The Book of Philippians.
In the study of this book written by Apostle Paul, we must thoroughly and painstakingly observe, we must note that patience and skill is required in sound doctrine.
A believer must never be in a hurry to say things pertaining to the teaching of the word, we must always ensure that what we teach is the truth and the whole counsel of God.
Like Rabbi ( Rev. Chris Olusegun Onayinka ), a man who has greatly influenced my thoroughness and properness in Bible interpretation would teach, and I coined this statement from all He has taught me;
"A sound teacher of the word must know that a subject by subject teaching is prone to error as people like to build ideas from references without usually honouring the context.
So, before getting used to subject studies in God's word, it is much more vital to learn the book by book study of the Bible".
Having said these important things, let us go on to understand how to carry out a proper study in the word.
2 Timothy 3:15-16
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
This very vital part of Paul's writing points our attention to the fact that all of Paul's teachings were from the writings of the old testament. These writings were what Paul used to form his teachings in the Epistles.
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
The revelation of Christ from the Scriptures for Paul was not spooky or strange, it came by simply studying the Scriptures.
Now, not everything from Genesis to Malachi was worthy to be used as doctrine because not everything in the Scriptures lined up with the character of God or the revelation of Christ's work.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Jesus points out that He was the essence of the Scriptures.
Hence, in Paul's study, He was able to thoroughly divide the Scriptures to bring out the truth concerning Christ's work, things concerning the character of God, instructions for the believer's walk in Christ.
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Paul instructs Timothy about the prerequisite for preaching as proper study, explanation and learning of the Scriptures.
1 Timothy 4:13
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Having settled this foundations, we must understand that even the things Paul taught in this book of Philippians were from God's character as it lines up with Christ's work which Paul studied from the old testament.
Peter in his epistle acknowledges the extent of Paul's wisdom in the study and explanation of the old testament.
2 Peter 3:15
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
The wisdom with which Paul wrote his epistles was from the standpoint of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Peter calls this salvation the long-suffering of God.
Hence, in explaining the book of Philippians we would learn to read with the proper understanding of God's character, the realities of Christ's sacrifice and the expressions of the life of God through the believer.
Let us go on to the chapters of Philippians.
The book of Philippians was written to the disciples in Philippi while Paul was in prison and around the times when the Church was passing through diverse persecutions.
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Now, it is vital to know that a Bishop is the same as an overseer, shepherd or a Pastor.
A Bishop is in NO WAY a higher title than a Pastor. Anyone who oversees men who are disciples of Christ in a place, at a particular time is a Bishop.
The deacon is the assistant. A deacon can either be young or old. The work of ministry is not "bound by age".
1 Timothy 3:8
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
When a man meets the prerequisites Paul gave, he can be appointed as a deacon.
In the Acts of the Apostles, they chose deacons;
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
They chose men who assisted the Apostles in welfare of the widows.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
The fellowship in the gospel simply speaks of believing the gospel. Fellowship is faith in Christ Jesus, a man comes into fellowship with the father once for all at salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us see Philippians 1'6;
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
The good work contextually is salvation, NOT academics or health. Paul is simply saying HE that saved you also keeps you forever.
Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
Being partakers of "his grace" here is what he is suffering for the Gospel's sake.
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
Paul points out in verses 8-10, that he keeps praying for the disciples he is writing to as touching their steadfastness even admidst all he was suffering for the Lord.
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
The word approve in verse 10 speaks of proving through knowledge and actions. Paul was pointing that the knowledge of God's word helps a man not to lose heart in the face of persecution.
Let us go on.
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
The fruits of righteousness is their joyful response to the adverse circumstances surrounding them.
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Paul encouraged them that the gospel was growing in leaps and bounds irrespective of his imprisonment.
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Paul established that all the challenges he faced in the preaching of the Gospel could not change his response of rejoicing.
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
The salvation Paul speaks of here is him being brought out of prison through the prayer of the saints, he calls their prayer the supply of the Spirit since the Spirit works through men.
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Paul states clearly things pertaining the assurance of salvation through the faith of Christ.
But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Paul says staying alive would help the hearts of the disciples to be further encouraged by the gospel through Paul.
And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
The word conversation here in verse 27 speaks of general conduct and character before men.
Paul instructs that they are of good character that lines up with the gospel, and stay firm in faith, not wavering or discouraged.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Paul points out that part of what we receive in Christ is suffering for the sake of Christ, hence he admonished the Philippians not to lose heart for the sake of persecution.
Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Paul says it is based on the reality of believing in Christ and suffering for his sake that he is in bonds.
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