Philippians 1:12-20

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

September 25, 2002


Paul is writing to a church that was established in difficult times.  Paul himself is in the middle of a hugely difficult time.

And oddly enough, the theme of this little letter is “joy”.

:12  But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

understandginosko – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel

I wouldboulomai – to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; of willing as an affection, to desire

rathermallon – much, by far; rather, sooner; more willingly, more readily, sooner

the furtherance prokope – progress, advancement; from prokopto, to beat forward; to lengthen out by hammering (as a smith forges metals); metaph. to promote, forward, further; to go forward, advance, proceed; to cut or strike forward as when an army was marching through a field, cutting the brush aside.

Paul sees his circumstances being used to make the gospel go further.

the gospeleuaggelion – a reward for good tidings; good tidings; the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God; the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ; the gospel

have fallen outerchomai – to come; metaph. to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence; be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto

(Phil 1:12 NASB)  Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,

What were Paul’s current circumstances (the things which happened unto me)?

Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21), and then was transferred for safety’s sake to Caesarea (Acts 23).  When he saw that there was to be no justice for him there, he used his Roman citizenship to appeal to Caesar and was taken to Rome (Acts 25:10).  In Rome, he apparently was allowed to keep his own apartment (Acts. 28:30), but in being a prisoner, he was chained to a Roman guard twenty-four hours a day. 

To many of us, this would seem as if Paul’s life as a missionary was over.  But Paul didn’t see it that way.

:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

bondsdesmon – a band or bond

are manifestphaneros – apparent, manifest, evident, known; manifest i.e to be plainly recognised or known

the palace praitorion – this word could be used to describe the “head-quarters” in a Roman camp, the place where the soldiers would be quartered.  It also could be used for the group of soldiers known as the “Praetorian Guard”.

(Phil 1:13 NASB)  so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,

praetorian guard - originally a special group of ten thousand soldiers picked by Tiberius, located in Rome.  They had double pay and special privileges and became so powerful that emperors had to court their favor.  Paul had contact with one after another of these soldiers, being chained to them as they guarded him.  In Rome, these would have been the soldiers assigned to guard the emperor’s palace.  Later in the letter, Paul writes,

(Phil 4:22 KJV)  All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
Even though Paul had become a prisoner, God was using that situation for Paul to witness to these men and for a number of them to come to the Lord.


God can work through your tough times to reach others for Jesus

Some of us have been praying for a Gospel for Asia missionary named Manja.  Manja works in Nepal, and earlier this year Manja was accused of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison.  This came from GFA’s website:
Manja leads fellow prisoner to the Lord—July 25, 2002
Greetings from the staff of Gospel for Asia. I have some great news about Manja, our GFA native missionary imprisoned in Nepal. Although he still faces 18 more years in prison apart from his wife and two young children, Manja has not lost sight of the Lord’s calling on his life—to reach Nepal with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since his arrest two years ago, Manja has been sharing a single cell with three non-Christians. Through Manja’s testimony of faith and joy, one of these men has received Christ as his Savior! What a blessing it is to hear this, especially in light of the fact that less than two percent of Nepal’s 24 million people are known to be Christians.

:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

manypleion – greater in quantity; the more part, very many; greater in quality, superior, more excellent

waxing confidentpeitho – persuade; be persuaded; to trust, have confidence, be confident; perfect participle

bondsdesmon – a band or bond

much moreperissoteros – more abundantly; more in a greater degree; more earnestly, more exceedingly; especially, above others

boldtolmao – not to dread or shun through fear; to bear, endure; to bring one’s self to; to be bold; bear one’s self boldly, deal boldly

without fearaphobos – without fear, boldly

the wordlogos – of speech; a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea; what someone has said; discourse; doctrine, teaching; its use as respect to the MIND alone

to speaklaleo – to utter a voice or emit a sound; to speak; to use the tongue or the faculty of speech; to talk; to use words in order to declare one’s mind and disclose one’s thoughts


God can use your tough times to encourage others

Sometimes I tend to think that my life would only be an encouragement to others if I won the Lottery, became President of the United States, or discovered a universal cure for the common cold.
Yet Paul’s circumstances were resulting in a strange effect.
People were set on fire to share the gospel because of his circumstances.
I think the key is in our own attitude and our own response to our difficult times.
If I respond to my difficult times by running away or getting drunk, I don’t think my circumstances will help anyone.
If I respond by running to Jesus, learning to hold on to Him (even if it seems like I’m only barely holding on), and continue to serve Jesus, it can encourage others to do the same.

:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

sometis – a certain, a certain one; some, some time, a while

of …of dia – through; of means; by; by the means of; through; the ground or reason by which something is or is not done

envy phthonos – envy; for envy, i.e. prompted by envy

strife eris – contention, strife, wrangling

good will eudokia – will, choice; good will, kindly intent, benevolence; delight, pleasure, satisfaction; desire; for delight in any absent thing easily produces longing for it

preachkerusso – to be a herald, to officiate as a herald; to proclaim after the manner of a herald; always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done; used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers

Paul is going to describe two types or preachers who are responding to Paul’s imprisonment.

:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

ofek – out of, from, by, away from

contentioneritheia – electioneering or intriguing for office; apparently, in the NT a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts; partisanship, fractiousness; This word is found before NT times only in Aristotle where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means.

From eritheuo, to spin wool, and that from erithos, a hireling.  Originally it meant to work for pay. It then went on to apply in politics to the man canvassing for office, a personally ambitious, competitive spirit which was out to advance itself. 

These people Paul is talking about aren’t heretics, but self-seeking ministers who wanted to advance themselves in the church now that Paul was on the sidelines.

preachkataggello – to announce, declare, promulgate, make known; to proclaim publicly, publish

sincerelyhagnos – chaste, clean, pure, with sincerity

This is not the word translated “sincere” back in 1:10heilikrines – pure, sincere, unsullied; found pure when unfolded and examined by the sun’s light

supposingoiomai – to suppose, think

afflictionthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits

to addepiphero – to bring upon, bring forward; to lay upon, to inflict; to bring upon, i.e. in addition, to add, increase; to put upon, cast upon, impose

bondsdesmon – a band or bond

Why would a person be preaching the gospel for the reason of envy and strife, preaching out of contention?

“It is petty and personal jealousy of Paul’s power and prowess by the Judaizers in Rome whom Paul has routed in the east, but who now exult at the opportunity of annoying their great antagonist by their interpretation of Christ.  Jealousy is always against those of one’s own class or profession as preachers with preachers, doctors with doctors.” (Robertson)

:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

ofek – out of, from, by, away from

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence; love feasts

knowingeido – to see; to know; the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning

the defenceapologia – verbal defence, speech in defence; a reasoned statement or argument

the gospeleuaggelion – a reward for good tidings; good tidings; the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God; the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ; the gospel

I am setkeimai – to lie; of things put or set in any place, in ref. to which we often use "to stand"; metaph. to be (by God’s intent) set, i.e. destined, appointed; of laws, to be made, laid down

It seems that these others are preaching out of a love for Paul, seeing that he is in prison, and wanting to continue his ministry.


Motivation for ministry

Not everyone has proper motives when it comes to ministry.
NOTE:  It seems that the motivation Paul is talking about is not the person’s motives in relationship to serving Jesus, but their motivation in relation to their relationship with Paul.
Envy, strife, or goodwill are all in relation to how Paul would be affected.

Those that preach from envy or strife do so because they want to cause Paul distress.

Those who preach from good will are doing it out of love for Paul, as a way of standing with him in his ministry.

I think we can even find ourselves getting involved with doing “ministry” for the right reasons, and if we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of losing the right motivation.
Can we always know a person’s motivation for ministry?
I don’t think so.  I think we can have general ideas about a person’s motives.  Paul seems to be quite aware of certain individuals who don’t like him.
I think we can’t even always be sure of our own motivation.

Am I really praying for this person because I’m serving Jesus or because I want them to like me?

Sometimes we can over analyze these things to death.

:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

notwithstandingplen – moreover, besides, but, nevertheless; besides, except, but

everypas – individually; each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything; collectively; some of all types

waytropos – a manner, way, fashion

in pretenceprophasis (“before” + “to shine”) – a pretext (alleged reason, pretended cause); show; under color as though they would do something; in pretence, ostensibly; making a big show up front that is untrue

To put on a show to cover something up.  Jesus uses this word to describe some of the Pharisees:

Mr 12:40  (NAS) who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation."

To pretend to be something to get something from a person.

