Philippians Bible Study

An Intro to Philippians: Imitating Christ in a Counterfeit World

We’re gearing up to start our study of Philippians next week! Make sure you sign up to receive the {FREE} study materials (printable reading schedule bookmark, memory verse printables, and extra study resources) in your inbox! Also, like us on Facebook to join in on the daily conversations that will be going on there starting next week.  Philippians Bible Study

I am SO excited to study Philippians with all of you lovely ladies!

We’re going to discover how God earnestly desires that we be transformed into the image of Christ Jesus instead of buying the world’s lies about what really satisfies.

Last week I described what our time together will look like, including the study timeline and format. Today I want to give a little background for our reading, and encourage you to sign up for email updates to get all the free printables that come with this study. (If you’re already signed up to receive emails, there’s no need to sign up again; you will get them in your inbox automatically.)

Your Reading Plan

This week we will begin by surveying the book. Each day, Monday-Friday, take 10 minutes to skim the book, to get an overall impression of the content and feel of the book. I’ll admit, this is hard for me to do since I feel like I’m disrespecting God’s Word if I gloss over it, but remember that you’ll be spending ample time on each individual verse in the weeks to come. So 10 minutes divided by 4 chapters means 2.25 minutes per chapter. As you read

Interesting Facts about Philippians

Instead of listing all the facts in boring textbook format, I thought I’d present it to you in story format. This is all true-to-life, and I encourage you to look up the references if something seems incredible. (I was impressed by several things during my research, like the fact that Paul was imprisoned when he planted the Philippian church AND when he wrote the letter to them over 10 years later–yet he still writes about joy!)

  1. The Philippian church’s story (Acts 16): On their second missionary journey (49 CE), Paul and his companions wanted to go to modern-day Eastern Europe (maybe even ending up in Romania?). But “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:7). So instead, they travel to Troas (modern-day Turkey). Paul ends up in Philippi because he has a vision of a man asking him to come share the gospel with them (Acts 16:9-10). Once in Philippi, Paul and his companions went to the river, where they expected to find a place of prayer (because there was no synagogue). There they meet Lydia, the fashionista-businesswoman who invites them into her home, which eventually becomes the meeting place for the church. Paul and Silas are publicly beaten and thrown in prison for casting the demon out of a fortune-telling girl; there they have an impromptu worship service that shakes up the prison, save the jailer from suicide, baptize the jailer’s entire family in the middle of the night, and then go back to their prison cell. The city mayor changes his mind about Paul and Silas and tells them they’re free to go. Paul throws a fit and demands he receive a fair trial, as any Roman citizen deserves. (Public beating for a Roman citizen was illegal, let alone beating without a trial.) The mayor panics and sends his own guard to escort Paul and Silas from the prison to establish their innocence. The two return to Lydia’s house, encouraged the church there, and continued their journey West.
  1. The book contains no OT quotes. Philippi was a Roman colony, which may explain why there were not enough Jews to establish a synagogue. This would be why Paul started his evangelistic efforts at the river, striking up a conversation with Lydia, the businesswoman (Acts
  1. The letter’s background: Around 60-62 CE, the Philippians collected funds to help Paul in his mission and to express their love and partnership (4:17-18). They chose Epaphroditus and sent him to Paul (who was imprisoned) with their gift. While fulfilling his duty to deliver the gift to Paul, Epaphroditus contracted a life-threatening disease and almost died (2:27). During the time that he was recovering, he shared some of the problems that the church in Philippi was facing. Paul addresses these issues in his letter, including church unity (4:2), doctrinal purity (3:2-4, 17-19) , and spiritual maturity (2:1-4, 3:13-14, 4:6,13). Paul then sends Epaphroditus back to Philippi with the letter, promising to send Timothy to them soon (2:19) and hopefully visit them himself (3:24).
  1. The word “joy” appears 16 times in the book, giving it the reputation of “the New Testament letter of joy” among bible scholars.
  1. It contains one of the most profound Christological passages in the New Testament (2:5-11), believed to be one of the early church’s first hymns.
  1. I misspell “Philippians” every time I write it out. (Does anyone else naturally write it with two “l’s” instead of two “p’s”?

Things to do this week

  1. Survey the book of Philippians by skimming it every day. Write down anything that jumps out to you or seems interesting.
  1. Sign up to receive updates by email
  1. Like us on Facebook to engage in the daily conversations that will be going on.
  1. Invite a friend to join our study! (Invite them on Facebook, email them a link to this blog, or tweet that you’re looking for a study buddy!) Who do you know that needs the joy of the Lord in their life?
  1. Pray that the Lord prepares your heart to receive His Word and bear fruit in your life.


Image courtesy of Josh James.