December 14, 2017

Ordinary Time Bible Study: Philippians – Friends in the Gospel (14)

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize
for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things.
If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.
But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

• Philippians 3:12-16, NLT

• • •

Ordinary Time Bible Study
Philippians – Friends in the Gospel

Study One: A Friendship Letter

Study Two: Background

Study Three: Greetings in the Gospel

Study Four: Before Anything Else, Thanks

Study Five: All You Need Is (Overflowing) Love

Study Six: The Persevering Pastor

Study Seven: Every Way You Look at It You Win

Study Eight: Courage and Unity

Study Nine: Tending to the Roots

Study Ten: Humility We Must Sing to Imagine

Study Eleven: Tom Wright on Phil. 2:12-18

Study Twelve: Examples of the Jesus-shaped Life

Study Thirteen: Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy

Comments

  1. Every coin has two sides. We can DO this and that in his name and never KNOW him. To say I have been “saved” and now I pray is not knowing God. Of course in one sense we can never know him as we look through a glass dimly. On the other hand, if we take Paul seriously we know that this is the entirety of the gospel.
    “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
    “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
    “…but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

  2. I don’t have any Greek but I find the use of the “race” metaphor in the translation interesting here. In the context Paul is talking about a goal to be achieved not a competition where one wins and everyone else loses. Maybe an unfortunate choice? The KJV says

    Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

    The NRSV

    Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

    The prize is attained by reaching the goal not by being the first one to reach the goal. An important distinction I think.