Philippians Theme Relevant to Current Challenge

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The following transcript has been modified for clarity.

This semester we’re excited about our theme in chapel entitled “Live Worthy of the Gospel.” Every Monday morning I’ll be speaking on the subject, and then we will be following up in our discipleship groups on Tuesday and on Thursday (and Friday).

The theme was selected because, of course, the nature of the book of Philippians is so practical, and especially Philippians 1:27. It says that our lives are to be lived in such a way that we live out the Gospel. We live worthy of this message that we’ve come to believe and to receive.

I’m particularly excited about this semester’s theme especially in light of our day with COVID-19 really to help our students in a number of key areas. One is Paul wrote this letter because he was expressing gratitude for a gift that he had received from the church of Philippi. He really emphasizes the importance of thanksgiving.

He also wrote this book because he wanted to update on his particular circumstances. It’s a prison epistle. Paul was writing from Rome. He wanted the believers in Philippi who deeply loved him to know where he was because he wanted them to learn the importance of overcoming worry and anxiety. The book is filled with those promises. One of the greatest struggles today mentally with all people, but especially working with God’s people, is dealing with anxiety and worry and fear, and that’s really what Philippians is all about. And of course, in the day we’re living in, how practical is that?

Then Paul is addressing some errors that God’s people were facing. When we think about today, just in the last five months, how much has come up that begins to question certain biblical truths. Error blows by like the wind, and things come and things go, and it’s all based upon social and cultural issues. We want our students to be rock-solid in their faith in the Gospel and to see that they can discern the times through God’s truth.

Finally, Paul wrote them because basically Philippians is Paul’s autobiography. It’s his life story. He is an example of a spiritually mature, Christ-centered, joy-filled believer. Sixteen times the word joy is mentioned in this book, and we really want our student body to really grasp that in life satisfaction, contentment, joy comes from the Lord.

We’re looking forward to a great study this semester.

View the series on BJUtoday. A new devotional chapter is added each Monday.


Steve Pettit traveled for many years with the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team before becoming president of Bob Jones University. His ultimate goal for BJU is to prepare students to serve and love others, no matter their vocation.