New Hope UMC

Bible Study

An important factor in a Church's worship experience and growth is Bible Study. We are not made to worship as individuals but rather with each other. Prior to 2015, we had a difficult time sustaining a Bible study although we made several attempts. That changed this year as we have met consistently in our refurbished Fellowship Hall and our now on our 4th series. We have grown not only in our knowledge of the Word, but as a caring, sharing group delighting in discovering the truths the Bible has in store for us.


Our current study is Philippians, by Ralph Wilson. It is a deep dive into Paul's letter to the church at Philippi. Although we have studied Wilson before, this is our first look at the writings of Paul.

Chapter 2: Struggles That Advance the Gospel

Paul is in prison, we don't know where. He is actually in chains, tethered to a guard for most of every day. He is being held because of his testimony as Christianity was not a recognized religion in the Roman Empire at that time. Instead of bemoaning his fate, he uses this time to advantage actually converting some of the guards to which he has become "attached". A key word here is "rejoice". Not only does he accept his fate, he rejoices knowing that God is in control and he is advancing the gospel.  

The lesson provides discussion questions for each topic. The first is "are you a more credible witness when you are undergoing personal struggles, stress and problems?" Wilson helps us with the answer by providing access to a discussion forum, which you can follow question 1

Topic 2: Why is our ability to rejoice dependent upon our belief that God is in control no matter the circumstances? See Forum discussion question 2

And another: How can fear keep up from being a bold witness? We are all too familiar with the persecution of Christians particularly in the Middle East. The same is true in a more subtle way in this country. See discussion for question 3. We recall that Paul himself persecuted Christians before his conversion. It is thought that he was present at the stoning of Stephen and took an active role  in the decision by the Sanhedrin. Jesus told his followers that they would be persecuted. Yet they were filled with the Spirit and continued to spread the news of the gospel. Fear is not our friend when it comes to witnessing for Christ.