Philippians: Chapter 2 Bible Study
Philippians: Chapter 2 Bible Study
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:1-3 NLT
We Are United in the Spirit
I love how Paul starts in chapter 2 with these questions. And I feel it’s important that we recognize these as more rhetorical questions. Because of course, there’s encouragement for belonging to Christ. There is comfort from his love and fellowship together. Because we are united in the Spirit. And, when we have God in our hearts, we are tender and compassionate. I love this because he’s emphasizing these things.
Then, he goes on to say, “It would make him truly happy if everyone agrees wholeheartedly with each other, loves one another, and works together with one mind and purpose“. No matter our differences and our faults, because we all have them, we can still love one another despite them. And we can all come to an agreement when we are all focused on Christ. When we are all focused on Christ we are united in His Spirit.
We Are Working Towards the Same Purpose
When we are united in his Spirit, we are all working together towards the same goal and purpose. We are united in sharing the gospel, being there for one another, making allowances for each other faults, and loving each other despite them instead of judging each other for them.
For example, like when you love someone, truly love someone, and they have quirks that get on your nerves or annoy you, but those quirks are what make them special and unique, and you love them despite that. We should have that same kind of love for each other. Despite the quirks and the flaws, and the things that may be annoying about someone, we love them.
Don’t be Selfish
And he says not to be selfish and try to impress others. This is such a strong sentiment to keep in mind. It is of the flesh to be selfish and want to impress others. When we are walking in the Spirit that becomes less and less of our mindset. When we are walking in the spirit it’s about God and others, but if you’re walking in the flesh, it’s all about yourself. We have to strive daily to die to ourselves and live in the Spirit. And this is once again where I will reference that Christ-centered focus. When we are focused on Christ, we are not focused on ourselves. Do not be selfish and do things with the intention to impress others.
He says we should be humble thinking of others as better than ourselves. That can be hard to do sometimes especially depending on your personality type. Generally, our flesh does not want to think of us as beneath someone. But we are all equal. We are all created in the image of Christ. And, if Christ the one who never sinned can humble himself enough to die a criminal’s death on the cross to save us sinners, then we can humble ourselves enough to think of others first.
Think of Others Better Than Yourself
Imagine how much more peaceful your life would be if you live with a compassionate heart or were humble, thinking of others before yourself. For example, when others try to speak, do you actively listen? Or do you wait for them to finish speaking so you can say what you want to say? Do you reach out to ask others how they are doing? Or, do you only reach out when it benefits you? It’s so important to care for others and think of others more than we do ourselves.
Have the Same Attitude Christ Had
He says we must have the same attitude that Christ had that even though he was God he did not think of equality with a God as he had something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on the cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.
Amazingly, sometimes we can think so highly of ourselves when in the grand scheme of things, we could never even come close in comparison to Jesus. And yet we see that Jesus humbled himself in the mightiest way in obedience to God. I feel that is important to remember that we are not humbling ourselves for others, we are humbling ourselves to God. And to be obedient to God and His word. I couldn’t imagine having the name that is revered all over Heaven and earth, and under the earth, and yet still being so humble to die a criminal’s death on the cross.
Jesus Died for Each One of Us
And you have to keep in mind what all Jesus went through. All of the persecution, and yet he still chose to die in the worst way for each one of us in obedience. You have to be genuinely humble to display that kind of agape love. It is hard for our human minds to comprehend a gesture so grand.
It is also difficult for our minds to grasp that once we ask for forgiveness, and are forgiven after we have repented, that God has forgiven us. We struggle to forgive ourselves afterward because we find it hard to comprehend the fact that someone so good and holy would die and forgive someone like us.
Let Go of Pride & Conceit
To humble ourselves, we have to let go of all feelings of pride and conceit. We are not superior. Jesus gave up his divine privileges and provided the ultimate sacrifice to cover our sins and show this level of obedience to God the father.
