Posts by Bruce Pratt

Philippians – Lesson 11

We come to the end of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. But the letter goes out on a strong note. Paul spends several verses of Scripture thanking the people of the church at Philippi for their gift. He makes it clear that his thankfulness is not driven by need. Instead, he sees the gift as an offering to God. This gift will allow Paul to continue the work of the gospel, and for that he is pleased. He knows that…

Philippians – Lesson 10

The unrest hinted at earlier in the letter to the Philippians finally comes to light in the first part of this installment of our study. We still do not know the actual problem causing strife, but it seems to be a disagreement among leadership. Paul asks those involved as well as others to resolve the issue and move on. He then goes on to give a number of instructions which will result in the Philippians experiencing Christ’s peace and provision.…

Philippians – Lesson 9

In lesson nine the apostle Paul draws a stark distinction between two groups of people. He first describes those he calls “enemies of the cross of Christ.” These people are a threat to the Philippians as well as the church today. They are focused on worldly pleasures and make their desires their gods. Then Paul writes about those who live godly lives. He makes sure the believers in Philippi know that these people are the ones to watch and imitate.…

Philippians – Lesson 8

This lesson continues the section of the letter to the Philippians begun in the last session. There Paul had rehearsed some of his past resume to show the fruitlessness of a life driven by self-righteousness. Now, in Philippians 3:12-16 he explains that he will not be trapped by his past, good or bad. Instead Paul is driven forward by his desire to draw ever closer to Jesus Christ. He then challenges all mature Christians to join him in a single-minded…

Philippians – Lesson 7

In this lesson we begin the second half of the book of Philippians, focusing on chapter 3, verses 1 through 11. Paul begins this section warning the church at Philippi about the threat of false teachers. He uses very colorful language to portray these men who would desire to put the people under the bondage of the law. Paul then uses his former success as a rising star in Jewish religious circles to show the worthlessness of self-righteousness. He goes…

Philippians – Lesson 6

The latter part of Philippians chapter 2, from verses 19 through 30, can be easy to overlook. There isn’t nearly the amount of theological material here as there is in most of the rest of the book. Instead, this section deals with the movement of people from Rome to Philippi and back again. But don’t be tempted to just dismiss this as just administrative matters. These verses give us a vivid picture of the early church’s missionary endeavors and the…

Philippians – Lesson 5

As the apostle Paul winds down the section of his letter to the Philippians which began in 1:27, he first encourages them to “work out” their own salvation. This has been misunderstood over the years as the need for us to work for our salvation. This is in fact impossible. Only Jesus can save us from our sinful selves. Working for our salvation means depending on God to lead us in making our salvation fully operational. The balance of this…

Philippians – Lesson 4

Having instructed the church in Philippi to be of one mind and to put others first, Paul now gives his readers the perfect example of this. As we continue our study on Philippians, “Striving Together,” we turn to a powerful section of Scripture. Philippians 2:5-11, known as the “Kenosis Passage,” presents Jesus as the prime example of someone who put others first in His life. Jesus left the glory of heaven and voluntarily became not just a human, but a…

Philippians – Lesson 3

This third lesson in our series on Philippians, “Striving Together,” begins with Paul describing what it means to be a good citizen in God’s kingdom. This isn’t a discussion about our eventual heavenly destination, but what living for Jesus Christ during our earthly lives entails. At the core of our shared citizenship through the local church is the need for unity. Paul explains the conditions for unity in the first verse of chapter two. He then asks his original recipients…

Philippians – Lesson 2

In the second installment of “Striving Together”, our Bible study on the book of Philippians, we first discover the effect that Paul’s imprisonment has been having on both Christians and non-believers in Rome. He then explains that not everyone who is preaching the gospel there has the same motivations. This is no concern to Paul, who maintains an eternal perspective. We then look at the real internal challenge Paul has with whether it would be more beneficial for him to…
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