A Study of Philippians 3:4-7

A Study of Philippians 3:4-7

A study of Philippians 3:4-7 presents Paul’s religious credentials, affirms his religious devotion, and discounts it all for the sake of Christ.

A study of Philippians 3:4-7 presents Paul’s religious credentials

There’s a popular “one up” game we often play. Sometimes called bragging rights. I tell you about the 10 pound bass I caught and you tell me about the 15 pounder you snagged. And Paul plays the game masterfully with a specific teaching point in mind.

V.4 If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more.

Experts who speak to audiences usually list credentials that support their expertise. And in Philippians 3:4-7, Paul shares his. Not to brag. But to say he has plenty to brag about if he put his confidence in the flesh. In other words, from strictly a human perspective, his qualifications are outstanding.

V. 5 circumcised on the eighth day…

A highly regarded family name reflects favorably on individual family members. So Paul begins with his family’s good reputation in the Jewish community. They properly followed the religious law that required circumcising boys on the eighth day after birth.

The people of Israel…

He’s also a citizen by birth in the nation of Israel. And therefore part of God’s chosen people.

The tribe of Benjamin…

The small tribe of Benjamin held a special position and played an important role in the history of Israel. It also produced several significant people including Ehud, a warrior and one of Israel’s Judges, Queen Esther who saved her people from genocide, and Saul, the first king of Israel.

A Hebrew of Hebrews…

Paul preached to the gentiles and wrote his New Testament letters in Greek. But he was raised in and spoke Hebrew–the ancient language of his race. And scholars say the language in spoke in Acts 22:2 was probably Aramaic, another distinctly Jewish language. His fluency in both demonstrates his faithfulness to traditional Hebrew culture.

As to the law, a Pharisee…

He’s talking about the Jewish, religious law. The Pharisees were a religious, Jewish group who rigorously upheld it. They were the super religious people of their day and demonstrated a zeal that bordered on fanatical. But were also the ones Jesus criticized the most for their self-righteousness and hypocrisy.


Think about a time you engaged in bragging competition. What did it involve? How did it end? What are your thoughts about the motivations behind comparing and competing? How is this transferred to our spiritual lives?

A study of Philippians 3:4-7 affirms Paul’s religious devotion

Paul possessed more than a religious pedigree. He demonstrated religious action. Did the right things. Walked his talk.

As to zeal a persecutor of the church…

His zeal as a Pharisee is shown in his active participation in persecuting the early Christian church. Although it was a misguided zeal that Jesus corrected when he appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus.

Righteousness under the law, blameless…

Paul is not claiming perfection before God. But is referring to his commitment to the Old Testament law. In other words, he’s saying if following the law is how you grade righteousness, then I score at the top of the class.

A study of Philippians 3:4-7 discounts it all for the sake of Christ

All those religious credits. Accomplishments. And good works tokens. They meant nothing to Paul. Because they were all about punching a religious “do good” ticket. Even though it characterized his religious life before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. That’s when God redirected Paul and he made a spiritual U-turn.

From good works, to a relationship with Jesus.

V. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

And now, Paul makes his main point. If good works is the measurement God uses for judging righteousness then Paul’s in good standing compared to other people. But it’s a relationship with Jesus that makes us righteous before God. Therefore, all he gains through good works, he counts as loss. Because his attention is focused on Jesus Christ. And where we should focus our attention too.

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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 3:4-7

Philippians 3:1-3

Philippians 3:1-3 begins with a positive praise, pauses to present a warning, and gives evidence of a true follower.

Philippians 3:1-3 begins with a positive praise

Paul starts the chapter on a positive note by repeating an encouragement to “rejoice in the Lord.” Or maybe better said “because you are the Lord’s.” The Greek word for “rejoice” is charo, which is also translated joy. And this is the tenth time Paul has used it so far in the letter.

Keep in mind, Paul is in prison and unsure about his release. And yet, he rejoices. Why? Perhaps, because of Paul’s eternal perspective. This perspective appears in Philippians 1:21 where he says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In other words, I’m good with however this turns out. Paul doesn’t let his circumstances drive his attitude. He lives with an assurance that his ultimate destination is with Jesus in heaven.

