Conversations about specific texts, filled with arcs, brackets, phrases, word studies, etc.

Philippians 4:10-20

To see why I arced this passage the way I did, watch the video at the bottom of the page.

I’m going to focus on application in this post. There are three applications I see:

Learn contentment through Christ’s strength.

Paul qualifies his thankfulness with the statement that he has learned contentment (11-12) and that he is able to meet every circumstance head-on with peace through Christ’s strength (13).

How can we be content in a time of crisis, of “facing … hunger”? 13 has the answer. Paul was not self-sufficient but Christ-sufficient. See 2 Tim 1:2 and esp. 2 Cor 12:9-10.

This letter shows us that neither Paul’s circumstances (1:12-13) nor the Philippians’ (1:28; 3:2; 4:2-3) were ideal. So if our circumstances are far from ideal, that doesn’t remove the possibility of being content!

Note that this was something Paul “learned” (12d). This shows us that it wasn’t natural, but that it can happen, so we should have hope! This also shows us that our current bad circumstances should be our teacher; we shouldn’t run away from them.

Now, the main applications will be from v. 18-20, since this is where the logical emphasis of the passage is.

Seek the spiritual good of others.

Paul also didn’t praise the Philippians for their generosity because he wanted more, but because he wanted them to have more eternal blessings (17a-b).

Are we more interested in having our needs met, or in seeing others prosper spiritually? See Phil 2:1-5ff.

Help others, and trust God to provide for you. This glorifies God!

The emphasis of the passage is the Result of the Philippians’ gift. 1) Since they met Paul’s need, therefore God would meet all of theirs (19). 2) God’s provision, blessing them for their provision, would result in eternal glory to God.

Are we seeking to be a blessing to others? We can trust in God to meet our needs when we are seeking first his kingdom. See Matt 6:33.

See also 2 Cor 9:11-14. Our actions today can bring about glory to God forever!

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1 Peter 3:1-7

Wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, honor your wives.


This is the last passage in the several that I’ve talked about on a FB Live, about how women and men should live godly lives, specifically as women and men.


“Likewise” (1a):

See 2:11-12, which exhorts believers (“beloved”) to live holy lives among unbelievers, so that they will see their good deeds and glorify God on the last day. (These verses are themselves built on the truth of 2:9-10, which describes the reality of believers’ status as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” [v. 9].)

This is followed by 2:13-17, which exhorts believers to be “subject” to human authority, and 2:18-25, which exhorts servants to be “subject” to masters. It is significant that 3:1a uses the same phrase, “be subject,” and its use of “likewise” shows that Paul is continuing his discussion of how believers should live in the world.

I’m sticking with 3:1-7 because of my goal of discerning how men as men and women as women should live out Christlikeness. (See Jonathan Leeman’s excellent article on living in a Christlike way as men and women.)

After our passage, Peter next uses the word “beloved” in 4:12. And all the verses in between the end of our passage and then “continue the larger theme of doing good and not evil, with respect to how we treat one another” (see discussion of the context here at Knowable Word, a great site for learning how to read Scripture in context).

So the larger context is about living out our status in Christ, whatever our status on earth.


I’ve divided the text into two pieces; this was simple, since Peter addresses wives in verse 1, and then husbands in verse 7.

Now, within the lengthier section to the wives, I can see an exhortation to submission (v. 1-2), followed by an explanation of submission (v. 3-6). Notice the words “subject” (1a) and “submitting” (5d) which tie the two sections together (it is the same verb in Greek, ὑποτάσσω).

Notice the main phrases in each section: 1a is the exhortation to submission, and 4a is the exhortation to inner adornment.

Let’s talk first about the exhortation to submission (1-2).

1b limits the submission: “to your own husbands,” not to men in general.

And 1c makes the submission purposeful: “so that … they may be won.” No doubt there were many mixed marriages in this day, where the wife had been converted but not the husband. If the wife acted respectfully toward him, and lived in moral purity (2), some would be won to Christ even without verbal witness by the wife.

Now let’s go through verses 3-6. The main phrase, 4a, is supported by a Negative phrase, and its subordinate phrases (3). Rather than focusing on outward beautification, Christian women should focus on inward beautification.

And that “beauty” that lasts and doesn’t fade (4c) is “a gentle and quiet spirit” (4d) - notice the Epexegetical genitive relationship.

The relative phrase in 4e has a deeper logical relationship, I think, that of Ground (and I would label it as such if this were an arc). Godly women should make themselves beautiful in their hearts because God values this beauty so highly.

This is Christlike: See Matthew 21:5, where Christ is described as “humble.”

Then there is a clear Ground in verses 5-6, starting with “for,” that supports the main phrase in 4a. This is how “holy women” of the past adorned themselves.

