SOAP: Philippians 1:1-18

A preface – my church (St Thomas Anglican in Cranebrook) is being encouraged to try a new method of personal Bible reading. Go here to check out what it’s all about. I decided that the best way would be to share my daily thoughts, so that others can see what I’m getting out of each passage and know that I’m actually doing it 😛

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 1:1-18

OBSERVATION: A few things strike me. Firstly, Paul greatly rejoices in the trials of his life, viewing his imprisonment as a motivating factor to others to take the Gospel to the streets without fear and trepidation (vv12-14). It’s clear that the church in Philippi are doing this, and it give Paul great joy to hear that this is taking place abundantly. Paul acknowledges that it is the Lord’s doing (v6) in bringing these people to himself, and the trust that he has that the Lord will continue to bear fruit in the lives of the church is evident.

Paul is such a selfless man – his prayers are indicative of the desire that he has for those to whom he writes to embrace God and what He has done in their lives. He does this with confidence that expresses his knowledge that God will be glorified. Don Carson’s book A Call to Spiritual Reformation is by far the most thought provoking and encouraging book on prayer I have ever read, because Carson brings Paul and his prayers to the reader as an essential example of how we should shape our prayers and petitions.

Finally, Paul desires the truth of Christ to be preached, even if there are motives that are not necessarily true and faithful.

APPLICATION: This passage makes me think about whether the trials of people in China and other places of persecution drives me in my own proclamation of Christ crucified. Looking at myself, I can’t say it really does. I could be a far more effective tool of God if I were willing and ready to jump at every opportunity to defend what I believe.

Also, it makes me assess my own prayers and where they are focussed. Do I pray enough for my fellow believers and their spiritual welfare, or do I complacently assume that I don’t need to because God will work in them anyway? My praying for my brothers and sisters should be something I do every day, not just for their needs in this world, but for that which God provides them to act in a manner that pleases him.

PRAYER: I can think of nothing better than to adopt Paul’s prayer for myself – taken from the New American Standard Bible:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Share your thoughts if you feel inclined to do so.

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