The Letter To The Philippians, Part 3

Philippians 1: 20-26
Let’s begin today’s devotional with something a bit new, and before we do, I should confess that this is not an original idea to me.  This strategy is an adaptation of an approach to reading scripture I learned from Beth Moore.  I hope you find it fruitful.

  • Read Philippians 1:20-26 and consider the following:
  • Did you notice anything in this set of scripture you have never noticed in the Bible before?
  • Did you read any familiar verses? Which ones?
  • Were any of the verses you read particularly meaningful to you today? Why?

Paul begins the portion of Philippians we are studying today with the phrase “eagerly expect and hope.”  The Greek word translated expect is the word apokaradokia, and Paul only uses it here and in Romans 8:19.  This unique word has a stronger meaning in Greek than it does in English.  Apokaradokia means to anxiously anticipate, to long for, to earnestly desire, or to be so focused on ONE THING that all else fades away.  Paul uses a strong word to describe his feeling in verse 20, and he intensifies his language by using the word eagerly.  

  • Read Philippians 1: 20 slowly.  What is Paul eagerly expecting? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate Paul’s excitement for serving the Lord and sharing the Gospel? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your enthusiasm for serving the Lord and sharing the Gospel?
  • Paul says that his desire is to live in a way that glorifies God.  When you think about living a life that glorifies God, does it make you excited by the opportunities you’ll have to serve or do you feel unable to live up to that description?
  • What role does courage play in living a God-glorifying life?  Based on what Paul writes in verse 20, was he always perfectly courageous? Does Paul’s hope for “sufficient courage” give you encouragement? Why?  Read 1 Samuel 12:24 and 1 Corinthians 15:58. How can these 2 verses strengthen your courage?

Beginning in verse 21, Paul gives his readers a glimpse into his inner dialogue.  It seems clear that Paul has spent some time thinking about what life with Christ in eternity will be like and is looking forward to being with the Lord .

  • Read Philippians 1: 21-26.  What is Paul’s attitude about living with Christ in eternity? Do you share Paul’s same hopeful anticipation? Read Romans 8:1, John 3:16, John 10:28, Ephesians 2:8-9, and 1 John 2:25.  What assurance do these verses give disciples?
  • What are you most looking forward to about eternity? What is your personal connection to your hope for eternity and your Christian joy?

Paul goes on to say that as long as he is to remain on Earth, he will have more and more opportunities to produce “fruitful work” for the Lord (v22).  The Greek phrase translated “fruitful work/labor” is karpos ergon and is a phrase that “means actions done that have specific results.”  Paul intended for the actions of his life to have a result, and he intended those results to glorify the Lord.   His own pursuit of the Lord and the spiritual growth of others was the chief desire of Paul’s life.

  • Read John 15:8 and 15:16. What expectation does Jesus have for His disciples when it comes to bearing fruit for the kingdom? Read Ephesians 2:10 and Colossians 1:10. What encouragement does Paul give to disciples in young churches?  Were these directives for a first century audience only? What do these verses teach modern day disciples?
  • How can you personally bear fruit for the Lord?
  • Read Philippians 1:25-26. What word does Paul use twice to describe his feelings as the Philippian church grows in Christ? Read Galatians 5: 22-23.  How is joy described there?
  • Verses 25-26 make a connection between Paul’s joy and the work that’s going on in the Philippi church.  Explain that possible connection.  In your own life, have you experienced Christian joy in connection to service to the Lord.  When? What did that kind of joy feel like?

Paul begins this section of scripture expecting something.  When we expect God to show up, we become more aware of His presence, more aware of His provision, and more courageous to act on His behalf.  Expecting God the way Paul did strengthens us to bear fruit while we live lives of discipleship and eagerly await eternity with the Lord.  Eager expectation and renewed awareness of His presence should spur us to kingdom work that yields Christian joy in our lives.  Bear fruit, church family. Receive joy.

Be blessed. Be a blessing.

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