Colossians 1:24-2:7

  1. In 1:24-29, what dose Paul say about:
    (a) his sufferings (cf. Acts 9:15, 16),
    (b) his commission,
    (c) his them, and
    (d) the method, aim and inspiration of his ministry?
  2. 2:1-7. what is essential if Christians are to stand firm in the faith and not be misled?
    How can thy gain encouragement to continue and become more fully established?
    Do you (a) desire such progress for yourself, and
    (b) pray like this for others?

Notes

  1. 1:28. The false teaching suggested that full participation in Knowledge and consequent maturity was restricted to a select few. The gospel makes it possible ‘in Christ’ for all alike- for ‘everyone’.
  2. 1:29; 2:1. ‘Struggling’: a metaphor fore the Greek game, a word used again in 4:12 (translated as ‘wrestling’). It describes here earnest conflict, straining every never, in prayer.
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Colossians 1:1-23

  1. Of what blessing that God has made ours in Christ dose the gospel speak?
    What results did this gospel produce in the experience of the Colossians who heard it?
    Have I made as much progress as they had?
  2. In his prayer for the Colossians, for what further progress in the things of Christ dose the apostle ask?
    Carefully note the items in Paul’s prayer. In which of these directions do I most desire or need myself to make progress
  3. What is revealed in verses 15-20 concerning our Lord’s relationship to God, to creation, and to the Church? What practical effects should this revelation have on our Christian faith and life
  4. Verses 21-23. From what condition, at what cost, and with what goal in view has Christ recued us?
    What is required of those who desire fully to enjoy these benefits?

 

Philippians 4

  1. Note in detail how the believer’s relationship to the Lord should make a difference: (a) to their own condition, (b) to their attitude to circumstances, and (c) to their relationship to people. Note the importance of the mind and its right use; and note what God can do for our minds. Cf. Is. 26:3. Examine your own life to discover ways in which you can trust Christ to make you ‘different’.
  2. What teaching is implicit in this passage about: (a) the bond effected by Christian giving; (b) the need for regularity in it; (c) the way God looks at it; and (d) the way in which he repays it? Cf. Luke 6:38.

Notes

  1. Verse 5. ‘The Lord is near’: this may mean either that the Lord is close by, at their side (cf. Ps. 119:151), or that his coming is imminent.
  2. Verse 18. ‘A fragrant offering’, or an odour of a sweet smell’ (AV,RV): a phrase used in the Old Testament of acceptable offerings. Cf. Gen. 8:21; Lev. 1:9, 13; Eph. 5:2.

Philippians 3:12-21

  1. Verses 12-17. Once a person knows they are ‘saved’ or ‘justified’, what attitude should they adopt to life? Even after they have ‘grown up’ as a Christian and become ‘mature’, what concern should still dominate their thoughts? What are they never justified in doing? How in consequence ought I to be acting?
  2. Verses 18-21. What kind of outlook, interest and expectation should a Christian have, and why? By contrast, what kind of appetite and interest dominates some? What difference should the cross of Christ make to my daily life? Cf. Gal. 5:24; 6:14.

Notes

  1. Verses 12, 15. ‘Perfect’ or ‘mature’: the Greek word means ‘having reached its end’. It was used of persons who were full-grown or mature.
  2. Verse 20. The thought here is that Christians here on earth are a colony of heavenly citizens, just as the Philippians were proud to think of themselves as a colony of Roman citizens. Cf. Acts 16:12, 21.

Philippians 2:19-3:11

  1. What is said here or can be inferred about the character and career of Epaphroditus? Notice carefully how the two workers mentioned here personally exemplified the virtues considered under the previous study, i.e., they had the mind of Christ. Compare verses 20, 21 with 4, 5; and verses 29, 30 with 5-8. Examine your own life in relation to these standards.
  2. What phrase occurs three times in this passage and several other times in the letter? What clue does 4:2 give as to one reason for this repeated emphasis? Are our hopes for the future and our relationships under the same sway as Paul’s?

