“Unit 25, Day 4: Philippians 4,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 25, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
The Apostle Paul instructed the Saints in Philippi to be prayerful and to seek after whatsoever is righteous. He also declared his confidence in the enabling strength of Jesus Christ. Paul concluded his epistle with another expression of thanks to the Philippian Saints for the support they gave him in his times of need.
Throughout our lives we will experience challenges or circumstances that may lead us to worry. For example:
“I am worried about passing an upcoming test.”
“I am worried about a family member who is sick.”
“I am worried about standing up for my beliefs.”
“I am worried about whether I can be a successful missionary.”
What are some worries or concerns you are currently experiencing in your life?
As you study Philippians 4, look for a truth that can help us when we face circumstances that may lead us to worry.
In Philippians 4:1–5 we read how Paul counseled the Saints to stand firm in faithfulness to the Lord, to rejoice in the Lord, and to let their moderation, or gentleness (see Philippians 4:5, footnote a), be evident to others.
Read the first phrase of Philippians 4:6, looking for Paul’s counsel to the Saints.
Read the remainder of Philippians 4:6, looking for what Paul counseled the Saints to do instead of worrying. (Supplication is a humble, earnest request.)
Read Philippians 4:7, looking for the blessing that Paul promised for praying humbly and sincerely with thanksgiving. Note that the word keep in this verse means guard (see Philippians 4:7, footnote c).
One principle we can learn from these verses is that as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, if we pray with supplication and thanksgiving, then we can have God’s peace. Following Paul’s wise counsel to take everything to God in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving can help us maintain a proper balance in life, rather than being overanxious or unduly concerned about every detail and its outcome.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about how choosing to live this principle can help us: “Because He respects your agency, Father in Heaven will never force you to pray to Him. But as you exercise that agency and include Him in every aspect of your daily life, your heart will begin to fill with peace, buoyant peace. That peace will focus an eternal light on your struggles. It will help you to manage those challenges from an eternal perspective” (“Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 93).
- Notice in Philippians 4:6 that Paul suggested that our prayers and requests should be offered with thanksgiving. Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How do you think expressing gratitude can help bring us God’s peace?
According to Elder Scott, how can God’s peace help us with challenges we experience?
Consider the worries or concerns you thought of earlier in this lesson. Choose to apply the principle Paul taught by praying with supplication and thanksgiving instead of worrying. As you notice the worries of others around you, consider sharing Paul’s words and this principle with them.
For the next 30 seconds, focus your thoughts on the Savior and what He has done for you.
What effect did focusing on this thought have on you?
Read Philippians 4:8–9, looking for what Paul admonished the Philippian Saints to think and do. Consider marking or noting each type of thing that Paul instructed the Saints to focus their thoughts on. The phrase “think on” in verse 8 means to give careful, continuing thought.
In verse 9, what did Paul counsel Church members to do? What blessing did he promise the Saints if they would focus on righteousness and follow his teachings and example?
One principle we can learn from Paul’s instruction is that if faithful Saints focus their thoughts on whatsoever is righteous and if they follow the apostles and prophets, then the God of peace will be with them.
- In your scripture study journal, write how focusing our thoughts on whatsoever is righteous can influence our desires and behaviors.
When the Prophet Joseph Smith cited this “admonition of Paul” from Philippians 4:8 in the thirteenth article of faith, he changed “think on these things” to the more active “seek after these things.” Think about why it is important for us to seek after things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and of good report or praiseworthy.
- Read the counsel on one of the following topics from the For the Strength of Youth booklet: “Dating,” “Dress and Appearance,” “Education,” “Entertainment and Media,” “Friends,” “Language,” or “Music and Dancing.” In your scripture study journal, write the name of the topic you selected. Then write your answers to the following questions:
How can we use Paul’s instruction recorded in Philippians 4:8–9 to guide our choices concerning this topic?
As we strive to follow Paul’s instruction, what challenges might we encounter concerning this topic?
Why is having “the God of peace … with you” (Philippians 4:9) worth the effort of seeking righteous things and following the apostles and prophets?
How can you improve your efforts to focus your thoughts on righteous things? Consider the blessings that have come to you as you have followed the teaching of apostles and prophets. Continue to live this principle so the Lord can continue to provide His companionship and peace in your life.
As recorded in Philippians 4:10, Paul thanked the Philippian Saints for the support and care they had offered him during his trials. Read Philippians 4:11–12, looking for what Paul told the Saints he had learned.
What had Paul learned to do in all circumstances?
Read Philippians 4:13–14, looking for the source of Paul’s strength. (Philippians 4:13 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark or note it in your scriptures in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
Paul’s statement in verse 13 pertains to his ability, through the strength provided by Jesus Christ, to do all things that were pleasing to or required by God, including being content in any circumstance. Like Paul, we can do all things through Jesus Christ, who gives us strength.
What can we do to receive the strength that Jesus Christ provides?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency taught about what the strength of God’s grace can enable us to do: “[An] element of God’s grace is the opening of the windows of heaven, through which God pours out blessings of power and strength, enabling us to achieve things that otherwise would be far beyond our reach. It is by God’s amazing grace that His children can overcome the undercurrents and quicksands of the deceiver, rise above sin, and ‘be perfect[ed] in Christ’ [Moroni 10:32]” (“The Gift of Grace,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 108).
Some of the ways we might experience this strength include increased resilience, resolve, courage, patience, and perseverance, as well as increased physical, mental, and spiritual stamina and power.
- In your scripture study journal, write about an experience when your faith in Jesus Christ gave you strength to do something good.
- Memorizing Philippians 4:13 will help this truth come to your mind as you or those around you struggle to have the strength to overcome difficulties and live righteously. Read Philippians 4:13 repeatedly to help you memorize it. Recite it to a family member or friend, and invite that person to share an experience when having faith in Jesus Christ gave him or her strength to do something good. Then sign your name in your scripture study journal.
In Philippians 4:15–23 we read that the Apostle Paul again thanked the Philippian Saints for supporting him during his times of need. The Saints’ gifts were a pleasing offering to God, and Paul promised that God would meet their needs as well.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Philippians 4 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: