A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that contentment is learned, involves a learning process of experiencing a little and a lot, and that God strengthens you for all things.

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that contentment is learned

V.11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 

The drive to accumulate things can consume us. Fueled by the desire for pleasure, ease, and comfort. It quickly becomes greed with an insatiable appetite. And it begs the question: how much is enough? When will I find contentment?

And Paul’s answer might surprise you. Because you don’t find contentment. You learn it.

Of course, the Bible doesn’t condemn hard work or the accumulation of wealth. In fact, wealth in scripture is often associated with God’s blessing. So where does contentment fit in?

The Greek word for “content” is autarkēs and means both content and sufficient.

In Greek stoic philosophy, contentment was considered something you passively accepted. Since your circumstances are part of God’s will, you might as well accept them in resignation. But Paul takes another approach.

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that the learning process involves experiencing a little and a lot

v.12 I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

Paul experienced times when he had very little and times when he had a lot. And it was an extreme, education curriculum. Because he was beaten, whipped, thrown in prison, and shipwrecked to name a few difficult experiences. And right now you’re probably saying if that’s what it takes to learn contentment, I’d rather remain ignorant.

However, maybe your learning process can avoid those extremes. And involve self-discipline instead. One simple decision my wife and I made early in our marriage was to pay off our credit card bills each month and not build consumer debt. This made us control our spending and say no to some purchases. And we learned to either wait until we had the money or live without some things.

We also learned to express an attitude of gratitude. And regularly thank God for His provision. The more you do, the more it takes root in your heart.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some lessons you’ve learned about contentment? Describe the circumstances. Where do you still struggle and explain why? What disciplines should you consider or adjustments should you make?

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that God strengthens you for all things

V.13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

The Greek word for strengthen is ĕndunamŏō, and means to empower, enable, increase in strength, and make strong

A unique feature of the Christian faith is that it admits human weakness. No one has it all together. Or is completely self-reliant. And to pretend you are is either an attempt to fool others or fool yourself.

Even the great men of faith admitted their inadequacies. David cries out for help and identifies where it comes from in Psalms 121. Solomon talks about the importance of supportive friends. And Paul explains how God’s power is demonstrated through his weakness.

There are times we all need the support of others. And it’s okay to ask for it.

Where do you need God’s strength right now? James 4:2 reminds you it’s important to ask. So take a moment and ask God to provide the strength for what you’re encountering.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A Study of Philippians 4:1-5

A Study of Philippians 4:1-5 encourages Christ-followers to maintain spiritual readiness, lose your personal agenda, demonstrate a joyful spirit, and put God’s Kingdom first.

A Study of Philippians 4:1-5 encourages Christ-followers to maintain spiritual readiness,

V.1 Stand firm in the Lord

Following Jesus is not easy. Because we swim against the current of culture. And live according to God’s truth, which is unpopular in a sea of moral relativism.

But Paul encourages us to “stand firm in the Lord.” And that begins by submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. It’s assuming a posture of readiness, like a soldier braced for attack. But take heart. It’s not a battle you face alone.

Read Psalm 112:7-8 and record your thoughts on how it encourages your spiritual readiness.

A Study of Philippians 4:1-5 encourages Christ-followers to lose their personal agenda

V.2 Agree in the Lord

Can Godly people who love Jesus still disagree? Yep. Happens all the time.

Because we differ in our understanding of scripture. Form unique perspectives out of our backgrounds and experiences. And let’s be honest, sometimes we have a personal agenda. Even if well-meaning, it can still become a sticking point.

And here Paul calls out a couple of ladies in the middle of one. He doesn’t identify what it’s about or take sides, but encourages them to work it out and “agree in the lord.”

“To agree” is from the Greek auto phronein, which means to have the same mind. In other words, focus on your shared goals and ultimate mission. And that should include the best interest of the church rather than your personal interest.

Genuinely listening to one another and a humble spirit will also move you towards common ground.

A Study of Philippians 4:1-5 encourages Christ-followers to demonstrate a joyful spirit

V.4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice

This is the twelfth time Paul uses the Greek word chairo which is translated both joy and rejoice. And in case it wasn’t clear the twelfth time, he immediately says it again.

Keep in mind, Paul is in prison. Uncertain of his future. Physically uncomfortable. Likely fighting fear and doubt. And perhaps experiencing moments of depression.

A crushing weight for sure. But he didn’t let it overwhelm him. That is what’s powerful about Christian joy. It can flourish in spite of earthly circumstances. Why? Because it’s based on an unshakeable promise that is secured in Jesus Christ.

Joy makes following Jesus compelling. And the gospel contagious.

REFLECT & RECORD

Are there circumstances in your life that are impacting your joy? Record your thoughts and feelings about what is going on. Then pause for prayer and ask the Lord to renew your joy.

