Our salvation is guaranteed the moment we believe Jesus for it. But some also suggest that our good behavior or works are required to validate whether or not we’ve got the real thing. A popular understanding of Philippians 1:6 is that we continue to grow and improve throughout our Christian experience. Is this necessarily true? Is this verse telling us we’ll persevere in good works or is the verse talking about something completely different?

Why is it important to pay attention to the context of a verse from the Bible? How is it possible that someone could “read into” a passage what they want it to say? Can you think of an example where someone might bend the meaning of a verse to match their preferences?

Read Philippians 1:6. Why might this verse be understood to mean that progressing in your spiritual growth is a guaranteed experience? Do Christians always continue to grow and change for good until they die? (Look at 2 Tim. 2:17-18, 1 Tim. 1:19-20, 1 Cor. 11:30)

Many Bible scholars agree that Philippians is a “thank-you letter.” What was Paul thanking the Philippian believers for? Read Philippians 4:15-20.

One may be confused about Philippians 1:6 because of the word “fellowship” in 1:5. What does the word, fellowship, mean (Greek: koinonia)? The word, fellowship (koinonia) can also be translated “contribution or sharing” (Rom. 15:26, 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:13)

The most reasonable and accurate understanding of Philippians 1:6 is that it refers to the “good work” of sharing financially with Paul. Read Phil. 1:5-6 with this understanding in mind. How does partnering with others through your generous financial contributions help further the gospel?