This is lesson 1 of 8 in Extraordinary Joy, a bible study on Philippians.
- Main Point of the Passage: Paul and Timothy prayed with joy for the Christians in Philippi.
- Main Point of the Lesson: God is the most dependable source of joy.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will pursue joy in God.
- Key Verses: Philippians 1:3-5, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
- Word Studies: Joy in Philippians 1:4
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
If you plan to use the optional homework, you’ll need two or three volunteers each week. A few days before your Bible study, choose two volunteers and give each of them one of the following assignments. Tell them you’d like them to take 3-5 minutes to share their work with the group.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: What was your favorite article of clothing when you were a kid?
Share Question: What are some of the sources of joy in your life? Rate them from 1 to 10 based on how dependable they are.
Introduce the Passage: God is the most dependable source of joy. When Paul and Timothy wrote their letter to the Christians in Philippi, they began by praying with joy for the brothers and sisters receiving their letter.
- Optional: Have a member of your group either recite the passage or give a detailed summary of the passage.
- Optional: Have a member of your group present their word study on the following word(s):
- “Joy” in Philippians 1:4
Study Question: In verse four, Paul emphasized that every prayer he prayed for the Philippian Christians was filled with joy. As we read this passage, let’s list the causes and effects of Paul’s joy.
Possible answers include:
- Cause: The Philippian Christians had partnered with Paul in the gospel “from the first day until now.” (v. 5, 7)
- Cause: Paul was confident that God would complete the good work He began in them. (v. 6)
- Effect: Paul thanked God for the Philippian Christians. (v. 3)
- Effect: Paul deeply missed them. (v. 8)
Connect-the-Dots Question: In verse six, Paul said he was confident that God would complete the good work that he had begun in the Philippian Christians. What was the basis for Paul’s confidence?
Count-the-Cost Question: Paul wrote these words while he was in jail. What thoughts do you think Paul had to fight against in order to maintain his attitude of joyful thanksgiving?
Let’s-Do-It Question: What are some of the less dependable things you are tempted to base your joy on?
Prayer: Father, thank you for being the solid foundation for our joy. Teach us to find our joy in You. Amen.
Optional homework for next time: After your group discussion and prayer, distribute the attached pages to volunteers in preparation for your next Bible study.