Finding Fruit in Philippians
an SK Bible Study
As we begin this Bible study series, some of you that are knowledgeable Bible students already may be thinking (after reading the title) that I am a bit confused. “Uh, Kristin, I hate to tell you this, but the listing of the fruit of the Spirit is not in Philippians; it’s in Galatians.” Yes, the title may seem a bit strange, but there are two reasons for going this route for our first study together.
The first is that I am currently involved in another group that is studying the fruit of the Spirit so those ideas are fresh in my mind. Because of that, in this study, I would like to search and discover how the Holy Spirit’s fruit was used in practical ways as people related to each other in Bible times so that we can, in turn, practically apply those principles to our current situations, experiences and relationships.
The second reason for the combination of themes is because I have been particularly drawn to the letters that Paul wrote to the local churches that he was in partnership with. As an international missionary, I am finding that I am relating more with many of his comments, feelings, and thoughts. This is not (at all!) to say that I am of the caliber of missionary that Paul was; all it means is that, with my new ‘missionary viewpoint’, I am beginning to relate to the way Paul thought about different issues.
Over the next 8 weeks, we will learn more about the relationship between Paul and the local church at Philippi as well as glean from some of his teachings and the church’s example. We will discover, at a greater level, and in fresh new ways, who our God is as He transcends time and culture. We will also realize how the fruit of the Spirit can and should permeate and radiate in our lives.
So, let’s give this a try and get started…
Week 1: Saying Hello to Old Friends
Philippians 1:1-11 (NIV)
(1)Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
(2)Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3)I thank my God every time I remember you.
(4)In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
(5)because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
(6)being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(7)It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.
(8)God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
(9)And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
(10)so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
(11)filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.
Read Philippians 1:1-11. Please try to read these verses at least once every day throughout this week. What a joy and a mystery to know that, as we read and reread a passage of Scripture, God gives us a new revelation and/or greater clarity each time it is read. Today, what did God reveal to you within this Biblical text? What word, phrase, verse, or group of verses jumped out at you?
This section of Scripture is divided into three sections: the greeting, thanksgiving, and a prayer. The greeting, such as we use for our letters, is given in verses 1 and 2. Even though both Paul and Timothy are listed as writing this letter, scholars believe that Paul was the sole author. He probably mentioned Timothy as well because the church at Philippi knew Timothy and he was there with Paul at the time he was writing this letter. (I guess it’s kind of the same thing as me signing a letter “From, Max and Kristin”. I would be the one writing it, but I include him in it because it’s just natural to do so.)
Paul has a time of thanksgiving in the second section of this passage, which is found in verses 3 through 8. The NIV commentary stated that this letter seems to be the most personal that Paul had written to any of the churches. There was a close bond between Paul and this church. It was also mentioned that this letter was the most positive of all his epistles. There is very little chastising or reprimanding in this letter to the Philippian church. On the contrary, there is much encouragement and joy coming from Paul as he writes.
During this section of thanksgiving, Paul mentions their “partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,…” (vs.5). As I read that part, I can’t help but think of the partnership we have with our ministry partners back in the States. Just as the local church of Philippi did as partners of Paul (sent gifts, prayed continually for him, wrote letters, gave financially, encouraged him, and sent helpers when needed), our partners are doing for us. We are a team that is working together to spread the gospel here in Chile.
Are you in partnership with a missionary? If so, how has this impacted your life? If not, I would encourage you to “adopt” a missionary family. How do you find a missionary to support? Talk to your church’s pastor or leadership team to see who your local church supports. If you are not connected with a church, you could always support us and/or any of the other missionaries from our mission board. Click here for more information.
The final section in this passage is a prayer that Paul offers for the church at Philippi. He asks for many things for the church: love, knowledge, depth of insight, discernment, purity, etc. He also asks that the Philippian church would be “filled with the fruit…” (vs. 11). In fact, within these first 11 verses, there are quite a few instances where the fruit of the Spirit are mentioned or referred to. Please cite one example and how it might be expressed in a similar situation in today’s context. (Be sure to say which fruit and which verse(s) it is found.) (Reminder: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)
I also love how he finishes his prayer: “…to the glory and praise of God.” (vs. 11b)
My prayer (for all of us) is that whatever spills out of our lives would give glory and praise to God!
Here is a summary of the questions to respond to. When answering, please be sure to first put the number of the question in your comment box below:
- Today, what did God reveal to you within this Biblical text? What word, phrase, verse, or group of verses jumped out at you?
- Are you in partnership with a missionary? If so, how has this impacted your life?
- Within these first 11 verses, there are instances where the fruit of the Spirit are mentioned or referred to. Please cite one example and how it might be expressed in a similar situation in today’s context. (Be sure to say which fruit and which verse(s) it is found.)
I am looking forward to ‘hearing’ the discussion. ‘See ya’ next week!
Oh, and be sure to be praying for the things that are listed on our Prayer page.