Philippians 1-4: Finding Strength in Jesus Christ

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 137–138

Have you ever faced a challenge that you felt you could not overcome? How did you feel at the time? Where did you turn for help? Paul, as a prisoner in Rome, taught where we should turn: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

Understanding the Scriptures

Philippians 1

Bonds (vv. 7, 13–16)Imprisonment 
Manifest (v. 13)Shown 
Strife (v. 15)Conflict, contention 
In pretence (v. 18)Falsely claimed 
Conversation (v. 27)Conduct 

Philippians 1:28—“Which Is to Them an Evident Token of Perdition”

The Joseph Smith Translation changes that phrase to “who reject the gospel, which bringeth on them destruction” (JST,  Philippians 1:28).

Philippians 2

Consolation (v. 1)Encouragement, comfort 
Vainglory (v. 3)Boasting 

Philippians 2:5–8—“Made Himself of No Reputation”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote: “In heaven, Christ’s lofty name was determined to be the only name on earth offering salvation to all mankind (see Acts 4:12; 2 Nephi 25:20; see also Abraham 3:27), yet the King of kings, the Mortal Messiah, willingly lived modestly, wrote Paul, even as a person ‘of no reputation’ (Philippians 2:7)” (Men and Women of Christ [1991], 63–64).

Philippians 2:25—Who Was Epaphroditus?

Epaphroditus was the messenger who delivered gifts to Paul from the Philippian Saints (see Philippians 4:18). After suffering a sickness “nigh unto death,” he returned home bearing this letter from Paul (see Philippians 2:25–28).

Philippians 3

The concision (v. 2)Those who lead astray, apostasy 
Dung (v. 8)Waste, manure 
Apprehend, apprehended (vv. 12–13)Take possession of, obtain 
Conversation (v. 20)Citizenship 
Subdue (v. 21)Win, bring under control 

Philippians 4

Intreat (v. 3)Ask 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A and either B or C as you study Philippians 1–4.

Activity A iconYour Thoughts on Your Potential

“President [Lorenzo] Snow composed the following beautiful poem about ten years before his death. It … is the result of a life-long obedience to the teaching revealed to him about fifty-two years before. The poem is addressed to Apostle Paul, and was written in reply to the apostle’s epistle to the Philippians: …

As Abra’m, Isaac, Jacob, too,
First babes, then men—to gods they grew.
As man now is, our God once was;
As now God is, so man may be,—
Which doth unfold man’s destiny.
A son of God, like God to be,
Would not be robbing Deity;
And he who has this hope within,
Will purify himself from sin.

(LeRoi C. Snow, “Devotion to a Divine Inspiration,” Improvement Era, June 1919, 659–61.)

Compare this poem with Philippians 2:1–8.

  1. 1.

    What did you learn about your own potential?

  2. 2.

    What can you do to fulfill your potential?

Activity B iconLetter to a Nonmember Father

Read Philippians 3:7–16 and think about what Paul was willing to do for the gospel. Did he consider it a sacrifice? Read the following story and write an ending that represents the truth Paul expressed:

Susan had never seen her father that angry before. She could still hear him: “How could you be taking lessons from missionaries of another church? Will you turn your back on your family, too?” Susan respected her father and had thought a lot about what he said. She sat down and wrote a letter to him, explaining …

Activity C iconSeek After the Best Things

In the thirteenth article of faith the Prophet Joseph Smith quoted from Philippians 4:8–9. Read and compare the scripture with the article of faith. Review the following list and write a synonym for each word:

  1. 1.


  2. 2.


  3. 3.


  4. 4.


  5. 5.


  6. 6.

    Good report

  7. 7.


  8. 8.


We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.