TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN
18 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out to be my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet, what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
(Identify verses with your comments.)
In light of the possible torturous death he faced, where did Paul get his strength?
Paul expressed fear of being ashamed. Of what?
What do you think Paul meant when he said for him “to live is Christ”?
What was Paul’s great desire should he not be executed?
How did Paul want the Christians at Philippi to live regardless of what happened to him?
What will be a sign to those who opposed the Philippian Christians?
There are a number of contrasts, either stated or implied: Imprisoned– deliverance; ashamed–exalted; life–death; living–depart; contending–
frightened; joy–struggle. Select one of these that has application now in your life. Explain why.
How would you describe “walking worthy of the Gospel of Christ”?
Paul says we have been “granted” to suffer in behalf of Christ. How is that possible in today’s environment?
Key words to look for:
To live is Christ, to die is gain
Joy in the faith, joy in Christ Jesus
Worthy of the gospel
Believe on Him . . . suffer for Him
Without being frightened
The same struggle
Paul is in prison. He is aware that Christians are being slaughtered by the Emperor. Most are dying violent deaths. It is on this background that he prays for courage and reminds them that often, the Christian life will involve persecution and suffering. Through it, though, he is encouraged by the joy there is in the fellowship of believers.