Paul says it is going to be even more important now that he is away to follow his instructions. I feel he said this because often it’s easier to follow doing something when you have that leader and teacher there guiding you. But, it is even more important to continue doing it when you are away from their guidance. He said that they should work hard to show the results of their salvation; obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
Reverence: Profound Awe & Respect
Reverence is defined in one way as profound awe and respect. And, often love; honor. We should always fear and revere God giving him all of our honor and respect. This respect can be shown through our obedience and the way that we live our lives. It’s much easier to have a feeling of respect than it is to show respect. We show respect to God by obeying his word, and his commands, and keeping them close to our hearts. By living our lives out of reverence and fear of Him we bring Him honor and glory.
Then he says, “For God is working in you giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him“. The part I feel you should underline here is God is working ‘in you‘ and ‘giving you‘. It is not of our flesh to naturally desire what God desires. We have to have God in us and working in us giving us that desire and the power to do what pleases him. We do not naturally have that desire. And, we do not have the power, nor the strength, to do what pleases him of our own volition, but through him and with him, we have the strength and power.
Do Everything Without Complaining or Arguing
Then, he says to do everything without complaining or arguing so that no one can criticize you. This is another significant value to keep in mind. Too many times we can let our flesh get in the way leading to our grumbling, complaining, and arguing with others. When if we would keep a Christ-centered focus instead of complaining, we would be praising instead of grumbling. We would be speaking words that are uplifting instead of arguing with others. And we would be working to help others and lifting them up.
For every negative, there is a positive that you can counteract and fight with. But, if you do not replace the negative with a positive the negative is sure to come back around in one way or another.
Set Your Mind on Christ
It is so effortless for people to criticize others and he’s saying don’t do these things that other people do because we are called to be Christlike and be better than that. When you do those things like complaining, grumbling, and arguing with others, it gives people a reason to criticize you. And, it takes away from the honor and glory that you could be giving God instead.
For example, if two Christians are complaining or arguing, it is very easy to criticize them. And, also criticize them in the way of saying, “Well, they must not be a true Christian because they do not seem to have compassion, love, and understanding to even be able to get along”. I’m not saying we are always going to get along, but when you have your mind set on Christ and fulfilling His desires and not your own, you are much less likely to spend your time speaking or doing things that are not pleasing to Christ.
Live Clean & Innocent Lives as Children of God
There is a reason that Paul is mentioning all of this. It is because he knew these were things that we would struggle with. That is why he addresses them and puts so much emphasis on them. This way, we can use this as an example of the ways that we lead our lives. Then, he says we should live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world of crooked and perverse people. We should not do things that are displeasing to the Lord.
We shouldn’t put ourselves in places that we know God would not want us to be, or surround ourselves with people that we know God would not want us to be around. We cannot expect to reach people and honor God if we are not living pure and innocent lives the best that we can. None of us are perfect and we are always going to make mistakes, but if we are living in a state of habitual sin then we cannot fulfill God‘s purpose and calling for our lives.
Be a Bright Shining Beacon in a World of Darkness
When we live our lives like we are called to, we are like a bright shining beacons in a world of darkness. When people feel the peace and joy of the Lord emanating from us, they automatically want to know more. It makes us stand out from the world because living a life for Christ is not a cakewalk. Therefore, when you do what is right, and live right, people take notice and respect you.
He tells us to hold firmly to the word of life. This is probably one of my favorite noteworthy parts of this chapter. Because if we hold firmly to God‘s word, keeping His word, it brings so much honor and glory to Him. And, we lead by example. When we lead by example people are considerably more likely to follow you than if you only speak.
People are always watching your actions and seeing if they line up with what you say. If what you say does not line up with your actions people don’t believe in you. When you merely speak, people wait and see how you act, but when you act it speaks for you.
Hold Firmly to the Word of Life
He tells them to hold firmly to the word of life so on the day of Christ’s return, he will be proud that he did not run this race in vain and that his work was not useless. The fact that we are here today reading this word and gaining wisdom from it is proof that what he has done was not in vain. His work was not useless because no matter what the enemy does, he cannot stop the spread of the gospel.
He goes on to say, he will rejoice even if he loses his life pouring it out like a liquid offering to God just like your faith or service is an offering to God and he wants all of us to share that joy. How beautiful of a thing is it that our faithful service is an offering to God and that he loves God so much that he says I don’t even care if I die, I will rejoice even if I die I’ll pour it out like a liquid offering to God? How many of us can say today and if I die it will be an offering to God? That just shows the truest love, reverence, respect, and honor for God. It reminds me of that worship song that says:
“Is it a fragrance? Then I’ll pour my oil out. Is it a life laid down? Then here I give my vows. Is it a song I sing? Then, here’s every melody. Just tell me what moves you. Oh, just tell me what moves you.”
