Bible Studies For Life

Praying with Joy                       Session 1                     22 JAN 17

What is “joy”? The Greek is 5479. chara, khar-ah'; from G5463; cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight:--gladness, X greatly, (X be exceeding) joy (-ful, -fully, -fulness, -ous). Note also that happiness and joy are not the same things. Happiness depends upon emotions. Joy depends upon acknowledged facts. The most essential fact behind joy for a Christian is (Eph 1:13-14 RSV) "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." JOY because of ETERNAL SECURITY because we have been adopted by the Father!


PHIL 1:1 When Paul wrote Philippians, he had been imprisoned for two years in Caesarea. Then he was moved to Rome to await his turn before Caesar’s tribunal. Talk about slow justice in the U.S.?! It was about 61 A.D. He wrote from a house he rented at his own cost. He was allowed unlimited visitors. However, he was chained 24 hours a day to a Roman guard.

            The custom was to sign the letter first. Paul signed both he and Timothy. While not one thinks Timothy co-authored the letter, he may well have been the secretary. Certainly Timothy sent his greetings and prayers to them as well as Paul. Timothy had helped found this church and apparently visited it several times. (ACTS 16:1-12; 19:22; 20:3-6) Paul used the plural of servants. The Greek is bond (-person); hence a bond-slave or bond servant. Bond servant placed themselves in this position (often freely) to receive a mutual benefit for the work to be done for a specific time period. Society of Paul’s day, particularly Roman, ran on a basis of cheap slave and bond-servant labor. Thus the term was a common term. Paul used it not to say Christians are slaves of Jesus, for this would have gone against Jesus’ own words in (John 15:14-15 RSV) "You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." So Paul is using the idea of a commitment of unlimited duration. He stated his total commitment to serve Jesus in any way.  “Saints” is one of many terms used for Christians in the New Testament. It means ones set apart by the Holy Spirit to adoption by the father. “All” means each one individually of the whole. Thus it was a personal and not a general greeting. Philippi was a Roman colony. Note both bishops and deacons are plural. “Bishop” was a term for the local pastor emphasizing those who had oversight of one church. Most New Testament churches had several pastors since there was no church building. On Sunday, small groups meet in homes and other places. Yet Through a real sense of fellowship, they were “one” church.

Note: The New Testament never speaks of church membership, only church fellowship. The word for “deacon” is the same as in 1 Tim 3:1 and many other places. In (Rom 16:1 RSV) "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae," it is often translated deaconess. Actually it refers to anyone, male or female, who ministers to another. So to on 1 Tim 3:1. It is translated “deacon” because of translators’ and most church leaders’ male bias. Actually the New Testament church had male and female deacons. These positions are the two basic ordained officers in the New Testament church. Since they are the only ones mentions as being ordained, many people say they are the only ordained positions. This is not a valid argument. But even such churches today do ordain ministers of education, etc.

PHIL 1:2 “Grace” is a standard Greek greeting. “Peace (shalom) is a standard Jewish greeting. Paul calls out two of the Three Person of the Trinity, the Father and Jesus. Note that Paul usually calls the Father “God” in his writings. This is because this comes from his years of Jewish teachings Yahweh was Elohim (LORD). Since the Father sets on the Throne of Heaven, and Jesus is at the right hand of the Father (Col 3:1). Paul used the short hand term of “God” for the Father.

PHIL 1:3 “Every” means every single part of the whole. Thus his total recall of his experiences with the Christians of Philippi was those for which he regularly thanked God. The Greek reads “I keep on thanking God.  Can those leaving our church say the same?