And notice the specific way they did this: “by submitting to their own husbands” (5d-e), exactly the same description in Greek as in 1a-b! (So really, 5-6 should be subordinate to 1a, but this isn’t possible to show in the Phrasing module.)

Women of Peter’s day (and ours) are the “children” of Sarah (reminiscent language to being a descendant of Abraham - interesting!), if they “do good” and live fearlessly (6c-f).

Secondly, let’s look at verse 7.

The specific Manner of how husbands are to treat their wives is shown in 7c-d: “in an understanding way,” and “showing honor” to them. So husbands need to understand their wives specifically.

(Another possibility is that 7d is an Explanation of 7c.)

And they need to honor their wives. Why? Two Grounds are given: they are “the weaker vessel,” and “they are heirs with you of the grace of life.”

The word “weaker” and its cognates is used more than 50 times in the New Testament. The adjective here can mean “sick” or “ill,” or to describe someone or something who is “experiencing some incapacity or limitation” (BDAG 142, s.v. ασθενής). The NIDNTTE says that “weaker” here “prob[ably] alludes to (averaged) differences between men and women in physical strength” (423). However, Karen Jobes is quoted, who makes an excellent point: "[T]he immediate context makes it clear that the female is also weaker in the sense of social entitlement and empowerment. Peter teaches that men whose authority runs roughshod over their women, even with society’s full approval, will not be heard by God” (K. H. Jobes, 1 Peter [2005], 209, emphasis mine, in ibid.).

I like what Schreiner says about the second Ground: “The language of heirs points toward the eschatological gift (cf. 1:4; 3:9) that both men and women who believe will receive on the last day. Men should honor women because they share the same destiny—an eternal inheritance in God’s kingdom” (1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 161).


1. Toward wives:

It is a “warrior” spirit that is “precious” in the sight of 21st-century culture; see modern female superheroes, for example! But it is what God values that is truly precious.

This is how God wants you, specifically, to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). Do you respect and submit to the leadership of your husband? If he is unsaved, you may lead him to Christ in this way; if he is saved, you are helping him obey God’s Word in honoring you.

2. Toward husbands:

Do you know what your wife loves and dislikes, what helps her the most, what she needs from you? You must if you are to obey 7c.

Do you use your greater physical strength to bear your wife’s burdens? Real men use their capacities for endurance to suffer and help others, not to serve themselves. Real men treat those weaker than themselves with honor, not contempt.

3. Toward parents:

We ought to train our daughters to have this “gentle and quiet spirit” toward their parents, specifically their fathers, to prepare them for submission to their husbands.

We ought to train our sons to honor their mothers and sisters specifically, above the honor they should give to all people generally, so they can be prepared to live this way with their wives.

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Psalm 46

A Psalm to encourage us in a world turned upside down by a virus.

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Asking and answering doctrinal questions with specific passages, carefully studied.

Is Pole Dancing To Men Audience A Sin?

@Mildred-Codilla said in Is Pole Dancing To Men Audience A Sin?:

These are my questions ABOUT INSISTING REPENTANCE:

Is it okay to use Luke 14:25-33 to make them understand what repentance looks like? Is it okay to mention that repentance is “laying aside every weight (encumbrance), and sin which clings so closely IN ORDER TO run the race of faith in Jesus [Hebrews 12:1] ? It’s true that not all sins that we repented of can directly be stopped, can you give your idea on sins that can directly stop by the working of God when a person GENUINELY repents? Is it more on the lifestyle at first, then sanctification will follow, meaning other sins (that are not a lifestyle but sin in the inside) will be stopped from glory to glory (2 Cor.3:18)? What verses in the Bible commands the genuinely converted believers to keep on repenting after conversion?

I’ll try to answer each question, Mildred! They are good questions.

Yes, Luke 14:25-33 is a perfect passage to show what following Christ costs. He is clear that if you don’t forsake all you have, you cannot be his disciple - i.e. you cannot become a Christian. No, Hebrews 12:1 isn’t a good verse to use for this since it was written to exhort believers to turn away from their sin, clinging to Christ. Repentance is more of a mindset, of a change of mind. It is indeed from the inside out, rather than from the outside in. There’s no list of sins that can be directly stopped and never sinned again; sanctification is a gradual process, which is why we need to keep repenting over and over again as we grow in obedience. Hebrews 12:1, which you quoted, refers to the need for believers to keep repenting of sin. See also Ephesians 4:20-24; Romans 6:12-14; 8:13. None of those verses use the word “repentance,” but that is the reality presented there. I’ll discuss them now:

“But that [referring back to the sins of verses 17-19] is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24).

Putting “off your old self” (v. 22) refers to turning away from sin, stopping living the way you used to before you were saved.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:12-14).

Verse 12 is talking about turning away from performing sinful actions, but rather performing righteous actions.

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13).

