BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 17

Philippians - BibleProject

In this lesson, we will explore the book of Philippians, a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi. We will first examine the background and authorship of the letter before giving an overview of its main themes and literary features. We will then conduct a detailed analysis of each chapter in Philippians, focusing on the key messages and important verses. Finally, we will discuss the significance of Philippians in Christian theology and its impact on the church.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 17
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Philippians - BibleProject

I. Introduction

A. Background of Philippians

B. Authorship and Date

II. Overview of Philippians

A. Main Themes

B. Literary Features

III. Detailed Analysis of Philippians

A. Chapter 1

B. Chapter 2

C. Chapter 3

D. Chapter 4

IV. Significance of Philippians

A. Contributions to Christian Theology

B. Impact on the Church

V. Conclusion

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.

BP150-17 - Philippians

Paul's letter to the Philippians, the church in Philippi was the first Jesus community Paul started in Eastern Europe, and that story is told in Acts chapter 16. Philip II was a Roman colony in ancient Macedonia. It was full of retired soldiers, and it was known for its patriotic nationalism. And so there Paul faced resistance when he was announcing Jesus as the true king of the world. And after Paul moved on from there, those who became followers of Jesus continued to suffer resistance and even persecution. But they remained a vibrant community, faithful to the way of Jesus. Paul sent this letter from one of his many imprisonments, and for a very practical reason, the Philippians had sent one of their members a path for Titus to take a financial gift to Paul to support him in prison. And Paul sent back this letter with the path for Titus to say thank you and to do a whole lot more. The design of this letter doesn't develop one single idea from beginning to end. Like many of Paul's other letters, rather, Paul has arranged a series of short, reflective essays or vignettes, and they all revolve around the center of gravity in this letter, which is a poem in chapter two. It artistically retells the story of the Messiah's incarnation his life, death and resurrection and exaltation. And then in each of these vignettes, Paul will take up key words or ideas from that poem to show how living as a Christian means seeing your own story as a lived expression of Jesus's story. So Paul opens the letter with a prayer of gratefulness, and he thanks God for the Philippians generosity, for their faithfulness. And he expresses his confidence that the life transforming work that God has begun in them will continue into greater and more beautiful expressions of faithfulness and love. And Paul then focuses on their obvious concern at the moment, which is his status in prison. Being in a Roman prison was no picnic, but it paradoxically has turned out for good to advance the good news about Jesus. So all of the Roman guards, the administrators, they all know that Paul's in prison for announcing Jesus as the risen Lord and his imprisonment, its inspired confidence in other Christians to talk about Jesus more openly. And Paul's optimistic that he will be released from prison, But it's possible that he could be executed. And as he reflects on it, that actually wouldn't be so bad, because for me, Paul says, life is the Messiah. And so dying would be a gain for Paul. His life in the present and in the future. It's defined by the life and love of Jesus for him. And so if he's executed, that means he'll be present with Jesus, which would be great for him. And if he's released, well, that would mean he could keep working to start more Jesus communities, which would be better for other people. And so that's what he hopes for. And notice how his train of thought works here. Dying for Jesus is not the true sacrifice for Paul. Rather, it's staying alive to serve others. And so that's Paul's way of participating in the story of Jesus, to suffer in order to love others more than himself. Paul then turns to the Philippians, and he urges them to participate in Jesus's example by taking up the same mindset. He says Your life as citizens should be consistent with the good news about the Messiah. So these Christians, Philip II, they were living in a hotbed of Roman patriotism, but their way of life was to be shaped by another King Jesus, and that might bring persecution. But they are not to be afraid because suffering for being associated with Jesus, it's a way of living out the story of Jesus himself, which leads Paul into the great poem of chapter two. It's rich with echoes of Old Testament texts, specifically the story of Adam and his rebellion in Genesis one through three, and the poems about the suffering servant in the Book of Isaiah. This poem is worth committing