1. Read Philippians 1:1-11. How do Paul and Timothy describe themselves in verse one?
Think About It: “Don’t you find it amazing that a great leader like the apostle Paul and his right-hand man, Timothy, chose to evaluate and describe themselves as “servants” of Jesus Christ? The Greek word Paul uses for “servant” was doulos, which refers to a slave who had no will, no rights, and no possessions of his or her own. Instead, he was the possession of another…forever! A slave’s role in life was singular: to obey his or her master’s will quickly, quietly, and without question.” (Elizabeth George, Experiencing God’s Peace, p.20)
2. Your Joy Journey: When you introduce yourself to others, how do you describe yourself? Or, put another way, what are the top 3 or 4 words you usually use to tell people who you are? Do you think the words you choose to describe yourself reflect what is most important to you? Explain your answer.
3. To whom was the letter of Philippians addressed? Notice the words used in verse 1.
From the Greek: The word “saint” here literally means “holy ones” or “set apart ones,” and refers to any one who is a believer in Jesus Christ. (Acts 9:13,32; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1)
4. In Philippians 1:2, Paul writes of two spiritual blessings he desires to impart to the readers by writing this letter. What are these?
5. Read verses 3-8 again, taking time to think about and meditate upon the words Paul chose to express what was on his heart. How would you describe Paul’s attitude and feelings toward the people of the church of Philippi from these verses?
6. Your Joy Journey: Describe the relationships in which you participate or partner in God’s service, as Paul describes here.
7. Look again at Philippians 1:6. “Being sure of”/having “confidence” in someone or something is wonderful.
· Using a dictionary, define confidence.
· What are the reasons Paul gives in verse 6 for his confidence concerning the saints in Philippi?
8. Reading again and taking time to reflect upon Philippians 1:6, what do you learn (or are reminded) about the character of God?
9. How can having confidence in God, that is, the assurance of His willingness and His power to complete (NIV) or perfect (NET) His good work in our lives and in the lives of people we love, help to bring us contentment and joy? Explain your answer.
10. How could a lack of confidence in God (and His willingness or ability to work in people’s lives) rob someone of joy?
11. Read Philippians 1:1-11. Looking at Philippians 1:9-11, what is Paul’s first prayer request for the Philippians?
12. What are the two qualities he desires for them in this request?
13. Why are each of these qualities important in a Christian’s life?
14. What is the end result, for which Paul prays?
15. Your Joy Journey: Are you moved to pray any differently for your loved ones, after looking more deeply at Paul’s prayer here? Explain.
16. Twice in this passage Paul uses the phrase the “day of Christ Jesus.” Simply put, the “day of Christ Jesus” refers to the day when Jesus will return. (Luke 17:24-37, 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 contain references to this event if you wish to read further about it.) What did Jesus Himself say about this day? Look up John 14:1-3 and note what Jesus promised His followers.
17. Your Joy Journey: In the busyness and distractions of daily life, do you find yourself forgetting to remember that Jesus promised that He would return someday? How might recalling to mind that Jesus is coming again bring joy to your life?
18. Your Joy Journey: Looking back over Philippians 1:1-11, which one thought most brings joy to your heart? Explain your answer.