To e-mail, call or write the Bagwells, just visit our "Contact" Page.




These short expositions have been complied from our Website's "Standing With the Bagwells Page," which is updated each day.

Along with personal news and prayer requests ... we try to include a few minutes in God's Word.

Lately we've been in Paul's sweetest Epistle, Philippians.

Study with us!

--- Dr. Mike Bagwell

The first twenty eight  Articles in this Bible Study Series can be found by "clicking" on our Page known as: "Phrases From Philippians, Part 1." They highlight the first two chapters of Paul's Epistle to the Philippians.



 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15





The Apostle Paul has some strange sounding advice for the Philippians as he opens chapter three.

Note his exact words: "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." Philippians 3:1


It seems that, as also occurred in Corinth and other places, enemies of the Gospel of Grace had entered Philippi.  They taught against Paul and his interpretation of God's amazing Grace!

By "dogs" Paul meant men of wicked minds!  Men who would change the Truth of God's Word!  They are probably Jews too!  Paul is boldly and deliberately insulting them!

By "evil workers" Paul has the same group in mind.  This particular word for "evil" means "good for nothing."  These men are preaching that one is saved by grace ... plus keeping the Law of Moses!

Then the "concision" proves the point and closes Paul's diatribe.  It means "to cut" or "to mutilate" and refers to their practice of "circumcising" every new male convert, in repudiation of Paul's Gospel of pure Grace!  They said one could not be "saved" if he was not circumcised too.

Paul disagrees!

Now ... to a key word in today's verse, thrice repeated: "beware!"

"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."

It translates an imperative mood present tense active voice form of "blepo." It means "to see!" To look at or consider or discover or even to perceive! 

Yes, there are certain things ... or at times people ... on whom we should "keep an eye!"

Spiritually speaking, in the Christian life it is dangerous to sleep!

Stay alert, awake!

Always be watching!

"Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." Ephesians 5:15

"Circumspectly" is an English adverb here meaning "looking all around!"


                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




In Philippians 3:3 Paul tells us that "We worship God in the Spirit."

This is so true.

The verb here for worship is "latreuo" and actually means "to serve!" The noun "latris" is a hired menial employee or even slave!  It means "to do homage!"

This is the verb often used of the priests' working before the Lord! "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle." Hebrews 13:10

Jesus first used the word in the New Testament. He said to the devil: "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:10

But we are not only to "worship" in the Spirit!

Paul commands us also to ... "Walk in the Spirit!"  Galatians 5:16

"Live in the Spirit!" Galatians 5:25

"Pray in the Spirit"  Ephesians 6:18

And ... "Love in the Spirit!" Colossians 1:8

What a way to live!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul the Apostle never "got over" meeting Jesus!

His "Damascus Road" experience dominated the rest of his life!

In Philippians 3:8 he called his relationship with Christ something amazing!

Listen to him: "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."

Nothing in Paul's past life, not even his heritage or former religion or education, could compare to "knowing" Jesus!

Such knowledge was a form of "excellency" to Paul!

The Greek word is "huperecho" and is a clear cut example of assimilation, two words being fused into one!

The Holy Spirit has Paul use this term which means "holding on to" ("echo") something "superior" or "above" or "beyond" ("hyper") all others!

Jesus ... just knowing Him ... is the overarching, highlighting, ever-expanding, life-changing, premier fact of life!

Friend, does Jesus mean that much to you?

Has your relationship with the Son of God been that supreme?

Paul would want it to be so in all our lives!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul, in Philippians chapter three, used three unusual verbs to describe his longing for Christ Jesus!

He, having been saved for a few years already, said that he yet longed to "win" Christ!  "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."  Philippians 3:8

The word "win" translates "kerdaino" and means "to acquire" or "to gain!" Paul wanted, at any cost, to better appropriate and assimilate and internalize the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was a wise investment in Paul's eyes to seek the Lord Jesus Christ!

