4. Joyous Perspective
Day One Study
1. Read Philippians 1:19-30. Remember that Paul is under house arrest in Rome, chained to a guard and that is the situation from which he writes this letter to the Philippians. What does Paul expect and hope will come out of his situation?
From the Greek: The Greek word translated “deliverance” here was used in different ways in the New Testament. It often meant spiritual deliverance—salvation, being born again. Here (v. 19) Paul used the word to refer to either the final stage of his salvation (cf. Romans 5:9) or future vindication in a Roman court. It seems unlikely that he had his release in mind since in the next two sentences he wrote of the real possibility of his near death. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary NT, p. 651)
2. Your Joy Journey: Thinking for a moment about your own life, what comes first to your mind when you think of some of your most “earnest” expectations and hopes for yourself? Are they anything like Paul’s? Explain your answer.
3. According to Philippians 1:19, though Paul is limited in his own abilities by his current chains, what are two elements that he knows are at work on his behalf?
4. Your Joy Journey: Does this help motivate and encourage you to pray differently on behalf of others? Explain your answer.
5. What is Paul’s great struggle/conflict in this passage?
6. What are the benefits and liabilities to each side of this struggle?
· To live:
· To die:
7. In your own words, what do you think Paul means in verse 21 when he says that “to live is Christ and to die is gain”?
8. Your Joy Journey: Taking time to meditate further upon this idea, write down two ways in which Paul’s statement (verse 21) could affect your life.
Think About It: Death had no terrors for Paul. It simply meant, “departing.” [See Philippians 1:23,24] Soldiers used this word; it meant, “to take down your tent and move on.” What a picture of Christian death! The “tent” we live in is taken down at death, and the spirit goes home to be with Christ in heaven. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-8.) The sailors also used this word; it meant, “to loosen a ship and set sail.” … But departure was also a political term; it described the setting free of a prisoner. God’s people are in bondage because of the limitations of the body and the temptations of the flesh, but death will free them. Or they will be freed at the return of Christ (Romans 8:18-23) if that should come first. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Joyful, p. 45-46)
9. Your Joy Journey: In Philippians 1:25, Paul reflects upon his own usefulness to the Philippians if he were to go on living. In your life as well, God has placed people who need you for their “progress and joy in the faith.” Who do you think some of these people are in your own life, or, with whom would you like to develop this kind of a relationship? Consider using some creative means to describe this in your life (drawing, poem, song, other).
10. Your Joy Journey: Read Hebrews 10:24, 25. What are some of the ways in which you currently help those around you to grow and have joy in their faith? Share your answers with your group in order to consider, encourage, and stimulate one another to love and good deeds.
Day Two Study
11. Read Philippians 1:19-30 again. Looking again at Philippians 1:27-30, write out three or four qualities which Paul encouraged the Philippians to continue to develop in their lives.
12. What do you think Paul means in verse 27 when he exhorts the believers to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”? (See John 13:14, 15; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 4:1-3 for help in answering this question.)
13. In Philippians 1:29, what has been “granted” to the saints?
14. Both of these seem to be presented as privileges. What do you learn (or are reminded of) concerning suffering from the following verses?
· Romans 8:16-18—
· 2 Corinthians 1:3-7—
· 1 Peter 3:14-17—
15. Your Joy Journey: How could this kind of mindset, in your current circumstances, make a difference in your life?
Think About It: Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of what life should be (i.e.: everyone will like me, life will always be good, I can find security in this world, etc.). The natural result of these unrealistic expectations is disappointment when we are confronted with life’s realities (insult, injury, rejection). We can certainly suffer if we hold onto these unrealistic expectations, but much of this kind of suffering is unnecessary and can be corrected by biblical thinking and perspective. Jesus Himself said that in this world we will have trouble, but we can still experience joy as we trust Jesus and walk in truth day by day.
16. Your Joy Journey: What do you learn from this week’s lesson that most helps to deepen your understanding of joy through living for Jesus?
Related Topics: Curriculum