Bible: What Does Philippians 4 Teach Us About Godliness?
The Apostle Paul
The Quarreling Women
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Peace Through Prayer
The apostle now seeks to deal with a particularly troubling relationship between two faithful workers: Euodia and Syntyche.
He begs them to settle their quarrel by adopting the same Christian mindset that he has been discussing (v. 2; cf. 3:16).
Just in case they cannot resolve their disagreement by themselves, Paul asks a true companion of his to mediate.
These two women had helped the apostle in his struggle to spread the gospel in the city, and were on equal footing with Clement and other laborers to whom God had also given eternal life (v. 3).
He exhorts them all to rejoice in Christ. Understanding how vital the cultivation of this attitude is to a believer’s well-being,
Paul repeats this command (v. 4). He also regards forbearance as important, since Christ is watching (and/or may soon return) [v. 5].
Knowing that if they sought His face, God would give them His incomprehensible peace that would protect their inner lives in the midst of their trials, Paul advises them not to worry about anything.
Instead, they should make specific requests to God about every detail of their lives, being sure to accompany these prayers with an attitude of thanksgiving (vv. 6-7).
Prayer, Thanksgiving, and Right Thinking
Besides developing a robust prayer life, the apostle directs his brethren to think continually about the following “things” that will provide uplift to their spiritual growth.
“True” things relate undoubtedly to Scriptural principles;
“Noble” or “honorable” (NASB) things deserve one’s respect;
“Just” refers to things that are morally right;
“Pure” brings to mind things that are unsullied by the world’s moral filth;
“Lovely” or “winsome” (NASB) suggests things that are appealing or attractive;
“Good report” or “good repute” (NASB) speaks of things that are of high moral character;
“Virtue” or “excellence” (NASB) regards things that have moral value or distinction;
“Praiseworthy” indicates things that deserve commendation (v. 8).
Paul urges them to pray continually and think on these good things; however, he also instructs them to observe his character and words, and imitate how he lives.
If they do so, the apostle promises that “the God of peace” will lead, guide, and protect them in all their ways.
In other words, God will prosper them in whatever they do and wherever they go (v. 9).
Perspective Toward Finances
Obedience Not Necessary?
Will God supply all your needs regardless of how you treat missionaries?
Paul expresses great joy that the Philippians are again demonstrating that they care about him by taking advantage of an opportunity to minister to the apostle’s needs (v. 10).
In a parenthetical aside of sorts, Paul assures them that Christ has enabled him (and will enable him) to be satisfied with whatever He allows him to have, whether it be much or little (vv. 11-13).
Regardless of his ability to be content in any circumstances, the apostle is still very pleased that the Philippians had chosen to help him again in his difficult straits (v. 14).
He notes that they alone supported him financially in his early apostolic journeys, and commends them for continuing their assistance (vv. 15-16; cf. Acts 16).
Again, he points out that he does not care so much about his own personal comforts; he desires more that they experience spiritual growth (v. 17).
Paul assures them that Epaphroditus has brought their sacrificial gift to him, and that consequently he has sufficient goods to meet his needs (v. 18).
Because they have provided financial support for him, Paul promises that God will supply all of their needs according to His inexhaustible resources (v. 19).
[It is important to note that this promise is not a blanket statement for all Christians or churches, regardless of their treatment of missionaries.
It appears that one must contribute to their support in order to expect God’s blessing.]
Paul praises God and desires that the saints praise Him eternally (v. 20).
The apostle’s final words to the church at Philippi include various greetings and blessing (vv. 21-23).
He wants their leaders to greet every one in the church there; Paul also sends the well wishes of his associates to them (v. 21).
He then greets the Philippians on behalf of believers employed in Caesar’s palace (v. 22).
Paul leaves them with a blessing of grace from the Lord (v. 23).
1. What does Paul designate as the three groups in the local church? (chapter 1)
2. What was the apostle’s three-fold request for this church?
3. Why would Paul’s imprisonment make Christians bolder in their witness?
4. How did the apostle know that God would save him from death?
5. List the five ways by which the Philippians might demonstrate their spiritual unity.
6. What character trait of Christ did Paul desire that God produce in this church? Explain the kenosis theory (chapter two).
8. Describe the character of both Timothy and Epaphroditus.
9. What three labels does Paul attach to the adversaries of the Philippians?
10. What three characteristics does the “true circumcision” demonstrate?
11. List Paul’s religious credentials in which he could claim to boast. (Chapter 3)
12. How did Paul consider his accomplishments in Judaism at this time, and what did he value in life?
13. Who does the apostle ask to mediate between two strong-willed women in this church? Who are these women? _________, _________, _________ (chapter four)
14. What does Paul exhort the Philippians to do to experience God’s peace?
15. What does the apostle advise them to think upon in order to maintain this peace?
16. For which people does God promise to supply their needs?
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