Tag Archives: 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.

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...

I carefully read Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Read that middle part:

for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists...

Doesn't that seem obvious?  Yet, that's exactly what it says.

"...He exists..." - ἐστί - third person singular, "to be" - He IS.

And yet...(even as I write this the connection hits me)

First person singular:  I AM.  And the Old Testament statement that comes to mind...

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" (Exo. 3:14)

"I AM" -  הָיָה (hayah) - "to be".

It's such an odd statement - in order to get close to somebody you seek, you must believe that it exists.  Well...um...yes.

But if you but the "HE IS" alongside the Old Testament "I AM" , is it possible that the Hebrews passage is telling us that if we want to draw near to God, we must first come to the conviction that we stand before the "GREAT I AM", justified by grace, through faith.

Not the fluffy "feel good", "love is never having to be told I'm wrong" Jesus that we find too often in today's "theology lite".

No...the I AM who spoke creation into existence, the Father who gave His Son, the Son who died and the Spirit who convicts us of sin draws us.

In order to get close to God"...we have to believe in "I AM".

I just read the letter to the church as Ephesus again.

...For he himself is our peace...

Christ is our peace, if we look anywhere else, we won't find it.

...He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near....

Christ is our peace and He came to preach peace and He sends us to preach peace. Not peace with the world, but peace with the Father, because it is only through the Son that we can reach the Father.

...I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power.

Paul was a servant of the gospel...yes, and a slave to Christ. For him, his position of servant and slave was a position of strength, not weakness.

When Paul wrote this letter, he was in prison for preaching the gospel, and he kept right on preaching. He was no wimp. He was a strong leader and he was a devoted servant.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:12,13)


I've not read reading blogs with  much interest...but here are a few links for lunes.


Back to the Bible.

I have Morning and Evening (Spurgeon) sent to my email box each day.  I also now subscribe to a monthly Bible study.  There are a few devotional choices and other things to pick from.


Vibram Shoes.

weird but like walking barefoot.  There's a learning curve to getting them on.  But really, really comfy.


The Road Not Chosen.  (I read this in google's blog feed...a blog well worth reading.)

from the dictionary

Ruthless (def) without pity or compassion; cruel; merciless. (That is the dictionary definition. I didn’t make it up to push a political point.)

Pragmatism (def) a philosophical movement or system having various forms, but generally stressing practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning, truth, or value.

From President Obama

(...)What I’ve been constantly searching for is a ruthless pragmatism when it comes to economic policy(...)

The author says,

When I read this today I thought of the Roman Christians in 165AD. When plague swept the country, the Roman’s, who thought illness was caused by evil spirits,  left the sick to fend for themselves, not wanting to risk the spirits attacking them. While this is an understandable human response during that time, the Christians had other ideas. They took care of the sick and dying. They were more concerned with treating people with dignity and compassion, risking death themselves, rather than going the “ruthlessly pragmatic” way of the Romans.

None of us, even the Congress or the President, really knows what the consequences of the Health Care bill will end up being. No one knows what form it will eventually take. No matter what happens we have to remember that as Christians we are called to follow the example of Christ in all we do. The Church today could do a much better job caring for today’s infirm and dying. Perhaps we should be practically showing compassion now so that if things get more dire, we will be experienced at meeting the needs of a sick and dying humanity.


and a facebook app (a helpful one...really)

This is where you can upload a photo and they will send you a "virtual weightloss" photo to help you visualize what you'll look like when you weigh a few pounds less.