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Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians
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Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  253 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
An exposition of Philippians that considers Paul's instruction on consistent integrity and the cross as the center of life.
Paperback, 124 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Baker Academic
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Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Carson's style in this book is almost chatty at times, but the points he makes still have depth. The book began life as four messages delivered to a conference in 1994, which may account for its accessible style. Whether Carson subsequently expanded on the talks he doesn't say, but at 132 pages long, they must have been quite substantial messages.
That aside, this is an excellent exposition of the Epistle to the Philippians. Having finished it I'm inclined to think I'll probably turn round and r
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you want to understand Paul's letter to the church at Philippi, this is a superhelpful little book. It's clear, concise, perceptive, illuminating, conversational, and easy to read. Highly recommended.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to Philippians with substance.
Brandon Jones
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
D.A. Carson, thank you! This is one of the best attempts to take a deep dive into biblical exposition while keeping it relatable for non theology majors I've ever read. At no point did I become confused or overwhelmed but also at no point was the book so basic that I questioned why it needed to exist. Christian books are so often one or the other. Thankful for men and women like Carson who can get into the meat without causing one of my eyes to drift off as I stare into blank nothingness.
Brandon H.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
An excellent exposition of the book of Philippians.

There are 5 chapters in this book -

1. Put the Gospel First
(Phil. 1:1-26)
2. Focus on the Cross
(Phil. 1:27-2:18)
3. Adopt Jesus' Death as a Test of Your Outlook
(Phil. 1:27-2:18)
4. Emulate Worthy Christian Leaders
(Phil. 2:19-3:21)
5. Never Give Up the Christian Walk
(Phil. 4:1-23)

