Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Philippians Chapter 1
Metaphysically Interpreting Philippians 1:1-2
1:1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 1:2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Metaphysically Interpreting Philippians 1:3-11
1:3I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 1:4always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 1:5for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; 1:6being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 1:7even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. 1:8For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. 1:9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 1:10so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; 1:11being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
December 12, 1948: Philippians 1:1-11
What is the main theme of Paul's epistles? The resurrection life or life of unity in Christ.
Metaphysically considered, what is Paul's purpose in writing the Epistle to the Philippians? Philippi in Macedonia represents the “business mind,” and the Philippians represent those individuals whose chief interest is directed toward the getting of material gain. In the epistle Paul (the word of Truth) and Timothy (inspired reason united with faith) seek to encourage the persons whose love of material gain is uppermost in their mind to remember their unity in Christ and to continue to give attention to spiritual matters in their outer activities.
How does Paul seek to carry out his purpose? Paul (the word of Truth) first commends those who are seeking to live the Christ life and gives thanks for the spiritual progress they have already made. Then he affirms his faith that the good work already begun in them will be perfected, and he encourages them to persevere in it. Finally he gives further instruction as regards the importance of constructive thinking.
Is man’s fellowship in Christ strengthened by his communication of thought? Yes, by his communication of true thought, that is, joyous and unselfish thought for others.
Where are joy and faith easily expressed? In prayer as well as in active daily life.
Are we shown by the text for today how to use faith constructively? Yes. We can have faith in the right outcome of the work of Truth provided we persevere in our efforts and have the cause of Truth in our heart. We need to be zealous for Truth and direct our efforts “in furtherance of the gospel” of the Christ life and joy.
Are limitations or difficulties a sufficient justification for our slackening our efforts to live the Christ life? No, they should serve as a spur to renewed effort on our part. “Both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace.”
Is active love an incentive to greater undertakings? It is. “That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” Love leads to an understanding of the good and inspires the one who loves the good to express it.
October 22, 1950: Philippians 1:3-11
What does love of God bring in its train? It brings “knowledge and all discernment.” We gain knowledge and develop discernment, because our thinking of God brings us into consciousness of Him as All-Good.
What are the practical effects of being piled with knowledge and discernment? We approve and know how to assess “the things that are excellent” and are “filled with the fruits of righteousness,” or the results of right understanding and doing.
Metaphysically Interpreting Philippians 1:12-30
1:12Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel; 1:13so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest; 1:14and that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear.
1:15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 1:16the one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 1:17but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds. 1:18What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed;
and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 1:19For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 1:20according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 1:21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 1:22But if to live in the flesh, --if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. 1:23But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: 1:24yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 1:25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; 1:26that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.
1:27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you and be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; 1:28and in nothing affrighted by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God; 1:29because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf: 1:30having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
December 26, 1937: Philippians 1:12-26
What point is emphasized in this lesson? The truth of All-Good is brought out in Paul’s reasoning. He is able to find good in apparent evil, even in his unjustifiable imprisonment.
How do bonds become “manifest in Christ”? The Christ consciousness reveals to us our limitations, and the way in which we allowed them to become fixed upon us. It enables us also to throw them off and be free.
How does one gain confidence through another's “bonds”? The one who notwithstanding his failure to surmount limitations keeps faith in the principles of Truth and courage to persevere in his efforts undiminished, is an example to those in need of courage to follow the Way. “Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
How can Christ be preached “of envy and strife”? He who is established in the Christ love may preach Christ with the ulterior purpose of exposing another man’s failure to demonstrate his faith. Such ulterior purpose may be either to express envy or stir up strife.
What gauges the “supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” in individual realization? The Spirit of Jesus Christ is infinite and omnipresent, but each one determines for himself the measure of his realization of it through earnest expectation and hope as well as prayer. The prayers of others for him also increase his receptivity to the Christ Spirit provided he is conscious of them and desires the help they bring him.
“To live is Christ.” Enlarge on this thought. To teach Truth by example, as Jesus taught it in His works is truly to live. To heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, these are some of the greater works always present to be dealt with by man after the Christ method. As we learn to do these things and to control our inner life as well, we live the Christ life.
Does joy come nevertheless out of one's resolve to live for others? As one contributes faith, courage, and outward efforts to the joy and progress of others in making the Christ manifest, the joy of being One with the Farther fills life again to the brim. No one can give to the universal life without receiving full measure from it in return.
