. . . When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.
Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
. . . be filled with the Spirit as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Letter of Paul to the Ephesians
. . . they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before sunrise and reciting an antiphonal hymn to Christ as to God, . . .
Letter of Pliny to the Emperor Trajan
Welcome back. I hope you found the first lesson in this series helpful, challenging, and fun. And for those just joining us, take a look at the previous post to see the initial study activities.
This week's format is similar to last time, beginning with a few aids to help prepare for the study. Following the preparation section, we'll look at the next two sections of Paul's letter, and we'll interact with a key passage in the study of Christian origins, Philippians 2:6-11, sometimes know as the Hymn of Christ. Pay close attention to these verses as you study this week's text.
- Here is an interactive chronology, In the Footsteps of Paul, from the PBS site of Peter & Paul and the Christian Revolution.
- Two two links from New Testament scholar Felix Just covers the social aspects of Paul's world and the geography of his work.
- To learn more about hymns in the New Testament, read Chapter 1 from Ralph P. Martin's A Hymn of Christ, pp 17-23 on Google Books.
The Christian Life/Hymn of Christ - Philippians 1:27 - 2:18
1. In the face of opposition, what would be the evidence of the Philippians’ salvation and the destruction of their enemies?
2. What two privileges has God given the Christians at Philippi?
3. What do these Christians need to do to make Paul’s joy complete? What situation in the church might have precipitated Paul’s request?
4. What does Paul see as the role of humility in this church? How realistic is his advice?
5. If Philippians 2:6-11 is a hymn, what is the story line of the hymn?
6. What examples of Christ devotion do you find in the hymn?
7. What do you understand Paul to mean when he tells the Philippians to “work out their salvation”?
8. What does Paul believe he can boast in on the day of Christ?
Travel Plans - Philippians 2:19 - 2:30
9. How does Paul describe his relationship with Timothy? What is his plan for Timothy?
10. What can you discover about Epaphroditus and his relationship with Paul and with the Philippians?
Consider the role the hymn plays in Paul's letter? What do you think the Philippians would have understood Paul to be saying for their life together? What do you understand him saying to you, his modern reader?
As a springboard for your thoughts, consider the following two charts. Which one best represents the conceptual background of the hymn - Pre-existence (compare with John 1:1-18) or Second Adam (compare with Paul's thinking in Romans 5:12-21).