Philippians 1:18
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
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(18) The contrast of this verse with such passages as 2Corinthians 12:4—where the Judaisers at Corinth are said to preach “another Jesus and a different gospel;” with Galatians 1:6—where their gospel is declared to be “a different gospel,” and not merely a variety of the same (see Note there); and even with the emphatic warning as to Philippi, in Philippians 3:2-16, is singularly instructive. St. Paul, in the words “in pretence” and “in truth,” is speaking of the motives of the preachers, not of the substance of their preaching. For the latter he cares much; for the former nothing. When (as at Corinth) the rejection of his personal authority was bound up with rejection of his apostolic doctrine, he rebukes it vehemently; when (as here) there was no such connection, it is to him a very small thing. But we may also gather from this that, whatever might be the case at Philippi, at Rome St. Paul’s Epistle had done its work, and the battle of principle was won; even at Colossæ it had wholly changed its character (see Colossians 2:16-23), and its old phases had passed away. The differences between the parties at Rome were no longer fundamental, although, as so often is the case, the bitterness of division might remain. “Every way Christ was preached,” and accepted as justifying through faith. This being so, St. Paul could rejoice. Even an imperfect Christianity, with something of narrowness, and perhaps of superstitious formalism, cleaving to it, was as different from the gross heathenism which it superseded, as light from darkness.

Yea, and will rejoice.—Properly, I shall rejoice to the end. The words lead on to the next verse, which gives the reason of this persistent rejoicing.

Php 1:18-20. What then? — What shall we think of these attempts, proceeding from such different principles? Shall they grieve us? No, in no wise. For, every way, whether in pretence — Under colour of propagating the gospel; or in truth — With a real design so to do; Christ is preached — And the great doctrine of salvation by him has a wider spread; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice — That is, I shall have cause so to do in regard of the good issue it will have. The love which the apostle bore to Christ, had extinguished in his mind resentment, pride, self-love, and all other evil passions; insomuch that his greatest joy resulted from the advancement of the gospel, even though it was promoted by his enemies. We must observe, however, that though truth is here opposed to pretence, it doth not follow that preaching Christ in pretence means preaching false doctrine concerning him. For the apostle could not rejoice that Christ was preached in that manner. Truth and pretence here relate not so much to the matters preached, as to the views of the preachers. The Judaizers preached the truth concerning Christ, at least in part, when they affirmed him to be the Jewish Messiah. But they did this not purely and sincerely to bring the Jews to believe on him, but also and especially to inculcate at the same time the Jewish ceremonies, and thereby to extend the authority of their ritual law; and by these means ultimately to grieve the apostle, and render his persecutors more bitter against him. But others both preached Christ as the Jewish Messiah, and also inculcated all the great doctrines of his gospel, truly and sincerely intending to bring both Jews and Gentiles to believe aright in him, and to embrace his gospel in its purity. But from whatever motive Christ was preached, according to his true character, it was matter of joy to the apostle. For I know that this — Preaching of Christ, whether from a pure motive or otherwise, or this trouble which I meet with from some of these teachers; shall turn to my salvation — Namely, to the promotion of it, or shall procure me a higher degree of glory; through your prayer — Continuing to be addressed to God for me; and the supply of the Spirit of Christ — More largely communicated to me in answer to it, and enabling me to make a good use of these trials. According to my earnest expectation — According to what I have all along earnestly hoped for; that in nothing I shall be ashamed — Whatever injurious reflections may be cast on my conduct; but that with all boldness — Bearing testimony to every truth of the gospel; as always — Since my call to the apostleship; so now Christ shall be magnified — Shall be honoured, and the interest of his kingdom promoted; in my body, however it be disposed of, whether by preserving its life, or allowing it to be put to death — For the confirmation of the gospel. How that might be, he did not yet know. For the apostles did not know all that should befall them, but were left in uncertainty with respect to many things, that they might have cause for the exercise of faith and patience.

