Setting

Paul has ended his exhortations to the Philippians. He now closes the letter with some personal notes. He expresses his gratitude for their love and generous support. But he also makes it clear that his ministry is not profit-driven. Rather, he has everything he needs through the power of Christ. Finally, he concludes the epistle with greetings and benedictions.

Key Verse

(4:13)

Did You Know...?

1. Macedonia (4:15): “The northern part of modern-day Greece, where Berea and Thessalonica, as well as Philippi, were located.” [ref]
2. Caesar’s household (4:22): These were “not blood relatives of the emperor, but those employed (slaves or freedmen) in or around the palace area” [ref]

Outline

  • Joy because of Their Care and Gift
    (4:10-20)
  • Final Greetings
    (4:21-23)

Segment Analysis

  • 4:10-23

    1.

    In which verses does Paul speak mainly about himself? What does he say about himself?

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    11-13.

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  • 2a.

    What does Paul say in this passage about the believers’ care for him?

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    Their care for him has flourished again (10). They care for him even in his distress (14). They care for him time and again (16).

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  • 2b.

    What can we learn from the Philippians in our care for others?

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    Our care and concern for others should be continuous and abound more and more.

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  • 3.

    Did Paul rejoice because his needs were met? Explain the reason for his joy.

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    Paul makes it clear that his joy does not reside in material sufficiency (11-12). He rejoices because the Philippians are bearing fruit that abounds to their account (17) and that their giving is in fact an acceptable sacrifice to God (18).

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  • 4a.

    What causes discontentment? Are you discontented with your life right now?

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    Discontentment is often the result of unfulfilled desires rather than true need. That is why even the rich and famous are discontent. Discontentment is also a reflection of inner emptiness, which no material abundance, physical pleasure, or human relationship can fill.

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  • 4b.

    How can we be always content, even when we are abased, hungry, or in need?

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    1. Remember that we already have the best possession—eternal life. Why should we be discontent? Not only so, with Christ in our lives, we can enjoy spiritual blessings that the world does not know.
    2. Count our blessings and be always thankful for what we have rather than lust for things that we don’t have.
    3. Do not seek for things beyond basic necessities (Mt 6:31-33; 1Tim 6:6-7).
    4. Even if we have difficulties in life that we cannot remove, we should rejoice and trust that the Lord knows what we can bear, that sufferings can benefit us, and that His grace is sufficient for us (1Cor 10:13; 2Cor 12:7-10).

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  • 5.

    Paul uses the word “learned” twice (11,12). What does this indicate about achieving contentment?

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    Contentment comes by learning. As we continue to develop our trust in the Lord, and as we experience more and more of God’s grace and provisions, our contentment will also grow.

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  • 6a.

    What does Paul mean by “I can do all things”?

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    Doing all things means being able to transcend all circumstances and stand firm in Christ. This ability is not the ability to change our surroundings but the inner strength to accept and live with any situation that God has placed us in.

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  • 6b.

    What does it mean for us to do things “through Christ”?

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    Exchange our self-confidence for faith (1Cor 2:4). Exchange our will power for God’s power (Phil 2:13). Exchange our weakness for God’s strength (Mt 11:28-30). Live a Christ-centered life everyday and rely not on our own understanding. Learn to depend on God through prayer and studying His Word. Through the Lord’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can always stand tall and be victorious.

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  • 6c.

    Think of a personal experience in which you found sufficiency in Christ’s strength.

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  • 6d.

    Have you learned to be content in Christ?

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  • 7.

    Who benefits the most from the Philippians’ gift?

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    The Philippians themselves (17-19).

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  • 8.

    What are the correct motives and attitude in giving?

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    When we help those in need, we should give as if we are doing it for the Lord (Prov 19:17; Mt 25:34-40). Thus, we ought to give cheerfully and not expect any favors in return (2Cor 9:7; Lk 14:12-14). When we give financial support to the ministry, we should do so with a heart of repaying the Lord’s love and out of our concern for the people who will benefit from the ministry.

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  • 9.

    Why is the Philippians’ gift to Paul a sweet-smelling aroma and acceptable sacrifice to God?

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    They supply for Paul’s needs out of their concern not only for Paul, but ultimately for the Lord’s work. Therefore, their gift is a sacrifice to God that is fragrant and acceptable.

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  • Final Thoughts

    10.

    How has this epistle changed your attitude and values in life? Meditate on the teachings you have gathered from the study of this book and think about what changes you can make to your life today.

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