Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel

Day three, here we come. This is refreshing, isn’t it? I love it.

I’m gunna pray: Lord, I ask that You would give me the wisdom as I study Your word and write about it in this blog. I ask that You would bless this time that I will be spending meditating in Your word and that You would bless those reading this. I ask that whatever they would be going through in life that You would help them to apply this to them. Thank You for this opportunity to be able to read Your word, to meditate on Your word and to write freely on Your word. Amen.

Okay, today. In case you didn’t notice, I have been referring to the NIV translation of the Bible…but today as I was looking at biblegateway.com I came across the Message translation and I thought it summed up the verses pretty good, so I’m going to include that at the end of what I have to say about the passage.

Read Philippians 1:12-18a

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
Paul is writing this about the fact that because he’s in jail, God’s word has been spread more than it would’ve been if he had not been in jail. Personally, I say to you that what has happened to me helps me to live for God every day of my life…and it will also help you to do the same. I don’t personally know your situation, but I just pray that one day, we will both be living for God 24/7...one day, everything will be better. I have faith in that, and you have to have faith in that as well.

13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
Literally, Paul is saying that the whole palace knows that he’s in jail because he was preaching the word of God, and as a result he has preached to the people in the palace.

14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Because he’s in jail, it has caused many other followers of Christ to speak more forcefully about the Gospel…which is the complete opposite of the reason he was there to begin with.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
I do believe that this passage is pretty clear, and I really have nothing to say on them except about the last sentence. Rejoicing. It’s all about rejoicing, Paul is in prison and yet he is rejoicing because Christ is preached, even if it is for the wrong reasons. This is huge, you should rejoice in everything.

The Message Translation (this translation doesn’t have individual verse numbers, it is translated by passage instead):
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I'm in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they've learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.

15-17It's true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they'll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I'm out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.

I hope and pray that this Bible study is going good for you, and that you are enjoying reading it as much as I am enjoying writing it.

I’ll close in prayer: Thank You, Christ Jesus, for the opportunity for us to be able to study Your word, for the freedom that we have to do this, unlike Paul did. I ask that You would help both myself and those reading this to rejoice in our daily lives. To rejoice when it seems like the last thing we should be doing. I ask that You would be with both these people and myself in the coming days as we continue to study Your word. Amen.

Be the light. The pinprick of light in the darkness. The star. Be the star.

Posted by Jane | at 6/21/2009 05:54:00 PM

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