What a joy it is to join you for Week Two of our online Inductive Bible study on the Book of Philippians “That I May Know Him” by Kay Arthur and David Lawson.
Joy! Don’t you just love the sound of that word? Philippians is the epistle of joy! It is full of love and encouragement! We see this mirrored in Paul’s life behind bars. Paul paved the path for us toward a life of deeper joy. Although imprisoned, he is not concerned about his present circumstances. He prays for others with joy in his heart!
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Philippians 1:4 NIV
Is there really joy in suffering? We may not be beaten or thrown into a physical prison such as Paul, but we may be imprisoned by our circumstances. Paul could have easily become depressed, discouraged, and disillusioned. He could have wallowed in self-pity and despair, but instead he regarded his imprisonment as being appointed by God. And he writes from his prison cell to encourage others by considering it a privilege to pray for them and encourage them to “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
We, no doubt, will suffer many disappointments in this journey of life on earth, but we can use these opportunities as appointments from God.
Dis-appointments are His-appointments
God may place us in uncomfortable positions in life that feels like a prison cell, but when we place our faith and trust in Him by surrendering our hearts to Him, He begins His holy work inside us, and we become more and more into His likeness. And what greater joy is there serving others through God’s divine appointments to advance the Gospel.
“I want you to know, brothers (and sisters), that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.” Philippians 1:12
Paul’s passion was for others to discover eternal life through Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost would be…whether a prison sentence or a death sentence… Paul was on board. Like Paul, as believers in Jesus Christ, we need to look for ways to demonstrate our faith even during a trial, because this is how we exercise our faith muscles which helps us to stand firm, without fear of the unknown, knowing without a shadow of doubt that He is standing with us through the storm.
Kay Arthur writes in the Thought for the Week: “As we clearly saw in this week’s study, suffering is a gift from our Lord—a gift that accompanies salvation; therefore, it is something we are to expect.”
BIBLE STUDY TIP: Read through this short book of Philippians as if you just received this letter in your mailbox. Replace “you” with your name. This is God’s love letter to you.
DIGGING DEEPER: Write Chapter 2 of Philippians in your notebook or journal.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE FORTHCOMING WEEK:
- Join a Small Group and fellowship with your fellow Bible students.
- Complete your study of Week Three, “Taking Care of that Attitude!” Follow the instructions for the daily assignments.
- Pray before you begin your study. Ask your resident Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to open your heart to wisdom and understanding to learn His truths.
- Store in your heart Philippians 1:29 (Week Two, Day Seven). A “Store in Your Heart” form is located in “Files” in the Inductive Studies chat room.
- Do an online word study on “imprisonment” (Philippians 1:7) at http://www.blueletterbible.org. Record your findings on the Word Study Form located in “Files” in the Inductive Studies chat room.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR WEEK TWO (answer in small groups or post a comment below:
- Why does Paul believe his imprisonment has actually served to advance the gospel? (1:12)
- What does Paul mean when he says living here a little longer means more fruitful work? (1:22)
- Why is it important that believers stand firm “in one spirit, with one mind” (1:27)
- Why does Paul say it’s a privilege for believers to suffer for Christ? What does “suffering for Christ” mean in your life? (1:29)
- From reading Philippians 1, what do you learn about Paul and what it cost him to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ? What does it mean to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ today?