Then the Apostle desired to "follow after" the Lord Jesus!  "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after ...." Philippians 3:12a

This verb. "dioko," literally means "to chase!" To "pursue" someone!  To "run after" them!  Paul, who had a competitive spirit anyway, fully planned to diligently seek Jesus with all his heart!  This is the Jesus Who already is Paul's Saviour too!

Lastly, Paul wanted to "apprehend" Jesus!  He told us that Jesus "apprehended" him, the chief of sinners, the day he got saved!  "That I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12b

This verb, "katalambano," means "to lay hold of" someone!  To "seize" them! To "arrest" them!  Paul, violently if necessary, meant to have and to know the Lord Jesus Christ!  This statement reminds me somewhat of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:12. "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

Paul meant business when it came to knowing Jesus.

Of being possessed and controlled by Him!

May we all today respond accordingly!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




What responsibility a leader has, especially a leader in spiritual matters!

Paul the Apostle lived so close to God that one day, desiring to lead his people to greater heights of maturity, he wrote: "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." Philippians 3:17

These are not the words of a proud man, saying; "Look at me, everybody!"

But here are the words of an effective spiritual leader, setting an example of godliness.

The expression "followers together" is spelled "summimetes" and means "to mimic" someone!  I mean the actual English verb "mimic" is derived from this root verb!

Paul lived such a pure life that he could say, "follow me!"  Or "do as I do ... to the Glory of God!"

Three other times Paul suggests similar actions.  "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you." (2nd Thessalonians 3:7)  "To make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us." (2nd Thessalonians 3:9) And ... "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." Hebrews 13:7

It is apparently Biblical to follow one's godly spiritual leader, if he is living right before God!

But also ... Paul says in today's verse: "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample."

Now he adds ... notice those who are living according to the Word of God, according to my godly example and according to the doctrine you all have been previously taught!

The implication is ... you can follow the paths other godly Believers have blazed as well!


Because Paul is following Jesus!

Because the godly mature Christians in Philippi are following the Lord too!

Because, when we walk in the paths of these earthly examples, we are in reality also ... following our dear Saviour!

Peter said something similar to this in 1st Peter 2:21. "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."


It is wise to be in a Church where you are surrounded by a good number of stable faithful saints of God, walking the straight and narrow path about which Jesus preached.

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul actually calls them "enemies!"

Not to him personally mind you, but "enemies of the Cross of Christ." He uses these exact words in Philippians 3:18. 

The noun "enemy" here is a Greek term that has as its root the word for "hate!"

These people "hate" the Cross of Jesus!

By the way, the word for "cross" is interesting too. "Stauros" is just an upright stake or pole that has been affixed to the ground, deeply embedded there.  It's a pole upon which a man is nailed until he is dead. This noun is derived from "stao," a verb meaning "to stand."

"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ."

This information affects Paul emotionally.  The present participle "weeping" translates "klaio," to mourn or lament or wail!

But ... my question today is WHY would anyone hate the Cross, the Gospel Story?

It is the premier token of God's Love to lost mankind!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Thankfully, I want you to notice Paul's next statement in Philippians chapter three. He explains WHY many hate the Cross!

"Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Philippians 3:19

Four reasons are given.

1. They hate the Cross of Jesus because they are on their way to Hell!  Their "end" is destruction.  "Telos" means one's goal!

2. They further hate the Cross because of its message of self denial, self abnegation!  One's "belly" represents his or her own longings or his selfish cravings!  Jesus said to His followers: "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mark 8:34) These "haters" of Jesus do not want to do that!  They want to live lives of pleasure and self exaltation!

3. Then ... the Cross, for a real Christian, becomes his or her greatest "treasure." I mean the knowledge of the Cross does.  That is, the Jesus Who died on that Cross. Paul words it this way: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Galatians 6:14) There are just some people who are NOT going to "glory" in an old Bloody rugged Cross! Instead, they "glory" in things that are shameful or debased! Like intoxication and immorality and hedonism and money and self!

