Bible Study: Philippians 2
Bible Study: Philippians 2

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What is your greatest moment in sport and why?

In sport, coaches, parents and other teammates can encourage us to be proud. Sometimes this is for self-esteem and encouragement but other times it is done deliberately to inflate our ego, assert domination over another team/person due to our superior skill or to drive our ambition. But how should I view my sporting talents and achievements as a Christian?

Read Philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

What you need to know

We know from Acts 16 that the church in Philippi was made up of a group of very different people. In this chapter Paul urges them to be united and he does this by helping them see themselves in a new way.

  • What does selfish ambition look like? How is it different from vain conceit?
  • How do you see these reflected in your sport? In yourself?
  • What would it look like in your sport to ‘do nothing’ in this way?
  • In verse 4 we are to put others’ interests above our own - why is this counter-intuitive in sport? Therefore, how does this apply to your attitude as you compete and train?

Sum Up

As Christians we are to view our sporting success and ambition differently. To do this, we start by viewing others differently. Pride is not necessarily thinking too much of yourself, but thinking of yourself too much.

Read Philippians 2:5-11

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

What you need to know

In spite of all that is unique and radically different about the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are to have His attitude of self-sacrificing humility and love for others.

  • Discuss as a group what we learn about the mindset of Jesus Christ from these verses.
  • Why are v.6-7 remarkable?
  • In v.5 we are told to have the same mindset as Christ - what would this look like in your sport?
  • When do you find it hardest to have this mindset in sport and why?
  • How do these verses both challenge and encourage you to view things differently?

Sum Up

Jesus being ‘very nature God’ humbled himself to become a human and even to die in our place. His love for us took Him there obediently and willingly; in response, we, too, should humble ourselves to be a living sacrifice.

What does this mean for us?

Being a Christian sportsperson should not mean that we are falsely humble or proud; rather that we train and play with a God-confidence that comes from recognising that our gifts come from Him; we are created beings, and we are to use the talents He has given for His glory.


  • What are some practical things you can do in the moment of feeling pride to remember your status?
  • How would you like these truths from Philippians to change how you view yourself in your sport?

Pray: thank God for Jesus Christ and His humility; pray that God would continue to make you humble in the true sense of the word.

Go Deeper

All Bible quotations are taken with permission from the NIV:
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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