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Philippians 1:15 – With what motive?

07-12-2022 - Posted by Hans

Some, indeed, are even heralding Christ because of envy and strife, yet some because of delight…

Gratefully, Paul noted that now that he is imprisoned, the Christ is preached all the more. However, it does have a ‘but’. It is not the content of what these preachers passed on that is questioned, but their motives. Some of these preachers had a purely positive intention (“because of delight”), but for others “envy and strife” also played a role. In the sequel (:17) it becomes clear that this “envy and strife” was not in the least directed at Paul.

Now that Paul was in prison, some saw an opportunity to make themselves known. The apostle had been ‘disabled’ and now they could step out of his shadow and put themselves in the foreground. Were they jealous of Paul’s influence? Or maybe they thought they could do better than him? Or was there also mutual competition about who would take over Paul’s role? Whatever the considerations, they were not pure.

The lesson from this is that even the most beautiful and spiritual activity is clouded by base motives such as self-honor and jealousy. Especially preachers of the word of God would be aware of that danger! Is it really just about God’s word?