June 9 – Philippians 1:12-18
We’re in the middle of our ten-week series in Philippians called Obey Love. Simultaneously we’re holding the Gospel-Centered Life class, which many of our groups will be attending in lieu of their regular weekly meetings. Over summer as we work to resource groups both at GCL and in their regular weekly meetings, you’ll see less information and resources than normal here. However, if you ever have any questions or need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul was imprisoned a couple of times, which makes dating his prison letters a little challenging. Most likely Paul was in Rome when he wrote this letter to the Philippians, awaiting a trial before caesar that very well could have resulted in Paul’s death. As you can imagine, this worried Paul’s fellow believers.
But Paul is quick to point out in this section that what was feared for his harm has actually turned into good for others. Paul, being Paul, had been faithfully evangelizing to whomever was near, including his captors, and many of the soldiers and jailers keeping watch over him had come to know the Lord because of this. Rather than fear them, Paul sought their greatest good by bringing them to Jesus.
For believers outside his cell, Paul’s imprisonment served to bolster their resolve as well. Perhaps this was from Paul’s example of being bold in the face of danger. Paul relays these things to encourage the Philippians towards boldness themselves. This reminds me of his words to Timothy, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim. 1:7) In this passage we see the putting away of innate or common fears—fear of bodily harm, fear of evangelizing, fear of competition—in order to better become instruments in the advance of the gospel.
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read Philippians 1:12-18 for us?
• What stood out to you from the passage?
• What is Paul saying about his time in prison to the Philippians?
• Why do you think Paul’s suffering made other believers bold rather than fearful?
• How do you think this passage applies to us?
• If Paul was leveraging his imprisonment, what can we leverage to advance the gospel?