Wednesday, 14 December 2016
…but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. Philippians 1:17
As noted in the previous verse, based on which Greek text is used, the order of verses 16 & 17 is reversed from more modern translations. This change to the new translations is generally accepted as correct, and thus the words of Paul form a sort of chiasm as he reverses the thought of the preceding verse. Either way though, he had just noted the two types of attitude towards the proclamation of the gospel –
“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:”
Now, he speaks of those whose attitude towards this message was from goodwill. He says that this attitude was “out of love.” They genuinely felt love towards this message and wanted it furthered because of this attitude of goodwill. They had become confident in the Lord, declaring the gospel without fear because of this. They had seen that Paul had been put in prison “for the defense of the gospel” and it emboldened them.
The word translated as “appointed” is keimai. It is a word which means “to place” or “to lie down.” However, it also indicates “destined” or “specially appointed.” He was appointed, or set there for the very purpose of defending the gospel. His bonds were no mistake, but were serving the purpose of gospel defense. Those with loving hearts saw this and grasped it. They were emboldened by his example to act in like manner.
Life application: Paul was acting as an ambassador for Christ, and yet he was imprisoned for his efforts. In seeing this, there were some who understood that his condition was exactly as was intended for him. The Lord had placed him in this position so that the gospel could be defended. The words are recorded for us to consider. If we run into a difficult situation because we have proclaimed Christ, we should look at it as an opportunity to continue our proclamation, not withhold it. It is our duty as Christians to be bold in the face of such things. In doing so, we may very well embolden others and bring about a great harvest of change.
Lord God, there is a lot of strife against the message of Jesus. It’s hard to figure why. You have done the work through Him: we simply accept that premise and receive it, and we are reconciled to You. Why all the anger and hatred at such a simple and beautiful gift? Help us to be all the more bold in our stand that Jesus Christ is available to any and all who will simply receive what He has already done. The world sure needs this good news. Amen.