Answers for Philippians Chapter 3

About These Answers

Daily Study Questions

Questions and Answers

1. Why did Paul state that writing the same things was no trouble and why was it a safeguard to the Philippians?

He didn't want them to think going over the same things was a burden to him; and in a subtle way, is saying it should be no trouble for the Philippians to hear the same things.

The safeguard is seen as necessary by reading the next few verses.

2. Paul tells the Philippians to be wary of those dogs, men who do evil and mutilators of the flesh. In Matthew 7:6 Jesus tells us not to give dogs what is sacred. What types of people are characterized as dogs in Revelation 22:15?

  • those who practice magic arts
  • the sexually immoral
  • murderers
  • the idolaters
  • everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

3. Which of the types of people or “dogs” described in Revelation 22:15 are also present in Philippi according to Philippians Chapter 3, verses 2 and 3 and Acts 16:16?

As we learned in our study of Philippians chapter one: those who practice magic arts.

As we can see from studying verses 2 and 3 of this third chapter of Philippians: Those who love and practice falsehood – They were teaching and putting their confidence in circumcision.

Questions and Answers

1. What do the following scriptures teach us about circumcision? Considering the explanations given regarding circumcision, what error seems to have taken place with the Philippians regarding it?

  • Genesis 17:11 -- the sign of the covenant between me and you
  • Romans 2:28-29 -- nor is circumcision merely outward and physical, circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code
  • I Corinthians 7:19 -- Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God's commands is what counts
  • Galatians 5:6 -- For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love
  • Galatians 6:15 -- Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation

What was the error?

In looking at Philippians Chapter 3, verse 3, the error that seems to have taken place is that some were putting confidence in the flesh (or circumcision) and were not worshiping by the Spirit of God and were not glorying in Christ Jesus.

2. Paul says in verses 3 through 6 of this third chapter of Philippians that although he has seven reasons to put his confidence in the flesh, he does not. Why are these reasons Paul cites here in Philippians, and who do you think that he was appealing to in reciting them?

Paul was obviously appealing to the Jewish Philippians and probably those who had confidence in circumcision and the law

1) Why he cites that he was circumcised on the eighth day

Paul himself was circumcised according to the law (see Gen 17:9-12)

2) Why he cites that he was of the people of Israel:

Paul was born an Israelite, he was not a proselyte (see Acts 22:3)

Paul descended from the patriarch Israel, or Jacob; and, therefore, was able to trace his genealogy back as far as any Jew could. He was not a proselyte himself from among the pagan, nor were any of his ancestors proselytes. He had all the advantages which could be derived from a regular descent from the venerable founders of the Jewish nation. He was thus distinguished from the Edomites and others who practiced circumcision; from the Samaritans, who were made up of a mixture of people; and from many, even among the Jews, whose ancestors had been once pagan, and who had become proselytes. from Barnes' Notes

3) Why he cites that he was of the tribe of Benjamin:

Paul could trace his lineage to the honored tribe of Benjamin

Benjamin was one of the two tribes which remained when the ten tribes revolted under Jeroboam, and, with the tribe of Judah, it ever afterward maintained its allegiance to God. The idea of Paul is, that he was not one of the revolted tribes, but that he had as high a claim to the honor of being a Jew as anyone could boast. The tribe of Benjamin, also, was located near the temple, and indeed it has been said that the temple was on the dividing line between that tribe and the tribe of Judah; and it might have been supposed that there was some advantage in securing salvation from having been born and reared so near where the holy rites of religion were celebrated. If there were any such derived from the proximity of the tribe to the temple, he could claim it; for, though his birth was in another place, yet he was a member of the tribe. from Barnes' Notes

4) Why he cites that he was a Hebrew of Hebrews

Paul was a Hebrew of the superlative degree (see II Cor 11:22)

This is the Hebrew mode of expressing the superlative degree; and the idea is, that Paul enjoyed every advantage which could possibly be derived from the fact of being a Hebrew. He had a lineal descent from the very ancestor of the nation; he belonged to a tribe that was as honorable as any other, and that had its location near the very center of religious influence; and he was an Hebrew by both his parents, with no admixture of Gentile blood. On this fact-that no one of his ancestors had been a proselyte, or of Gentile extraction-a Jew would pride himself much; and Paul says that he was entitled to all the advantage which could be derived from it. from Barnes' Notes

5) Why he cites that he was a Pharisee

Paul as a Pharisee, rigidly adhered to the letter of the law (see Acts 26)

The Pharisees were distinguished among the Jewish sects for their rigid adherence to the letter of the law, and had endeavored to guard it from the possibility of violation by throwing around it a vast body of traditions, which they considered to be equally binding with the written law. The Sadducees were much less strict; and Paul here says that whatever advantage could be derived from the most rigid adherence to the letter of the law, was his. from Barnes' Notes

6) Why he cites that he was a zealot, persecuting the church

Paul was an extreme zealot, persecuting departees with death (see Gal 1:13-5)

Paul was showing the greatness of his zeal for the religion which he believed to be true, by persecuting those whom he considered to be in dangerous error. Zeal was supposed to be, as it is, an important part of religion; see 2 Kings 10:16; Ps 69:9; 119:139; Isa 59:17; Rom 10:2.

