Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

The whole Praetorium knew the real reason why Paul was in prison

Philippians 1:13

The whole group of people called the Praetorium knew that Paul was a prisoner only because of his trust in Christ. Therefore, he was not suffering because he was guilty of any crime or wrong deed. All those people understood that fact, Paul says. So, God had used Paul’s troubles to bring the gospel, the good news about Christ, to those people. It brought Paul great joy to know that God was working so powerfully in that situation.

Many people have tried to study what Paul meant by the Praetorium in this verse. The word appears elsewhere in the Bible, where it means the palaces of the rulers in Judea and Caesarea (for example, Acts 23:35). So, Paul might mean the people who lived and worked in such a palace. However, it seems that people did not use that word for the palace of Caesar, Rome’s ruler (compare Philippians 4:22).

The word Praetorium also refers to an important group of soldiers in Rome. It is likely that soldiers from this group guarded Paul in Rome (Acts 28:16). They would have had the opportunity to hear the gospel from Paul himself on many occasions (Acts 28:30-31). Still another idea is that the word refers to Paul’s judges.

It is shameful when a person suffers punishment because of his own evil deeds. However, a Christian has no reason to be ashamed when he suffers only because of his trust in Christ (1 Peter 4:14-16). Christ urges Christians to be glad in such circumstances, because their reward in heaven is great (Matthew 5:11-12). That is not a reward for their troubles, but rather for their faith, their trust in Christ (Hebrews 11:1-16; Hebrews 13:13-14).

Next part: How Paul's troubles made Christians bold (Philippians 1:14)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.