Move Your Heart-Maverick City
If the Lord Jesus is Willing
Near the end of this chapter, he speaks about sending Timothy to see them. He starts in one translation as ‘if the Lord Jesus is willing‘. I love and respect this and even more represents his Chris-Centered focus. We all too frequently want to say, ‘Next week I’m going to do this and that’. We speak as if we are in control. Paul only speaks in terms of God being in control by saying, “if Jesus is willing”; because he fully recognizes he can make plans, but ultimately God is in control and directs his steps.
He speaks highly of Timothy saying he’s unlike the others because the others only care for themselves and not what matters to Jesus. If what you are doing for Jesus isn’t about Jesus, then what’s the point? He speaks about Timothy serving by preaching the Gospel. Then, once again recognizes God’s authority over his life when saying he has confidence from the Lord he himself will come to see them soon.
Surround Yourself with Likeminded Individuals
Lastly, in conclusion to chapter two as the Bible, I’m referencing has sectioned out, he discusses how he considered it necessary to send Epaphroditus his fellow solider, but their messenger. He tells how Epaphroditus was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, but on Paul also, lest Paul should have one sorrow after another. He sent Epaphroditus so that they may rejoice, and Paul feel less sorrowful. He tells them to receive him in the Lord with gladness and hold such men in esteem because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in their service toward him.
I admire that Paul was surrounding himself with like-minded individuals here. Here we see that both Timothy and Epaphroditus were both also individuals working to serve God. It is a beautiful thing to see all these servants of Christ put aside any of their differences for the sole purpose of spreading the Gospel. This should inspire all of us to do the same. And, here in this last paragraph, we see how much they went through to serve God. Epaphroditus to the point of death and yet he stayed on task.
Stay Focused on Christ
We let the smallest things distract us from God’s purpose and calling for our lives. If these people can go through what they went through and never lose track of their purpose, we surely can do the same with the trials we face today. When we have a Christ-centered focus it’s all about God and not about us.
The world tells us to do what we want and go with what we feel. That’s what the enemy wants for us to follow our flesh. God says, die to yourself daily, pick up my cross and I will give you strength. When you no longer want to go on, I will give you the strength to keep going. When you no longer feel like moving forward, I will be there to take you further than you ever imagined.
Let’s get back to the basics with the mentality of ‘me and God’. Let us pick up the Bible, the physical Bible, put away our phones and all the distractions that come with it, get alone, pray, and worship. Allowing God to steer our path.
Stay tuned for Chapter 3 Bible Study Recap!
Philippians is so short I recommend you read it all. Then, go back and study it. Study with your heart open to God. As I mentioned in a previous post, there were originally no chapter or verse breaks. These were added to make it easier to find and locate reference points.
Due to this, I strongly recommend reading full chapters to get the best understanding and context. I am following the chapter breaks in my current Bible due to the length of these posts to make it easier. Until then, check out these amazing resources to help you delve into the life God wants you to live.
Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Devotional Study Experience (Discovering the Bible)
Life Lessons from Philippians: Guide to Joy
To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links it won’t cost you anything extra, but we’ll get a small commission to help keep the lights on. We are reader funded.
Here’s the song mentioned by Maverick City. If you haven’t heard it I highly recommend it. <3
Sign up for our Newsletter before you go!
If you enjoyed this…
you may also enjoy ‘Daily Prayer for Pride‘.
Head over to our Instagram if you missed the daily verse!
Be a light in someone’s life today. Share your favorite blogs to spread some positivity, love, and joy! Check out our Social Media and follow to stay up to date and see some regular inspiration.
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | TikTok | Cash App
Have a suggestion…
I hope you found this bible study revitalizing. In case you missed it, check out the Prayer for Renewal. Have a suggestion for a devotional topic or Prayer topic? We’d love to hear it here!
Feel free to submit a prayer request if you would like to have us praying for you and your loved ones! Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter on the right at the top widget on desktop, or below this post on mobile!