This also refers to a lifestyle of repentance, of not continuing in sin but killing the deeds of the sinful nature, stopping sinful actions.

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Can I have full assurance of Salvation?

@oy-ei said in Can I have full assurance of Salvation?:

Following the three types of knowledge proposed by Craig and Moreland (footnote 1), we have knowledge by acquaintance, know-how and propositional knowledge. I would say that the presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer prompts somehow knowledge of God (i.e his faithfulness) across all these categories of knowledge.

Hi @oy-ei,

This is a good and helpful discussion! Thank you, @Oscar-Marti, for your helpful input already. I thought I’d just respond to this one paragraph.

I haven’t read Craig and Moreland on this, but I think that especially the first and third category of knowledge fits with the testimony of Scripture, and that we can see the work of the Holy Spirit in both as well.

For “knowledge by acquaintance,” we should start with the fact that fundamentally it is God who knows us (Gal 4:9). And Jesus described eternal life itself in terms of knowing God: “This is life eternal, that they know you” (John 17:3). This knowledge is deeply experiential and not merely an assent to propositions. It is not less than propositional knowledge about God, but it is certainly more.

The clearest passage on the Spirit’s work in knowing God is perhaps 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, especially vv. 16-18.

For “propositional knowledge,” there is no such thing as knowing God in saving way without understanding and believing propositions about God (see Rom 1:19-20, which shows that all people know God through creation, but this knowledge is not salvific). For example, the truth that “Jesus is the Christ” is a proposition, a truth claim; anyone who “denies” this proposition “is the antichrist” and a “liar” (1 John 2:22).

The Spirit’s work can be seen in that knowing Jesus as the crucified Savior is the work of the Spirit (Gal 3:1-3). To know God truly is the work of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:9-14).

So I would say that for a believer to be assured of this salvation involves the necessity of a) deepening his fellowship with God, growing in the knowledge of Christ (1 Pet 3:18), and b) deepening his knowledge of the propositional truth of the Scriptures, whose burden is to reveal God to us in the face of Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2; 2 Cor 4:6).

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@Brent-Karding said in Evangelism:

One outline that is helpful is this: God - Man - Christ - Response. It presents God as holy and righteous, man as sinful, Christ as the answer through his death on the cross, and the required response of repentance and faith.

It would be important to quote Scripture there as well, since it is God’s Word that is powerful to save, not our words. For example, the 10 Commandments show our sinfulness, as does Romans 3:23. Romans 6:23 is helpful to show God’s gift of salvation, and its source in Christ.

Thank you so much brother… this is a big help for us here.

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Need help with one of our online courses? Ask away!

Phrasing practice

Perfect! Thank you ;D

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Prophetic Christmas Course phrasing

@Loys I’m glad you enjoyed the course and the live videos, and have learned a lot! That’s very encouraging.

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Get guidance for using the Biblearc toolbox. (And request new features.)


Here are the answers in brief, Christian:

No, there isn’t such a list currently, but we will try and provide this in the next version of Biblearc. Probably not.

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How to Bracket a Book

Here are the steps I followed to bracket the whole book of Galatians:

1. Bracket every section of the book in separate tabs, including a summary of the message of each section.
2. Copy and paste the summaries into the Notes tab so you can relate each large bracket to each other, from smallest to largest, writing new summaries as you go.
3. Identify the core proposition of the book.
4. Write a Main Point Summary based on the biggest relationships of the book.

Let’s go through what that looked for me in Galatians, so that you can do this in a book yourself!

I. Original Summaries:

Note: the bolded font indicates the emphasis in the largest bracketing relationship.

1:1-10 - The Galatians must turn away from the perverted gospel because Paul, a God-called apostle, is seeking to please only God.

1:11-24 - The gospel Paul preaches didn’t come from man, because he received it from Jesus Christ, as demonstrated by his God-accomplished conversion and his subsequent lack of communication with the earlier apostles.

2:1-10 - When Paul went to Jerusalem to explain his gospel to the pillars to preserve his ministry, they didn’t add to his gospel but rather gave their blessing to Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles.

2:11-21 - Paul rebuked Peter because he tried to force Gentiles to follow the Jewish law, thus acting contrary to the truth of justification by faith, which glorifies the grace of God and carries out the purpose of Christ’s death.

3:1-14 - The Galatians know from experience and from the Scripture that justification, the blessing of the Spirit, and becoming a true Israelite happens through faith alone.

3:15-29 - God’s people were held captive under the law, but now that Jesus has come, they all experience his promised covenant, becoming his children through faith in Christ.

4:1-11 - God sent his Son and his Spirit into believers’ hearts and so redeemed them from slavery and made them his sons and heirs; how can they throw all that away by returning to slavery?

4:12-20 - The Galatians should become like Paul because they fully trusted him in the past, and because his goal was not to exclude them but to make them Christlike.

4:21-5:1 - The law teaches that since believers are born through promise, set free by Christ, they must stand firm in that freedom.

5:2-12 - Circumcision would sever believers from Christ, because salvation is through faith that works through love; but Paul was confident they would remain in his truth, and that their troublers would be severed from God’s people.

5:13-6:10 - The way to serve each other through love, instead of destroying each other, is to follow the leading of the life-giving, flesh-opposing Spirit (which looks like bearing each other’s burdens and living according to the principle of sowing and reaping).

6:11-18 - It is vital to remember that the cross of Jesus Christ is our only ground of boasting and our only distinguishing mark.

II. Joining of Brackets and New Summaries:

Then I started relating the brackets to each other and writing new summaries. The best way to do this is by opening the entire book in a discourse module, removing verse divisions so that you have each section above as one “proposition” (i.e. 1:1-10, 1:11-24, etc.), and writing your summaries in the “Mine” column. (To save space, turn off the ESV column so you can only see your “Mine” column.)

I joined the following Brackets, in the order given:

1:6-2:21 (Ground) (1:6-9 and 1:10-2:21)

3:1-6:10 (Ac-Res) (3:1-5:1 and 5:2-6:10)

3:1-6:18 (Id-Exp) (3:1-6:10 and 6:11-18)

1:6-6:18 (Neg-Pos) (1:6-2:21 and 3:1-6:18)

1:1-6:18 (Ac-Mn) (1:1-5 and 1:6-6:18)

III. The Core Proposition of the Book"

All this means that 5:2-6:10 is at the heart of the book’s logic. The core of 5:2-6:10 (Id-Exp) is 5:13-6:10 (Ac-Mn). The core of 5:13-6:10 is 5:13-15 (Concessive). The core of 5:13-15 is 5:13b-15b (Neg-Pos). The core of 5:13b-15b is 5:13b-14b (Ground). The core of 5:13b-14b is 5:13b-c (Neg-Pos). The core of 5:13b-c, and thus of the entire book of Galatians, is 5:13c: "Serve one another through love."

But notice in the MPS (Main Point Summary) that this service comes from the gospel, from responding rightly to their Christ-purchased freedom from the law.

IV. Writing the Main Point Summary:

I did this by summarizing the biggest relationships (after the Ac-Mn), which was the Neg-Pos of 1:6-6:18 (“Paul writes to exhort the Galatians to turn away… and stand”). “According to the true gospel which he preached” comes from 1:6-2:21, and “which would result in a life of loving service to others” comes from 5:2-6:10.

The bold font in the MPS shows the core emphasis of the book as a whole.

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Adding diagram in forum

@JamesCWilliams Good question! In the Discourse or Phrasing module, click on the Print button to save the Phrase/Arc/Bracket as a JPEG.

Then, once you’ve start to write a forum post, click on the right-most button above the text box. It looks like a cloud with an upward-pointing arrow in it. You can select your JPEG saved on your computer from the window that opens, and it will attach it to your post.

Just make sure it’s not too large - I’ve had trouble with large images. You can save it as a smaller-sized image when you click Print if the image won’t load.

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Languages additions


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Ama sinceramente a tu prójimo

El amor al prójimo tiene su base en nuestra purificación.
Nuestra purificación tiene como motivación el amor fraternal sincero, y como su medio la obediencia a la verdad.

No puedo hablar de amar a mi prójimo con un corazón puro, a menos que sea un beneficiario de la purificación que la verdad de Dios causa en mí.
No puedo hablar de amar a mi prójimo con un corazón puro, a menos que, por la gracia de Dios, haya en mí una disposición a quitar el pecado que me impide hacerlo.

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Cada Uno Hacía lo que le Parecía Bien

No había en esos días un rey para el pueblo de Dios. Cuando la figura de autoridad no estuvo presente, ellos comenzaron a hacer conforme a su propio criterio, conforme a lo que ellos les agradaba.

Algo muy similar a esto es lo que ocurre en la iglesia en nuestros tiempos, no porque carezcamos de autoridad, pues tenemos la Palabra de Dios, sino porque no queremos verla. Debido a esto la tendencia es a hacer lo que nos parece bien, no lo que Dios ha dicho, a enfocarnos en qué quiere la gente, no en qué quiere Dios, en complacer a las masas, no en darles lo que Dios tiene para ellas.

IGLESIA, existimos para ser el cuerpo de Cristo, para dar a conocer las virtudes de aquel que nos llamó de las tinieblas a Su luz admirable, y para ello, Dios nos ha equipado con Su Palabra, en la cual nos revela cuál es el tipo de adoración (y por ende adoradores) que Él busca. No haciendo lo que a nosotros nos parece bien, sino aquello que Él ha expresado que Le parece bien, que Le es agradable.

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