Put No Confidence in the Flesh

Philippians 3:2–7

God wants children who are confident — not confident in the flesh, but in Christ. In this lab, John Piper walks through why Paul, who had every reason to be confident in the flesh, refused to put any hope there.

Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 3:2–7:

  1. Why are we tempted to put confidence in the flesh? Why should we not put our confidence there?
  2. Read Philippians 3:2–9. What is the confidence Paul is referring to? That is, confidence in what? Now watch the lab. What does John Piper believe the confidence refers to?
  3. What have you done in your life that would tempt you to put confidence in? Take some time to think through why that confidence would prove false.

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Principles of Bible Reading


This is one of the richest relationships in the Bible. A ground gives support or a reason for another statement. One way to think of it is that it is the ground upon which another statement is built. The supporting (or grounding) statement comes after the statement it supports. When you come to a grounding statement in the Bible, ask what came before it that it supports.

Key Words

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, a grounding relationship is usually connected with for, because, or since.

For example: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” How do we know that Jesus loves us? For (or because) the Bible tells me so.