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Introducing Philippians


e l p m sa y l n o First published January 2004 Anglican Youthworks PO Box A287, Sydney South NSW 1235 Tel: 61 2 8268 3344 Copyright Š Anglican Youthworks 2004 This book is copyright. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be addressed to the publishers. Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. ISBN 978-1-876960-90-2 Written by Louisa Pfitzner Edited by Julie Moser

Introducing Philippians Did you know this book of the Bible is a letter? It was written by Paul to a group of Christians living in a city called Philippi. Philippi was an important city in Greek Macedonia. (Take a moment to see if you can find Philippi or Greece on a map.) People living in Philippi were called Philippians. Paul went on journeys to cities around the Mediterranean Sea (including cities in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon) telling people about Jesus. Often the people Paul met had never heard about Jesus. You can read about the first time that Paul visited Philippi in Acts 16:11–40. About ten years later Paul wrote this letter to his friends in Philippi. Paul was writing from Rome, where he was under house arrest. He was there with Timothy who brought the letter to the Philippians. He wrote to thank the Philippians for the gifts they’d set him, and to encourage them to continue being Christians.

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In this letter, Paul talks a lot about the joy that comes from being in a relationship with God [the words ‘joy’, ‘rejoice’ or variations of these words can be found sixteen times in this letter – see if you can find them all]. This is surprising since life for Paul was tough. At various times he had been beaten, shipwrecked and had stones thrown at him (2 Corinthians 11:23–28) and now he was imprisoned for being a Christian. See if by the end of these studies you can work out why Paul was so joyful even in such a rough situation. Paul also emphasises his partnership with the Philippians in telling other people the good news about Jesus (the gospel). Notice as you read Philippians how many times Paul talks about ‘partnership’, ‘fellow workers’, ‘sharing’, ‘with you’‘with me’ etc. He writes to encourage the Philippians to keep going in this partnership and not to give up following Jesus, even if it makes life hard. : : m e m ory v erse This verse sums up Paul’s attitude, and could even have been his personal motto. Aim to learn this verse of the Bible over the next six weeks. ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ Philippians 1:21

Introducing Philippians


Paul went on journeys to cities all around the Mediterranean Sea (including cities in Italy, e l p Greece, Turkey, Syria and m a s Lebanon)otelling n l ypeople about Jesus.


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Paul’s prayers

Philippians 1:1–11

Philippians is a letter that Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi. They had come to believe in Jesus after Paul had visited them and told them all about him (Acts 16:11–40). Paul has now written from his house where he is imprisoned to thank them for a gift they sent him and to urge them to live a life that shows that they are followers of Jesus. :: SHARE

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What are some things for which you are thankful to God?

What is one prayer to which you would most like God to answer ‘yes’? When are the times that you pray the most? :: READ PHILIPPIANS 1:1–11

From these verses, how did Paul feel about the Philippians?

Paul prays two kinds of prayers in this passage, one starts at verse 3 and the other at verse 9. : : A P R AY E R O F T H A N K S ( v e r s e s 3 – 8 ) List the things that Paul thanks God for in this section.

Philippians The secret of contentment


What kind of relationship did Paul have with the Philippians?

Write the name of someone who supports you as a Christian. How do they support you as a Christian? (Make sure that you thank God for them!)

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Think of some different ways that you can encourage your Christian friends.

: : A P R AY E R O F R E Q U E S T S ( v e r s e s 9 – 1 1 ) What did Paul ask God to give the Philippians?

What was Paul’s hope for the Philippians in his prayers?

How can you encourage your friends to keep going as Christians?


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: : Y O U A N D Y O U R P R AY E R S What are the similarities and differences between Paul’s prayers and yours? (Think about your answers to the sharing questions at the beginning of this study.)

How can you immitate Paul’s prayers in the way that you pray?

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: : S P E N D S O M E T I M E P R AY I N G I N S M A L L G R O U P S Copy the pattern of Paul’s prayers.

Thank God for: • some of his many blessings to you (especially for the person who most encourages and supports you as a Christian). Ask God that: • your Christian friends would keep going as Christians. • their love might grow. • their ability to make good decisions might grow. :: FURTHER READING Acts 16:11–40, to find out about how Paul met the Philippians. MEMORY VERSE FOR THIS SERIES ‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ Philippians 1:21 What does this verse mean?

Philippians The secret of contentment



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Youthworks Bible Studies - Philippians  

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells us how to be content no matter what the circumstances. These studies focus on prayer and the jo...