Obedience Is Not a Curse Word

Philippians 2:12–13


In this lab, John Piper reminds us that to comply with God’s commands is to believe that God knows more than we do about what will ultimately make us happy.

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

  1. Is our obedience necessary for salvation? Why or why not?
  2. What is the connection between obedience and working out your salvation in Philippians 2:12? How is this not works righteousness?
  3. Is there any area of your life that you need to recommit obeying the Lord in? Repent to him, confess it to a fellow believer, and pray for the Lord’s help to obey him from the heart.

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Principle for Bible Reading

How to Wrestle with a Difficult Text

  • Identify what is clear from the passage. Start with what you can figure out from the passage as a whole and then return to the unclear parts.
  • Find the main point. Often the confusing parts do not contain the main point of the passage. Identifying the main point can give us clues for discovering the meaning of the difficult passage.
  • Look for clues within the book and surrounding context. Search the book for key words and phrases found in the tough passage.
  • Cross-reference. Utilizing cross-references, especially when a New Testament verse cites the Old, helps us to have a fuller understanding of what the authors were trying to communicate.
  • Ask specific questions of the text. Addressing a challenging text as a whole can seem insurmountable. But breaking a passage down by asking specific questions about it can unravel the meaning, question by question and answer by answer.
  • Use a trusted commentary. Be careful with commentaries. This caution includes trusting bad commentaries and relying too much on good ones. But commentaries can be used well, and great biblical scholars give helpful insights.