Anxiety hangs over many of our heads like a dark cloud. How do we break free from the fears and worries that follow us everywhere we go? In this lab, John Piper covers the path to having more than freedom from anxiety — the path to having the peace of God.
Principle for Bible Reading
Biblical authors do not merely tell us what we should do, but they often tell us how to do it. They call us to do an action, and also tell us the manner in which that action should be performed.
In This Lab
Pastor John sees Philippians 4:6 not as two alternatives (Do not be anxious, but rather pray), but as a command with an explanation of how to do it (Do not be anxious by praying).
A father may tell his son to go clean his room. The father might clarify exactly what he expects: “James, it’s time to clean your room (the action). Pick up your clothes from the floor, make your bed, and organize your closet” (the manner).
Conjunctions or connecting words are very important in the Bible because they tell us how two statements are related to each other. In this case, Pastor John sees the “but” in Philippians 4:6 as indicating an action/ manner relationship (don’t be anxious about anything by presenting the things you’re tempted to be anxious about to God through prayer).
An action/manner relationship isn’t usually introduced by “but,” yet it can be, as we see here. Most often, action/manner relationships are introduced with the words, in that, by, or with an adverbial participle. Adverbial participles usually end in “ing” and modify a main verb (e.g. I went to the store, running the whole way there).
- What in your life causes you the most anxiety? What do you usually do to relieve your anxiety?
- Read Philippians 4:6–7. What is Paul’s remedy to being anxious in this passage?
- Have you ever experienced the peace described in Philippians 4:7? What do you think this peace guards against? How might your life be different if you experienced it more often?