The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is laser-focussed on “the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:8). In this letter, he reminds the Philippians who Jesus is, what He has done, and what that means for those who belong to Him. Paul is pouring his heart out while sitting in a prison cell for the sake of the gospel. To think—one of his most encouraging epistles was written while in chains!
In Philippians Paul presents Jesus as the one who makes us saints (1:1), works in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure (2:13), and as the one who will bring us to completion when He returns (1:6) having secured our citizenship in heaven (3:20-21). In other words, He has justified us, is sanctifying us, and will one day glorify us to the glory of God the Father.
But that is not all Philippians contains. In this heartfelt correspondence, Paul explicitly reveals the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus personally. He proclaims knowing Jesus is better than being free from prison or free from suffering (1:13, 29). Being like Christ is superior to being selfish or apathetic (2:3,12). Cherishing the Lord exceeds clinging to self-righteousness or obtaining worldly gain (3:3-8). Being accepted by Christ Jesus the Lord is more desirable than living in the past with regret or living now for the praise of men (3:12-19). The great promise of Philippians is this: if you know Jesus personally you have everything you need for everlasting happiness. You can suffer, hunger, be brought low or in great need—and yet joyfully face it all through Christ who strengthens you (4:12-13).
Jesus accomplished all of this by emptying himself of his glory, taking the form of a servant, and submitting to death on a cross for our sakes (2:7-8). Great was the cost and great are the promises he bought! May God use this study of Philippians to broaden our understanding of who Jesus is, grow our desire for holiness, strengthen our hands to serve one another, and deepen our love for Jesus as the one of surpassing worth.
- SLAVES AND SAINTS: Philippians 1:1-5
- HE WILL BRING IT TO COMPLETION: Philippians 1:6-8
- PAUL’S PRAYER: Philippians 1:9-11
- THE ADVANCE OF THE GOSPEL: Philippians 1:12-14
- IF CHRIST BE PROCLAIMED, WE MUST REJOICE: Philippians 1:15-18a
- TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN: Philippians 1:18b-26
- LIVE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: Philippians 1:27-30
- COUNT OTHERS MORE SIGNIFICANT: Philippians 2:1-4
- CHRIST’S EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY: Philippians 2:4-11
- WORK, FOR IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU: Philippians 2:12-13
- LIGHTS IN THE WORLD: Philippians 2:14-18
- SERVANTS WHO RISKED THEIR LIVES: Philippians 2:19-30
- SUPREME JOY IN CHRIST: Philippians 3:1-7
- THE SURPASSING WORTH OF KNOWING CHRIST: Philippians 3:8-11
- STRAINING FORWARD FOR THE PRIZE: Philippians 3:12-16
- OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN: Philippians 3:17–4:1
- EXHORTATION, ENCOURAGEMENT, AND PRAYER: Philippians 4:2-9
- THE SECRET OF FACING ALL THINGS WITH JOY: Philippians 4:10-13
- SACRIFICES ACCEPTABLE AND PLEASING TO GOD: Philippians 4:14-23