Bible Study

First - It's HARD for me to memorize Scripture when I'm out of my routine.  But I'm wrapping up being able to quote the first chapter of Philippians.

But...what have I learned?

Summary of the "OIA Method" is here.

  1. Observation – what does it say?
  2. Interpretation – what does it mean?
  3. Application – how do I need to change?

The absolute basics:

thanks for believers, advance the Gospel, live to serve Christ.

But deeper - we (believers) are spiritual siblings - brothers and sisters in Christ.  More than that, we share grace.  Paul wrote, "You are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment, and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel."

When a spiritual sibling is persecuted for the sake of Christ, we should feel that grief along with them, and we are partakers with them of grace.

When we support a missionary in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, we are partakers with them of grace.

It puts a different spin on the "children of Christ" aspect and reminds me yet again that it is "all of grace."

I am starting on a task: to memorize the book of Philippians. So far, I have chapter 1, verses 1-7 (7 is shaky)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,

because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

It struck me again, the "why" - it's the Gospel.

Why does Paul thank God for the Philippians? Because of their partnership in the Gospel.

What is the good work? the partnership in the Gospel.

Why does Paul hold them in his heart? they are partakers with him of grace (the Gospel)

I am puzzling over verse 7.

NIV renders it

whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

vs the ESV

or you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

It seems a little thing, in the NIV Paul comes first, in the ESV, the Philippians come first.

But it is a big thing:

In the NIV Paul puts himself first, and (given the lack of punctuation in the translation, is taking the credit for himself.

whether I am in chains or [whether I am] defending or confirming the Gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me.

The two acts are as one - in chains or defending and confirming

In the ESV, Paul puts other first:

YOU are all partakers with me, BOTH in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel

the "both" specifically makes them two different acts.

The Philippians shared grace with Paul while he was imprisoned and they shared grace when they defended and confirmed the Gospel.

To me, that becomes important in knowing the character of Paul.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

This time around, one line stood out: "Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace."

Peace is a big word.

In this passage, "peace" is peace with God.

God is a God of love; He is also a God of justice. That's not contradictory: perfect love demands perfect justice, and that doesn't mean justice for me, it means justice for everybody.

Justice doesn't mean that the person who wronged "me" gets what they deserve: it means that the God of justice demands payment for each sin committed.

Only when justice is satisfied, can peace begin.

Jesus was pierced for our transgression; THAT chastisement brought the elect peace with the Father.

First...v. 1-8- an impressive run on sentence.

From the ESV study notes:

One remarkable feature of this section is that many of the themes mentioned here also conclude the letter in the final doxology (16:25–27):

(1) Paul's apostolic authority;
(2) the fulfillment of the OT Scriptures in the gospel;
(3) the gospel that centers on Jesus Christ;
(4) the obedience of faith;
(5) the mission to the Gentiles; and
(6) the glory of Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Also, (R. Kent Hughes).
Paul’s view of himself (v. 1)
Paul’s view of preaching (vv. 2–4)
Paul’s view of his commission (v. 5)
Paul’s view of the Roman believers (and us) (vv. 6, 7)

On to the passage:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

"Servant" is doulos - slave. Slave f Christ, appointed to be an ambassador, marked off by God to preach the gospel.

Slavery to Christ is a key theme that Paul chose for Himself...echoing Christ, Mark 19:45

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Paul elaborates, and confirms his mission to the Gentiles in Galations 1:15-16

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles,

2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

God's prophets promised this good news long ago.

3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh

Fully God, fully man.

4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

It was the Spirit who bore witness to the deity of Christ, through His resurrection.

5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

This mission of Paul's is an act of grace.

6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

Election is just all over the place...

7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

We are called by God,
We are loved by God,
We are saints of God,
We are the recipients of God's grace and peace...

So...Im reading in 1 Thessalonians....v. 4

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction

The conviction, the power and the Holy Spirit came not as the result of our choice, but of God's choice.


Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing

This was in my daily reading and it hit me again...without Jesus, I can do nothing, I can accomplish nothing...I AM nothing.

I'm not clean because of the works that I do, the choices that I make. It's not my works, it's the WORD that Jesus has spoken.

Before they (I) even knew..."Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you."

Sola Scriptura...The Word.

One letter very small difference...

"...for apart from me you can do nothing"

No longer are my works making me "good enough" - my works are a result of the Word and my gratitude that Jesus spoke.


yet, such a huge impact on my life. I got off of the works treadmill, to rest gently in the Word.

Maybe I'll start counting...Reason #1; I'm Not Going Back

A couple of years ago I started reading through the Bible "in a year" - I'm more than halfway through!  I get off on tangents, buy and read related books, etc.

I've learned that getting through the Book is not as important as getting INTO the Book.

Anyway...a few months ago I discovered cozi.  It's an app that keeps an entire family up to date.  I use the free version (I get ads.)  But one email address and one password lets the whole family use the program.  I can use the PC to add to a list, I can use an iPhone or iPad, so can Tom.  Tom can add to the grocery list while I'm on my way to the store and his list will be there.  The advantage is that if it's not on the list, he can't complain if I don't buy it.

See?  a tangent.

I use cozi for my Scripture reading list.  You can make as many "to do" lists as you want and I have one for my Scripture reading list.  As I read a passage, I check it off.  Every month or so I add about 30 from my page, and delete the ones I've read.  My list is with me all the time, and I have my Bible app, so it is also.

Cozi has made it very easy for me to keep track of my reading schedule and every bit of paper I don't need to carry around is a good thing.



My reading for the day...

It struck me that in this chapter God, through the prophet Nathan, promised that the throne of David would last forever.

God's Word will not fail...

Even as we speak, the Son of sitting on the throne above, at the right hand of the Father...

"Before the Throne of God Above" (my version by Sojourn)

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Isaiah 40

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

and cry to her that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

A voice says, "Cry!"

And I said, "What shall I cry?"
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.