To me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Philippians 1:21 NRSV
In order to understand this statement by Paul, it is necessary to read the context: It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20 NRSV
- When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he was in prison in Rome. With that in mind, notice that he talks about speaking boldly and exalting Christ while in circumstances that seem to dictate submission and groveling. How is Paul’s situation comparable to living in contemporary US culture?
- Paul knew he was at risk of an attempt to shame him while in prison. How did he propose to deal with that problem?
- The focus verse today sums up Paul’s attitude toward time/space concerns for his well-being. How would you express your attitude toward the risk of scorn or even litigation over your commitment to live by the principles of your faith?
Paul continued and said, “ If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer, I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” Philippians 1:22-24 NRSV
- If living is Christ and dying is gain, why did Paul have a problem deciding between time/space life and eternity? What principle that Jesus taught is at work in his thoughts?
- What does this text say to all who suffer because the US culture is becoming aggressive in attempts to suppress expressions of Christian faith in word and deed?