I really enjoyed the whole book. It wasn't that long but rather dense. I appreciated many things, from the author's explanation of propitiation, to his call to examine t
Josh Taylor
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
"Other kinds of obedience sink into a pathetic brand of legalism" (p. 101) the caveat that Carson gives here, is unfortunately the problem with this book, appealing regularly to this Western guilt-Gospel where we owe our Saviour and other believers. Missing the motivation behind these 'actions' or 'instructions' that Paul is giving here, out of the freedom and love that believers gain from being in Christ.
The title of the book is highly misleading, as it would seem that basics is for the middle-
Jonathan Seger
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
I read this over the course of 9 months while my wife & I lead a bible study for some of the high schoolers at our church. I consider Carson's 'Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians' somewhat unique among books of its kind. It's rare that you find a commentary on a book of the bible that is biblical, thorough, insightful, & a cause for reflection all the while remaining brief (124 pages) & accessible to all varieties of church members. Oftentimes, reading commentaries ca ...more
Helpful, challenging Bible teaching from Don Carson. Best read with an open Bible in front of you, because he sticks closely to the text of the book of Philippians. Kind of a hard book to comment on, because being a direct exposition of a Biblical text it doesn't really have a distinctive identity of it's own! But Carson provides a helpful structure, plenty of "aha" moments in his explanations, good stories and illustrations and helpful applications. Quite a dense book considering it's only 130 ...more
Geo Philips
Sep 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, library
This should be a 4-star review. Carson is insightful as always and the condensed exposition here (based off 5 of his sermons on Philippians) is full of theological truth and rich application. BUT I would not recommend this as an introductory text to Philippians. For someone familiar with the epistle and willing to ready this slowly (and perhaps repeatedly), this book will prove to be of great value. The title is misleading because I think it is intended to convey that Philippians contains 'basic ...more
Aaron Boyce
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carson's sermon series boiled down into book form was very helpful for my overall understanding of the book of Philippians. We're called to live out the gospel with gospel-fueled motivation. We cannot simply have $5 worth of the gospel--enough to ease our weakened consciences, but not enough to bring us to action. We must rather, with Paul, consider all things as loss in light of the surpassing value of knowing Christ and making him known.
Mark A Powell
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Paul’s letter to the Philippian church has been a source of comfort and encouragement for Christians throughout the ages. Here, Carson is able to summarize the entire letter to the Philippians in a way that manages to be both concise and thorough. Some vocabulary will challenge the casual reader at times, but Carson’s heart is so pastoral and practical in the application of these truths that it is easy to commend this book to all Christians.
Pam Gowen
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's hard to go wrong with D.A.Carson. And this was another beneficial read as I was studying the book of Philippians. I did almost put it down when I got to chapter 2 and found it a little heady and didn't catch the purpose. But at the encouragement of others, I picked it back up and when I made it past the heady part I couldn't and didn't put it down until finished. The guy is so insightful it boggles ones mind.
Ryan Thomas
Great little book on Philippians. The only thing "lacking" would be the detailed examination Carson employs in more technical commentaries, but then, that would betray the purpose of this particular book. To that end, Carson excels at drawing out the meaning of Philippians in such way that one is not provided with mere information, but knowledge and wisdom in Christ as we live out the lessons of this epistle for the glory of God.
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic little book about the Christian life. It is really in all it's simplicity a series of exhortations based on Paul's letter to the Philippians. I most appreciated chapter 2, entitled "adopt Jesus' death as a test of your outlook." Carson does a fantastic job of explaining the cross in this section. I'd recommend this book to anyone, but especially new believers.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Carson has some excellent illustrations in his commentary. I especially liked 3$ worth of the gospel and the story about Dave, the graduate student. It was a helpful and easy to read and understand book. I used it in combination with a couple of other books for teaching a Sunday School class on Philippians.
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: commentary, favorites
This is one of my favorite books I've ever read. I've read it three times and I'm sure I'll read it again. It is a fairly short on Philippians. The theology is very solid and also very clear. The gospel is very clear. Anyways, just read this book already.
flipping around, I've been impressed with each chapter. easy-to-read but not simple. solid theology. this is on loan from the library but I want to buy a copy to keep on my bookshelf for rereading. I may have to buy this one since it's a couple months overdue! (oooops.)
Oct 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Basics for believers is great. Not only for new believers by any means. An easy read, especially for a Carson book. Does a good job of bringing up basic christian doctrine by expositing Phillipians. Strongly recommend it.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read, and really helpful in leading my Sunday morning discussion group this past summer. It is a little skewed toward a pastoral perspective (these were originally sermons Carson gave at a pastoral conference) but it was pretty easy to adapt his thoughts to a general church body perspective.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a helpful set of sermons that Carson put together for the book of Philippians. His interpretation of the book of Philippians is rightly Christ-centered. This was both enjoyable and helpful as I worked through the book of Philippians.
This is a really helpful book. I wish I had read it in smaller chunks, more slowly, so that I was able to take it all in better. Don Carson does a great job of breaking down the books of Philippians and guiding you through it to see the gospel and how it ought to change the Christian's life.
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Used this as commentary for preaching a sermon series through Philippians. Highly recommend it. Great mix of scholarship and pastoral care in Carson's writing. Great for devotional read as well if you're looking for something for personal study.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Carson really unpacks this small New Testament letter beautifully. Full of insights without being toooo much information. And just like Paul, he turns from information to wisdom, as he teaches us how to put these words to action in the 21st century.
Jonathan Roberts
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 2013
Great little book! Taken from five sermons preached by Carson a few years back. This was a good resource for my preaching series in Philippians but I think it would has benefited me even if it were not for sermon prep. Thank you Lord for the book of Philippians it is such a blessing!
Dave Westerveld
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good thoughts and application on the book of Philippians
Mar 31, 2013 added it
Shelves: nt-commentaries
Michael Locklear
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very good and revealing exposition of Paul's letter to the church at Philippi.
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good overview of the letter, but a more thorough exegesis is needed as a supplement.
Jenai Hamilton
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thorough, concise, and easy to follow, D.A. Carson holds true to the text, admits when he is unsure, gives a few options in interpretation, and gives reason to his choice of suggestions.
Bryan McWhite
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Basic" is a bit of a misnomer. This is not an easy book, but it is (typically Carson) an outstanding one.
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D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has been at Trinity since 1978. Carson came to Trinity from the faculty of Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he also served for two years as academic dean. He has served as assistant pastor and pastor and has done itinerant ministry in Cana ...more
More about D.A. Carson...
“I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much – just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don't want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don't want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary
service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I

myself don't want to love those from different races – especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would
like about three dollars worth of gospel, please.”
“Where there are disagreements of principle, argue them out. Take out your Bibles, think things through, find out why you are disagreeing, and be willing to be corrected.” 0 likes
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