NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 79
P h i l i pp i a n s
Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer
3Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4Whenever I pray, I make my requests
for all of you with joy, 5for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about
Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6And I am certain that God, who began
the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day
when Christ Jesus returns.
7So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place
in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and
in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8God knows how much I love
you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
9I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing
1 Cor 1:8
2 Cor 7:3
1 Thes 3:12
Philippi sat on the
Egnatian Way, the
route in Macedonia
and an extension
of the Appian Way,
which joined the
readers of what they already possessed—an inexhaustible treasure of
God’s daily presence in their lives. With the high value people tend to
place on things like power and wealth, grace and peace may appear
insignificant in comparison. But they convey the wonderful way God
interacts with us. Thank God for his grace to live in a world unfriendly
to the Good News and the peace to deal with the pressures of life
1:4-5 The Philippians had first heard the Good News about ten years
earlier, when Paul and his companions had visited Philippi during Paul’s
second missionary journey and founded the church there.
1:4 Paul uses the word joy many times in this letter. He remembered the
Philippians with joy and thanksgiving whenever he prayed. By helping
Paul, they were helping Christ’s cause. The Philippians were willing to
be partners with Paul in whatever God wanted them to do. When others
think about you, what comes to their minds? Do they think of you with
joy? Do your acts of kindness make them happy and thankful?
1:5 When Paul said that the Philippians were his partners in spreading
the Good News, he was remembering how they gave him practical
help when he was in Philippi and contributed financial support when
he was in prison. As we help our ministers, missionaries, and evangelists
through prayer, hospitality, and financial gifts, we become their partners
in spreading the gospel message.
1:6 God initiated our salvation, continues his transforming work in us
throughout our lifetimes, and will finish it when we meet him f ace-to-
face. God’s work for us began when Christ Jesus died on the cross in
our place. His work in us began when we first believed. Now the Holy
Spirit lives in us, enabling us to be more like Christ every day. Paul is
describing the process of becoming more like Jesus that began when
we accepted him and will continue until we are united with him forever.
1:6 Do you sometimes feel as though you aren’t making enough prog
ress in your spiritual life? When God starts a project, he completes it!
As with the Philippians, God will help you grow in grace until he has
completed his work in your life. When you are discouraged, remember
that God won’t give up on you. When you feel incomplete, unfinished,
or distressed by your shortcomings, remember God’s promises and
provision. Don’t let your present, imperfect condition rob you of the
joy of knowing Christ Jesus or keep you from growing closer to him.
1:7-8 Have you ever longed to see a friend with whom you share fond
memories? Paul had a longing like this to see the Christians at Philippi. His
love and affection for them was based not merely on past experiences
but also on the unity that comes when believers draw upon Christ’s
love. All who follow him become part of God’s family and thus share
equally in the transforming power of his love. Do you feel a deep love
for fellow Christians—friends and strangers alike? Let Christ’s love for
you motivate you to look at other Christians through the eyes of Jesus
and to express his love in the way you treat them.
1:7 When he mentions his imprisonment, Paul was probably referring
to his imprisonment in Philippi (see Acts 16:22-36). In Philippians 1:1314, Paul speaks of his Roman imprisonment. Wherever Paul was, even
in prison, he faithfully preached the Good News. Remember Paul’s
inspiring example when hindrances, small or large, slow down your
journey with God.
1:9 Often the best way to influence other people is to pray for them.
Paul’s prayer for the Philippians was that they would be unified in love.
Their love was to result in greater knowledge of Christ and deeper under
standing (moral discernment). Their love was not based on feelings but
on what Christ had done for them. As you grow in Christ’s love, your
heart and mind must grow together. Are your love and insight growing?