Three Simple Words We Can’t Ignore

Philippians 2:19–24


Some people search for advanced steps for Bible reading while neglecting a basic one: don’t skip over words. In this lab, John Piper invites us to carefully consider an important phrase that we too often skip over: “in the Lord.”

Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 2:19–24:

  1. Do you ever notice yourself overlooking certain words and phrases while reading the Bible? Why don’t they command your attention?
  2. Watch the lab. Why did John Piper spend so much time covering the phrase “in the Lord?” What does “in the Lord” mean in Philippians 2:19?
  3. Can you think of other phrases like “in the Lord” that you often treat as throwaway phrases? Write some down and try to articulate what they mean and why they matter.

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Principles for Bible Reading

No Need to Repeat

Like a patient father, God graciously repeats foundational truths that his children ought to live by.

But for as much as God does give us reminders, he does not need to repeat himself in order to be believed. If God has said something once, and through careful study we see no reason that he has altered his sentiments (e.g. changing from the Old to New Covenants), it is as binding as if he had said it a thousand times.

As we read the Bible it is wise to confirm that our understanding is accurate by checking whether it conforms to the rest of Scripture. If the teaching is not taught or hinted at elsewhere, we should double-check to make sure we are rightly understanding the passage. But if a passage speaks clearly, it does not need to be explicitly stated elsewhere, and should land on us as the words of God.