Colossians 1:1–14 (ESV)
an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard
of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which
has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our
beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to
walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and
patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred
us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul cares very much for these new Christians, and
he knows that God cares for them even more. Unfortunately, false teachings that lead people to look to themselves instead of looking to God compete for the Colossians’ attention. We have all been tempted to look to other things instead of Jesus for our
salvation. God is the only one who can overcome this evil. In the background, Paul is praying fervently for them. In the foreground, Paul is boldly proclaiming the truth of salvation in Jesus.
I pray: Thank You, O God, for Your patience and persistence to save us through Your beloved Son. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2044.
Philippians 4:10–23 (ESV)
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not
that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing
plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.
16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have
received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according
to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Paul cannot end this Letter without a vibrant expression of gratitude toward God and the service of the Philippians. Paul’s outpouring of appreciation contrasts sharply with feelings of neglect, resentfulness, and even anger that can arise when
we lack the privileges and comforts we expect. Paul invites us to see the blessings and fullness of God that are present in every situation. Christ multiplies those blessings by His grace.
I pray: Dear Lord Jesus, forgive our ingratitude. Turn our minds to dwell on the fullness of life in Your Holy Word. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2039.
Philippians 4 1:-9(ESV)
my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together
with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again
I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy
of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
As Paul concludes this Letter, he uses imperative language to urge the reader to adopt practices of living that are in harmony with
the Creator’s will. The strength and clarity of this exhortation reminds us that we often set our minds on those things that are contrary to God’s will. Paul’s exhortations are always followed by promises of God’s blessing on our behalf.
I pray: Blessed be the Lord God, who has not left us to suffer in our own folly, but has called and enlightened us to live according to His mercy in Christ. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible
(St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2038.
Philippians 3:12–21 (ESV)
Straining Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that
I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let
those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with
tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship
is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Paul holds out before us our upward calling, his example, and the promise of our transformation in the resurrection. In contrast, we often focus on earthly comforts, worldly examples of success, and maintaining a youthful appearance for this
life. But, while doing this, we starve our souls. Our citizenship is in heaven! Our life is in Christ, who reigns over all things in heaven and earth.
I pray: Dear Lord Jesus, turn us from the destructive
ways of our human nature and turn us continually toward the heavenly calling and promises You have set before us. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 2037–2038.
Philippians 3:1–11 (ESV)
Righteousness Through Faith in Christ
3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the
Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness
under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my
Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes
through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that
by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Paul reflects on his heritage and contrasts its value with the blessing of knowing Jesus, who sets us free to
invest our lives in the lives of others. Only the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has the power to truly set us free to experience life to the fullest.
pray: Dear Lord Jesus, by Your grace You set me free to live in Your righteousness and in Your image. Loosen my grip on earthly advantage, and take my hand in Yours. Amen.
A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing
House, 2009), 2037.