I have started translating Philippians for my Greek class that starts Jan 21. We have homework that is due the first day and a quiz to prepare for. Yippee! My first assignment is translating and diagramming (T&D) Philippians 1:3-6. I worked on verses 3-4 last night. I think, when I am in the midst of T&D, I won't be able to look at the passage theologically. But I have been looking at it this morning and searching for sermon points.
The main point is that Paul is thankful for the church in Philippi. Every time God places them on Paul's heart, he is thankful for them. Because (there is no 'oti in the Greek at this point. It is my inclusion of "because") God has placed them on his heart, Paul joyfully prays for them. Why? Due to their participation in the gospel from the first day that he was with them to the present. Then verse 6 might be the main topic for the whole letter. "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." The rest of the letter is encouraging them to live as Christ, to be like Christ, to strive for the perfection that we cannot attain until our bodies and spirits are glorified.
This letter doesn't ask what I am thankful for, but who am I thankful for. Who do I pray for in joy? My daughter would be the first to come to mind. She accepted Christ as her Savior when she was 5. She understood the basics and has grown, spiritually, since then. I am always encouraged when she talks about Pastor David's messages at youth group on Wednesday nights. David is an excellent youth preacher. A youth guy that can do expository preaching and captivate the kids for 30 minutes is amazing!
Another is a young lady in my singles class. She has traveled with the church to teach ESL in Croatia twice and again this year. She continues to grow in the Lord and I am thankful for her leadership in the church.
There are two others in my singles class: one is a teacher and the other is a paramedic in the fire department. I enjoy watching their spiritual development and pray for them all the time. The fireman struggles with a non-Christian environment, but I believe they are beginning to accept his conversion more. That is a prayer request.
God's word is powerful and I am learning more and more. I will T&D verses 5-6 tonight and then start going through my vocabulary words. Don't forget to pray and be thankful.