to memory. It is a beautifully condensed version of the gospel story. So before becoming human, the Messiah preexisted in a state of glory and equality with God. And unlike Adam, who tried to seize equality with God, the Messiah chose not to exploit His equal status for his self advantage. Rather, he emptied himself of status. He became a human. He became a servant to all. And even more than that, he allowed himself to be humiliated. He was obedient to the Father by going to his death on a Roman execution rack. But through God's power and grace, the Messiah's shameful death has been reversed through the resurrection. And now God has highly exalted Jesus as the King of all, bestowing upon Him the name that is above all names, so that all creation should recognize that Jesus the Messiah is Lord to the glory of God, the Father. Now, that last statement is astounding. Paul's quoting from Isaiah chapter 45. It's a passage where all creation comes to recognize the God of Israel as Lord Paul's point. Here is very clear. In the crucified and risen Jesus, we discover that the one true God of Israel consists of God, the Father and the Lord Jesus. And so for Paul, this poem, it expresses His convictions about who Jesus is. And it does more. It offers the example of Jesus as a way of life that his followers are to imitate. And so that's why Paul immediately goes on to tell two stories first about Timothy, then about a paradise, because they are both examples of people living out Jesus's story. So Timothy is like Jesus because he's constantly concerned for the well-being of other people more than his own. And a part for Titus, who the Philippians sent with their gift, he ended up risking his life to serve Paul in prison. He got so sick he almost died trying to help Paul. But God have mercy on him and Paul by sparing him the loss of a friend. Paul's point here is that these are the kinds of people who are living, breathing examples of the story of Jesus, and they are worthy of invitation. Paul then turns to his own story as an example. So those Christians who had been demanding circumcision of non-Jewish Christians remember his letter to the Galatians. These people are still stirring up trouble for Paul, and they keep reminding him of his own past when he used to persecute Jesus followers, when he tried to show his right standing before God by his zealous obedience to the laws of the Torah. But like Jesus, Paul has given up all of that status and privilege. He now regards all of it as filth, and the word he uses is actually much less polite. He's given it all up to become a servant like Jesus, to participate in his suffering and sacrificial love. And he does all of it in the hope that Jesus's love will carry him through death and out the other side into resurrection. So Paul says that for followers of Jesus, their true citizenship is in heaven, which for Paul does not mean that we should all hope to get away from Earth and go to heaven one day. Rather, heaven is the transcendent place where Jesus reigns as king. And he says, We're eagerly awaiting our royal Savior to come from there and return here to bring his kingdom of healing, justice and transforming love to bring about a new creation. Paul then challenges the Philippians to keep living out the Jesus story. He first addresses two prominent women leaders in the church who worked alongside Paul. And they're in some kind of conflict. And so Paul pleads with them to follow Jesus's example of humility, to reconcile and become unified. Paul then urges the Philippians not to give in to fear, but despite their persecution, to vent all of their emotion and their needs to God, who will give them peace and that peace? Paul says it comes by focusing your thoughts on what is good and true and lovely. There's always something that you could complain about, but a follower of Jesus knows that all of life is a gift and can choose to see beauty and grace in any life circumstance which leads Paul to his conclusion. He again thanks the Philippians for their sacrificial gift, and he wants them to know that his imprisonments, that his times of poverty, that these are not true hardships for him. They've actually become his greatest teachers, showing him that no matter his circumstances, he has learned the secret of contentment. It's simple dependance on the one who strengthens him. Paul has come to see his own suffering as a participation in the story of Jesus. The letter to the Philippians gives us a unique window into Paul's own heart and mind. He saw his entire life as a reenactment of the story of Jesus. And you can sense in this letter his close connection to Jesus. His awareness that Jesus love and presence is closer than his own skin. And that's what gave him hope and humility in his darkest hours. And so Paul shows us that knowing Jesus is always a deeply personal, transforming encounter. That's the kind of Jesus that Paul invites others to follow. And that's what Paul's letter to the Philippians is all about.