1Th 2:5  (NLT) Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money!

in truthaletheia – objectively; what is true in any matter under consideration; truly, in truth, according to truth; of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly; subjectively; truth as a personal excellence; that candour of mind which is free from affection, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit

is preachedkataggello – to announce, declare, promulgate, make known; to proclaim publicly, publish; to denounce, report, betray

rejoicechairo – to rejoice, be glad; to rejoice exceedingly; to be well, thrive

The first occurrence is present indicative.  The second occurrence is future indicative.

Paul says, “I am currently rejoicing and I will continue to keep rejoicing in the future”


Dealing with motives

First, this doesn’t seem to be applying to people who would fall under the title of “cult”.
Paul didn’t rejoice about false teachers.

(Gal 1:6-9 KJV)  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. {8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. {9} As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

He declared that false teachers were cursed.

Second, I don’t think this means that Paul ignored people’s motives when it came to working with people in ministry.
Paul was concerned for the Philippians, but he didn’t just want any old person to go:

(Phil 2:19-23 KJV)  But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. {20} For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. {21} For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. {22} But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. {23} Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

Paul knew Timothy’s heart.  Timothy would be his representative.


You can choose your reaction

Paul could have chosen to be extremely bummed out.
Instead, he chose to rejoice.
He felt that it was better that the gospel was being preached, even if it was being preached with the wrong motives.
Choose joy.

:19  For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

I knoweido – to see; to know; the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning

shall turnapobaino – to come down from, i.e. a ship; to turn out, result, to be the outcome

Future indicative, he definitely knows that it’s going to happen.

salvationsoteria – deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation; deliverance from the molestation of enemies; in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the souls safety or salvation; of Messianic salvation; salvation as the present possession of all true Christians; future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.

Paul is talking about his deliverance from prison, not his eternal salvation.

prayerdeesis – need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

the supplyepichoregia – a supplying, supply; from choregeo – to be a chorus leader, lead a chorus; to furnish the chorus at one’s own expense; to procure and supply all things necessary to fit out a chorus; to supply, furnish abundantly

:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

earnest expectationapokaradokia (“from” + “the head” + “watching”) – anxious and persistent expectation

hopeelpis – expectation of evil, fear; expectation of good, hope; in the Christian sense; joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; on hope, in hope, having hope

I shall be ashamedaischuno – to disfigure; to dishonour; to suffuse with shame, make ashamed, be ashamed

boldnessparrhesia – freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, i.e without concealment; without ambiguity or circumlocution; without the use of figures and comparisons; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance

shall be magnifiedmegaluno – to make great, magnify; metaph. to make conspicuous; to deem or declare great; to esteem highly, to extol, laud, celebrate; to get glory and praise

lifezoe – life

deaththanatos – the death of the body

Paul’s idea of deliverance isn’t necessarily restricted to being set free from prison alive.

We will see that for him, dying was a form of deliverance.

But Paul was confident that one way or another, he would be delivered, and his deliverance would come from two things:


Deliverance through prayer

I don’t think we can get enough prayer when we’re going through times of difficulty.
I know that when I’m in difficult times, prayer is one of the things that bring relief.

It is important that I pray.  It is also important that I get others to pray.

King Jehoshaphat was facing the armies of the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites.  It looked desperate.

(2 Chr 20:3-4 KJV)  And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. {4} And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.

Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer, and then God began to work:

(2 Chr 20:14-15 KJV)  Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; {15} And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.

(2 Chr 20:17 KJV)  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.

The next morning, the people went out, with the worship leaders in the front, and as they began to praise God for His promise of deliverance, God had the enemy armies all turn on themselves, and the nation was delivered.
It started with prayer.

I wonder if we shouldn’t proclaim a fast for our church?  I wonder what would happen if a few of us started skipping even one meal a week and praying for the church, what would happen?


Deliverance through the Spirit’s help

Did you notice how the Spirit of God had a part in Jehoshaphat’s deliverance?
He worked through a prophet to speak words of encouragement.
The Holy Spirit wants to help you through your difficult time.
God wants to comfort us in every difficult time:

(2 Cor 1:3-5 KJV)  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; {4} Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. {5} For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

The Holy Spirit is the “Comforter”

(John 14:16-17 KJV)  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; {17} Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

He comes to help us, teach us, and give us peace through the fire:

(John 14:26-27 KJV)  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. {27} Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Ask Him for help.