet 1:19, Jud 1:24, and Rev 14:5 for its other NT uses.  How does Paul say we are to become blameless and innocent children of God who are without defect?  See Phil 2:14.  What Old Testament example do we have of children of God who were without defect?  See Dan 1:4.  How would our homes be benefited if we all—husbands, wives and children—did all things without complaining and arguing (NIV)?  What is the great danger of complaining and grumbling?  See Num 14:2,26-29.  How does the crooked and depraved generation in which we live see us when we do all things without grumbling and disputing?  Note: the word Paul uses here for “lights” is that used in Gen 1:14-16 (LXX) for the luminaries God created in the heavens “to separate the day from the night” and “to give light on the earth”; how do these words from Genesis also describe the role of God’s servants on earth?  See Rom 13:12, 1 Thess 5:5, Mat 5:14-16.  The Hebrew word for lights in Genesis 1 is also used for the light of the lamp in the tabernacle produced by burning pure olive oil (see Ex 27:20).  Is the lamp of our lives full of the pure oil of God’s Spirit, so that we do all things without complaining and arguing and those who are in darkness see our light, and are even attracted to it?  See also Mat 25:1-13.  Note: in Phil 2:16 NASB “holding fast” also means “holding forth”; why was Paul anxious that the Philippians both hold fast and hold forth the word of life?  What does it mean that his efforts would be in vain if they did not hold fast the word of life, and why would that be so?  See Gal 2:2, 4:11, 1 Thess 3:5.

Phil 2:17-18 To what does Paul refer in speaking of himself being poured out as a drink offering?  See 2 Tim 4:6.  What did the continual burnt offering offered morning and night under the old covenant represent, and what was the significance of the grain offering and drink offering (libation) associated with it?  See Ex 29:38-46; cf. 1 Cor 10:16,18.  Hint: think koinonia, the Greek word for communion, fellowship, participation, sharing: Each day God shares with us of His bounty; at the altar of sacrifice we share back with Him and so enjoy His fellowship or communion.  In what way was Paul’s life a bountiful gift to the Church?  Why is it significant to Paul’s words here that throughout Scripture wine is used to represent teaching and sound doctrine (see Isa 1:22, Mat 9:17, John 2:6-9; contrast Rev 17:2, 18:3).  How was the true Church now forced to commit him back to God?  What was the sacrifice and service of the Philippians’ faith?  See Phil 1:5, 4:15-16.  How did that make them sharers or participants at the altar of sacrifice?  See Phil 4:17, 1 Cor 12:26, Heb 10:32-33, 13:16.  Are we participants at the altar of sacrifice upon which the lives of many of our brothers and sisters around the world are being poured out?  What was Paul’s response to his sufferings, and why?  See Phil 3:10-11, Mat 5:10-12, 1 Pet 4:13.  Do we rejoice and share our joy in sweet communion with our brothers and sisters who in spite of their sufferings are victorious over the world, their flesh and the devil?  Are we as victorious as they, and as overflowing with joy as Paul in our own sufferings, or do we grumble and complain?

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