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In this study guide, we’ll discuss key thoughts and practical ideas from Philippians 1. Learn what it means to live with an attitude of gratitude regardless of your circumstances, talk through some key areas of growth that are vital to the Christian life, and discover how to live in a way that shows the love of Jesus to others.
Ice Breaker: What’s something new you’ve learned about yourself in the last three months?
Memory Verse: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”—Philippians 1:27 (NIV)
The Greek word for conduct yourselves is politeuomai. Do you notice anything interesting about that word? It’s where we get the English word polite from. This word—which refers to a productive, praiseworthy, upstanding member of society; one who abides by and has pledged to the laws of the land—is used here by the apostle to describe how a believer should live. He directs us to live as good citizens, but as we find out in Philippians 3:20, he wasn’t talking about Roman, Greek, Israelite, or any other earthly citizenship. Instead, he’s instructing us to operate as citizens of heaven, as people who abide in and have pledged ourselves to the gospel’s law.
Often, people think being a Christian requires us to follow an impossible set of laws and behavioral standards. Truthfully, it’s not that complicated. A Christ follower simply needs to love Jesus, follow Jesus, and have an intimate relationship with Jesus. And as we walk with Jesus in this manner, we will learn to think, speak, act, and live like Jesus more and more each day. So, to live in a way worthy of our heavenly citizenship, we must learn from the King of heaven!
When we, through relationship and devotion, allow He who began a good work in us to carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6), particularly in the face of hardship, trials, persecution, and animosity from the world, then our lives will let everyone know our faith is real, and our salvation and hope for the future are secure! This was important for them to hear because the persecution of believers was beginning to ramp up at this time, and the Philippians themselves were experiencing it (Philippians 1:29–30).
The same is true for the Church today. All around the world, believers are experiencing intense suffering for their faith in Jesus. We see increasing pressure and hostility toward true believers, even in Western culture. In light of this, as you jump into your discussion, consider what gospel living looks like today!
Discussion Question 1: What words or phrases of today’s Scripture stand out to you the most, and why?
Discussion Question 2: How can having an attitude of gratitude make a difference in your life?
Discussion Question 3: What four areas of growth did Paul pray for the Philippians in verses 9–11, and why are each important?
Discussion Question 4: How have your present and past circumstances opened doors for you to share the good news of the gospel?
Discussion Question 5: What current circumstance do you need to surrender to the Lord?
Discussion Question 6: Why do you think it’s important for your conduct to match your faith? How does today’s verse inspire you to live out your faith?
Pray for believers worldwide who have been granted “not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29 NIV). Pray and ask the Lord to be with them “that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being” (Ephesians 3:16 NIV) and that He would use their suffering to actually serve to advance the gospel (Philippians 1:12) and lead people away from their destruction and wrath and toward repentance and salvation!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.