1:12-20 The apostle was a prisoner at Rome; and to take off the offence of the cross, he shows the wisdom and goodness of God in his sufferings. These things made him known, where he would never have otherwise been known; and led some to inquire after the gospel. He suffered from false friends, as well as from enemies. How wretched the temper of those who preached Christ out of envy and contention, and to add affliction to the bonds that oppressed this best of men! The apostle was easy in the midst of all. Since our troubles may tend to the good of many, we ought to rejoice. Whatever turns to our salvation, is by the Spirit of Christ; and prayer is the appointed means of seeking for it. Our earnest expectation and hope should not be to be honoured of men, or to escape the cross, but to be upheld amidst temptation, contempt, and affliction. Let us leave it to Christ, which way he will make us serviceable to his glory, whether by labour or suffering, by diligence or patience, by living to his honour in working for him, or dying to his honour in suffering for him.What then? - What follows from this? What effect does it have on my mind? Does the fact that some preach from a spirit of envy and contention give me pain?

Notwithstanding every way - No matter in what way it is done. We are not to suppose, however, that Paul was indifferent as to the way in which the gospel was preached, or the spirit with which it was done; but the meaning is, that it was a matter of rejoicing that it was done at all, whatever the motives might be.

Whether in pretence or in truth - Whether as a mere pretext to cover up some other design, or from pure motives. Their pretence was that they preached the gospel because they believed it true and loved it; their real object was to build up a party, and to diminish the influence and authority of Paul.

Christ is preached - They made known the name of the Saviour, and announced that the Messiah had come. They could not go forth under any pretence as preachers, without making known some truth about the Redeemer. So now, it is hardly possible that any persons should attempt to preach, without stating some truth that would not otherwise be known. The name of a Saviour will be announced, and that will be something. Some views of his life and work will be presented, which, though they may be far enough from full views, are yet better than none. Though there may be much error in what is said, yet there will be also some truth. It would be better to have preachers that were better instructed, or that were more prudent, or that had purer motives, or that held a more perfect system, yet it is much in our world to have the name of the Redeemer announced in any way, and even to be told, in the most stammering manner, and from whatever motives, that man has a Saviour. The announcement of that fact in any way may save a soul; but ignorance of it could save none.

And I therein do rejoice - This is an instance of great magnanimity on the part of Paul, and nothing, perhaps, could better show his supreme love for the Saviour. Paul preached to increase his afflictions, and the tendency of that preaching was, probably, as it was designed to be, to unsettle confidence in him, and to lessen his influence. Yet this did not move him. The more important matter was secured, and Christ was made known; and if this were secured, he was willing that his own name should be cast into the shade. This may furnish valuable lessons to preachers of the gospel now:

(1) When we are laid aside from preaching by sickness, we should rejoice that others are in health, and are able to make the Saviour known, though we are forgotten.

(2) when we are unpopular and unsuccessful, we should rejoice that others are more popular and successful - for Christ is preached.

(3) when we have rivals, who have better plans than we for doing good, and whose labors are crowned with success, we should not be envious or jealous - for Christ is preached.

(4) when ministers of other denominations preach what we regard as error, and their preaching becomes popular, and is attended with success, we can find occasion to rejoice - for they preach Christ.

In the error we should not, we cannot rejoice; but in the fact that the great truth is held up that Christ died for people, we can always find abundant occasion for joy. Mingled as it may be with error, it may be nevertheless the means of saving souls, and though we should rejoice more if the truth were preached without any admixture of error, yet still the very fact that Christ is made known lays the foundation for gratitude and rejoicing. If all Christians and Christian ministers had the feelings which Paul expresses here, there would be much less envy and uncharitableness than there is now in the churches. May we not hope that the time will yet come when all who preach the gospel will have such supreme regard for the name and work of the Saviour, that they will find sincere joy in the success of a rival denomination, or a rival preacher, or in rival plans for doing good? Then, indeed, contentions would cease, and the hearts of Christians, "like kindred drops," would mingle into one.

