Philippians

Philippians 1:12-18 Providence And Motives For The Apologetical Task.

Paul wanted his readers to know, that contrary to what they may have thought or feared, his imprisonment actually “turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (v. 12). We know that there were some of the Palace guard who at the very least knew why he was in chains (v. 13). At the end of this letter he will send greetings from some brethren and saints who were with him, “especially those who are of Caesar’s household” (4:22). Paul in effect is saying that had he not been put in his chains there may not have been this door of opportunity to reach these folk. This is something we need to keep in mind in our own circumstances. There may be those whom we come into contact with who we are meant as that witness in their lives. Paul adds something else, by him witnessing despite his chains, it gave confidence to others to also “speak the word without fear” (v. 14).

This then leads to Paul treating of the subject of what actually motivates one to preach, or indeed to be a Christian at all and thereby to bear witness to Christ. Apparently there were some who preached Christ to make Paul’s life even more difficult for him, perhaps some of these are those he speaks of as being confident. Perhaps out of envy and to cause strife, some were preaching Christ by arguing that Paul was in prison so they should inherit the mantel of his ministry. Nevertheless, two things were also true-there were some preaching with confidence from goodwill, and in either case Christ at least was being preached, and for this he rejoiced (vv. 15-16, 18). The latter were preaching out of love, knowing that Paul was appointed by God for the defence of the gospel (v. 17). Paul did not choose to engage in this apologetical task-God called and appointed him to it.

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