 

Paul now turns to another subject – possibly, as some think, resuming his writing after a break. His subject now is the essential character of the Christian life from its beginning in justification by faith to its glories consummation at the coming of the Lord; and how illustrates the theme from his own life.

  1. What three characteristics of the true people of God are given in verse 3? How far are they true of me?
  2. Examine carefully the reasons for ‘confidence in the flesh’ which Paul enumerates in verses 4-6. Are there not many churchgoers today who are relying for salvation on just such grounds as these? What, in contrast to all this, is the position of the true Christians? What choice does Paul show needs to be made in order to become one?
  3. Faith in Christ as the sole ground for acceptance with God led, in Paul’s case, to intense desire to know Christ; nothing else seemed to him of any value (verses 8, 9). Along what two lines in particular did he want a deeper knowledge (verse 10), and to what end (verse 11)?

Notes

  1. Verse 2. Note the emphatic ‘Look out’, repeated three times. A word meaning ‘incision’ or ‘mutilation’ is used here instead of ‘circumcision’, because the circumcision on which they insisted was harmful rather than helpful to spiritual well-being. Cf. Gal. 5:2-4; 6:12-15.
  2. Verses 3, 4. ‘Confidence in the flesh’:i.e., reliance on outward privilege and personal merit. ‘We are the true circumcision’: i.e., the true people of God. Cf. Rom. 2:17, 23, 28, 29

Philippians 1:27 – 2:18

  1. Make a list of the things: (a) to be desired, and (b) to be avoided in one’s life as a member of a company of Christians. Then pray, and by God’s grace determine, that these things shall be: (a) realized and (b) avoided in your own Christian fellowship. Note especially the direct connection between these things and witness to those who are not Christians.
  2. What two qualities of personal character and conduct are shown here to be supremely exemplified in the incarnation and the redemptive work of the Son of God? What ground have we for hoping to be able to have and to express the same qualities? How ought we to act in consequence?
  3. Why does disunity amongst Christians discredit the gospel? What does Paul teach here about: (a) the motive for unity, and (b) the power by which it may be achieved?

Note

2:6-11. It is generally thought that these verses are quoted here by Paul from an early Christian creedal hymn. It is worth committing this section to memory and exploring it in depth.

Philippians 1:1-26

  1. Verses 3-7. Why is the joy with which Paul remembers the Philippians remarkable? Cf. Acts 16:22; 1 Thess. 2:2. How had they made up for the treatment given to Paul at the start? What made him sure that they were now permanently on the right road?
  2. Verses 8-11. What twofold preparations for the return of Christ does Paul pray that the Philippians will make? Is it really they who are to make it? Cf. 2:12, 13. How will this preparation be reflected in their character and behavior? Express Paul’s petitions for them in your own words, and then use them in your own praying?
  3. Make a list of the places in the epistle where Paul stresses that he is writing to all the Philippian Christians. (See especially verses 1, 3, 7, 8.) Does any part of the letter suggest a reason for this?
  4. The things that had happened to Paul must have seemed calamitous to those who loved him. Why did he himself view the situation differently? What lesson about suffering may a Christian draw from Paul’s attitude
  5. What was Paul’s attitude as a Christian:
    (a) to life, and
    (b) to death? What were his reasons for choosing one rather than the other? What were his overriding concerns? Have you faced every possibility that lies before you in the same way.
  6. What temptation in Christian service is it clear from this passage that Paul steadfastly resisted? How had others succumbed? What kind of slant might their preaching have had in relation to Paul? In what shape does the same temptation come to us? What should be our chief reason for joy? Cf. John 3:25-30

 

Notes

  1. Verse 1. ‘Saints’: a name for the people of Christ as ‘holy’ or set apart for God’s possession and service.
  2. Verse 5. See 4:15, 16.
  3. Verse 6. ‘The day of Christ Jesus’: i.e., the coming day of his manifestation in glory, in the light of which the truth about men’s lives will be revealed. Cf. 2:16; 1 Cor. 1:7, 8; 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:9, 10.