18. What follows from this? Does this trouble me as they thought it would? "Notwithstanding" their unkind thought to me, and self-seeking intention, the cause I have at heart is furthered "every way" of preaching, "whether in pretense (with a by motive, Php 1:16) or in truth (out of true 'love' to Christ, Php 1:17), Christ is proclaimed; and therein I do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice." From this it would seem that these self-seeking teachers in the main "proclaimed Christ," not "another Gospel," such as the Judaizers in Galatia taught (Ga 1:6-8); though probably having some of the Jewish leaven (see on [2381]Php 1:15,16), their chief error was their self-seeking envious motive, not so much error of doctrine; had there been vital error, Paul would not have rejoiced. The proclamation of Christ," however done, roused attention, and so was sure to be of service. Paul could thus rejoice at the good result of their bad intentions (Ps 76:10; Isa 10:5, 7). What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in, truth, Christ is preached: q.d. It doth not follow, that these different intentions of the preachers should hinder the spreading of the gospel, and therefore it should not abate either your confidence or mine in the cause of Christ, since, by the overruling providence of God, that is carried on, both by the one and the other; not only by those who in truth preach the word faithfully, Jeremiah 23:28 Matthew 22:16, from a principle of love, (as before), to the same good intent with myself; but also by those who, though they act (as in Philippians 1:15) out of envy and ill will to me, for base ends under a fair show, 1 Thessalonians 2:5, yet they occasionally and accidentally, not by any direct causality, do promote the interest of Christ.

And I therein do rejoice; and upon this account, that there is so good an effect, as the making known of Christ for the salvation of sinners, I have matter of present joy.

Yea, and will rejoice; yea, and hereupon for the future, though some should continue to do that in itself which might aggravate his affliction, yet it should not take his joy from him eventually; however directly and of itself it tend to it, yet indirectly and by accident, God disposing, it should issue well for the furtherance of the gospel.

What then? notwithstanding every way,.... What follows from hence? what is to be concluded from all this? what is to be thought or said in this case? this, that notwithstanding these brethren acted on those different principles, and with those different views:

whether in pretence: of love to Christ, zeal for the Gospel, and concern for the good of souls; though their real views were their own applause, and detriment to the apostle's character; or "by occasion", as the Syriac version renders the word, and as many interpreters think is the sense of it; occasionally preaching Christ, and making a handle of this to gain some other points, and get, advantages to themselves as some:

or in truth; as the hearty friends of Christ and the apostle did; they not only preached Christ who is the truth, and the truth as it is in Jesus, and every truth of the Gospel; and especially that fundamental one, salvation alone by a crucified Christ, and that without any adulteration or concealing any part of it; but with great purity of mind, with integrity of heart, and in the uprightness of their souls; as of sincerity, and in the sight of God; without selfish and sinister ends, and any ambitious views and evil designs: whether it was now in the one or the other way, upon the one or the other principles and views, the apostle stood thus affected; and these were his sentiments, reflections, and resolutions, that inasmuch as

Christ is preached; in the glory of his person, in the fulness of his grace, in the suitableness of his offices and great salvation, in the excellency of his righteousness, and the virtue of his blood, and the efficacy of his sacrifice,

and therein I do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; not that it was an indifferent thing with him, whether Christ was sincerely or hypocritically preached; or that he could take any pleasure in the manner of preaching, and in the principles and views of one sort of these preachers; for nothing was more disagreeable to him than envy and ambition, strife and contention, hypocrisy and insincerity; but he rejoiced in the subject matter of their ministry, which was Christ Jesus the Lord, whom he dearly loved, and whose interest, if served by any means, or any sort of persons, was a pleasure to him; and also in the effects and consequences of their ministry, the establishing of the saints, the conversion of sinners, the spread of the Gospel, and the enlargement of the interest of Christ: all which may be answered through the preaching of Christ, by evil designing men; for Christ and his Gospel are the same by whomsoever preached, and God may make use of his own truths to answer his ends and purposes, whoever are the dispensers of them, and though they themselves may be cast away, as Judas and others.

{5} What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in {m} pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

(5) He shows by setting forth his own example, that the end of our afflictions is true joy, and this results through the power of the Spirit of Christ, who he gives to those that ask.

(m) Under a false pretence and disguise: for they make Christ a cloak for their ambition and envy.

