Philippians


First of all, before reading the letter to the Philippians, read the Acts of the Apostles chapter 16 about how there came to be a church in Philippi and note anything that strikes you as important.
Then skim through Philippians letter quickly, not trying to take in details, but just to get the overall feel of the letter, rather like you would if someone at work said, “Look at this letter” and you glanced through it in the coffee break, taking two or three minutes.
Then read Philippians through again having in mind this key: the secret of Christian living is something Paul calls ‘in Christ’. In other words it is not what happens to you, but what Christ can do inside you that gives you the secret of Christian joy.
Remember that Paul was in prison in what the Americans call “death row”, chained to a warder in a rat-infested dank, dark dungeon and yet the letter that he dictates from that situation simply overflows with joy and the secret of real living.

A handy way of reading through this letter from prison is to divide it into paragraphs, the first one being intimacy in Christ. That’s the greetings and the prayer.
Then suffering in Christ in which he tells you about his mission and how he sees prison and the pract┬Čical lessons he’s learnt there.
Unity in Christ, (the first part of chapter 2)
The salvation in Christ and the fellowship in Christ.
News of the brethren.
Aims in Christ.
Finally, Peace in Christ.
In other words the key to the letter to the Philippians is this: Real living is in Christ, that’s the secret of joy and peace.
I didn’t say happiness and a quiet life, but Christian joy and peace.

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