Lesson from July 5th, 2009
The Secret; verses Phil 4:10-13
- What is Paul trying to say in verse 10 especially what is with the “at last “(NIV) statement?
- Contentment, how does it work? (verses 10-13)
In these verses Paul uses a Greek word that has great meaning in pagan ethics it is autarkes which means entirely self-sufficient. This “self-sufficiency” was the highest aim of the Stoic philosophers. Stoics thought that man could reach a state of mind where he was absolutely independent of all things and all people. They thought that this “state” could be reached by a certain pathway of the mind. Their goal was to eliminate all desire.
Paul uses this word but his definition of where the self-sufficiency comes from is completely different. The Stoic says”I will learn to be content by a deliberate act of my own will”. Paul has a different source for his contentment in all circumstances and it is not an act of his will.
- How does 20th century America view self-sufficiency is it good, or a bad trait? Why do you think Americans view self-sufficiency (Independence if you will) in this manner?
- How do we remain “content” in “all circumstances”, and do how many times are we truly content versus just enduring? How do we discern the difference?
- What do you make of verses 17-19, is this a “prosperity” promise? How do you interpret this passage?
- Do you think that current day Christians “appreciate” the meaning and value of a blessing such as the one Paul ends the letter with. What about the blessing at the end of our worship service?