Php 1:18. On τί γάρ, scil. ἐστι, comp. on Romans 3:3, where, however, γάρ is not, as here, conclusive (see on 1 Corinthians 11:22[67]); comp. also Klotz, ad Devar. p. 245. It is rendered necessary by the πλήν that the mark of interrogation should not be placed (as it usually is) after τί γάρ, but the question goes on to καταγγέλλεται (comp. Hofmann); and it is to be observed that through πλήν the τί γάρ receives the sense of τί γὰρ ἄλλο (see Heindorf, ad Plat. Soph. p. 232 C). Hence: what else takes place therefore (in such a state of the case) except that, etc., i.e. what else than that by every sort of preaching, whether it is done in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed? and therein, that it is always Christ whom they preach, I rejoice, etc. How magnanimous is this liberality of judgment as to the existing circumstances in their reference to Christ! By προφάσει and ἀληθείᾳ is indicated the characteristic difference in the two kinds of preachers, Php 1:15-17, and thus παντὶ τρόπῳ receives the more precise definition of its respective parts. As regards the first class, the preaching of Christ was not a matter of sincerity and truth—wherein they, in accordance with their sentiments, were really concerned about Christ, and He was the real αἰτία of their working (see on the contrast between αἰτία and πρόφασις, Polyb. iii. 6. 6 ff.)—but a matter of pretence, under the cloak of which they entertained in their hearts envy, strife, and cabal, as the real objects of their endeavours. For instances of the antithesis between πρόφασις and ἀλήθεια or τἀληθές, see Raphel, Polyb.; Loesner and Wetstein. To take πρόφασις as opportunity, occasion (Herod. i. 29, 30, iv. 145, vi. 94; Dem. xx. 26; Antiph. v. 21; Herodian, i. 8. 16, v. 2. 14),—as, following the Vulgate, Luther, Estius, Grotius (“nam occasione illi Judaei, dum nocere Paulo student, multos pertrahebant ad evang.”), and others understand it,—is opposed to the context in Php 1:15-17, in which the want of honest disposition is set forth as the characteristic mark of these persons. On πλήν in the sense of , comp. Kühner, II. 2, p. 842.

ἐν τούτῳ] the neuter: therein, in accordance with the conception of that in which the feeling has its basis. Comp. Colossians 1:24; Plat. Rep. x. p. 603 C; Soph. Tr. 1118; Kühner, II. 1, p. 403. In the Χριστὸς καταγγέλλεται lies the apostle’s joy.

ἀλλὰ καὶ χαρήσομαι] surpassing the simple χαίρω by a plus, and therefore added in a corrective antithetical form (imo etiam); comp. on 1 Corinthians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 11:1. To begin a new sentence with ἀλλά (Lachmann, Tischendorf), and to sever χαρήσομαι from its connection with ἐν τούτῳ (Hofmann, who makes the apostle only assert generally that he will continue to rejoice also in the future), interrupts, without sufficient reason, the flow of the animated discourse, and is also opposed by the proper reference of οἶδα γάρ in Php 1:19. This applies also in opposition to Hinsch, p. 64 f.

[67] According to Weiss, γάρ is intended to establish the οἰόμενοι κ.τ.λ., so far as the latter is only an empty imagination. But this is an unnecessary seeking after a very obscure reference. The τι γάρ draws, as it were, the result from vv. 15–17. Hence also we cannot, with Huther, adopt as the sense: “it then so, as they think?