Paul says that he had shown the highest degree of zeal that was possible. He had gone so far in his attachment for the religion of his fathers, as to pursue with purposes of death those who had departed from it, and who had embraced a different form of belief. If any, therefore, could hope for salvation on the ground of extraordinary devotedness to religion, he said that he could.from Barnes' Notes

7) Why he cites that he was faultlessly legalistic

Paul did all that could be done to obtain salvation by the mere observance of law so far as the righteousness which can be obtained by obeying the law is concerned. It is not needful to suppose here that he refers merely to the ceremonial law; but the meaning is, that he did all that could be done to obtain salvation by the mere observance of law. It was supposed by the Jews, and especially by the Pharisees, to which sect he belonged, that it was possible to be saved in that way; and Paul says that he had done all that was supposed to be necessary for that. We are not to imagine that, when he penned this declaration, he meant to be understood as saying that he had wholly complied with the law of God; but that, before his conversion, he supposed that he had done all that was necessary to be done in order to be saved by the observance of law he neglected no duty that he understood it to enjoin. He was not guilty of deliberately violating it.

Paul led a moral and strictly upright life, and no one had occasion to "blame" or to accuse him as a violator of the law of God. There is every reason to believe that Paul, before his conversion, was a young man of correct deportment, of upright life, of entire integrity; and that he was free from the indulgences of vice and passion, into which young people often fall. In all that he ever says of himself as being "the chief of sinners," and as being "unworthy to be called an apostle," he never gives the least intimation that his early life was stained by vice, or corrupted by licentious passions. On the contrary, we are left to the fair presumption that, if any man could be saved by his own works, he was that man. This fact should be allowed to make its proper impression on those who are seeking salvation in the same way; and they should be willing to inquire whether they may not be deceived in the matter, as he was, and whether they are not in as much real danger in depending on their own righteousness, as was this most upright and zealous young man.         from Barnes' Notes

Questions and Answers

1. How do we as Christians today rely on traditions or things we do for our salvation?


I was watching TV recently and a church leader was saying that there were three sources of truth: sacred scripture, magisterial teaching, and sacred traditions. This is clearly not biblical and an example of man relying on tradition.

2. Here is The Living Bible translation of Philippians Chapter 3, verse 7: “But all these things that I once thought very worthwhile-now I've thrown them all away so that I can put my trust and hope in Christ alone.” What did Paul gain instead from Philippians Chapter 3, verses 8 and 9 when he threw away the things he once thought worthwhile?

Verse 8 - the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord - Christ

Verse 9 - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

3. The word “know” in Philippians Chapter 3, verse 10 means to have personal acquaintance or experience with. What did Paul want to experience, and what did he seek to gain in getting more knowledge of Christ from the experience?

Wanted to experience: Christ; The power of Christ’s resurrection; the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings; to become like Christ in his death

Sought to gain: Resurrection from the dead (eternal life) See Philippians Chapter 3, verse 11

The word know in verse 10 means to have personal acquaintance or experience with. This is Paul's major passion, to get more knowledge of Christ by experience.from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Questions and Answers

1. In Philippians Chapter 3, verse 12 what is Paul following after to take hold of?

He is pressing on to win the prize for which God has called him heavenward – eternal life

2. What is the message to the Philippians and to the church today in Philippians Chapter 3, verse 15?

Press on towards the rewards God has prepared for us, forget the false doctrine and the worldly things of life; God will make it clear to us his truth.

3. What can you do to run a better race for the goal?


Questions and Answers

1. What does Philippians Chapter 3, verse 19 tells us about these aspects of the enemies of the cross?

  • Where they will wind up: Death - Their destiny is destruction
  • Whom they serve: Themselves - Their god is their stomach
  • What they take pride in: Shameful things - Their glory is in their shame
  • What their focus is: Worldly things - Their mind is on earthly things

2. Philippians Chapter 3, verse 20 says our conversation or citizenship is of heaven. What do you look forward to the most in heaven?


Questions and Answers

1. What do we learn about the body of the resurrected Christ from the following verses:

  • Matt 28:8-9 - He has feet, He could talk and they could hear him
  • Matt 28:16-18 - He was visible - you could see him
  • Luke 24:13-18 - He could walk, He could have a conversation, and perhaps because he was God - He could prevent some from recognizing him
  • Luke 24:30 - He could sit down
  • Luke 24:39-43 - He had flesh and bones that you could touch and feel, He was hungry, He could eat
  • John 20:14 - He could stand
  • John 20:19 - He could walk through walls, His wounds were visible

2. What does a reading of 1 Corinthians 15:35-54 teach us about our own resurrected bodies?

  • God will give us a body as he has determined vs. 38
  • We will have a heavenly body unlike our earthly bodies vs. 40
  • It will not perish (it will last forever) vs. 42
  • It will be a spiritual body vs. 44
  • It will be like Jesus’ body vs. 49
  • It will happen quickly vss. 51-52
  • It will signify the final victory over death vs. 54

Some thoughts from Matthew Henry's Commentary:

The natural body is flesh and blood, consisting of bones, muscles, nerves, veins, arteries, and their several fluids; and, as such, it is of a corruptible frame and form, liable to dissolution, to rot and moulder. But no such thing shall inherit the heavenly regions; for this were for corruption to inherit incorruption, which is little better than a contradiction in terms.

The heavenly inheritance is incorruptible, and never fadeth away, 1 Peter 1:4. How can this be possessed by flesh and blood, which is corruptible and will fade away? It must be changed into ever-during substance, before it can be capable of possessing the heavenly inheritance. The sum is that the bodies of the saints, when they shall rise again, will be greatly changed from what they are now, and much for the better. They are now corruptible, flesh and blood; they will be then incorruptible, glorious, and spiritual bodies, fitted to the celestial world and state, where they are ever afterwards to dwell, and have their eternal inheritance.from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition