As we study Philippians, we want to keep in mind that it portrays the life and experiences that should be a Christians, if he's living within the will of God. It is a very practical epistle. It was written to serve as a guide to us while we are living in this world. If you haven't done so already, I would highly encourage you to sit down and read through Philippians before you continue.
There are a number of different outlines on the book of Philippians, but my favorite is the outline of Dr. Merrill Unger, and that is the outline I will share with you.
The overall theme of the book is CHRIST IS ALL!
Chapter 1 teaches CHRIST is the JOY OF OUR LIFE. It emphasizes a spirit of evangelism, that deep desire to reach out, and share the good news of the gospel with others.
Chapter 2 shows us THE JOY OF CHRIST, OUR EXAMPLE. The spotlight here is on THE SPIRIT OF HUMILITY.
Chapter 3 is on THE JOY OF CHRIST, OUR GOAL. It speaks to us of a heart and mind that is CENTERED on HIM.
Dr. Munger entitles chapter four THE JOY OF CHRIST, OUR SUFFICIENCY. It teaches us what it is to have a CONFIDENT MIND, and a SPIRIT OF TRUST in the Lord.
Dr. Ironside points out that each chapter in Philippians presents Jesus Christ in a different way.
The joy that is spoken of in Philippians, is not the absence of pain, but the presence of God. I believe Paul would agree with what is written on a plaque that has hung for many years in my kitchen. "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God." The joy spoken of in Philippians is the result of an intimate and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Two recurrent themes run through Paul's writings. One is the theme, "IN CHRIST", and the other is the theme of "CHRIST IN YOU". In both Ephesians and Philippians, we find stressed the theme of living and abiding IN CHRIST. In Colossians, the theme stressed is "CHRIST IN YOU - THE HOPE OF GLORY."
The letter of Philippians begins with a salutation, "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints IN CHRIST JESUS at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons; Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." It is a letter written to Christians - to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Now, just a quick word about Timothy. He was just a boy when Paul, on his first missionary journey, visited his hometown. Both Timothy and his mother became Christians through Paul's preaching.
On Paul's second missionary journey, he chose Timothy to travel with him. From that time on, Timothy accompanied Paul or accepted special missions to distant churches. Timothy was very dear to Paul. Paul's last letter before he was led to a martyrs death, was written to Timothy. Timothy was well known to the Philippians.
Paul, who alone was divinely inspired in the writing of Philippians, graciously confers honor on Timothy by joining him to himself.
Paul and Timothy - BONDSERVANTS OF CHRIST JESUS.
This term, servants, literally translated from the Greek is BONDSERVANTS. It is a very interesting term.
It is a term of true Humility. United with the name of Christ Jesus, as we find it here, it is a title of great dignity. The word denotes dependence, obedience, and acknowledged ownership; but it has no implication of compulsory service or of servility. Rather, it clearly conveys that a choice has been made to serve. The word indicates INTENSE DEVOTION and WILLING OBEDIENCE.
In the Old Testament, this word was used as a word of highest honor. It was applied there to prophets, to messengers of Jehovah. In the New Testament, this word is used to refer to all Christians, to those who have willingly made the choice to serve Jesus Christ.
The highest honor we can ever attain in this life - the very highest position we can ever aspire to is this - to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul (certainly one of the greatest apostles and evangelists that ever lived) refers to himself, not as the leading pastor of the church, not as the chief evangelist, but as the BONDSERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST. What does this mean?
Join us for the rest of this lesson in a few weeks as we continue our study in Philippians! You can also watch this lesson under Bible Study videos here!