Are you struggling in your circumstances? An uncertain future? As a Christ-follower, your eternal future is secure. Let that encouragement drive your perspective. And then rejoice.

Philippians 3:1-3 pauses to present a warning

Paul turns from rejoicing to a warning about people the Philippian church should watch out for. And his tone grows scathing.

Who is he talking about it? Most likely Jews or Jewish Christians who followed him during his evangelistic travels. Because they distorted his message of grace by teaching new converts there were additional religious practices they had to follow. They were adding “works” on to the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus. And it irritated Paul.

Look out for the dogs…

These dogs weren’t the cuddly, domestic pets we love today. They were dangerous canines that roamed wild, feeding off trash in the streets. And were considered unclean by the Jews. It’s the word Goliath used in his a rhetorical question when David faced him in a one on one fight. Using a mocking tone like, “Seriously? Is this the best you can do?” To call someone a dog demeaned them in the lowest manner.

Look out for the evildoers…

The Greek word for evildoers is tous kakous ergatas and literally means the evil workers. Is Paul accusing them of purposely leading new believers away from the faith? Not necessarily. Sometimes people are sincere in their misunderstanding of scriptural truth. But are adamant that others believe and practice the Christian faith the way they do. And in Paul’s mind, any teaching that misrepresented God’s truth was evil.

We all grow comfortable around certain practices that help us live out our faith. And that’s fine. But don’t insist others adopt the same practices and beliefs beyond the gospel that you do.

Look out for those who mutilate the flesh…Philippians 3:1-3

In Acts 15:1, there’s an example of teachers who contradicted Paul’s teaching. They insisted that circumcision was a requirement for salvation.

Circumcision was a universal practice by the Jews as part of the Old Testament Law. It was introduced as a sign of God’s special covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:9-11. But notice. It was a sign of the covenant with God. Not a practice that guaranteed the covenant.

A similar example today is baptism. It too is a symbol…a public demonstration of faith. New believers follow Jesus in baptism to publicly demonstrate their faith. Not to insure salvation.

The Greek word for circumcision is peritome. But in this verse, Paul uses the Greek katatome, which means to cut or mutilate. Essentially he’s saying if you’re practicing circumcision as an “add-on” to insure salvation. All you’re really doing is mutilating yourself. A bit blunt, right? But obviously, Paul’s using sarcasm to discourage them from a painful practice that had nothing to do with salvation by grace.


In what ways do people “add-on” to the gospel? What impact do you think that has on someone’s faith? Where do you have that tendency?

Philippians 3:1-3 gives evidence of a true follower

V. 3 For we are the circumcision who worship by the Spirit of God…

Scripture reminds us that God’s first concern is always the condition of our heart. And Paul goes on to describe Christian circumcision as a spiritual transformation within the heart.

Although this spiritual circumcision does manifest itself in three ways:

  • In worship by the Spirit of God
  • Glory in Christ Jesus
  • Putting no confidence in the flesh

Good works are important in living out your faith as a Christ-follower. But they should be motivated by a heart that is devoted to God. In order to please God.

Want to know when a new blog article is posted? Receive a monthly newsletter with inspirational thoughts and a sneak peak behind the scenes? Sign up on the form at the top right hand side of the page.

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 3:4-7

Philippians 2:25-30

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the importance of Christian community along with the risk and the reward of ministry.

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the importance of Christian community

V.25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus


Consider a difficult time in your life when someone came alongside of you. Or perhaps, you came alongside of another. How was comfort provided? What are helpful things to keep in mind in those situations?

Christian community is powerful. It provides mutual encouragement, accountability, and support. A safety net when Christ-followers encounter difficult circumstances. To relieve hardship and ease suffering. Although sometimes there is nothing you can actually do. Just be there. Which is often more helpful than you think. Because it’s not about saying comforting words. Quoting the right scripture passage. Or even talking at all. Your concerned presence says it all.

Epaphroditus was that presence for Paul. He was sent as the official representative for the Philippian church. And he served Paul well. Because Paul described him in glowing terms.

  • brother
  • fellow worker
  • fellow soldier
  • your messenger
  • minister to my need

That’s a pretty impressive list for someone coming to the aid of a fellow Christ-follower. Is there someone in your life that represents that to you? Or you to someone else?

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the risk of ministry

V.27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me…

Unfortunately, Epaphroditus became seriously ill while serving Paul. And it stressed them both out. Epaphroditus worried that his fellow church members thought he was flaking out on his ministry assignment and Paul worried Epaphroditus would die on his watch. Paul was also concerned about the reception Epaphroditus would get when he returned home.

It’s a reminder that ministry offers no guarantees. God does not automatically put a hedge of protection around you because you serve in His name. Even though we often think he is supposed to. Instead Jesus says to take up a cross and follow him. Wow! That’s an effective recruitment slogan. Serve the kingdom of God. See the world. Oh yeah, and by the way, it might cost you.

Philippians 2:25-30 describes the reward of ministry

V.29-30 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ

The Greek word for “honor” is ĕntimŏs, which means valued, more honorable, precious, in reputation. In other words, Paul tells the Philippian church to give Epaphroditus a hero’s welcome when he returns home.

And so we’re presented with a puzzling paradox. A confusing conflict of competing values. How giving is better than receiving? Serving better than being served? The hardship of ministry more rewarding than the pleasure of comfort?

Obviously, the reward is intangible, not material. A spiritual dividend that floods the heart with overflowing joy. And a fulfilling sense of contentment. Unmoved by hazards. Even the possibility of death.

Is this what you signed up for? And are you all in?

Want to know when a new blog article is posted? Receive a monthly newsletter with inspirational thoughts and a sneak peak behind the scenes? Sign up on the form at the top right hand side of the page.

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 3:4-7

Philippians 1:19-25

Philippians 1:19-25 expresses Paul’s sense of celebration, identifies his source of strength, and his reason for confidence.

Philippians 1:19-25 surpasses a positive attitude to one of celebration

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. (ESV, Psalm 5:11)

Throughout the Bible, Christ-followers are encouraged to rejoice and express joy. Why? Because a relationship with Jesus Christ releases you from the bondage of sin and grants you eternal life with him. And that should cause an ongoing celebration.

V. 19 I will rejoice…

So Paul ends v.18 and begins v.19 by repeating the same word…rejoice. Just in case you missed it the first time. Rejoice is the Greek word chairo and the Greek word chara is translated joy.

James, the half brother of Jesus, goes more extreme with the idea. He instructs Christ-followers to express joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV, James 1:2)


Consider a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. How would you rate your level of joy as you navigated it? What factors contributed to how it went? What might you have done differently?

Philippians 1:19-25 identifies Paul’s source of strength

V. 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance

Christianity doesn’t pretend you can summon a power from within. Instead, it recognizes that we are weak. Vulnerable. And gain our strength and support from a community of believers and the power of God.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (ESV, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Paul readily and unashamedly identifies his source of strength: the prayers of the Philippian church and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We don’t understand how prayer works. But know that it does. And Paul regularly asked for prayer support in his ministry. Jesus too, regularly prayed and encouraged the same from his followers. And he told several parables about the impact prayer has in the life of believers.

Furthermore, Christ-followers lean on the Holy Spirit for help. In fact the Holy Spirit is often identified by the Greek word paráklētos, which means advocate and helper.


Take a moment to reflect on and describe times when you sensed the prayer of others. What about when you felt weak and the power of the Holy Spirit sustained you. What did you learn about Christian community and the power of God from those times?

Philippians 1:19-25 explains the reason for Paul’s confidence

V. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul is unsure of his future. The Greek word for deliverance in V.19 is soteria, which means salvation. Does Paul mean salvation from prison and physical freedom or spiritual salvation if he’s martyred?

It’s not clear. But he’s good either way.

V. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me

If he lives, Paul will faithfully serve God. He doesn’t plan to retire, kick back, and enjoy the good life. That comes in heaven.

V. 25 I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

Rather, Paul feels responsible as a spiritual mentor to the Philippian church. He wants to support and encourage them on a path of discipleship that is characterized by joy. And demonstrate a Christian life that serves as an example. One still worth following today.

In what ways do you encourage others in the Christian faith? Would you describe your witness as someone who cowers or stands courageously for Christ? How well do you exemplify what discipleship looks like?

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:26-30. Also, check out my Christian detective novel Soul Pursuit, and Finding Grace, the next one in the series.

