Passage: Philippians 1:1-11



Paul was writing to the Philippians while imprisoned. He was writing to the Philippians to encourage them in what they were doing because, as you learn as you read, Paul has a lot of affection towards the people of Philippi and had visited them twice before writing his letter to them.


  • Read the passage in two or more Bible versions. Here is a chart of Bible versions that shows their nature along the spectrum of Word for Word (direct translation from original Hebrew and Greek) and Thought for Thought (paraphrased). Try picking a version on each end of the spectrum, like ESV and NLT. For help on choosing a bible version, click here:

Pick out the keywords in the passage. What are words or phrases that are repeated more than once? Write them down with the verses where you found them. If you need help picking out keywords, click here:


  • Using your keywords, summarize the passage in three sentences or less. If you want to go the extra mile, summarize it in a single sentence! Here’s a link to a special tool you can use to summarize more thoroughly:



Now, try to answer these questions based on the passage. If you don’t know the answer, don’t worry! This is what Bob will be covering in his message on Wednesday.


  1. Paul opens his letter by referring to the Philippians as “all God’s holy people.” What does Paul mean when he calls them that?

    • What does it look like for you to be holy?

    • How easy/or difficult is it for you to believe that you are holy?

  • In verses 4-6 Paul says “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” What do you think Paul means by “partnership in the gospel?” Based on your answer, what does it look like for you to minister in a way that partners with the gospel?

    • What do you think Paul is trying to say through the expression "He who began...will carry it on to completion"?

    • What are some places in your life where it is more difficult to see God’s hand? How does reading this verse and learning to understand it affect what you believe about those places?

  • Beginning in verse 9 Paul says “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

    • In your own words what is Paul praying for here?  Why?