June 25, 1939: Philippians 1:12-14
What example does this lesson afford of the habit of viewing adversity constructively? Paul's habit of seeing the good in every adverse circumstance. Instead of bewailing his imprisonment and the resulting curtailment of his work, he counts the gain of spreading the gospel among the Praetorian guard.
What additional cause for thanksgiving does Paul find in his bondage? The fact that other followers of the Christ were emboldened by his faithfulness to continue similar work outside of prison fearless of consequences.
June 25, 1939: Philippians 1:21-24
How strong does Paul's faith in the Good appear? Paul was undaunted by the fear of death. He said calmly, “As life means Christ to me, so death means gain” (Moffatt). Thus he stoutly affirmed his faith in All-Good.
Why did Paul hesitate between clinging to life and renouncing the struggle, thereby letting adverse influences take their course? Paul hesitated to choose between what was apparently best for himself as an individual and what was clearly best for him as a leader of the followers of Christ. For himself he would no longer affirm life in the flesh, but he was impelled to do so for the sake of others for whom he felt responsibility.
Can man be with Christ more completely than by being in the Christ consciousness here and now? When man has entered into the resurrection life or consciousness of universal life, he is with Christ here and now as fully as he could be anywhere at any time. Until he attains this consciousness he knows that he has not fully perceived or incorporated the Christ principle into his mind and heart.
October 8, 1950: Philippians 1:19-26
Can we do the same kind of work that Jesus Christ did? We can in a degree proportioned to our understanding.
How do we give direction to life? By first seeking and gaining a clear understanding of divine principles. We can then direct our life into the way of Truth by following them.
What else gives intelligent direction to life? A firm belief in God, All-Good. To see good in adversity requires a high order of faith. Mastery of the inner life so as to bring good out of whatever manifests itself in external circumstances is the directing of life into the channels of the Christ.
Is “the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” always adequate? It is so long as our faith in its adequacy remains firm.
How do we lose our life or save it? We lose our life by living it to ourselves, making no effort to serve or to enrich the life or aspirations of others. We save our life by enlarging the bounds of our consciousness to include all others with us in one bond of brotherly love.
October 1, 1950: Philippians 1:27-30
Is the life of the Christ fixed in a frame of rigid rules? No. The Christ stirs us to “prove all things” and “hold fast that which is good.” The authority of the Christ is native to each individual. Only the food is to remain unchanged.
Why is the “righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” not enough? Because it is an outward show only, with no attendant conversion of the heart. No hypocritical profession of faith is acceptable in the spiritual realm. It is our life and character that we are molding, and we cannot afford to deceive ourselves.
How does the Spirit of the Christ cause us to react toward evil? It causes us to return good for evil, never evil for evil.
December 10, 1950: Philippians 1:12-18
What is of greater importance than the overcoming of adverse appearances? The controlling of the inner life is much more important than the overcoming of adverse external conditions. Instead of demonstrating his freedom from prison, Paul (the illumined word) used his imprisonment as an occasion to make Truth of the Christ known to the Roman soldiers (dominating outer thoughts) and to strengthen the faith of other converts (thoughts newly awakened to Truth).
Is the way of proclaiming the Christ more important than the fact of proclaiming Him? No, the latter is more important. Differences in interpretation are secondary to the revealing of the Christ in the hearts of men.
September 9, 1951: Philippians 1:27-30
To what purpose are the followers of the Christ to have unity of soul and spirit? Unity of spirit gives strength to those who follow the Christ, enabling them to stand fast for what they hold true under all circumstances or conditions. Unity of soul enables those who follow the Christ to center their attention and effort on one goal, namely, “Christ only.” Metaphysically, the exhortation to “stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving” signifies that the individual is to unify soul and spirit or to harmonize his powers in order to realize the “fulness of Christ.”
How is faith made effectual? By regular use or exercise, just as the muscles of the body are developed by use or exercise.
What advantage is gained by having all members of a group unite in the exercise of faith? When all unite their faith in the same way and to the same end, greater power is generated and the outcome is thus made sure. Divided faith works at cross purposes, and defeats its own ends.
From what do we need to defend our faith? From the negative influence of unbelief in others, from the temptation to think negatively ourselves, and from the necessity of facing what appears to be evil.
Is suffering a sign of faith in God? Not always, although the giving up of the sense consciousness entails suffering.
How should we view evil? We should deny it to be a reality and treat the necessity of encountering it as a test of our faith in overcoming. When we are tested and found unshakable, we are ready for greater tests, which are essential to growth in spiritual stability.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-18-2014