But I would you should understand, brothers…
The degree of restraint put upon a person labouring under a criminal charge was determined by various circumstances: by the nature of the charge itself, by the rank and reputation of the accused, by the degree of guilt presumed to attach to him. Those most leniently dealt with were handed over to their friends, who thus became sureties for their appearance; the worst offenders were thrown into prison and loaded with chains. The captivity of St. Paul was neither the severest nor the lightest possible. By his appeal to Caesar he had placed himself at the emperor's disposal. Accordingly on his arrival at Rome he is delivered over to the prefect of the praetorians under whose charge he remained throughout his captivity. He represents himself as strictly a prisoner; he speaks again and again of his bonds. At times he mentions his coupling chain. According to Roman custom he was bound by the hand to the soldier who guarded him, and was never left alone day or night. As the soldiers would relieve guard in constant succession, the praetorians one by one were brought into communication with the prisoner of Jesus Christ, and thus he was able to affirm that his bonds had borne witness to the gospel "throughout the imperial regiment." On the other hand his confinement was not so severe as this, standing alone, might seem to imply. It is certain that all had free access to him, and that he was allowed to converse and write without restraint. He was not thrown into prison, but lived in rooms of his own. When he first arrived he was taken to temporary lodgings: either to a house of public entertainment, or to the abode of some friend. But afterwards he rented a dwelling of his own, and there he remained apparently till his release.
(Bishop Lightfoot.)Who could see without emotion that venerable form subjected by iron links to the coarse control of the soldier who stood beside him? How often must the tears of the assembly have been called forth by the upraising of that fettered hand, and the clanking of the chain which checked its energetic action.
(Conybeare and Howson.)
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;