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 3:4-7

Philippians 1:12-18

Philippians 1:12-18 conveys Paul’s passion in sharing the gospel. And how the message is delivered despite his imprisonment and the rivalry of other preachers.

In Philippians 1:12-18 Paul presents a positive attitude despite his circumstances

Difficult circumstances challenge your attitude. And this impacts how well you navigate those circumstances. Because they cause self-pity. Which makes your attitude worse. And piles on more self-pity that spirals down the drain of depression.


Think about a difficult circumstance you’ve experienced. What impact did your attitude have on how well you navigated it? How did it resolve? What part did your Christian faith play in getting you through it?

V. 12 What has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel

The Greek word for advance is prokopēn and means advancement in spite of barriers that hinder progress.

What barriers and hinderance does Paul mean? Well, he’s in prison. And sitting in a jail cell instead of out preaching is a hindrance and barrier to evangelistic progress. As well as an attitude killer that could easily plunge him into a downward spiral. But he refused to take that path and instead, made the most of his circumstances.

The Praetorium refers to the residence of the Roman governor and the Praetorian guard was a branch within the Roman military assigned to the security of the imperial family. Paul is under their supervision while he waits for his trial.

So he shares the gospel with the soldiers guarding him. And the captivity you’d expect to halt spreading the gospel becomes the expression that carries it forward.

Chains for Christ…

Furthermore, it grows clear his only offense is a passion for sharing the gospel message. You can almost imagine the soldiers exchanging prisoner updates during their shift change. “Good luck with the crazy preacher and his Jesus resurrection story.”

Do you see the irony? The amazing paradox of God’s truth? That a prisoner shares with his captors how to experience true freedom?

Philippians 1:12-18 demonstrates how Paul’s attitude positively influenced others

Hang around someone down in the dumps and they can drag you down too. But those with a positive outlook will lift you up. Provide encouragement in your difficulties. And that’s the approach Paul took.

V. 14 Are more bold to speak the word without fear

Paul’s determination to share the gospel and his enlistment of the Praetorium guard to serve in his salvation army was inspiring. It influenced other Christ-followers to share their faith as well.

And you have a sphere of influence too. Your family…friends…co-workers. Are all watching you. Taking some of your cues. Following your behaviors. Receiving your messages. What kind are you sending?

Of course, Paul’s boldness for Jesus Christ landed him in prison. Although we don’t face those dire consequences, our culture is growing increasingly hostile to Christ-followers. To God’s truth. And pushing us to make a public choice.

Will I stand up for Christ or bow before the culture?

Philippians 1:12-18 tells us about rivals with selfish motives.

V. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

The Greek word for selfish ambition is eritheía which means self-seeking. It tells us not everyone sharing their faith did so with the same motives as Paul. It was true then and now.

Selfishness and rivalry are everywhere. Even In ministry. Between churches. Among church people.


What are some selfish ambitions you see within the church. How are rivalries played out? Describe your thoughts on what motivates them.

But aren’t we all on the same team? Yes. But we’re all still sinners. With different views on scripture, sense of God’s calling, and motives. Which aren’t always pure. Because–come on, be honest–we all struggle with selfish ambition.

And it taints our motives. Even in how and why we serve.

Is there motive you have that is not so pure right now? If so, confess it to God and seek his forgiveness.

Philippians 1:12-18 provides the antidote to self-seeking ministry and rivalry.

V. 18 whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Paul affirmed the believers who shared their faith with pure motives and called out those with impure motives. But he didn’t judge, which gives us an example to follow. Instead, we should examine our own motives, ask God to purify our hearts, and commit ourselves to His service.

Keep in mind this wasn’t the first time people used religion for self-gain. Jesus’ response to temple money changers demonstrates God’s view towards religious opportunists.

And even though Paul recognizes the religious opportunists were personally attacking him, he didn’t let it drag him down into a ministry rivalry. But flipped it into something positive. How?

By keeping his eyes on the mission and glorifying God for the results rather than who gets the credit.

This should represent our primary ministry goal although it will present a major, ministry challenge. And yet, offer us the greatest reward and sense of satisfaction in the Kingdom of God.

Join me next week in a look at Philippians 1:19-25. Also, check out Finding Grace, my new Christian detective novel.

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.