Welcome to our study of the book of Philippians. Philippians is actually a letter written to the Christians in Philippi, a place that Paul visited on his second missionary journey. Interestingly, it was named after Philip of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great.
This letter has a very informal tone, giving the impression that Paul was close to the people there. It is clear these believers have a special place in his heart.
Philippians is a favorite book for many because of its emphasis on joy, mixed with an uplifting and encouraging tone. This is pretty amazing considering it was written by Paul while he was in prison. These four chapters show us that the power of the Lord has the ability to make us rise above our circumstances and experience joy, contentment, and love for others. Speaking of joy, did you ever sing the song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…”? It’s a children’s Sunday school song, and whenever I read Philippians this song pops into my head.
Joy is a dominant theme in this letter. Since Paul mentions it about 17 times, it is something that deserves our great attention. How is it possible to have deep joy in the midst of overwhelming sorrow and suffering? Paul is not only a great example to us, but he also points us to the answer. Philippians has 104 verses and Jesus is mentioned directly or indirectly 51 times. That says a lot about what the ultimate theme of this book is. In the end, Paul will teach us that greater than joy is Jesus: the Author of our joy.
Without Jesus, there is no salvation, and therefore no lasting joy. Without Jesus, there is no way to overcome our circumstances, to love people who are hard to love, to reconcile, to forgive and to live godly lives.
Augustine said, “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; Where your treasure is, there is your heart; Where your heart is, there is your happiness.”
Let’s open our Bibles and seek to better know our Savior and the joy he offers to those who follow him.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”- John 15:11
Friends, join us on Monday as we begin reading through the book of Philippians these next 4 weeks! Grab your journal here and join us!
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