Of course this rejoicing does not refer to the impure intention of the preachers, but to the objective result. See, already, Augustine, c. Faust. xxii. 48; c. Ep. Parm. ii. 11. Nor does παντὶ τρόπῳ apply to the doctrinal purport of the preaching (Galatians 1:8), but to its ethical nature and method, to disposition and purpose. See Chrysostom and those who follow him. Nevertheless the apostle’s judgment may excite surprise by its mildness (comp. Php 3:2), since these opponents must have taught what in substance was anti-Pauline. But we must consider, first, the tone of lofty resignation in general which prevails in this passage, and which might be fitted to raise him more than elsewhere above antagonisms; secondly, that in this case the danger did not affect, as it did in Asia and Greece, in Galatia and Corinth, his personal sphere of apostolical ministry; thirdly, that Rome was the very place in which the preaching of Christ might appear to him in itself of such preponderating importance as to induce him in the meantime, while his own ministry was impeded and in fact threatened with an imminent end, to allow—in generous tolerance, the lofty philosophical spirit of which Chrysostom has admired—of even un-Pauline admixtures of doctrine, in reliance on the discriminating power of the truth; lastly, that a comparison of Php 3:2 permits the assumption, as regards the teachers referred to in the present passage, of a less important grade of anti-Pauline doctrine,[68] and especially of a tenor of teaching which did not fundamentally overthrow that of Paul. Comp. also on Php 3:2. All the less, therefore, can the stamp of mildness and forbearance which our passage bears be used, as Baur and Hitzig[69] employ it, as a weapon of attack against the genuineness of the epistle. Comp. the appropriate remarks of Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1871, p. 314 ff.; in opposition to Hinsch, see on Php 1:15. Calvin, moreover, well says: “Quamquam autem gaudebat Paulus evangelii incrementis, nunquam tamen, si fuisset in ejus manu, tales ordinasset ministros.”

[68] Comp. Lechler, apost. Zeitalt. p. 388.

[69] Who thinks that he recognises here an indistinct shadow of Tacitus, Agric. 41: “Optimus quisque amore et fide, pessimi malignitate et livore.


18. What then?] “What matters it? Qu’importe?” The right order of the two previous verses gives full force to such a question.

notwithstanding] Better, only. With beautiful significance he modifies the thought that it matters not. There is one respect in which it matters; it promotes the diffusion of the Gospel.

R.V. reads, only that; an elliptical phrase, for “only I must confess that,” or the like. The documentary evidence for the word “that” is strong, but not decisive.

pretence] The Judaists would “pretend,” perhaps even to themselves, that their energy came of pure zeal for God.

preached] Better, proclaimed. See second note on Php 1:16.—In modern English the Greek (present) tense is best represented by is being proclaimed.

I therein] Better, therein I, &c. There is no emphasis on “I” in the Greek.

will rejoice] Better, perhaps, with Alford, Ellicott, and Lightfoot (but not so R.V.), shall rejoice; an expectation, rather than a resolve. He is assured that the future will only bring fresh reasons for rejoicing.

No long comment is needed on the noble spiritual lesson of this verse. The interests of his Lord are his own, and in that fact, realized by the grace of God, he finds, amidst circumstances extremely vexatious in themselves, more than equanimity—positive happiness. Self has yielded the inner throne to Christ, and the result is a Divine harmony between circumstances and self, as both are seen equally subject to Him and contributing to His ends.

Php 1:18. Τί γὰρ, what then?) What does it matter? That is, I am helped [the cause I have at heart is furthered] either way, Php 1:12.—πλήν, yet) nevertheless.—προφάσει, in pretext) Such men, says he, make the name of Christ a pretext: they really design to excite against me ill-will.—ἀληθείᾳ, in truth) from the heart, seriously.

Verse 18. - What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; rather, only that, as R.V. (comp. Acts 20:23). What is the result of all this preaching? Only that Christ is announced, that the story of Christ is told. The motives of the preachers may not be good, but the result is good; the gospel facts are made more widely known, not only by those who preach in sincerity, but even by means of those who strive to promote their own party ends under the pretense of preaching Christ. And I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. St. Paul rejoices in the good which God brings out of evil; though that good is produced by the outward agency of his own adversaries. Yea, and I shall rejoice. He will not allow himself to be vexed by the bitterness of his opponents, he will not imitate their party spirit; his joy will continue, for he knows that, in spite of present hindrances, the result is assured. Philippians 1:18What then?

Such being the case, how does it affect me?

Notwithstanding (πλὴν)

Read πλὴν ὅτι except that. Rev., only that. What is my feeling in view of these things? Only that I rejoice that Christ is preached.

In pretense

With a spirit of envy and faction, possibly with a counterfeited zeal for truth.

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