Philippians 1:12-15

In Philippians 1:12-15 Paul continues to talk about how we should live as Christ Followers. Paul here answered a concern of the Philippians. He wanted them to know that God’s blessing and power were still with him, even though he was in prison. He was not out of the will of God, and God’s work still continued. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” Paul wrote letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians while in prison so that time definitely advanced the gospel.

God didn’t waste Paul’s time during the Roman imprisonment. God never wastes our time, though we may waste it by not sensing God’s purpose for our lives at the moment. The circumstances around Paul’s imprisonment and his manner in the midst of it made it clear to all observers that he was not just another prisoner, but that he was an emissary of Jesus Christ. This witness led to the conversion of many, even some of the palace guard. From this we see that Paul could minister effectively and bring glory to God in less than ideal circumstances. He didn’t need everything to be easy and set in order to be fruitful.

And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Paul’s imprisonment gave the Christians around him – who were not imprisoned – greater confidence and boldness.

  • They saw that Paul had joy in the midst of such a trial.
  • They saw that God would take care of Paul in such circumstances.
  • They saw that God could still use Paul even when he was imprisoned.

We can trust God to use us whatever the circumstances if we are open to His leading and we follow without fear.

Paul then begins to consider the motives of others who were preaching to the church. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.” Paul knew that some preached because they wanted to “surpass” Paul in ministry and to promote their own name and place above Paul’s. These people were glad Paul was imprisoned because they felt this gave them a competitive edge over him in what they considered to be the contest of preaching the gospel. They were motivated – at least in part – by a competitive spirit, which too often is common among preachers. But Paul also knew that not every other preacher was motivated by envy and trying to out do him with bad motives. Some were preaching from a good motivation!

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