Philippians 1:12-20

Paul writing from prison in Rome (according to several commenter’s, this was during Paul’s 1st imprisonment)

Philippians 1:12-20 [NASB]
12. Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that

13. my  imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,

14. and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my  imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

15. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;

16. the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;

17. the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my  imprisonment.

18. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed;
and in this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice,

19. for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

20. according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

I find several things of note:

1st Paul considers his imprisonment fortuitous, since through it, the Gospel’s message has been strengthened rather than diminished (v12).

2nd There are two groups of preachers for Christ: One group is preaching out of selfish reasons and displaying ambition, and even enmity for Paul, while others from good will (v15-17).

3rd Paul rejoices for both sets. This is not because of anything laudable in the nature of the selfish preachers, but rather because they _are_ proclaiming Christ. The issue of pretense vs truth mentioned in v18 is not the TRUTH of the Gospel itself, but whether the those doing the preaching are true to their own nature. In other words, is the TRUTH of the Gospel being proclaimed _because_ of their nature; or, _despite_ their nature – regardless, to Paul the important fact is that Christ is being proclaimed.

4th On a personal level Paul is assured that this is all for his benefit, and in answer to the prayers of the believers in Philippi.

5th It is the preaching of the Gospel that Paul looks to and through the proclamation of Christ by believers in Rome as something to assuage any shame in himself. For Paul, having Christ preached makes his personal outcome irrelevant. He is just as pleased for his death as for his life, as long as the message of Christ progresses

My meditations at this time are centering on the 3rd consideration, above. There are many times that when I self examine my motives, I find that the reasons I may do something that seems laudable, I am not as selfless as I may tell myself. I am heartened by the knowledge that as long as I stick to the Truth of Christ and do not propagate false teaching, the Holy Spirit can use my weakness to still accomplish His Will.