Empty Yourself to Serve Others

Philippians 2:12–13

In this lab, John Piper reminds us that Christian self-denial is not truly self-denial. It is saying “no” to the lesser and impermanent for the better “yes” of eternity.

Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 2:12–13:

  1. When you serve others in humility, why do you tend to do it?
  2. This text begins with a “therefore,” which points back to the preceding verses to explain why they ought to obey. What is it in Philippians 2:1–11 that should motivate them?
  3. Watch the lab. How does John Piper answer the last question? How can you have this be the motivation for emptying yourself to serve others this week?

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Principle for Bible Reading


An inference is a statement that explains what is or should be based on something already said. An inference is like the top floor of a building because it always rests upon other floors, or reasons that have already been given.

Statements that begin with “therefore” are almost always inferences. Because inferences build off of other statements, whenever you see a “therefore” in the Bible, ask what it is there for (or what statements it is building upon).