If you had ordered a marble bust of your favorite hero in ancient Greece, you would have taken it outside before paying for it. Why? In those days some sculptors used clear wax to repair flaws in their craftsmanship. Rather than making a new piece if he accidentally chipped off the ear lobe, a dishonest craftsmen would use wax to stick it back on. Indoors, this wax was invisible until it melted. So, you would take the bust out into the sunlight to inspect it carefully for any imperfections. When you were satisfied that it was sincere, or without wax, you would pay with confidence that you had a piece that was genuine. In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul prays that the Christians in Philippi would be sincere. That they would be so genuinely like Christ people could inspect them closely and find nothing fake. Learn more in today's study about the Christian life that brings glory to God and stands up to inspection …
Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding as you study this passage, and ask Him to change you to be more like Jesus Christ through it.
Read Focus Verses
Read Philippians 1:9-11.
Today's passage is part of the introduction to this book. Read the whole introduction: Philippians 1:1-11.
How would you describe what is happening in verses 9-11?
Who is praying?
For whom is Paul praying?
What does Paul pray for these Philippian Christians in verse 9?
What does Paul pray for them in verse 10?
What else does Paul pray for these Christians in verse 11?
What kind of love does Paul want God to give these Christians?
What things does Paul want these Christians to approve?
Until when does Paul ask that these Christians be kept sincere and without offense?
What is the result of the fruits of righteousness he wants these Christians to have?
Keyword - Pray
Marking the word pray will help you remember the theme of these verses.
Pray, Prayer, Supplication
Mark the word pray in verse 9.
Keywords - Requests
Mark the key word or phrase of each request in this prayer to help each of them stand out to you.
Mark the key word or phrase of each request in Philippians 1:9-11.
Looking at the structure and wording of the passage, which of these requests is the main request which paves the way for each of the others?
Look back at Philippians 1:3-5 to see what Paul says about praying for these believers.
What do these verses tell you about Paul's prayer for these believers?
Starting with Love
Matthew 22:37-40 can help us understand why Paul starts with love.
The Greatest of These
1 Corinthians 13:13 also explains love's importance.
Why did Paul start with love?
What does verse 9 in today's passage indicate about the current state of their love?
More and More
In 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 Paul prays for love for other Christians who also already love.
1 Corinthians 15:58 talks about abounding in what is good.
Why does Paul pray that Christians will abound more and more in love - even more than at present?
What does this teach us about how Christians should pray for each other?
Love in Knowledge
What is the connection between love and knowledge?
Knowledge of Christ
2 Peter 3:18 mentions one aspect of knowledge that a Christian's love should be informed by.
Knowledge of His Will
Colossians 1:9-13 speaks of another kind of knowledge Christians should seek.
What kinds of knowledge should inform a Christian's love?
What is the connection between love and discernment?
Word of God
Hebrews 4:12 tells us what is the ultimate discerner.
What is the best way to learn discernment considering Hebrews 4:12?
Love and Discernment
Romans 12:9 also connects the ideas of love and discernment.
Approving What Is Excellent
Isaiah 7:15 speaks of the Lord Jesus learning to approve excellent things in His childhood.
Amos 5:14 speaks of seeking for good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 commands Christians to test things so that they can approve what is excellent.
Romans 12:1-2 sheds light on how a Christian can learn to approve what is excellent in God's sight.
Learning to Approve
How can a Christian learn to discern and approve the things that God considers excellent?
Scripture speaks of sincere faith and love often. Notice one of the examples of sincerity it gives us in 2 Timothy 1:2-5.
What does it mean to have sincere, unfeigned, genuine faith?
In the next chapter, Philippians 2:14-16, the Lord explains one of the ways His people can live so that they will not cause offense.
In James 3:2 we see the thing that is most likely to cause offense.
What are some things Christians should be careful about so that they don't give offense?
1 Corinthians 10:31-32 tells us why Christians should be so careful not to give offense by their lives.
According to the Bible, why should Christians be so careful not to give offense?
Offense of the Gospel
In Galatians 5:11 Paul says that preaching the gospel of salvation without works offends some people.
If the gospel offends some people, why should Christians be so careful not to add offense through their lives?
Until He Comes
Jude 1:24-25 tells us who is able to keep Christians blameless until Christ's coming.
The Bible often uses the analogy of bearing fruit for the Christian life. This post explains what it means for a Christian to be filled with the fruits of righteousness.Click To Visit Website
Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 lists some of the fruits of righteousness and tells us who works them in a Christian.
What are some of the fruits of righteousness in a Christian's life?
Who works this fruit into a Christian's life?
Ephesians 2:8-10 explains the role of Jesus Christ in a fruitful Christian's life.
The Father's Glory
Notice how John 15:8 builds on the idea that God is glorified when His people are fruitful.
In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says people will glorify God when His people do the good works He plans for them.
Do All To God's Glory
1 Corinthians 10:31 turns Paul's final request into a command.
Living for God's Glory
Revelation 4:11 explains why God is worthy of the glory in His people's lives.
Why Be Fruitful?
Why should God's people be filled with the fruits of righteousness?
God Is Glorified
How is God glorified when His people do what is right?
How do all of these aspects of Paul's prayer work together to allow a Christian to live a sincere life - one that will glorify God and stand up to inspection?
In Your Words
Rewrite the prayer from today's passage in your own words.
In what areas of your life does God want your love to abound more and more in knowledge and discernment today?
Are there things God calls good that you struggle to also call good? Are there things God calls evil that you have been calling good? How are you going to begin agreeing with God about them today?
How are you going to spend more time in Scripture so that you can become a better discerner of what God calls excellent starting today?
What good works has the Lord planned for you today? How are you going to make sure you walk in them so that He will be glorified in you today?
We hope this study has challenged you to live a sincere Christian life full of love and good works that will bring glory to God and stand up to inspection.
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