Lesson 2-Introduction-June 24-July 1 The Big Picture

It really doesn’t matter whether it is the Eiffel Tower, a rose garden, or an elephant.  Standing back far enough to see the whole object is a very important thing to do.  The tower is far more than an amazing amount of iron lattice work or a stair case, isn’t it?  While a rose is a beautiful flower to see and to smell, looking at the whole garden helps you to understand the immense variety of color and beauty that there is when you have many rose bushes together in one location.  Rubbing the rough and wrinkled skin on the leg of an elephant would give you one impression which would be quite different from holding on to its large and floppy ear.  But to understand these impressions, one must stand back far enough to see the entire entity.

It really is no different when it comes to reading one of the epistles in the New Testament.  So, this week, as you take a look at the entire letter from Paul to the Philippians, you are going to prepare yourself in a very important way for the rest of the lessons which will focus on one section at a time.

For centuries letters have been an extremely personal and meaningful way to communicate.  Fascinating biographies have been written because the correspondence between two or more people was saved and through these carefully worded and thoughtfully written communiques, a life story can be extracted in amazing detail.

As you read the letter that Paul wrote to his dear friends and partners, you will learn a great deal about his life, his attitudes, his concerns, and his joys.  If you were going to summarize the letter, what would you say?  If you wanted to encourage someone to listen to the whole letter, how would you motivate them to do that?  If you were asked to write an article about Paul himself, what personal characteristics and values would you include?

Maybe you can read this letter out loud to someone, even if it is to the person in your mirror!

11 Responses to Lesson 2-Introduction-June 24-July 1 The Big Picture

  1. Thank you for this study; I am unable to attend the Tuesday’s
    bible study, so this fits perfectly in my schedule where I can be
    directed. I feel less disoriented in my study of the bible when I have a guideline. Thank you again.

  2. Love to hear from some of you as you take a look at the Book of Philippians. What stands out to you? What’s the important theme of the book?

  3. I love this book! It is full of encouragement and instruction. When things don’t go the way we had planned, Paul instructs accordingly. The verses that stood out to me are:
    Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”

    Philippians 4:8 “Finally brethern, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virture and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.”

    Philippians 4:11 “…..I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

    These verses are highlighted in my bible. When I need an attitude check (as I call it) I go to these verses.

  4. As I read this wonderful letter from Paul, I found myself feeling so grateful for the Philippians. It was because of their faithfulness and steadfastness that Paul was able to write this encouraging letter, that still impacts and encourages us today. I had to think about how my life will impact others who come long after me.

  5. Paul’s letter was very encouraging especially that I can tend to complain about situations, people, etc. Paul’s letter shows no matter what my situation I can rejoice, be prayerful because it’s not about me and it’s all about Jesus. A daily attitude check.

  6. The versus that will be my theme for the next 10 weeks are:

    2:3-4 – “Do nothing out of self ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
    2:14 – “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you become blameless and pure.”
    4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgivings, present your requests to God.”
    4:13 – “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

    My prayer for the next 10 weeks is to become less “me” focused and more “God and others” focused. Thank you all who have made comments so far. You are all an encouragement through this study.

  7. In reading the book of Philippians, I’m encouraged to remember that the true Joy in life is knowing Jesus Christ. That
    Joy is a gift that we sometimes forget to unwrap because we can’t see beyond ourselves.

  8. I like verse 6, Don’t worry about anything instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.
    Wow! how many times a day do we worry? How great it is that I can just give to God 24-7!!
    verse 7, Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
    Experiencing God’s peace is far more enjoyable than worrying!!! Peace be with you.

  9. I love reading about all Paul’s friends. It is so important for us to have fellowship with each other, especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It appears that Paul’s friends were an encouragement to him, as he was to them also.

    I also would like to know more about Epaphroditus. What a testimony he must have carried for the Lord Jesus after being sick to the point of death and having recovered.

  10. Thank you for suggesting we read at least two different translations. I first read my NASB and then The Message Bible. Here is an insight from The Message Bible that I received. Philipians 1:20-21 “They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.”

    • “Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.” I like that translation of the Bible, Denise.
      Gina and Sue, I too love Philippians 4: 4-9. Just have to remember to think about it more often!

      When reading the whole letter I was struck by Paul’s focus and incredible faith. Before his dramatic conversion he was a man of focus, zeal and faith, too, but without the humility and love that came with Jesus. I wonder if God picked him (created him) in order to use his traits, in order to use him as he was (only in a renewed way for His Kingdom). I guess all of us with our different personalities and abilities can be used by Him…just as we are.

      I have had some moments of joy reading the Bible (when you realize God’s love and care), but I had my first laugh out loud moment with an image from the Acts reading. I could just see this gal following Paul around constantly exclaiming, nonstop until he finally turns around with an exhausted, exasperated, eye-rolling look on his face and says,
      “Will…you…puleez…just…shut up!,…and come out of her!”
      Maybe it reminded me of myself and my boys and their friends when they were little and it was time for them to take their enthusiasm and go outside and play. : o

      Thank you for this study.

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