4. Then, lastly, to appreciate the Cross and its message of personal salvation through the Death of Jesus God's Son ... one must have a "spiritual" mindset. The Holy Ghost of God must have enlightened one's heart and one's thinking and one's soul and spirit! These "enemies" of the Cross, however, only "mind earthly things" only. They are only interested in facts that can be visibly and presently observed!  While true "faith" is "the evidence of things not seen!" It's the "here and now" that captivates the Cross haters!

Well, just a few thoughts today about the "enemies" of the Gospel.

"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."

Christians, take note!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul, in Philippians 3:20, says: "For our conversation is in heaven." 

Think of that!

The noun "conversation" there is spelled "politeuma" and is basically our word for "politics!"

It means "citizenship" or "government" or "by-laws."

Already living in Heaven!

That's why Paul said in Ephesians 1:3 that we Christians are already recipients of "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Now!

When Jesus saved us, He ... "raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6

That's also why Paul taught us to ... "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Colossians 3:1

Or to be ... "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:2

Yes, our "political interests" are in heaven ... or at least should be!

In God's eyes, the redeemed are even now "residents" of that glorious place the Bible calls Heaven!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Greek, the language of the New Testament, has had a great impact on our language too!  English uses many "loan words" with Grecian backgrounds.

For example, in Philippians 3:21, Paul is speaking of Christ Jesus, Who is coming again!  There the Apostle says: "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."


When Jesus returns he will "change" our vile bodies, that they may be "fashioned" like unto His glorious body!

I'd like to show you the English/Greek linkage between two of the "key" words here.

"Change" would have been spelled by Paul "metaschematizo." It basically means "to transform."  The "root" of the word is "schema." It is our English word "schematics" and refers to the shape, figure or form of a thing! Yet today an electrician or a plumber might want to see the "schematics" of a pumping system before beginning work on it! That would be the "diagram" of how it functions!

When Jesus comes, He is going to alter our "schematics" ... change us from one physical form (it being mortal, subject to death) into another physical but glorified form (eternal, not subject to death) in the "twinkling" of an eye!

Then Paul says Jesus will "fashion" our vile ("lowly") bodies into ones like His Glorious Body!

"Fashion" is "summorphos" and means "having the same likeness."  It is the basis for our English verb "morphed" or noun "metamorphosis."  Our worn physical bodies will be literally "morphed" into bodies like Jesus' Perfect One, the One raised from the dead! The one that could enter closed doors, travel to Heaven in an instant, eat or not eat at will, appear or not appear ... and never die again!

Dear Christian friend, no wonder Paul called the Second Coming of Jesus our "Blessed Hope!"

We shall all be changed (morphed) into His Image, our very human substance and constitution (schematics) being altered into the likeness of the darling Son of God!

And how will He do this?

By His mighty Power! That's the very same Power by which He will "subdue" all things unto Himself on that grand (and maybe soon) coming Day!

Come, Lord Jesus!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul, in Philippians 4:5, said to the Christians of Macedonia: "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."

Notice that the Apostle uses the nearness of the Lord as an incentive to godly living.

The noun "moderation" is spelled "epieikes" and means "gentleness" or "patience" or "mildness" or "forbearance."

It may be that Paul is kindly correcting some misbehavior there in Philippi. Two ladies, Euodias and Syntyche, have not been living in harmony it seems!  Paul, three verses earlier, had just written: "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."

This is just another of the many ways Paul taught these Believers to love one another. Later he will write: "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

The "fruit" of the Holy Spirit, being love along with joy and peace and longsuffering and gentleness and much more, should be evident in all our lives as Christians!

Again, "Let your moderation be known!" This verb, "ginosko," is passive and signifies that our job is just to live and demonstrate the "kindness" and "gentleness" that the Holy Spirit has already placed in our lives!  We can't "work it up" or "generate" it on our own!  It is just the Lord Jesus living through us!

But now Paul tells us WHY we are to live such kind and gentle lives ... one with another.

"The Lord is at hand."

