In preparing for this month’s Inscribe the Word, the Lord kept putting on my heart the Book of Philippians. This is such a beautiful letter, written by Paul, to the church in Philippi. It is full of rich text, beautiful encouragement, and a continued focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and the joy found in Him.
Before we dig into this months Inscribe the Word, let’s go into the background of the Book of Philippians.
* Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul around 61-63 A.D. from Rome. It is one of the four epistles to be written from prison. (Acts 28:16, 30-31) Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon were the other three.
* The city of Philippi was name after Philip of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great, and it was a major city of Macedonia on the road to Rome. In Acts 16, Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling through Asia Minor when a vision appeared to Paul. In the vision recorded in Acts 16:9, a man from Macedonia stood and pleaded with Paul saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
* Paul, Silas, and Timothy (joined by Luke) left the area of Asia Minor and immediately went to Macedonia to bring the Gospel to those in Philippi. During his second missionary journey, Paul founded the church at Philippi.
* The account of the establishing of the Philippian church can be found in Acts 16. With Lydia’s conversion, and the amazing story of the Philippian jailer, the church was established. It is clear from the writings of Philippians that the church became a significant support to Paul, (Phil. 4:15-16) and is a church that is very near and dear to his heart.
* The Church at Philippi shared a special bond with Paul. This letter, therefore, is very personal and is filled with much love for the church. In Phil. 4:1, Paul tells the church that they brought him “much joy”. That brings us to the purpose of the book.
Throughout this short book, one word stands out among all others . . . JOY. The word “joy” is found five times throughout the book of Philippians, and the word “rejoice” occurs eleven times. This epistle has often been called Paul’s “hymn of joy”. The purpose of the book was to remind the Philippians, and all Christians alike, that true joy is found only in Jesus Christ.
In today’s world, we tend to chase happiness. Those moments of falling in love, opening gifts on Christmas, buying a house, going on a date, or organizing your kitchen junk drawer! We seek happy moments. There is nothing wrong with seeking happiness in and of itself, but if happiness depends only on ones circumstances, despair will eventually set in. Circumstances change all the time. If our happiness is rooted in circumstance, we are bound to be disappointed.
Joy, on the other hand, runs much deeper and stronger than fleeting moments of happiness. I once read that “Joy is the confident assurance of God’s love and work in our lives.” That fills my heart with such excitement.
Happiness is found in Happenings. Joy is found in Jesus Christ. In Him is the fullness of our joy. It doesn’t matter what is happening around us, we can find JOY in Jesus Christ.
As we study this book, I encourage you to dig deeper beyond your daily Scripture Writing. Take a look at our WORD Study, or any other Bible study you use and seek to find the deeper understand and meaning of each verse.
The Life Application Bible breaks the book into four distinct sections. As you study, see if you can pick out these themes:
- Chapter 1: Joy in Suffering.
- Chapter 2: Joy in Serving.
- Chapter 3: Joy in Believing.
- Chapter 4: Joy in Giving.
As we Inscribe Phillipians, my prayer is that our hearts get back to finding the true joy that comes through Jesus Christ. I pray that we no longer are tossed back and forth on the winds of happiness, but that we can be confident in the joy that comes with living a life that pleases Jesus; no matter what the circumstances. I am praying that we rededicate our lives to finding our Joy in Jesus Christ.