The Worth of This Training


piperDear friends of Bethlehem College & Seminary,

I have just finished teaching my 13-week class on the Greek exegesis of Philippians. This has been a dream come true for me. Week after week, to rivet my attention on God’s word with 16 gifted men, whose minds are hungry for God’s truth and whose hearts are set on spreading it—this has been a sheer gift in the post-pastor season of my life.

I saw things in this book I had never seen before. What an amazing privilege—to see new things after looking at the Book for sixty years! For example, I had never noticed the similarity between Philippians 2:12–13 and Philippians 3:12.

Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God is the one who is at work in us to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:12–13). So we have work in actively, intentionally, living out our salvation. And we do this acting and intending with a firm conviction that the decisive Actor and Intender, in all our acting and intending, is God.

Then in Philippians 3:12 Paul describes how he presses forward in the Christian life. He says he is pressing on to obtain the resurrection of the dead: “I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

Paul’s exertion in taking hold of Christ in the resurrection is possible only because Christ had already taken hold of him.

Do you see the similarity with Philippians 2:12–13? In both texts our life is not passive. It is a passionate pursuit of joyful obedience in this world, and consummate joy with Christ in the resurrection. And in both texts this pursuit is possible only because of God’s decisive work in our lives. First he took hold of us (3:12), and now he holds us and decisively works and wills in our working and willing (2:13).

Such discoveries we make in every class. And the aim is to equip these men to make such discoveries for the rest of their lives and then teach thousands of people what they see in God’s word.

This kind of training is worth all the sacrifices we can make. Would you join us financially here at year’s end, and help us sustain this work for decades to come.
With a thankful heart,

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John Piper
Chancellor and Professor of Biblical Studies