Philippians 1:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Philippians 1:17, NIV: The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

Philippians 1:17, ESV: The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.

Philippians 1:17, KJV: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

Philippians 1:17, NASB: the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking that they are causing me distress in my imprisonment.

Philippians 1:17, NLT: Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me.

Philippians 1:17, CSB: the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment.

What does Philippians 1:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul referred to those properly motivated to preach Christ in verse 16. In verse 17, his thoughts return to those with inappropriate motivations. Their goals were selfish, jealous, and even hostile. Some might have even spoken about the gospel for the purpose of making Paul's imprisonment worse. Such people were more concerned with their own benefit than the spread of the gospel.

However, the opposite was actually the result. First, their selfish ambition led to more people hearing about Jesus. Second, the growing popularity of Christianity may have had something to do with Paul's later release. The church was small when Romans was written in 55–56. Yet by 64, less than 10 years later, Christians had become a large enough minority to receive the blame from Nero for the fires in Rome. Believers endured intense persecution during this time, traditionally including the deaths of both Paul and Peter in or near Rome during Nero's reign (AD 64–68). Both the Gospels of Mark and Luke may have been written in Rome during this time period as well.

Truth is a powerful thing; the harder one tries to suppress it, the more eagerly it seems to spread!