This overview lesson will involve more reading and time devoted to the text than the other lessons in the study. But, reading through the entire letter of Philippians (only 4 chapters long in our Bible form) is the best way to see the entire message and get the “big picture” before we divide it into smaller pieces to enjoy it more slowly.
1. Read the letter to the Philippians as it was intended … a letter from one dear friend to another; read at one sitting.
2. Read the letter a second time. As you read the letter this time, highlight the words and phrases listed below that represent common themes in the letter.
· “Joy”, “rejoice(d)(s)”, and “glad”
· “Christ” or “Christ Jesus”
· References to unity (i.e.: one mind, same, united, harmony, etc.)
3. How often does Paul express joy in his letter?
4. How often does Paul mention Jesus Christ?
5. How often is unity emphasized?
6. How often does the word “gospel” occur?
7. What other common themes do you observe?
8. What do you learn about the Philippians?
9. What do you learn about Jesus Christ?
10. What do you learn about Paul?
11. Your Joy Journey: Now read the letter again as if it were written directly to you, because it is!! (Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:16) What is Paul specifically teaching you today?