In the latest 40 Days Through the Book video Bible study series, Mark Batterson (@MarkBatterson) serves as a tour guide on Paul’s letter to the Philippians so you can embrace joy in your daily life. Paul, writing from a jail cell, speaks of joy, gratitude, unity, and purpose. In this interview with Mark, find out why joy is so important right now, what kind of letter Philippians is, and what word Paul repeats 9 times in the letter.
What would you say is the core message of the letter to the Philippians?
You say in the study “As followers of Jesus, we have heard the call to love God with all that is in us and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In Philippians, we get a vision of how we should feel about other followers of Jesus and how we should express these feelings openly to them.” How do we love our fellow Christians when we disagree on some fundamental issues?
Mark Batterson: I subscribe to something Rupertus Meldenius said 400 years ago: “In the essential, unity; in the non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” We’ve got to major in majors! There will always be points of doctrine that we disagree on. We have four principles of peacemaking at NCC:
- Ask Anything
- Listen Well
- Disagree Freely
- Love Regardless.
Why is the message of joy so important right now?
Mark Batterson: There’s a serious shortage of joy right now! Joy isn’t getting what you want. It’s appreciating what you have. It’s an outlook on life. It’s a way of life! In the last two years we’ve experience a global pandemic, racial tension, and political polarization. One-third of Americans are anxious or depressed, according to the CDC. Joy is one of our distinctives as the people of God.
Why is it vital for Christians to be joyful?
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What’s the benefit of spending 40 days in a book or theme?
You say, “Your feelings are not determined by your objective circumstances. Your feelings are a function of subjective focus. One of the best ways to fix your focus is to fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.” How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
Mark Batterson: We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are! We’ve got to filter everything from political ideology to trending hashtags through the filter of Scripture. Doubt is putting your circumstances between you and God. Faith is putting God between you and your circumstances. One way to keep your eyes on Jesus is a daily Bible reading plan. It’ll keep you centered. It’ll help you embrace joy in your life.
Why is it vital for Christians to be joyful?
What is the one takeaway that you want participants to understand after completing this study?
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Mark Batterson: I love Philippians 4:8. I’m not just an optimist by personality. I’m an optimist by theology. It’s so critical that we stay focused on things that are good and right and pure and just, especially these days. There are algorithms designed to keep us in our echo chambers. There are advertisers trying to sell us a bill of Gods. The bottom line? Your focus determines your reality!
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Mark Batterson: The only ceiling on your intimacy with God and impact on the world is daily spiritual disciplines. I’m grateful for Bible Gateway because it helps me stay dialed into those disciplines. I only wish the tools available on Bible Gateway were available when I was in seminary! I would have made it a lot easier!
You can watch the full first session of Mark Batterson’s Philippians video Bible study below and embrace joy in your life today.
Philippians: Embracing Joy is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. One church with multiple locations, NCC owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, the Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. NCC is currently developing a city block into the Capital Turnaround; the 100,000-square-foot space will include an event venue, a child development center, a mixed-use marketplace, and a coworking space. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 20 books including The Circle Maker, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase, Play the Man, Whisper, and recently released Win the Day. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.
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