Philippians: Lowliness of Mind


Scripture verse: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”



  1. Students should memorize at least the first half of the verse.
  2. Students should understand that doing the right thing for the wrong reason is not God’s way.

Background on the book:

This letter was also written by St. Paul while he was a prisoner in Rome in AD 61-63.  The Church in Philippi had been founded by Paul around 50-51 AD during his visit on his 2nd missionary journey (Remember the jailer in the earthquake?); this was the first church on the continent of Europe! St. Luke, author of the gospel of Luke, was the priest of Philippi during its first 6 years. Paul had visited Philippi twice again during his 3rd missionary journey, AD 57-58. When the Philippians had heard that Paul was in prison, they sent Epaphroditus with a gift of money to make his stay more comfortable.  While in Rome, Epaphroditus almost died, but he was healed and returned to Philippi, taking Paul’s letter back with him.  In Philippi, many believers who had previously been too shy to speak were now preaching the Gospel boldly.  But others were preaching in order to make Paul look bad or to make a name for themselves.  While Paul is happy that the gospel is being preached, no matter by whom, he knows that the Lord sees into the heart of the believer and knows our motives.  God does not want us to be self-centered, but to serve him in humbleness. Find Philippi and Rome on a map – a short journey?


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


2.   Review the background of the book.


3.   Scripture lesson: Philippians 2:3. Read it aloud together and memorize it. Read also I John 1:5-7.

       Memorize the first half of the verse. Try Word Bounce: Using your large beach ball, toss it from student to student; the student with the ball must give the next word of the verse.

4.   Have you ever known anyone who did the right thing for the wrong reason?

      Look at the story of Pharoah and Moses; why did Pharoah let God’s people  go? Look again at Jonah: even after he obeyed God, he was upset at God. Why? (Jonah 4:1-4) Did Jonah really go to Ninevah with the Lord’s desire to save the city, or to make himself look good?


5.   Have you ever done the right thing for the wrong reason? What is wrong with these situations?

You come to Church in your nicest clothes because you want everyone to see how good you look.

           You sing in the choir so everyone can hear your lovely voice.

            You share a lot in Sunday School so everyone will know how smart you are.

You help at the soup kitchen so everyone will know what a good Christian you are.

You come to Church every Sunday so everyone will see how obedient you are.

                        You tell your friend about Jesus so you can bring him to Church next week

and show everyone how much you love the Lord.


  1. Try a light and darkness activity. Turn out the lights and ask each student to assume a funny position. Do they feel silly in the dark? Turn on the lights. Do they feel silly or embarrassed in the light? Remind them that in Christ we walk in the light.


  1. Make a candle holder from clay: Use white air-dry clay that can be used with candles or flames. Make a pinch pot large enough to hold a votive candle or tea-light candle. If the clay is white, you can decorate these with markers saying “Jesus is the light of the world” with big suns or stars over them. Put candles in them and light the candles. Turn out the lights; is it dark now?

  1. Close with prayer.