To get the proper sense of the context of this portion, let’s read Philippians 1:12-18, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”

As with most of his epistles, the Apostle Paul is writing to the Philippians from prison.  However, there are no words of sorrow or self-pity because of his situation.  Paul writes to the saints to edify and encourage them.  In this portion, he rejoices that other believers are becoming bold to preach the Gospel because of his example of courage and faithfulness during his imprisonment.

In verses 15-17, Paul points out that some began to preach the Gospel out of ‘envy and strife.’  Perhaps some were jealous of him and his influence over others.  They wanted to weaken his influence and promote their own selves as ministers of God.   Their motives were very impure.  Thankfully, there were those who began to preach the Gospel of ‘good will’, who had a real desire to see people saved and so shared the Gospel with them.  Some were not sincere in their preaching, but only wanted to ‘add to’ the affliction of Paul’s bonds.  Perhaps these people shared the Gospel with others, and the Lord used it to save souls, yet their desire was to belittle Paul, not to see souls saved.  1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that “the LORD looketh on the heart.”  He knows our motives and desires.  He may still use the Word preached, but there will be no Heavenly reward to those with the wrong motives.

Nevertheless, Paul did not stand as their judge.  That was the Lord’s work.  He could rejoice because the Lord is faithful to use His Gospel to save precious souls.  Philippians 1:18 shows us Paul’s attitude.  “What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”  Paul understood the power of the sound of the Gospel.  He wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  The Gospel of Jesus Christ carries with it the power to save all who believe it.  While the Lord wants us to preach His Word in sincerity and with a desire to see souls saved, He is not limited by our attitudes.  His Word is powerful enough to save, no matter the circumstances in which it is given.

The true evangelist is not concerned about who leads a sinner to salvation, as long as that person accepts Christ as their savior and is saved.  A true evangelist does not get jealous if someone else is successful in presenting the Gospel to the salvation of others.  A true evangelist will rejoice in the salvation of another, no matter who shares the Gospel with them.  Paul was such a person.  Whatever the motive in preaching the Gospel, Paul rejoiced in knowing the Gospel was being shared with others.  Paul could rejoice at the good result of their bad intentions!  (216.4)