Christians must be like lights in the world

Paul writes Christ’s example and the results when we follow this.

Bible reference: Philippians 2:12-18

A word list at the end of each Bible *study explains words that have a star (*) by them. These are more difficult words.


People killed Christ on a cross. This was the death for a bad man. Christ did nothing bad. But he let this bad thing happen to him. This was what God wanted. Paul has just written about this.

God wants the Christians at Philippi to develop what they believe. They must obey God. They should follow Christ’s example. And God will work in their lives through his *Holy Spirit. Paul describes how they should try to live.

Paul himself wants to follow the example of Christ. He thinks about what this might mean for him. He writes to the Philippians from a prison. He knows that *people might kill him.

The Bible does not tell us how Paul died. We know that he was ready to die for Christ (Acts 21:13). And Christ himself had said that Paul would *suffer for his name (Acts 9:16).

Questions to ask

2:12 ~ ‘Obey’ is a strong word. What might this really mean for the Christians in Philippi? (Think of the last *study.)

2:13 ~ What two things does God do in the lives of the Christians in Philippi?

2:14 ~ Paul wants the *believers at Philippi not to do two wrong actions. What are these wrong actions?

2:15 ~ At the end of this *verse Paul writes about what the life of a *believer should be like. He uses something that we see every day. What is this?

What might it suggest?

2:16 ~ When the Christians in Philippi follow Paul’s *advice, what will this do for other *people?
What will this do for Paul?

2:17 ~ In this verse Paul uses an idea from the usual actions of the *Jews. Priests would kill animals regularly and offer animal *sacrifices to God. What might this example suggest about a) the Christians in Philippi b) Paul?

2:18 ~ How does Paul feel about what the last *verse suggests? Why does he feel like this?

Something to do

Some people think that there was a problem in the church at Philippi. From what we have read in this chapter, what might this have been? Is it a problem in your church? What can we do about it?

We must obey God (v12) and God works in us (v13). Think about this – are these opposite things? How do they work in your life?

Our world is often bad. And we do not want *people get wrong ideas about us. How can we be ‘like the bright stars that shine in the dark sky at night’? Try to suggest some things that we might do.

Words to explain

advice ~ ideas about what to do

believers ~ Christians

Holy Spirit ~ God’s power in the world and in our lives

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham’s family. Abraham was the first leader of the Jews.

people ~ men or women

study ~ words that help us to learn more about something

sacrifice ~ a gift that costs a lot

suffer ~ have pain ~

verse ~ (here) a small separate part of a chapter

See the other studies in this series: Explore Paul’s letter to the Philippians