Philippians – Paul’s Recipe for Joyful Abundance

June 17, 2015

     I was listening to an online Bible seminar by Madelon Maupin (a Christian Scientist with a graduate degree in Bible studies) who encouraged everyone to read Paul’s epistles. She said that people who took her seminars would tell her how fortunate she was to have attended seminary, but she would reply that studying Paul’s epistles was like having a year in seminary.  So, I thought we would travel along with Paul this summer by reading some of his letters to the early churches in Turkey, Greece, and Rome.
     I decided to start with Philippians because I had read a Sentinel article about how studying Philippians reveals Paul’s recipe for happiness. Another article mentioned that 10% of the “joy” references in the King James Bible appear in Philippians’ four short chapters. Here is how Eugene Peterson of The Message described Philippians:
“This is Paul’s happiest letter. And the happiness is infectious. Before we’ve read a dozen lines, we begin to feel the joy ourselves — the dance of words and the exclamations of delight have a way of getting inside us. . . .
Christ is, among much else, the revelation that God cannot be contained or hoarded. It is this “spilling out” quality of Christ’s life that accounts for the happiness of Christians, for joy is life in excess, the overflow of what cannot be contained within any one person.”
     The citations from Science and Health include Mrs. Eddy’s quotes from Philippians. At the end of the readings, there is a question from Miscellaneous Writings about Paul’s meaning of “to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) Mrs. Eddy gives a very loving response to the eternal blessings of those who have gone on, our “battle worn and Christian heroes.”