Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
I. It may be that THE ENEMIES OF THE APOSTLE HOPED THAT THEIR PREACHING WOULD IRRITATE NERO and his officers against Christianity, and that, offended at this new increase which this doctrine had received, they would quickly discharge their anger upon a prisoner, who was the principal support of this growing religion, either by putting him to death suddenly or by condemning him to some more grievous trouble than his present prison.
II. It may be that envy had inspired them with the thought, that BY LABOURING IN PREACHING THE GOSPEL THEY SHOULD OBTAIN A PART OF THE APOSTLE'S GLORY, and that by making good use of the time of his imprisonment, to establish themselves in the minds of the disciples, they should by degrees take away the credit and authority which he possessed; and judging of him by themselves, they imagined that it would be an immense increase to his affliction to see them thus enriched and decorated with his spoils. Such or such like were the thoughts of these wretched men. Judge by this what is the nature of vice, and how horrible its impudence in daring thus to profane the most sacred things, and to abuse them so vilely for, its own ungodly purpose. Thus Satan sometimes clothes himself as an angel of light to further the works of darkness. From which you see that it is not enough that Our actions be good and praiseworthy, if our intentions are not pure and upright. It is to profane the good to do it with a bad end in view.
2. See how the thoughts of vice are not only impudent, but even foolish and vain. These deceivers, judging of St. Paul by themselves, believed that their preaching would vex him. Poor creatures! how little you knew of this high-minded man, to imagine that so small a thing could trouble him!
Parallel VersesKJV: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: