A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Joy in spite of hardship


St Paul in prison by RembrandtPaul’s trust in - and love of – God guides him in the letter he writes to the early church in Philippi, while he is a prisoner in Rome awaiting trial for his faith. He says he thanks God every time he thinks of the believers in Philippi.

He wants them to know that what has happened to him has served to make God better known. Everyone knows he is in prison because of his love for God, which has encouraged other Christians to speak out about their faith as well. So he is actually joyful about what has happened, regardless of whether he lives or dies. Paul believes that if he dies, he will be with Christ, and if he lives, declares that he will still put Jesus first.

In the light of this, Paul urges the Christians at Philippi to stand firm in their faith … and to rejoice in God always.

The passage illustrates:

  • Paul’s absolute certainty that God must come first and that his life is in God’s hands
  • The encouragement that God’s followers can give one another.

Related Topics

Big Ideas: Messiah, Christ, Jesus; Christians

Bible References

Philippians 1:3, Philippians 1:12-14, Philippians 1:18-24, Philippians 4:1
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