1. Phil 2.3-7 What commands does Paul give? What might those look like in your life? How does he describe Christ as a “servant” (doulos)?
2. Phil 2.19-23 What sticks out to you in Paul’s description of Timothy in terms of his “doulos-ness”? What parts line up with verses 4-7?
3. As we briefly traced a theme of “servant” through this letter, why might it make sense for Paul to “co-sign” this book with Timothy?
4. What is the relationship between servanthood and sainthood?
5. Phil 1.3-5 Why is Paul thanking God on their behalf? What does he mean by “from the first day”?
6. In verse 5 Paul references their partnership. What does their partnership involve?
7. How might you respond to some who say, “Paul, can’t you just love us because of who we are, not what we do? Why do you have to base your affection for us based on our partnership in the gospel? Can’t you just look at us as persons, created in God’s image and enjoy us?”
8. What makes a person someone you would enjoy? For whom do you make joyful prayers for? Is it not for those whom you are knit together with, that love the same thing as you?
9. One could argue Paul’s thankfulness and joy for the Philippians is not separate from their personhood, but rather, their partnership in the gospel is who they are. They have been deeply and profoundly changed as persons so that their highest priority in life now is to exalt Jesus Christ in the gospel. Discuss your thoughts…
10. Phil 1.6 Who began the work in us? Who will complete it? What does this “good work” include? What are the two gifts given by God in verse 29? What has God worked in us in verse 2:13?
11. What will it mean for God to complete the good work in us?
12. 1.6-8 What are the grounds for why having them in his heart makes it right for him to have this confidence about their perseverance? Put another way, why is Paul’s longing for them evidence that God will be faithful to them, and they will persevere?
13. 1.9-11 If God is just going to complete the work anyway, do we need to do anything about it?
14. Let’s take some time to reflect on what Paul means when he prays “be pure and blameless.” Are these states describing the position of the Christian after they have received the Justification imputed to them from Christ? Or are these goals for the Christian that Paul is setting before us?
15. What is the relationship between fruit and Jesus Christ? Where do we fit in? (See what Paul says in Titus 2:14) What is fruit of righteousness?
16. Let’s look at the words ‘glory’ and ‘praise’. Glory can mean God’s beauty, and greatness, and excellence. Praise can mean our enthusiastic approval, our exaltation of God, joyous overflow toward God. What is the relationship between these words? (See also Ephesians 1.12-14)
17. Can you enthusiastically approve, or exalt, something you are not happy about? Why, or why not?
18. Phil 4.16-17 The fruit increases to their account. To their credit. It could easily be interpreted as their fruit is recorded in their ‘ledger’ as the Greek word is very similar (logon), and could mean ‘book’ (similar to logos: word). It could be referring to a reward they will receive at the day of Jesus Christ. This is significant because the fruit we bear through Christ, is not only for His glory, but for our joy in him as we see him glorified by the fruit God has brought through us by his son. What does this mean for the fruit we bear?
19. Paul, writing to the Philippians, could qualify as the worst salesman of the Gospel message, but that’s because he isn’t selling anything. From verses 12-14, what are some of the ways Paul’s imprisonment serves to advance the Gospel? Cite examples from the text, and through thinking about the implications of this event.
20. What is going on here that causes the believers to respond to Paul’s imprisonment in an uncharacteristic way? Where does their confidence come from? What does this say about God?
21. What, at root, gets rid of fear in our lives? i.e. Fear of people, fear of death, fear of persecution
22. Phil 1.15-18 Notice that Paul says, “the latter do it out of love, knowing…” Look back at verse 9. What is the relationship between love and knowledge in these verses?
23. Think of a time where you had an experience with jealousy or rivalry or selfish ambition. What was that like? What were some alternative ways you could have thought about the situation? What do you wish you would have done differently? How does your experience relate to these verses?
24. Paul was not surprised by his imprisonment. Jesus taught us it would come (Mark 13.9 and Luke 21.12-13), and Paul knows he was put here by God to defend the gospel and be a witness. What if he wasn’t willing to suffer in this way? Ponder Paul’s sacrifice. What if he fled out of fear? What would that mean for us?
25. What did Paul understand about Jesus that made him stay? What does that mean for you today? What does your understanding about the worth of Christ mean for those who will come after you?
26. Why are you a Christian?
27. Read 1.20-21. Paul is essentially giving two examples that point to the same purpose. If we split up the two examples and read them individually, it may help us understand more clearly what Paul is teaching.
“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, by my death. 21 For to me to die is gain.” and…
“It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, by my life. 21 For to me to live is Christ.
What does it mean for someone to glorify Christ in their death? What does that look like? What does a death or a life like this suggest about who Christ is?
28. See 1.25 What is ‘joy of faith’? And why was this worth it for Paul to stay with them?
What did I learn about God today?
What did I learn about myself?
How is God relating this to my life right now?
What does God want me to bring in prayer to Him today?