A Study of Philippians 4:1-5 encourages Christ-followers to put God’s Kingdom first

V.5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.

Reasonableness is the Greek word epieikes and means appropriate, gentle, moderate. And what is right and fitting. It also helps to consider that sometimes it’s not what you say, but the way you say it. Your word choice and tone of voice.

Read Proverbs 15:1 and 1 Peter 3:15. What do they say about your manner of speaking?

Jesus gets right to the heart of it. Read what he says in Matthew 6:33. Although the context in the surrounding passage addresses materialism and personal well-being, his words in V.33 have a broader application.

As a Christ-follower, I must always examine my heart and honestly ask myself: Am I putting God’s Kingdom first? Are you?

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A Study Of Philippians 3:17-21

A study of Philippians 3:17-21 reveals the value of a Christian mentor, the tragedy of rejecting Jesus, and the promise of following Jesus.

A study of Philippians 3:17-21 presents the value of a Christian mentor

V. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us

Someone is watching you. Evaluating. Measuring. Taking your cues. And following them. No pressure, right?

In this passage, Paul not only embraces the idea of others imitating him. He encourages it. Not because he’s perfect. He already confessed his imperfection. And he’s not full of himself either. But he understands the importance of mentoring other followers of Jesus.

It underscores both the importance and serious responsibility of disciple-making. Which Jesus commanded all of his followers to engage in.

Sure, it’s risky business. Because right after you hold yourself up as an example you’re sure fail. To sin. Me too. But Paul qualifies his meaning in Corinthians 11:1 by saying, “Be imitators of me, as I am in Christ.”

In other words, the pattern of behavior he invites the Philippian church to imitate is his example of striving to imitate Christ. Not his achievement of perfection. And that’s what Christian mentorship is all about. Not, follow me because I’ve got this Christian faith all figured out. But follow me because I’m following Jesus.

REFLECT & RECORD

Who has been a mentor in your life? How did they invest in your life and positively impact your faith? How are you investing in and making a positive impact on the faith of someone else? Would you feel comfortable inviting others to imitate your imitation of Jesus? Why or why not?

A study of Philippians 3:17-21 presents the tragedy of rejecting Jesus

In V. 18, Paul calls people enemies of Christ. And the Greek word for enemies is echthrós, which means hostility. But wait. Doesn’t Jesus love everyone? And the answer is yes he does. But here, Paul refers to people who completely reject Jesus Christ. And rather than choose to follow him as Lord, they follow their own desires and passions.

V. 19 Their end is destruction…

God grants you free will so you may accept or reject a relationship with Jesus Christ. But there is no riding the fence. No maybe. You’re either all in or not. The Greek word for destruction is apōlĕia which means spiritual, eternal death. So ultimately, your decision has an eternal consequence.

their god is their belly…

Who is Paul talking about? He may have meant the Jewish followers who insisted new believers must also follow Jewish religious practices. And this included observing Jewish practices around eating clean versus unclean food. Or perhaps, he meant a group called Gnostics who perverted the teaching of God’s grace. They reasoned that because God’s grace covered every sin, they could satisfy their appetites and enjoy a worldly lifestyle without restraint. However, scripture consistently warns about the dangers of these two extremes. The first is legalism and the second is license.

they glory in their shame…

They celebrated wrong and shameful behavior. To defiantly sin and then celebrate it mocks God. And is unwise. Scripture clearly warns God will not be mocked.

with minds set on earthly things.

Both then and now, people seek to acquire earthly possessions, recognition, and achievements in the pursuit of happiness. But the truth is, as Solomon attests in Ecclesiastes, only the presence of God and his goodness is fully satisfying. What earthly things are consuming your attention right now?

A study of Philippians 3:17-21 presents the promise of following Jesus

V. 20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body

Whales and dolphins are a marvel of creation. The ocean is their habitat, but they require air to live. And drown if totally immersed under water for too long. Likewise, Christ-followers inhabit the earth. But will spiritually suffocate if immersed in a worldly lifestyle. Paul reminds us that while we reside on earth, not to get too comfortable. Because a day is coming when we will be transformed into our perfect image of God. The one he originally intended. And we’ll enjoy in our eternal home.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a work in progress, a certain future, and strong finish for Christ-followers.

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a work in progress

V.12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Every Christ-follower is a work in progress. Even Paul admitted it about himself. His desire was to grow in Christ-likeness, but it was a process that would continue his entire life. And it should represent our goal too.

The phrase “make it my own” is translated from the Greek word katalambanō which means to take eagerly, seize, possess. The NIV Bible translates it “take hold of” and perhaps, more accurately describes Paul’s meaning.

