Seven Deadly Confidences

Philippians 3:2–7

Why did Paul feel obligated to say he had reason for confidence in the flesh and even list out those confidences? In this lab, John Piper reminds us that our résumés may impress our neighbors, but they will fall short of impressing God.

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

  1. If you had to list seven deadly confidences that people put their hope in to save them, what would make your list?
  2. Read Philippians 3:2–7. Where did Paul not put his confidence? Where did he put his confidence?
  3. Watch the lab. What were the seven deadly confidences Paul mentioned and Piper summarized? Are you tempted to trust in one of those confidences as your hope?

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Principles for Bible Reading

Look for Sequences in Lists

Often, when we see lists in the Bible (for example, lists of virtues or vices, like those found in Romans 1:29–31 or Colossians 3:12–14), we might assume that there isn’t any connection between the items on the list — and there may not be. But by assuming that no sequence exists, we pass over insights we might have found had we paused and asked whether any relationship exists between the items.

The first step for identifying a sequence consists in defining each item on the list. Knowing how each item differs from the rest helps us observe any patterns or progressions. After defining the terms, ask whether the items on the list progress or can be categorized in some way.