13 Verses You Probably Missed Last Time You Read Philippians

Bible Study / May/Jun 2014 //

Philippians is – by far! – the book of the Bible I present more than any other. And I understand why. It is outstanding! It’s also filled with heaps of verses we hear quoted all the time.

You know the "famous" verses in Philippians. You probably skipped right by these ones (which is a big mistake).

Photo Courtesy of © FedeCandoniPhoto –

Have you heard any of these?

  • “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
  • “Who being in very nature God…”
  • “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
  • “I can do all things…”

Yup. They’re all in Philippians. And they’re all really good.

However, if you stop with these “famous” verses, you’re missing out on a whole lot of awesomeness in Philippians.

Here is a baker’s dozen you might have skimmed right past. (And I actually had to whittle it down.)

Once you’ve checked out my list, I’d love to hear yourfavorite verse from Philippians in the comments below.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” 1:2 (NLT)

When was the last time you blessed someone? We have lost the art of blessing people. Blessing our kids, our spouses, our friends. Asking God to give them His grace and peace.

What about blessing your enemies? Struggling with someone at work or school or…ahem…church? Try praying a blessing over them and see what happens to your own attitude.

I thank my God every time I remember you.” 1:3 (NIV)

Paul is three verses in and tells the folks in Philippi he thanks God for them. Could you imagine getting a letter where this is the opening line?! It would make your day (or week).

Let me ask you…Is there anyone you can think of right now for whom you are thankful? How about setting aside 20 minutes in the next 24 hours to write that letter?

And this is my prayer…” 1:9 (NIV)

I really like Paul. One of the things I appreciate the most about Paul is that he doesn’t stop after telling people he’s praying for them. He also tells them exactly what he’s praying for them. He does this in a bunch of his letters.

When was the last time you wrote someone a note, email, or text that said, “I’m praying for you right now. And here’s what I’m praying…” (By the way, you can check out the rest of verse 9, 10, and 11 to find out what Paul prays for the Philippians. I know I would love it if someone would pray those verses over me!)

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” 1:14 (NIV)

Have you ever thought that the hardship you’re going through right now – and the way you’re facing it – might actually be giving someone else the courage to follow and serve Christ?

Paul was chained to a wall! And yet, he recognized that trusting God while in chains was encouraging others to proclaim the gospel without fear.

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” 1:29 (NLT)

This goes right along with the last one. I lot of times we think God’s primary purpose is to get us to believe.


His primary purpose is to shape you into all that He created you to be. To do that, it’s going to take some suffering. Character has never been forged in the fire of comfort.

I recently read Mark Batterson’s terrific book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity RoarsIn it, Mark says this, “Our lives would be drastically different if we changed our prayer from ‘God, get me out of this’ to ‘God, what do you want me to get out of this?”

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” 2:8 (NIV)

I still have a hard time fathoming this one. The God of all creation, created skin, shoved himself inside, became His own creation, and then humbled himself some more?

I guess you and I are never going to humble ourselves too much.

…continue to work out your salvation…” 2:12 (NIV)

It doesn’t say “work FOR your salvation.” It says “work OUT your salvation.” We know our bodies need exercise to be all they were made to be. Our faith needs a little exercise as well.

And like physical exercise, sometimes it’s hard. And yes, sometimes we don’t want to do it. And yes, sometimes we’re a little sore afterward.

And yes, it’s totally worth it.

Do everything without complaining and arguing…” 2:14 (NLT)

Er…uh…well…I wish that one wasn’t so crystal clear. Ouch.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ…” 3:8 (NLT)

I don’t know about you, but if I’m honest, I think there are some things I’m tempted to put higher than knowing Christ. I wonder if that’s because I spend a lot more time thinking about, practicing, and engaged with those “other things” than I spend investing in my relationship with Christ.

Amazing how the more time I spend talking with Christ, reading His Word, sitting in silence, and recalling all that He is, all He’s done, and all He’s provided, the more everything else takes its rightful place in the pecking order.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it [perfection in Christ], but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” 3:13 (NLT)

Are you more focused on your past failures or on the glorious future God has planned for you? What is the enemy continuously reminding you of? Is there a mistake, a sin, or a failure in your past that you are tempted to believe is actually part of your identity.

If so, here’s the verse you need to internalize and say – out loud! – every time Satan brings the lie into your head: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21, NIV)

The truest thing about you is not your past failings. The truest thing about you is that – in Christ – you are the righteousness of God! Remember, Philippians and 2 Corinthians were both written by Paul, a guy whose past included imprisoning and killing Christians!

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” 4:5 (NIV)

These are the words immediately before “Do not be anxious about anything…” Remembering the Lord is near is the only way we can make the next verse a reality. Don’t leave it out. (NOTE: I wrote an entire post about this. You can check it out here.)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” 4:8 (NLT)

What do you focus your mind on? The power of what we put into our minds is so underrated.

Think about where your eyes go – and where that leads your mind. How can you put something that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy in front of your eyes? When you start there, your mind will be much, much more likely to follow.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” 4:19 (NIV)

Notice that immediately following the words “my God will meet all your needs…” it does NOT say “according to your talent” or “according to your bank account” or “according to your attractiveness” or “according to your gifting.”

Nope. It says “according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”(And if I’m not mistaken, I think that’s a lot. Good news, my friend.)

So, there’s my list.

I would highly encourage you to find 20 minutes in the next couple days – or right now! – and read Philippians out loud. These 13 verses are even better when you read them in context.

Question: What is your favorite verse in this list? Which one did I miss? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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All Scripture marked NLT: Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.





About the Author

Keith Ferrin is an author, speaker, blogger, and storyteller who is passionate about helping people read, study, engage, and enjoy the Bible. He was a youth pastor for six years before writing and speaking fulltime. He is the author of three books, including Like Ice Cream: The Scoop on Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God’s Word. He and his wife, Kari, have three kids who are the source of both his big smile and gray hair. They live just outside of Seattle. Keith also holds to the belief that coffee and ice cream are proof of a benevolent God.