01 GRATITUDE – Philippians 1:1-11Philippians and Colossians – Joyful Living in Christ
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Philippians and Colossians – Joyful Living in Christ.” Here is my video presentation introducing this series – https://youtu.be/VBg_Wdyu104. The video of this specific class presentation, as well as all the others in this series, will be posted to this YouTube playlist as they are recorded – Faith Builders Class: Philippians, Colossians: Joyful Living in Christ – YouTube. Please use the “Contact” button to request corresponding handouts and outlines.
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01 GRATITUDE – Philippians 1.1-11
Questions for Thought and Discussion
Read the passage first. Note key words, ideas, and themes. Then consider these questions and add your own.
Do you have a box or file where you store various letters that you have received? How do you decide what to keep and what to toss?
What’s the first thing you look for when you receive a letter? Why?
How do advertisers try to make their letters look important and personal?
How is the term “saints” often misunderstood?
How significant was Paul to Timothy?
What about Timothy to Paul? Why would Timothy be there with Paul in prison?
Are some Christians hesitant to consider themselves as “saints?” If so, why?
What are “overseers” (KJV & NKJV, “bishops”)? How do we know these are elders?
What is the function of deacons? Cf. 1 Tim 3:8-13.
What evidence is there that this letter is, to some degree, a thank-you letter?
If you were unjustly accused, arrested, and put in prison, and you were writing a letter to your family and friends, what might you write first? Would it be gratitude?
How does gratitude affect one’s view of tough circumstances that he cannot change?
To what degree should our prayers focus on thanking God for others?
How do memories foster joy and gratitude? What part do they play in our prayers?
Why are thankful prayers also joyful prayers?
Why is Paul especially grateful for these Christians in Philippi?
“Partnership” or “participation” translates koinonia, “fellowship,” “sharing,” “having in common.” How did the Philippians partner with Paul? How can we partner with missionaries in this present day?
How could they, being so far away, be partakers with Paul in his imprisonment?
“He began … he will complete …” Cf. 1 Cor 1:4-9; 1 Thess 3:11-13. What does that tell you about God? About us?
Each of us is a work in progress. Once I saw a button with this message: “P B P G I N F W M Y” – “Please be patient – God is not finished with me yet.” How does this truth help you to be patient toward others?
“I have you in my heart …” How can you keep others in your heart when you are physically absent from them or bereaved?
The word “defense” (1:7) renders the Greek apologia, from which we get “apologetics.” How did Paul defend the faith? How can you do so more effectively?
“I yearn for you.” What does that suggest about Paul’s need for companionship? Where in his other letters does he also express a sense of loneliness?
“With the affection …” The King James Version (KJV) renders the Greek word here as “bowels,” as the KJV does also in Phil 2:1; 2 Cor 6:12; Col 3:7; Phm 7, 12, 20; 1 Jn 3:17. However, the KJV renders this same Greek word as “inward affection” in 2 Cor 7:15. Physically, the word refers to the intestines. It came to refer also to the innermost seat of affections. Sometimes we hear the words, “I have a gut feeling,” or one may speak of “intestinal fortitude.” Some versions: “tender mercies” (ASV), “tender heart,” or “deep-felt affection.” Of course, we tend today to use the word “heart” to refer to our innermost convictions and emotions. See Greg Hubbell’s thought-provoking comment below, based on his research. What else can you find out about this term and this idea?
How might Paul’s prayer in 1:9-11 relate to needs in the Philippian church and in the church today?
What are the key elements in his prayer? Let’s make a list.
 Abundant love … “still more and more.”
 Real knowledge and depth of insight
 Identifying what is most important (excellent, best).
 Sincerity … “that you may be pure …”
 Holiness and righteousness … “and blameless …”
 Perseverance … “until the day of Christ …”
 Fruitfulness … “filled with fruit of righteousness.”
 Living to the glory of God.
How can you incorporate these elements more effectively in your own prayers?