I have notes on Philippians that I’d like to share today.

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

Philippians 1:14 (NIV)

It’s incredible that, as a prisoner, Paul was an encouragement to other Christians, who boldly preached the Gospel message instead of being afraid that they might end up in prison. This behavior is contrary to what one might expect since we rarely see someone’s distressing situation and do the same things that got them into it. Instead, most people will do whatever they can to avoid the same predicament.

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Philippians 1:23-24 (NIV)

We have very little information from the Bible concerning Paul’s time as a prisoner in Rome. While we have letters from Paul, and we know he lived in his own rented house, there’s not much more to go on. However, in these verses, Paul talks about dying and his desire to be with Christ. While we don’t know how old Paul was when he was converted to Christianity, many suggest he was around 30 years old. Thus, by this writing, he was probably in his mid to late fifties. Given the time period and everything Paul had gone through, from shipwrecks to beatings, starvation, and the like, Paul probably wasn’t in great physical condition. In Philemon, Paul describes himself as an old man.

Yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus.

Philemon 1:9 (NIV)

In 2 Timothy, we get this insight about Paul:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:6-7 (NIV)

Thus, we can conclude that Paul was ready to die and go home with the Lord. Yet, despite Paul’s physical condition, he still desired to remain on earth for the betterment of other Christians.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

Philippians 3:12-13 (NIV)

This is an extraordinary passage of Scripture because, as we have said, Paul was now an old man ready to die. Yet, he says in verse 12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal.” What is the “this” Paul refers to?

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in a Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:8-11 (NIV)

In other words, Paul has yet to obtain “perfection” in Christ. It’s not that Paul doesn’t see himself as mature in Christ or is displaying false humility here. No, Paul basically says, “I have a way to go.” I’m reminded of something Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)

None of us should ever think we’ve got it all together. That we have nothing more to learn. We see this as Paul continues in Philippians.

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Philippians 3:15 (NIV)

Again, Paul isn’t pointing to himself and saying he’s unique. Instead, Paul points out that everyone mature in Christ should have the same view. And we should. As Paul says here if you think you have it all together, “God will make it clear to you” that you don’t.

That’s all I have for today. Thanks for stopping by!