“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi…” Philippians 1:1
My friend I.F. and myself have decided to memorize the entire book of Philippians this year. We’ll see how long it takes us. Dear Paul the Apostle, author of some of the longest and most grammatically complex sentences ever translated into English, we love you. I am certainly no Biblical scholar, so I do not know the answer to this, but I wonder if this grammatical complexity was more or less pronounced in the original Greek? In any case, it’s going to be a challenge! We actually started this last summer, and then gave up when the holidays approached and this or that started happening in our families.
But, as with every January, people tend to think there’s some sort of magic dust in the chilly air swirling around the bare January trees. Something that makes it possible to achieve a lovely list of (mostly) unattainable goals. Lose weight. Quit smoking. Eat healthier. Watch less TV. I don’t really believe in “New Year’s Resolutions” because it just becomes depressing when they fall away, about 30 days in, usually. (Good thing this blog challenge is only 30 days. Wonder why that is…) So I have tried to limit myself to things I think I can actually do.
I think that I.F. and I will succeed this time. I’m writing a little bit about it because it provides that all-important “accountability.” So, how are we doing? Well, I.F. successfully quoted chapter 1, verses 1-18 this morning, and I did quite well up until verse 9. So she’s doing fabulous, and I need some serious work. The goal next Sunday is to go to verse 21. In conjunction with this memorization, I have endeavored to read John MacArthur’s commentary on the book. In just the first part of Paul’s letter, it is clear why it is sometimes called the “Epistle of Joy.” Yet, Paul wrote it from prison! How blessed we are as Christians to have eternal hope beyond the worldly things to be joyful about, even when things in our lives are not going as perfectly as we’d like.