Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
I. WHAT IT IS. Like nearly all human errors, it has its origin in a good trait in our nature which has become corrupted by the introduction of evil motives. It springs from the desire men have to act in common. The Christian development of this desire is the communion of saints. The ideal of redeemed mankind is that it is the body of Christ, which is not a fortuitous concourse of atoms, but a living organism, each part necessary to the whole. Faction corrupts this grand idea and breaks up men into fragments, each of which is indwelt, not by the Spirit of Christ, but by the spirit of envy.
II. WHAT IT MAY BECOME. A corrupter of religion; using the subject-matter of the gospel, not as a means for building up souls into Christ, but of magnifying self.
III. HOW IT MAY BE DEALT WITH. St. Paul is ever hopeful of human nature. He sees even in its degradation elements of better things. Just as men's well-meant actions never do all the good they anticipate, so their evil deeds do not do all the harm they appear calculated to do. The mixture of human motives and the insufficiency of human powers have their blessings as well as their curse.
IV. HOW TO BE FREE FROM THIS SPIRIT OF FACTION. St. Paul evidently was free from it. He longs (Ver. 20) not that Christ should magnify him, or that he should magnify Christ, but that Christ should be magnified in him; i.e. that Christ should use him as he wills, exalting him or humiliating him, making him serviceable or discarding him, just as it may prove most to his glory. - V.W.H.
Parallel VersesKJV: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: