Stewardship of Mind (Nov. 25)

Philippians 4:4-13


It seems as though the apostle realizes that he has spoken so much of opposition and conflict between culture and the church that points of commendation and agreement have been overlooked. In 4:8-9 he remedies that somewhat by commending to the Philippians a list of admirable traits drawn from Greek moralists: the true, the honorable, the just, the pure, the lovely, the excellent, the praiseworthy. These were the virtues extolled by the ethicists of Greek culture.
(Philippians: Interpretation, Fred Craddock, Louisville: John Knox Press, 1985, pp. 72-73)

Reading the Scripture

Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:

•    Read the scripture as if it were a letter from a dear friend (See the introduction). Place the scripture in an envelope addressed to the class and ask a member to open and read it aloud.
o    First Reading: Read it quickly (not so quickly that you can’t understand it) because you can’t wait to hear what Paul has to say.
o    Second Reading: Read it very slowly to take in every word.
o    Ask the class, “Which parts stood out to you?” Reread those sections as class members name them.

•    New English Bible (Referenced in the Formations Teaching Guide, p. 69):

Farewell; I wish you all joy in the Lord. I will say it again: all joy be yours.

Let your magnanimity be manifest to all.

The Lord is near; have no anxiety, but in everything make your requests known to God in prayer and petition with thanksgiving. Then the peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and gracious, whatever is excellent and admirable—fill your thought with these things.

The lessons I taught you, the traditions I have passed on, all that you heard me say or saw me do, put into practice; and the God of peace will be with you.

It is a great joy to me, in the Lord, that after so long your care for me has now blossomed afresh. You did care about me before that matter; it was opportunity you lacked. Not that I am alluding to want, for I have learned to find resources in myself whatever my circumstances. I know what it is to be brought low, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have been thoroughly initiated into the human lot with all its ups and downs—fullness and hunger, plenty and want. I have strength for anything through him who gives me power.

•    Audio:
o    The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
o    Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the library and the church office.)

•    Video:
o    WatchWord Bible, New Testament on DVD is available in the library. (These videos display and read the text in Contemporary English Version with background pictures, video and sound. Not exactly dramatized or all that exciting, but could be another way to read the text.)

Teaching Suggestions

•    Words: There are number of words in this passage especially in 4:8. You may want to use a dictionary (see Mercer Dictionary of the Bible and Harpercollins Bible Dictionary in the library) but be aware that these words are translations from the Greek so the definition in an English Bible dictionary may not be defining the particular word being used here. In the definition look for a scripture reference to the verse containing your word to get a more accurate definition. Or read Philippians: Word Biblical Commentary (Gerald F. Hawthorne, Waco: Word Books, 1983, pp. 185-190, available in Keith’s office) for a discussion of the meaning of words in this passage.

•    Word of the Day: The Formations Study Guide suggests, “Why not concentrate on one of Paul’s adjectives in Philippians 4:8 each day for the next six days?” (p. 83). I will post a word a day on facebook and on our homepage starting Monday, November 26, to help your members remember each day.

•    The Formations Teaching Guide refers to a resource kit page, “Thinking about Thinking” (70). I’m not sure what is in that, but I have included some “Quotes About the Mind” at the end of this session if you want to do something similar.

•    Focus on Stewardship:
o    “The American Dream goes like this: “get all you can, save all you can, achieve all you can.” If you do, you'll be happy, healthy and enter your retirement years with peace and tranquility. The only problem with this: it's a myth. The life people really want is found not in getting but giving.” –Stephen McSwain (The Giving Myths, Stephen McSwain, Macon: Smyth & Helwys, 2007).
o    Remind the class of stewardship dates and emphases (see introduction to this unit).


I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons.

•    See these Bible dictionaries in our library:
o    Mercer Dictionary of the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1990)
o    Harpercollins Bible Dictionary (Harper & Row, 1996)

•    Philippians: Word Biblical Commentary, Gerald F. Hawthorne (Waco: Word Books, 1983), available in Keith’s office.

•    Philippians: Interpretation, Fred Craddock (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1985), available in Keith’s office.

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

Quotes About the Mind
(Find these and more here:

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“I consider conversations with people to be mind exercises, but I don't want to pull a muscle, so I stretch a lot. That's why I'm constantly either rolling my eyes or yawning.”
― Jarod Kintz, It Occurred to Me

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“I think... if it is true that
there are as many minds as there
are heads, then there are as many
kinds of love as there are hearts.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.”
― Terry Pratchett
“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!”
― Mark Twain

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.”
― G.K. Chesterton

“Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.”
― Neil Gaiman, M Is for Magic

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
― Plutarch

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
― Joseph Addison

“The boldness of his mind was sheathed in a scabbard of politeness.”
― Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his time.

“fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination.”
― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart