But I would you should understand, brothers…
Paul was in Rome. His earnest wish was gratified, but how differently from what he had expected. But he did not murmur. All had happened for the furtherance of the gospel. Let us look at the circumstances by which, notwithstanding his imprisonment, his original expectations were now unexpectedly realized. Consider —
I. THE AMOUNT OF LIBERTY GRANTED HIM. For some unknown reason, instead of being shut up within the Praetorian barracks, he was permitted to dwell in a hired lodging of his own, and "receive all who might come to him." He was not forbidden to preach to his visitors, and many would go away deeply impressed.
II. THE ADDITIONAL EFFICACY GIVEN TO HIS PREACHING BY HIS BONDS. He was kept under strict guard, being chained to a Roman soldier. It might have been thought that had he been allowed to go unfettered he might have accomplished more. But the fact of his bondage drew multitudes who might otherwise not have heard him, and his chains were a token of his sincerity. It became manifest that his bonds were in Christ and that he was not afraid of imprisonment or death. Onesimus was but one of many begotten by his bonds.
III. INTO WHAT UNEXPECTED QUARTERS HIS INFLUENCE PENETRATED. Had a Roman Christian previous to Paul's coming been asked what section of the population would be the last to feel the power of the gospel he would probably have pointed to the rude, hardened soldiers who were in attendance on Nero. But Paul comes and lo! the praetorium is one of the first places to feel his influence.
IV. HOW HIS IMPRISONMENT INFLUENCED MANY OF THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY PREACHING THE GOSPEL. We might have thought that the sight of Paul's chains would depress. Instead of this it quickened their zeal. Let us learn a lesson of hope in God.
1. For the progress of His kingdom.
2. For our own welfare.
(T. C. Finlayson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;