Paul admits that as a human he is imperfect. Although he pursues perfection and eagerly strives to take hold of it. But he lives with the assurance that it’s not all on him. Jesus has also, taken hold of him.

REFLECT & RECORD

Describe how you sense that Jesus has taken hold of you? As you consider your own progress toward Christ-likeness, how are you doing in your eagerness to take hold of it?

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a certain future

V.13 forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…

Paul doesn’t hold on to any of his credentials or regrets of past sins. And neither should we.

In other words, he doesn’t forget what’s behind by wiping the past from his memory. But by refusing to let it effect his forward progress. He won’t leverage credentials to his advantage or let past sin weigh him down with guilt and shame. Which is a common strategy Satan employs against Christ-followers. If he can’t keep you from entering the Kingdom of God, he’ll try to block you from taking others with you by making you feel inadequate.

Because most of us live with regrets. Things we shouldn’t have done but did. As well as things we should have done and didn’t. And this is where we lean on God’s grace because it covers them all.

A Study of Philippians 3:12-16 shows a strong finish

V.14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul communicates the picture of a runner leaning forward with all his energy as he crosses the finish line. Which is called “a strong finish” in track and field jargon. Because when you’re in a race, it’s critical to ignore the other runners next to you and focus on crossing the finish line looking straight ahead and at full speed. Paul turns that image into a spiritual analogy. He’s leaning forward in the finish of his spiritual race and the anticipation of collecting an eternal reward.

It’s a good question to think about. Are you in a spiritual sprint looking straight ahead or a sight-seeing trot toward heaven?

V.15 Let those of us who are mature think this way,

The Greek word teleo is translated “perfect” in V.12 and “mature” in V.15. And it means to carry out, complete, and fulfill. So Paul does not mean absolute perfection in V.12, but reaching a level of spiritual completeness. To grow to a point of fulfilling the purpose God has for you.

REFLECT & RECORD

In what ways does your Christian walk demonstrate spiritual maturity? Where does it need adjustment? Are you progressing? Stagnant? Regressing? Where is adjustment needed?

In conclusion, it’s important to acknowledge absolute perfection is out of reach in this life. But we should strain forward towards that goal. And show progression towards a greater level of spiritual maturity.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A Study of Philippians 3:8-11

A study of Philippians 3:8-11 reveals the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus, a righteousness determined by faith, and the attainment of a resurrected life.

A Study of Philippians 3:8-11 reveals the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus

V.8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Paul counted everything as loss for the sake of Christ in V.7. But in V.8, he counts it as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord.

The Greek word for surpassing worth is hyperéchō, which means to surpass, exceed, amount to more. In his previous, religious life, Paul had an enviable life. One of position, power, and influence. But here he says knowing Jesus as Lord is way better.

“Knowing” is the Greek word Gnosis and implies a personal relationship. There’s a difference in knowing about someone and actually knowing someone. Because the first is intellectual and the second relational. Lordship goes even further by submitting to Jesus’ leadership. And in Paul’s case, it led him to prison and a potential death.

Do you know and follow Jesus with this kind of zeal?

REFLECT AND RECORD

Describe your current relationship with Jesus. Do you call him Lord? What does that mean to you? How is it evident in your life? If not, what do you think submitting to Lordship looks like for you?

A Study of Philippians 3:8-11 reveals a righteousness determined by faith

V.9 not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Here’s the problem with works-based religion. When you follow religious rules, you can take the credit for your efforts. Feel good about your worthy accomplishments. In a sense, own your faith. Although it easily leads to self-righteousness and pride.

The Greek word for faith is pisteúō and means to believe and trust. But it’s not blind.

Biblical faith demonstrates a sense of confidence. It uses your senses to observe and a reasoning mind to perceive the presence of God. To study scripture and recognize it describes the world better than any other worldview. But then to act on that faith by engaging the person of Jesus Christ.

A Study of Philippians 3:8-11 reveals the attainment of a resurrected life

V.10-11 that I may know him

Paul repeats what he said in V.8 to reinforce his point. Knowing Jesus relationally involves an investment of your time and energy. And requires spending time in his Word and in prayer. This is how you learn to follow Jesus and where he guides you in that pursuit.

may share his sufferings…

Was Paul, perhaps, remembering his part in persecuting other believers? And now it’s his turn to take what he used to dish out it? It’s a good question for us to consider. Just how serious am I about following Jesus? How much will I suffer for it?

becoming like him in his death…

Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins. Therefore, Paul is ready to sacrifice himself for his faith. The first represents salvation for humanity. And the second martyrdom for faith.

I may attain the resurrection from the dead…

Paul’s confidence includes an eternal promise. Following Jesus in life and death on earth includes the assurance of a resurrected life in heaven with Jesus. It is this confidence…this hope that empowers him to endure. And is still available to Christ-followers today.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.