Tag Archives: Philippians

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from PHILIPPIANS about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the book of Philippians say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the book of Philippians? We find that —

Ch. 1 – But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.

Ch. 2 – Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (the Spirit?)

Ch. 3 – Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

So, what do we learn about God the Holy Spirit from this incredible epistle to the Philippians?

1. We learn in chapter 1 that we can rejoice when Christ is preached. But Paul is confident that what has happened to him will turn out for his deliverance because of two factors: (1) the prayers of the Philippians; and (2) God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. God provides His Spirit to encourage us when we are in dire circumstances.

2. Also in chapter 1 we see that we are to be united in Christ, and to stand firm in the one Spirit as we strive together for the faith of the gospel.

3. We can impact the joy of other Christian workers IF we are like-minded because there is a common sharing in the Spirit.

4. The fourth reference is a bit of an interpretation, but we read that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” The primary member of the Trinity who strives to bring about sanctification in our lives is the Spirit of God.

5. The last reference to the Spirit of God in the epistle to the Philippians is in chapter 3. Paul warns these believers about the evildoers, the “mutilators of the flesh,” who boast in their flesh, not in the Lord Jesus. He refers to the true believers as “we who serve God by his Spirit.”

May the Lord guide each of us to appreciate the presence and work of God the Holy Spirit in our lives. Today!

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Posted by on October 3, 2019 in The Holy Spirit


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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 1 (Introduction)

Friends: I have been going through, chapter by chapter, the amazing epistle of Paul to the Philippians. This is an online Bible study that my friend Frank and I are doing. He lives in New Jersey among the pagans. I live in South Carolina — among the religious pagans! And we have been reading one chapter of Philippians each day for a week then sharing some of our thoughts with each other. [Might I suggest you consider doing the same with a book of the Bible and a friend who lives at some distance?].

I have often heard that the book of Philippians focuses on JOY. That term in the Greek is Χαρα in a variety of forms. In this study we will look at each of the sixteen uses of that term (and its variants) to answer the question: How do we find deep joy in this sad, shallow world? [Yes, thus begins my effort at writing another book. What can I say? I’m retired!].

By way of introduction, we must say that our world lacks real JOY. For many, their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness seems empty and unsatisfying. Happiness, as someone once said, depends on happenings. True JOY is quite different, as we will see.

There are various definitions of JOY which have caught on in Christian crowds. I think the oldest I’ve heard is JOY is JESUS/OTHERS/YOU. There’s a lot of truth to that one. Recently someone said to me that JOY is JESUS and YOU with NOTHING (“0”) in between. That one’s clever.

How would you define JOY? What one question would you want this study to answer — if we could? [Please take a moment and add your comment below. Otherwise I might start to think that I’m the only one reading my blog posts and that is just, well, sad.] Have a joyful day.



Posted by on April 22, 2019 in joy


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #38 (the Epistle to the Philippians)

What a privilege to have God’s Word — and to able to read it! Most of the books of the Bible can be profitably “unit-read,” which means to read straight through the book without stopping.

We are so addicted to chapter and verse divisions, aren’t we? There might be some versions of the Bible out there without chapter and verse divisions, but I don’t know of any.

Today’s book is Philippians. Here are Screenshot 2016-02-24 07.57.48my notes:

There are many takeaways from this wonderful letter, but let me give you only one:

My takeaway:  I want to boast in the Lord and in the Lord’s people without reservation and without hesitation!

Screenshot 2016-02-24 08.02.47

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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in unit-reading


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #28 (the book of Philippians)

Soooo — How’s it going with UNIT-READING?  Are you unit-reading (= reading the whole book at one sitting) any books of the Bible?  I believe there are some advantages to doing so.  I would love to hear what books you have unit-read.

Today’s book is the wonderful epistle of Philippians.Screenshot 2016-01-31 07.48.34

There is much in this epistle on JOY, isn’t there?  JOY can be contagious — and every believer ought to show the joy of the Lord.  True, we have different personalities, but some evidence of a joy of the Lord ought to mark every believer.

How do you express your joy in the Lord?  Do you enthusiastically greet the people who serve you in Starbucks or wherever?  Are you friendly and kind to strangers.  Would others say that your joy is infectious (in a good way)?

One Takeaway:  Today I want to show the joy of the Lord in my words, face, and actions!

Screenshot 2016-01-31 08.00.19

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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in unit-reading


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