Mastering the Letter As We Study the Book
Last Sunday we embarked on a pulpit study of Paul’s epistle to the Philippians. This choice by our elders during my medical leave of absence thrills me. Why? The theme of peacemaking runs throughout it.
We don’t get any further than 1:27 before Paul begs, so that I may hear of you standing firm in one spirit , with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. Then in 2:2 the apostle goes so far as to plead, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Come 2:14 he lays this on them: Do all things without grumbling or disputing. And before the book ends, he calls out two women by name charging them to agree in the Lord (Phil. 4:2). He even invokes the aid of a mediator to assist them to that end. This church certainly endured its share of unity challenges!
We could hardly dig into a more strategic book to strengthen our peacemaking core value than the book of Philippians.
Here are seven ways to get the most out of a study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
- Listen to Pastor Mike’s comprehensive overview of the book AGAIN. My, what a job he did! For extra credit check out ISBE’s article for its introduction of the letter.
- Read through the entire book at least once per week, perhaps on Saturday nights in preparation for the Lord’s Day.
- Read the sermon passage of the week DAILY. Ask the Lord to give you insight. Make some observation, interpretation, application notes along the way in a notebook, journal, or your mobile device. Tomorrow’s text is Phil. 1:1-11.
- Pick a key verse (mine is Phil. 2:1-11–I know that’s a section), memorize it, and meditate upon it throughout the series. How might God work in our church this year if everyone did this? Take a smaller portion if eleven verses overwhelm you. I get it. For some reason memorization comes rather easily to me. Not everyone enjoys the same experience.
- Bookmark the Preceptaustin page in your computer for more commentary resources you can possibly consult along the way. After you do your own study through the week, check your conclusions against the scholarly work you’ll find at that site.
- Use your Sunday’s well. Remember Pastor Shane’s message a few weeks back? He stressed this. Discuss the sermon at lunch with others. Review the points from your notes later in the day. Decide on one thing you will do to apply the message that week. Ask someone to hold you accountable to it.
- Pray for the speaker each week (Dennis Mudge serves tomorrow) and for us as a congregation. Pray for anointing on the preacher. Pray for soft hearts among us as hearers (James 1:21).
Imagine the fruit to come from these messages, if our covenant members adopt this kind of strategy for mining the rich ore laden in the shafts of this peacemaking treasure of God’s word.
Lord willing, see you tomorrow back in my appointed seat. I might even let loose with an “Amen!” or “Preach it, brother!” here and there.
Question: What excites you about our study in this book of the Bible? You can leave your comment here.