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?

Love for the gospel (Phil. 1:16)

“These latter

Proclaim Christ

Out of love.

They know

That I have been put here

For the defense

Of the gospel.”

οἱ μὲν ἐξ ἀγάπης, εἰδότες ὅτι εἰς ἀπολογίαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου κεῖμαι,

Paul said, “These latter proclaim Christ out of love (οἱ μὲν ἐξ ἀγάπης).  They know (εἰδότες) that I have been put here for the defense (ὅτι εἰς ἀπολογίαν) of the gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου).”  Paul indicated that those who acted out of good will proclaimed Christ out of their love for Jesus Christ.  They were not against Paul, since they knew that Paul was a great defender of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Do you know people who speak about Christ out of love?

Good will (Phil. 1:15)

“Some indeed proclaim Christ

From envy

And rivalry,

But others from good will.”

Τινὲς μὲν καὶ διὰ φθόνον καὶ ἔριν, τινὲς δὲ καὶ δι’ εὐδοκίαν τὸν Χριστὸν κηρύσσουσιν·

Paul said, “Some (Τινὲς μὲν) indeed proclaim (κηρύσσουσιν) Christ (τὸν Χριστὸν) from envy (καὶ διὰ φθόνον) and rivalry (καὶ ἔριν), but others from good will (καὶ δι’ εὐδοκίαν).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἔριν, that means strife, contention, or wrangling.  Paul indicated that there was some brotherly rivalry.  Some Christian preachers were envious of Paul and felt that since he was in prison, they would be more prominent.  However, others were preaching about Jesus with good intentions.  Paul did not oppose their message, but their motives.  As long as the message of Jesus Christ was preached, he was happy.  However, Paul always had some opponents.  Do you know people who speak out of envy?

They are confident (Phil. 1:14)

“Most of the brothers

Have been made confident

In the Lord

By my imprisonment.

They dare

To speak

The word of God

With great boldness

And without fear.”

καὶ τοὺς πλείονας τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἐν Κυρίῳ πεποιθότας τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου περισσοτέρως τολμᾶν ἀφόβως τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ λαλεῖν.

Paul said, “Most of the brothers (καὶ τοὺς πλείονας τῶν ἀδελφῶν) have been made confident (πεποιθότας) in the Lord (ἐν Κυρίῳ) by my imprisonment (τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου).  They dare to speak the word of God (τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ) with great boldness (περισσοτέρως τολμᾶν) and without fear (ἀφόβως).”  Paul pointed out that most of the Christian brothers had renewed their confidence in the Lord, Jesus Christ, because of the imprisonment of Paul.  As Paul was in chains, it made the other Christian believers speak the word of God with greater boldness and without any fear.  They became fearless, because Paul was so strong when he was imprisoned.  Do you think people can become famous while they are in prison?

Imprisonment for Christ (Phil. 1:13)

“It has become known

Throughout the whole imperial guard

And to everyone else

That my imprisonment

Is for Christ.”

ὥστε τοὺς δεσμούς μου φανεροὺς ἐν Χριστῷ γενέσθαι ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν,

Paul said, “It has become known or apparent (φανεροὺς) throughout the whole imperial guard (ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ) and to everyone else (καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν) that my imprisonment (ὥστε τοὺς δεσμούς μου) is for Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ).”  Paul then explained how his imprisonment by the Romans had helped to spread the word about Jesus Christ.  Everyone recognized that he was in prison because he was trying to speak about Jesus Christ.  This imperial guard, πραιτωρίῳ, were the soldiers who guarded the official residence of the governor, sometimes called the praetorian.  This could have been the military guards in Jerusalem, Caesarea, or Rome, since Paul was imprisoned in all three places in Acts, chapters 21-28.  Paul got to explain everywhere, while in chains, that he was doing this for Jesus Christ.  Have you ever been in prison?

Help the gospel spread (Phil. 1:12)

“My brothers!

I want you to know

What has happened

To me

Has actually helped

To spread the gospel.”

