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.
16, 17. The oldest manuscripts transpose these verses, and read, "These (last) indeed out of love (to Christ and me), knowing (the opposite of 'thinking' below) that I am set (that is, appointed by God, 1Th 3:3) for the defense of the Gospel (Php 1:7, not on my own account). But the others out of contention (or rather, 'a factious spirit'; 'cabal'; a spirit of intrigue, using unscrupulous means to compass their end; 'self-seeking' [Alford]) proclaim (the Greek is not the same as that for 'preach,' but, 'announce') Christ, not sincerely (answering to 'but of a spirit of intrigue,' or 'self-seeking'). Literally, 'not purely'; not with a pure intention; the Jewish leaven they tried to introduce was in order to glorify themselves (Ga 6:12, 13; however, see on Php 1:18), thinking (but in vain) to raise up (so the oldest manuscripts read) tribulation to my bonds." Their thought was, that taking the opportunity of my being laid aside, they would exalt themselves by their Judaizing preaching, and depreciate me and my preaching, and so cause me trouble of spirit in my bonds; they thought that I, like themselves, sought my own glory, and so would be mortified at their success over mine. But they are utterly mistaken; "I rejoice" at it (Php 1:18), so far am I from being troubled at it.