Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

The progress of the gospel while Paul was in prison

Philippians 1:12

God is constantly working in his people’s lives as he carries out his plans for them. He uses every circumstance to do his work, and for their benefit (Romans 8:28). He can turn round people’s evil schemes, and use them for his own good purposes (Genesis 50:20; Esther 9:24-27). God even defeats the wicked behaviour of wicked people in order to bring great honour to himself (Romans 9:17).

That was Paul’s experience as a prisoner, too. His enemies put him in prison because they wanted to stop the progress of the gospel. The gospel is God’s message about Christ, which Paul declared boldly. Those enemies thought that, as a prisoner, Paul would be unable still to speak about Christ. In addition, they expected that other Christians would become too afraid to declare the gospel.

However, in fact, the opposite happened. God used the situation so that even more people heard the gospel. Many people were discussing why Paul was a prisoner. As they talked about Paul, they were also discussing together his message, the gospel.

The other Christians did not become too afraid to speak about Christ, as their enemies expected. Rather, it encouraged those Christians to see how firm Paul’s trust in Christ was in his difficult situation. So, they actually became bolder to declare the gospel (1:14). Acts 28:16-31 shows that even Paul himself had a great opportunity to declare the gospel as a prisoner in Rome. It was God who brought about these things. He used even Paul’s difficult situation to bring about his own (God’s) good purposes.

Next part: The whole Praetorium knew the real reason why Paul was in prison (Philippians 1:13)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.