PHIL 1:4-6 He stressed that in every pray he remembered them with joy and thanksgiving. The Greek is koinonia which means fellowship. It means the mutual sharing of the one faith (Eph 4:1-6) and family Christian experience. (Gal 4:7 RSV) "So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir." It also means sharing the privileges and responsibilities of the fellowship. Paul memory was this way from day one. And he believed their church would not change even to the Second Coming. It’s good that Paul doesn’t live today to see this not come true. But the promise and start was there. What made him confident was their “fellowship in the Gospel.” This can be only when the real Gospel of Eph 4:1-6 is taught. Today, proper Bible study with care and context is rare. So “this very thing” has been lost because of it. As much as Paul wanted God to force Christians to do right, God cannot and will not force anyone to be a Christian or to be a good Christian. Lost or saved, each individual is free to do as they wish. But there always is a day of judgment coming for each. But it was a thought Paul meant it as an encouragement and as motivation.

PHIL 1:7 Paul felt this way because of the strong sense of fellowship that existed then, even with the miles and chains between them. They were “in my heart.”  The “heart” is literally “bowels”. Then it meant the seat of the emotions as we use “heart” today. “Grace” here means Salvation to the Gentiles. How did they share in both his imprisonment and the defense of the Gospel? They had sent several gifts to Paul to help finance his confinement. They had been true to the Gospel (so far. See later lessons). “Defense” in Greek can be a legal term to defend. Likewise confirmation can be a technical legal term. In other words all Christians are expected to be able to give a clear defense of the Gospel and to offer convincing proofs. What better proof is there for the lost to see than a right-living and loving Christian? (Mat 5:16 RSV) "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." It is true the lead-defender is to be the lead pastor. (Titus 1:9 RSV) "he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it." But this does not negate in anyway the responsibility of the individual Christian.

PHIL 1:8 “God” here is the Father. (See verse 2) Paul had taken an oath that he longed for them (Greek to English meaning) “with the heart of Christ Jesus.” He would love them as Christ loved them. Why he felt he needed to take an oath I cannot say. But certainly every Christian has already been commanded by Jesus to love as he loves. (John 13:34 RSV) "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

PHIL 1:9-11 So Paul prayed two distinct prayers for them as indicated by the use of the Greek hina (that).

1.      He prayed that their love would grow to be like Jesus’ love and thus to keep on overflowing like his. Peter noted that new Christians do not automatically love like Jesus. So does Paul here. Both speak of (Greek) “full knowledge” that has (Greek) “sense” or perception, i.e. (fig.) discernment:--judgment. This it is a logical knowledge. Yes indeed. As Findley Edge says “Salvation is reasonable, rationale and understandable.” Christians are to learn that Jesus’ love has such a basis. (2 Pet 1:5-7 RSV) "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love." “Love” here being God’s kind of love. Such growth efforts would (Greek) “prove by testing” the things that are excellent. Again the proof is as Matt 5:14-16.

2.      He prayed that they remain that way until the Second Coming. Christians are to be “pure and blameless.” Jesus is very clear in (Mat 5:48 RSV) "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." No matter how you may want to define “perfect” (Greek complete as in the sense of 1 Peter), the standard of measure and comparison is the Father. This is what Jesus said with several parables. For example: (Mat 24:44 RSV) “Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” “Being filled” in the Greek means fully filled on a continuous basis. Filled with what? “Fruit” is singular and is not plural. So is it singular in (Gal 5:22-23 RSV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.” Thus this fruit of right-living comes “through” Jesus. It does not mean Jesus does it for us. Otherwise if it was his responsibility and doing, everyone would certainly be perfect. Paul means that it is through living out one’s commitment to Jesus [which includes doing what he says], we can achieve the grow that Peter outlines.


All of this from the two prayers is for the purpose to glorify and praise the Father. The Father is pleased when we act like His Children. The Father is praised by Christians when they live righteously. Praying to the Father is praise to Him. We can do it joyfully because we are His sons and daughters!

Further we are to pray to the Father! Prayer is to the Father! (Mat 6:6 RSV) "But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Mat 6:9 RSV) "Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." (Rev 8:2-3 RSV) "Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne;"

(Rom 12:12 RSV) "Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." The Greek for Rejoice is a variation on joy: 5463. chairo, khah'ee-ro; a prim. verb; to be "cheer"ful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impers. espec. as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well:--farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy (-fully), rejoice. Thus joy and prayer to the Father go hand in hand.


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. Home Page: