Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Philippians Chapter 3
Metaphysically Interpreting Philippians 3:1-11
3:2Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision: 3:3for we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh: 3:4though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh:
if any other man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more: 3:5circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6as touching zeal, persecuting the church; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless.
3:7Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. 3:8Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, 3:9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith: 3:10that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; 3:11if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.
July 1, 1928: Philippians 3:4-6
We are taught that each of the disciples of Jesus represents some faculty of the mind. Paul was “called” by Jesus. What does Paul represent? Paul was a teacher, preacher, orator. He represents the expresser of the Word. Christ is the Word invisible; Paul is the avenue through which the Word is outwardly expressed.
Do those to whom the Word is spoken always understand it? No. The Word is usually misunderstood and the one who speaks it is sometimes considered a fanatic, as Paul was.
What should one do in the face of this accusation? One should boldly proclaim, as did Paul, “I am a Roman born,” that is as a Roman by birth, I am ruler of the world; therefore, I have perfect freedom of expression.
Was Paul justly accused of fanaticism? Paul was born a Jew, was subject to all the rites and ceremonies of a Jew, persecuted the Christians until he was converted, and then became missionary to the Gentile world, instead of continuing in the narrow sectarianism of Jewry, he became tolerant and taught salvation for all men who followed the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He was not fanatical; he followed the leading of Spirit.
October 1, 1933: Philippians 3:3-6
In another place Paul brought out the point that he was all things to all men for Christ’s sake (I Cor. 9:19). Is this good Christianity? A good Christian should be wise enough to adjust himself to both God and circumstances. Jesus says, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” and, also, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”
Does not this appeal to both God and man make one double-minded? Paul has a saving clause, “for Christ's sake.” When we keep the Christ thought foremost in all we think and do, we shall come out victorious. Paul keeps his spiritual eye on the Christ, as stated in the 3d verse. “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
October 11, 1942: Philippians 3:7-11
What purpose is served by worship? One important purpose is mental discipline. When Levi was called to be a disciple, he made a feast for Jesus and invited all his friends among the publicans and sinners. Love and loyalty inspire a man to change himself altogether by the Christ pattern.
How are errors best overcome? By uncovering them and correcting them through the forgiving love of the Christ mind, as well as by speaking words of Truth.
Why does the I AM hold our allegiance? Because it is the inner core of Truth at the center of our being. If we would be true in our inmost heart, to whom else should we go, but to this Spirit of truth within us?
What is meant by “the righteousness which is from God by faith”? We can have no absolute assurance that we are right, except as we place our faith in divine wisdom and claim its enlightenment in our mind. As we look to this higher wisdom to express itself in and through us and trust it to do so, we find that our understanding becomes clear and that we see what is right in every instance.
To what “resurrection from the dead” may we attain? Here and now each one may quicken his consciousness of the Christ by renewing his faith, thus raising his life from the low level of hopelessness, doubt, and material-minded living to new life and joy.
October 6, 1946: Philippians 3:5-6
What are some of the “works of the flesh”? Identification with materialism and external forms of righteousness. "If any other man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more: 3:5circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6as touching zeal, persecuting the church; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless."
Metaphysically Interpreting Philippians 3:12-21
3:12Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 3:13Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 3:14I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 3:15Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall God reveal unto you: 3:16only, whereunto we have attained, by that same rule let us walk.
3:17Brethren, be ye imitators together of me, and mark them that so walk even as ye have us for an example. 3:18For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 3:19whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. 3:20For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 3:21who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.
June 29, 1919: Philippians 3:7-14
In the realm of consciousness what mental activity does “response to God's love” imply? It implies a harmonious, accordant movement of all the faculties of the mind towards a central idea: unselfish service unto the Lord.
What is “unselfish service”? Unselfish service is the ministry of loving helpfulness; it is a giving forth of good to the whole creation.
Explain why “loss of things” are counted, but “refuse” compared to the gaining of the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.” Material possessions are transient. They come and go, according to the nature of the thought held back of them. To gain the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” means to gain the mastery of the principle, to use it constructively in order to bring about the ideal end.
Is man righteous within himself? No. Man-made righteousness is personal righteousness, and personal righteousness comes from the restricted, unenlightened standards of the race. The Christ righteousness is from God. It is grounded in abiding principle; it is right incarnated in active faith.
What has the activity of divine righteousness to do in bringing about the resurrection? Spiritual righteousness, quickened in consciousness, breaks down walls of doubt and fear; it transmutes into sure spiritual essence all that does not coincide with its purity and wholeness.
What is the “goal,” “the prize of the high calling” spoken of by Paul? It is the completion of the work which each individual has to do in carrying out God's wondrous plan.
Why should the exercise of the principle of Divine Love be the predominating characteristic in man's mind? Because it is the predominating characteristic in God’s mind. It is the power which dissolves that which is untrue, which gives substance, strength and beauty to that which is true.
September 2, 1923: Philippians 3:7-14
Did Paul put any limit upon his willingness to sacrifice personal things that he might do the will of Christ? All through his ministry Paul carried but one thought: that of obedience. “Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Where in this lesson did Paul deny self-righteousness? Paul denied self-righteousness in verse 9: “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”
What is the metaphysical interpretation of Paul’s sweeping denial of personality in this lesson? The crucifixion of Jesus represents a total erasure of personality from consciousness. Paul explains this in verse 10: “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death.”
What is the great object of the thought brought out in verse 12: “but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus”? The great object of attainment is spiritual perfection and bodily resurrection: “If by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.”
September 2, 1923: Philippians 3:7-14
Material possessions are transient. They come and go according to the nature of the thought held back of them. To gain the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus,” means to gain the mastery of the principle, to use it constructively in order to bring about the ideal end.
In verse 9 of that part of our lesson taken from Philippians, the thought or true righteousness is given as a part of the aim of the spiritually enlightened will. Manmade or personal righteousness comes from the restricted, unenlightened race standards. The Christ righteousness is from God. It is grounded in abiding principle; it is right incarnated in active faith. Spiritual righteousness, quickened in consciousness, breaks down the walls of doubt and fear; it transmutes into pure essence all that does not coincide with its purity and wholeness. Thus it is active in enabling the individual to realize in himself the power of the Christ resurrection.
The “goal,” “the prize of the high calling,” spoken of by Paul in our lesson, is the completion of the work which each individual has to do in carrying out God's wondrous plan. In all his overcoming and service, the exercise of the principle of divine love should predominate in man's mind, because it predominates in God's mind. It is the power which dissolves that which is untrue, which saves substance, strength, and beauty to that which is true. Not only the will but also the other faculties of mind work constructively and harmoniously in the individual for his highest good, when they work through love, “unto the resurrection of the dead.”
To the overcomer through Christ, the “resurrection of the dead” means the raising of the dead thoughts and dead cells that infest the body until they become rejuvenated with perpetual life. This is the spiritual meaning of the command of Jesus to his disciples, “go forth, preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead.”
September 6, 1925: Philippians 3:7-16
Just what did Paul mean in verse 7: “Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ”? In the foregoing verse Paul was affirming the teaching of Jesus: “For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?” Paul knew the value of the Christ consciousness, and that any gain, intellectual or physical, that crowded out that consciousness was a loss. It is difficult to teach Truth to people who are rich in intellectual attainment. Their minds are so filled with the knowledge that they have gained that there is no room for the spiritual, life-giving understanding of the Christ consciousness.
In Verse 9 Paul pleads for righteousness through faith, “the righteousness which is from God by faith.” Explain. Paul perceived that the righteousness based upon morality and manmade law did not go deeply enough unto the issues of life; he saw that, to attain the highest, we must give up our standard of right and wrong (living by such standards typifies eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), and enter, through faith, into an understanding of Truth as it is in Christ Jesus. (Read the 5th chapter of Matthew.)
Paul teaches in verses 10 and 11 that in order to follow Christ in the great resurrection from the dead, one must have the fellowship of his suffering and be conformed to his death. What is the meaning of this teaching? The death referred to by Paul is the death of mortal consciousness in the regeneration; only the carnal mind dies. Jesus Christ experienced this death of the old man of the flesh, and those who follow him suffer in a measure as he suffered. But they have an understanding of Truth and know that the suffering is merely the passing away of error thoughts and that it will be followed by the resurrection, a new and higher consciousness of life in the body.
When we realize that we have not yet made the demonstration of what we ideally see, what should be our attitude of mind? Paul has admirably summed it up in verse 12: “Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.”
What admonition in the writings of Paul do modern Christian metaphysicians prize highly? The advice given in verses 13 and 14: “Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
October 11, 1936: Philippians 3:7-14
When does the full resurrection power make itself evident in man? When man seeks to keep all his ways in harmony with the divine will, then he is able to “rise from the dead” (become spiritually illumined) as regards health, character, and social responsibility.
What displaces the false standards of the personal consciousness in the one who seeks the better way? The spiritual standard or “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” fills the place once occupied by personality and its aims.
June 25, 1939: Philippians 3:12-14
How does Paul view the resurrection life? Paul knew within himself that he had not attained the “resurrection from the dead,” but his one great desire for himself was the consummation, which he considered his destiny under the divine law (“that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus”).
What is the true way of attaining the resurrection from the dead, the Christ consciousness? One attains the Christ consciousness through continual progress in spiritual understanding or through growth of the inner life of mind and heart. The forward look, not the backward, is the way of growth.
May 7, 1944: Philippians 3:7-14
Why was Paul willing to lose all that he had in order to gain Christ? Because the Christ consciousness includes true and enduring riches, therefore all the honor that Paul had won from men by his activity in the world of circumstance was as nothing compared with his consciousness of the glory of the Christ within him.
What is “the righteousness which is from God by faith”? It is the ability to perceive what is right in every situation, not by having been taught a set of rules, but by claiming divine wisdom in the faith that it enlightens us according to each need as it arises.
What does the state of mind called “righteousness” here include? It includes the Christ consciousness: “that may know him.” Also it includes the resurrecting power of the Christ and the fellowship of his sufferings.
How may anyone “press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”? By foregoing the personal will with its sense desires and expressions and concentrating on the expressing of the enlightened will. This brings us to realizing the mind that was in Christ Jesus.
December 31, 1950: Philippians 3:8-16
How do we provide ourselves with the necessary mental equipment for overcoming erroneous thinking? By developing zeal for Truth, having forethought, and applying ourselves to the work of expressing Truth. At the same time we develop concentration and learn to let go of many thoughts and interests in order to lay hold of the one supreme interest.
What is “the righteousness which is from God by faith”? It is consciousness of the Christ (“that I may know him”). He who has this consciousness has “all things whatsoever the Father hath.”
What is the rule of action for a follower of Truth consistently to obey? To live by the highest rule that he knows. “Whereunto we have attained, by that same rule let us walk.”
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-19-2014