Has Your Belly Become Your God?

Philippians 3:1–3


In this lab, John Piper reminds us that if Christ is not our treasure, we can search the whole globe and never find what we’re looking for.

Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 3:1–3:

  1. Paul calls some people “dogs” in Philippians 3:2. What do you think he means by saying that?
  2. Do you know anywhere else where people are called “dogs” in the Bible?
  3. In this lab, John Piper challenges us not to dehumanize ourselves. Are there any ways in which you are currently doing this?

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Principles of Bible Reading

Cross-referencing

One way that people love to communicate is to use words and phrases that someone else has said in the past to enhance what they are saying now. We quote others to defend, explain, or confirm what we are trying to communicate.

The biblical authors do this as well. When you see New Testament authors quote Old Testament verses, ask what texts they are quoting to make their point or, when they do not quote a specific text, which texts they might have had in mind. Utilizing cross-references, especially when a New Testament verse or passage cites or alludes to Old Testament passages, helps us to have a fuller understanding of what the authors were trying to communicate.

Most study Bibles have cross-references that connect you to other texts in the Bible that relate in some way to that text. Whether connected thematically or by a common phrase, cross-referencing enhances our study when we take the time to look up the verses.

For Example

  • Those fighting injustice might begin a speech by saying, “I have a dream.” They are not drawing attention to what happened while they slept the night before. Rather, they are linking their situation to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to the Civil Rights era. The fullness of what is being said would be lost without thinking of events such as police hosing African Americans in the streets, water fountains for “whites” and “coloreds,” and mass rallies and marches on Washington.