Γινώσκειν δὲ ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι τὰ κατ’ ἐμὲ μᾶλλον εἰς προκοπὴν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἐλήλυθεν,

Paul said, “My brothers (ἀδελφοί)!  I want you to know (Γινώσκειν δὲ ὑμᾶς) what has happened to me (ὅτι τὰ κατ’ ἐμὲ μᾶλλον) has actually helped to spread (εἰς προκοπὴν) the gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου).”  Paul wanted his readers to know what had happened to him, although not very pleasant, had helped to spread the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul indicated that when things are difficult for him, it actually helps to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  How do you help to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Righteousness (Phil. 1:11)

“You will have produced

The harvest

Of righteousness

That comes

Through Jesus Christ,

For the glory

And praise

Of God.”

πεπληρωμένοι καρπὸν δικαιοσύνης τὸν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς δόξαν καὶ ἔπαινον Θεοῦ.

Paul said, “You will have produced (πεπληρωμένοι) the harvest (καρπὸν) of righteousness (δικαιοσύνης) that comes through Jesus Christ (τὸν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), for the glory (εἰς δόξαν) and praise (καὶ ἔπαινον) of God (Θεοῦ).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἔπαινον, that means praise, commendation, or approval.  Paul indicated that the Philippians would then produce a harvest of righteous fruit that came from Jesus Christ, so that they then could praise the glory of God.  Once again, the agricultural concept of harvesting was common among the early Christians.  However, everything came through Jesus Christ.  Does your life center around Jesus Christ?

The day of Christ (Phil. 1:10)

“This helps you

To determine

What is best,

So that in the day of Christ

You may be pure

And blameless.”

εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τὰ διαφέροντα, ἵνα ἦτε εἰλικρινεῖς καὶ ἀπρόσκοποι εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ,

Paul said, “This helps you to determine what is best (εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τὰ διαφέροντα), so that in the day of Christ (εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ) you may be pure (ἵνα ἦτε εἰλικρινεῖς) and blameless (καὶ ἀπρόσκοποι).”  Paul indicated that if they lived in love and knowledge, they would know what is best, so that they would end up pure and blameless on the day of the Lord, when it came.  This almost sounded like a Jewish sacrifice at the Temple that was pure and blameless.  We were to sacrifice our lives for Jesus Christ.  The day of Christ was the end times.  Do you know what is best for your life?

This is my prayer (Phil. 1:9)

“This is my prayer

That your love

May abound

More and more,

With knowledge

And full insight.”

καὶ τοῦτο προσεύχομαι, ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη ὑμῶν ἔτι μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον περισσεύῃ ἐν ἐπιγνώσει καὶ πάσῃ αἰσθήσει,

Paul said, “This is my prayer (καὶ τοῦτο προσεύχομαι) that your love (ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη ὑμῶν) may abound (περισσεύῃ) more and more (ἔτι μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον), with knowledge (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει) and full insight (καὶ πάσῃ αἰσθήσει).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐπιγνώσει, that means knowledge of a particular point, perception, discernment, recognition, or intuition.  Only this Philippian letter used this unique word αἰσθήσει, that means perception, understanding, or discernment.  Paul prayed for the Philippians.  He wanted their Christian love to increase more and more.  At the same time, he wanted them to have better knowledge, discernment, perception, or intuition about Jesus Christ.  What is your understanding of Jesus Christ?

God is my witness (Phil. 1:8)

“God is my witness!

How I long

For all of you

With the compassion

Of Christ Jesus.”

μάρτυς γάρ μου ὁ Θεός, ὡς ἐπιποθῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς ἐν σπλάγχνοις Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ.

Paul said, “God (ὁ Θεός) is my witness (μάρτυς γάρ μου)!  How I long for all of you (ὡς ἐπιποθῶ πάντας ὑμᾶς) with the compassion (ἐν σπλάγχνοις) of Christ Jesus (Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἐπιποθῶ, that means to long for, strain after, desire greatly, or have affection for.  Paul called on God to be his witness.  He longed for the Christians at Philippi and had compassion or feelings for them just like Jesus Christ had for them.  Do you have compassion for anyone?