christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

philippians 3 chiastic structure

Read Philippians 3 at Bible Gateway.

The greater portion of this chapter forms its own chiastic structure (please see the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with chiastic structures):

Phi 3:4-21
1a) Phi 3:4-11, Earthly things + know Christ + conformed to His death + resurrection:
— 1a.1) Phi 3:4-9, Earthly things counted as rubbish for the excellence of knowing Christ (chiasm);
— 1a.2) Phi 3:10a, That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection;
— 1a.3) Phi 3:10b-11, Being conformed to His death that I may be conformed to His life;
1b) Phi 3:12a, Not that I have already attained but I press on;
central axis) Phi 3:12b, That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me;
2b) Phi 3:13-14, I do not count myself to have apprehended but I press toward the goal;
2a) Phi 3:15-21, Earthly things + heavenly citizenship + conformed to His body:
— 2a.1) Phi 3:15-19, Earthly things exalted by enemies of the cross (chiasm);
— 2a.2) Phi 3:20, Our citizenship is in heaven from where we wait for our Savior;
— 2a.3) Phi 3:21, Who will transform our lowly body to conform to His glorious one.

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

Philippians 3:8

I believe the Spirit is employing one of the teaching tools of Scripture, comparison and contrast, to paint a picture of the person whose mind is set on earthly things, contrasted with the person whose mind is set on eternal things.

The issue is not about church membership or even belief in the correct doctrine. Some of those whom Paul describes as enemies of the cross, whose god is their belly (a euphemism to mean, living to satisfy the flesh in the present) are in the church, however working evil (Phi 3:2).

The real dividing line between those whose citizenship is in heaven, and those who are enemies of the cross, is whether they know Christ and have been transformed by His resurrection power. For the believer, the new life – the resurrection – begins now, on this side of heaven, with a reborn nature, and we look forward to the completion of that resurrection when our bodies are transformed at His return (Phi 3:20-21).

Counting earthly things as rubbish and pressing on toward the call of eternal things, is fruit produced by a personal and living relationship with Jesus Christ – by knowing Him. Living for earthly things and seeking the satisfaction of the present demands of the flesh, is the same fruit produced by the rest of those whose citizenship is of the earth, who do not know Christ, who are not in relationship with Him.

It is not up to us, however, to sort the sheep from the goats. Paying attention to others’ shortcomings and not our own is a characteristic of the proud, not the lowly! But it is up to us, armed with this exhortation, to pay attention to the log in our own eye, and wherever the Spirit and the Scriptures working together call us to repentance, to repent.

Phi 3:4-9
1a) Phi 3:4-6, Paul’s works of righteousness through the flesh;
1b) Phi 3:7, What things were gain to me, I have counted loss for Christ;
1c) Phi 3:8a, I count all things loss;
central axis) Phi 3:8b, For the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord;
2c) Phi 3:8c, For whom I have suffered the loss of all things;
2b) Phi 3:8d-9a, I count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him;
2a) Phi 3:9b, The righteousness from God by faith.

Phi 3:15-19
1a) Phi 3:15, The mind the mature set on eternal things;
1b) Phi 3:16a, Let us walk by the same rule;
central axis) Phi 3:16b, Let us be of the same mind;
2b) Phi 3:17, Note those who so walk;
2a) Phi 3:18-19, The mind of enemies of the cross set on earthly things.


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