Reading Philippians Chapter One
One of the themes of Philippians is joy. The book makes it clear that one of the marks of the Christian life should be Joy through the experience of Christ.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (NIV).
In chapter one, Paul speaks of joy twice. Once he mentions his own joy and a second time he speaks of joy that the Christians he is writing to may have. Beginning in verse 3, he writes:
Why is Paul able to pray with joy?
How do you think that Paul’s assurance of the work of Jesus in the church added to his joy?
In what ways do you think his assurance made Paul’s missionary work lighter?
In verse 20 Paul is discussing his confidence that Christ would be exalted by his efforts, either by his continued life and ministry or by his death in service to Christ. He speaks of his hope for the joy in the church in verse 25.
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me (NIV).
What does Paul identify as the source of the church’s joy?
What does Paul link with joy as his desire for the church?
What do you think Paul meant by the phrase, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”?
Do you think that you are in a place in your faith that you could say that about your life?
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