Today I begin a new process from The Navigator Bible Studies Handbook.
In a topical study, I do a comprehensive search of the Bible and pick 10-12 top verses and passages that relate to the theme.
Then, I analyze and synthesize these insights to develop an overall view of the Bible’s teaching on the subject.
Finally, I collect illustrations and develop personal applications related to the theme.
This will be a two-week topical study.
The word salvation appears in the NIV exactly 120 times. My goal is to read all 120 verses and pick 10-12 to study in further depth.
I am used to thinking about the past and learning from my mistakes.
Paul encourages us, in 3:12-14, to forget what is in the past and focus on the target in the future.
That is great advice for me at the end of another school year.
I can’t focus on what I wish I’d done differently. Instead, I will focus on my target, preparing my students for their June 20 final exam.
This is easily applied to spiritual matters as well.
Once a sin is confessed, it’s forgiven. The past is the devil’s playground on my mind. Paul wisely counsels us to focus on the future, which is Jesus’ playground!
Paul calls Christians everywhere to be more like Christ.
That call is overwhelming. I come up so short.
The WWJD? concept doesn’t resonate with me in the same way as Philippians 2:1-18. These verses humble and sadden me this morning.
Paul writes about praying personally and intimately for the members of the churches he helped establish.
I should pray more, starting with my family, continuing with my students, and also including the people I lead at church.
It would be good if I Twitter-ed “Praying” more often!
There is great material about the church at Philippi on pages 20, 21, and 22 of 33 total pages in the following study guide:
The Prison Epistles of the Apostle Paul, by Gene Taylor.
What stands out to me most, after reviewing Taylor’s study, is Acts 16:6-12.
The church at Philippi was established as a direct result of Paul’s inability to travel elsewhere. This city was not on his original itinerary. In verses 6 and 7, Luke, the author of Acts, attributes these struggles to the “Holy Spirit” and the “Spirit of Jesus.”
One lesson I learn is that when I face insurmountable struggles and need to change my life’s itinerary, it may be because God is calling me to serve elsewhere.
I still feel like I don’t have a good handle on who the Philippians were.
I’d like to learn more because Paul speaks so highly of their church.
Paul concludes this letter, in verses 21-23, with standard greetings and a blessing.
What is the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ?”
After clicking on the preceding link and reading the 12 verses in the NIV which contain variations on this phrase, what do you think, Dear Reader?
In verses 10-20, Paul thanks the Philippian church for their faithful giving.
Paul stresses that the gifts were not necessary, but that he appreciates them nevertheless.
There is always this tension: ministers for Christ should be content no matter their circumstances, but there is great blessing for both the ministers and the people who give to their ministries.
When given the choice to give or not to give, if there is any question, go ahead and give!
Verse 9 is not the first place I’ve read Paul suggesting that people follow his example.
What would it take for me to feel comfortable writing or saying this?
I don’t even like the thought of putting a Christian symbol on my car, for fear I will be a poor witness.
How do I live like Christ consistently enough that I can be an example to the people around me?
I suppose the first step is consistent prayer.
It’s easy to go over negative experiences in your mind and reply them over and over.
I think this is one reason why we’re taught in the Bible not to let the sun go down on our anger.
Paul lists positive and uplifting things to think about in verse 8.
How does this list compare to my thought life? How does it compare to yours, dear Reader?