Selfish ambition (Phil. 1:17)

“The others proclaim Christ

Out of selfish ambition,

Not sincerely,

But intending

To increase my suffering

In my imprisonment.”

οἱ δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας τὸν Χριστὸν καταγγέλλουσιν, οὐχ ἁγνῶς, οἰόμενοι θλῖψιν ἐγείρειν τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου.

Paul said, “The others proclaim (καταγγέλλουσιν) Christ (τὸν Χριστὸν) out of selfish ambition (οἱ δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας), not sincerely (οὐχ ἁγνῶς), but intending (οἰόμενοι) to increase (ἐγείρειν) my suffering (θλῖψιν) in my imprisonment (τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐριθείας, that means rivalry, ambition, self-seeking, a feud, or a faction.  This is a unique word ἁγνῶς, that means purely, with pure motives, sincerely, or honestly, that can only be found here in Philippians.  There must have been some kind of Christian rivalry going on in Philippi.  Some people were trying to increase Paul’s suffering while he was in prison.  While preaching about Jesus Christ, they were downgrading Paul.  They were not acting out of pure motives, but out of selfish ambition.  Do you know some selfish people who preach about Jesus Christ?

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