The Book of Philippians

  • Jan. 20, 2010
  • #7233

Joni shares how the book of Philippians is a beautiful thank you letter.

No doubt about it, I love to write - articles, books, you name it! 

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I've always had a love affair with words.  The English language is so beautiful and grammar has always been one of my favorite subjects - even back in high school and college.  In fact, I've been working on a manuscript on the subject of miraculous healing, but that's a different program.  Now, I don't pretend to be a great writer - but I learn an awful lot by reading the way other people write.  Even people in the Bible.

Take the apostle Paul.  Because when it comes to different styles of writing, I mean, this guy without a doubt, was one versatile author.  When writing to the Galatians, Paul sounded fighting mad - he wrote bruskly, telling them in no uncertain terms that they were way off track spiritually.  But when he wrote to the Romans, he came off sounding like a theology professor - he wrote slowly and with great care in laying out his thesis.  Then, when he addressed Christians in the book of Thessalonians, Paul sounded like a youth leader.

But the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians is far different from all the rest.  Philippians is not a theology lesson, or a manual on how to solve problems.  It's a very personal thank you letter and, because of that, Paul doesn't seem to watch his words - instead, he writes an endless stream of joyful remembrances and encouragements.  You can tell that he had a lot of fun with his pen and paper.  I mean, look at the way he opens his letter.  He writes, "I thank my God every time I remember you.  It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart."  Wow, isn't that a great way to open a letter?

It's particularly poignant that Paul wrote his thank-you letter from a dark, stinking prison cell.  He could have filled his letter with a list of complaints, telling his readers every detail about how hard and painful things were.  But Paul doesn't write that way.  He doesn't want the people reading his letters to feel unnecessary concern for him.  And that he could write "be anxious about nothing" and "rejoice always" and "I've learned to be content" all the while sitting there in chains.  It makes the book of Philippians all the more special, all the more joyful. 

You may not be in an actual prison, but like the Apostle Paul, you may feel chained to a few unpleasant circumstances.  If so, are you still able to write a thank-you letter to God?  Would you be able to write words of gratitude for smiles and sunny days, for the promise of heaven, for the grace of God that's sustaining you through these tough times?  If you need help composing your words, take a moment to flip open to the book of Philippians and just peruse the finest thank-you letter ever written.  It's a great book for wintertime reading. 

And speaking of books, I have a gift I'd like to send you today - it's 3 of my bookmarks that you can place in any one of the different books that you're reading right now.  The bookmarks include my line art and paintings, as well as a scripture - it would be a great prayer reminder for our ministry as we keep reaching out to people with disabilities.  You can get your free scripture bookmarks just by visiting or you can always call toll free 1-888-522-5664.  Just ask for them; they're yours at no cost.  Again, that's or give us a ring at 1-888-522-5664.  And don't forget, take some time this week to read through the book of Philippians and catch Paul's love for words of hope and encouragement, comfort and strength.  Words sent straight from heaven, written personally just for you. 

©  Joni and Friends

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