This expression can mean one of two things.  "At hand," in Greek "eggus," means "near" or "nigh" and is used either of distance (not far removed by space) or of time (not too long until we see Him). 

If Paul is saying Jesus is near ... in our very midst ... he is emphasizing such truth as Jesus taught in Matthew 28:20. "And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

If Paul is saying that Jesus is coming soon, nearby chronologically, he is preaching the truth of Jesus' words in Luke 21:28. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

Either way, Jesus is the Motivator of our kind and gentle manner of living!  The way we all should conduct ourselves one toward another!

May it be so at our Churches this weekend!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul could "pack" so much into very few words!

This of course is due to the power of the Holy Spirit.

For example, he said in Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing!"

This sentence is framed as a command, making it even more significant.

I'm saying the verb, "be careful," is in the imperative mood.

It is spelled "merimnao" and means "to worry" or "to be overly concerned" about something.

The root verb here is "merizo" which means "to pull apart." The "cares" Paul has in mind here are things that come upon us, tearing us in different directions.

That's a classic definition of "worry" too!

Worries mentally and emotionally pull us to pieces!

But Paul has solved the problem. He has commanded us not to worry! Not to be "careful," not to be overly "anxious" about earthly things.

But, Paul, how?

How can I just "not worry?"

The rest of our Philippians verse answers that!

By prayer!

That's right!


Read it: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Again, this is Philippians 4:6.

And this praying brings "peace" into our lives!

A "peace" which is the very opposite of "worry!"

Glory to God!

Just a few Holy Ghost inspired words ... but when obeyed completely ... they provide the solution to life's fretfulness and worry and fear!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Only a few of the many Churches Paul had helped ever cared for him in return.

Truthfully, in some places Paul would not allow that!

But the Philippians were different!

The last verses of chapter four of that Epistle comprise a holy "thank you" note!

Paul is expressing his appreciation for a recent "love offering" they had sent to him while he was in prison!

In prison, understand, for preaching the Word of God!

Here's how Paul began the discussion: "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again." Philippians 4:10

The "care" Paul mentioned here consisted of the "gift" the Philippians had sent him.  The word ("phroneo") means "thinking" of someone or "having in mind" their needs!  Obviously in this case, their thoughts led to action!

Look at what Paul says about their giving.

It had "flourished again!"

That verb, "anathallo," means "to sprout up," or "to shoot up again!" You know, like a plant or a flower does in the Spring of the year, after being dormant for the Winter!

Think of that!

Isn't that a perfect picture of revival?

That is revival, which itself means "to live again!"  (In Latin "vivere" means "to live" and "re" means "again.")

What things in our spiritual lives need to "sprout again?"

Perhaps, like the Philippians, our "giving" does!

Or, our love for the Preacher!

Or more faithful Church attendance!

Or whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to "cultivate" in your heart today!

Each week this Spring we might want to allow something to do that, to flourish again!

What holy "gardening" that would be!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul had just received a gift from the Philippian Church, a love offering!

He had trained himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be joyful whatever the circumstances of life.

Paul rejoiced when he had little ... and when he had much!

But, still, he wanted to be thankful for the thoughtfulness of the dear Christians at Philippi.

He wrote to them: "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." Philippians 4:17

The verb "desire" translates "epizeteo" and means to intensely seek after something, to even demand it!  To clamor for it!

Paul never voiced his needs in that way!

No letters of Paul ever listed his "needs!"

Don't misunderstand now. Paul was thrilled with the gift!  He accepted it gladly! He even sincerely writes a "thank you" note, Philippians chapter four!

Yet the gift did come unsolicited, unasked for, not being required!

But ... there was something Paul did crave!

And this gift would partly make it possible!

He desired "fruit to abound" to the account of the Philippians!

Paul was so glad they had given ... and generously too!

Not for his sake!

He would have been happy ... either way!

He was thankful because the giving of the saints in Philippi would bring about "fruit" or "rewards" on their behalf at the Judgment Seat of Christ!

What a way to live!

Looking for ways to help other Believers bear fruit!

"Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." Philippians 4:17

He wrote nearly the same thing in Hebrews 10:24. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."  See! We are to encourage our Brothers and Sisters in Christ to live godly and practice deeds of Christian service! In so doing we are helping them build fruit for their labors!


Think of that Brother or Sister in Christ whom you love in the Lord.  Now, try to imagine some things you might encourage them to do ... just so God will get the Glory and they will receive the rewards!

That their fruit might abound!

That certainly is an extremely mature way to live the Christian life!

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




A missionary friend gave my wife a wall plaque.  It simply read ... "Bloom Where You Are Planted!"

In other words, don't wait until you are at a different place ... or laboring under different circumstances ... before serving the Lord!

Start right now!

Right where He has you today!

Too many of us Preachers plan to "bloom" all right.  But not now!  When we get to that new Church! Or when that troublesome church member is gone! Or after the salary increase!


It doesn't work that way!

Look at Paul.

While in prison, jailed in Rome for preaching the Word of God, he did not "quit" serving God!

He writes in Philippians 4:22 ... "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."  Well, there were no "saints" in Caesar's employment when Paul first arrived!  He won them to Christ!

That's right!

Paul, in a place where no church could meet, faithfully served the Lord and apparently won some souls to Jesus!

Probably they were soldiers!

Those "of Caesar's Household."

They heard Paul testify, maybe even being "chained" to him as guards!

They fell under Holy Spirit conviction!

And they were saved!

Then they learned of other unseen Brothers and Sisters in Christ. You know, folks in different places where Paul had preached.  Ephesians and Thessalonians and Bereans who had been saved by the Grace of God too!

And learning that Paul was ending his Epistle to the Philippians ... the new Believers in Rome just wanted to send their love!

"Greetings, dear Philippians ... from the newly saved "saints" who stand by Paul's side ... at Rome!"

I hope you see my point today.

Paul fervently served his Lord ... wherever he was!

Yes, Paul "bloomed" where he was planted!

He faithfully preached God's Word ... even to those who labored in the halls of Roman government!

Again, here's today's verse: "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household." 

Let's all get busy ... right where we are!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




ANot only are the opening verses of Paul's Epistles bountifully loaded with spiritual truth, so are his ending verses!

For example, the last verse in Philippians reads: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." That's Philippians 4:23.

Of course Paul ends nearly all his Epistles with a benediction of grace!

So ... what's so special about this one?

Read it again, carefully.

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

Not only does Paul pray for God's plenteous favor to rest upon the Believers in Philippi ... he asks this for them "all!"

"Be with you all!"

I counted them. Paul uses this expression "you all" more in Philippians than in any other Epistle he wrote!  Even the longer ones!

Seven times he says "you all" in Philippians!

The emphasis here is on the word "all."

"Pantos" in Greek means "everyone" or "each."

You see, there are "hints" in Philippians that all was not well ... even in that great Church!

Paul even had to publicly correct two ladies, members of this fellowship.

"I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord." Philippians 4:2

Paul passionately wants each person to know that he or she is equally loved!

So, with great care he prayed for them all "Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy." Philippians 1:4

When he thought of one of them, he thought of all of them! "Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart." Philippians 1:7

He yearned to see them ... all! "For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:8

His future ministry plans involved them all! "And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith." Philippians 1:25

He rejoices with them all!  "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all." Philippians 2:17

Epaphroditus, one of their own, highly esteemed them all too!  "For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick." Philippians 2:26

And in the closing sentence, as we noticed earlier, all are blessed! "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." Philippians 4:23

No favoritism for Euodias here!

No partiality for Syntyche either!

ALL are special to Paul!

Maybe we had best forget out little "cliques" and "groups" at Church too!

And just start loving ALL the Believers there!

Paul would have!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



Also read "Phrases From Philippians, Part 1."





Thank YOU for visiting our Website!



Copyright 2006 DrMikeBagwell.org  All Rights Reserved.


The Fundamental Top 500