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Discerning the Different Preachings

Phil.1:15  Some preach Christ even because of envy and strife, and some also because of good will,  (16)  These out of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.  (17)  But the others announce Christ out of selfish ambition, not purely, thinking to raise up affliction in my bonds.

In 1:15 Paul says, “Some indeed preach Christ even  because of envy and strife.” The word some here refers to those Christians who were opposing Paul and his ministry (2 Cor. 10:7; 11:22-23). Even at Paul’s time there were some who preached the gospel from envy of Paul’s influence and in strife with him. As the Greek word rendered strife indicates, they preached Christ because of faction and partisanship. In 1:17 Paul goes on to say that these “announce Christ out of rivalry, not purely, thinking to raise up affliction in my bonds.” The Greek word for rivalry denotes self-seeking, selfish ambition, faction. In Greek the word affliction means pressure. Those who announced Christ out of rivalry endeavored to make Paul’s bonds press him more heavily by depreciating him and his ministry while he was laid aside outwardly from his preaching.

In 1:15 Paul says that some also preached Christ out of good will. These were the ones who had fellowship, participation, in the preaching of the gospel with Paul and worked together with him for the defense of the gospel, preaching Christ out of love.

Although all Christians believe in the same Lord Jesus, worship the same God, teach the same Bible, and preach the gospel, they may have different ways of preaching Christ. It is very clear from Paul’s word in 1:15-17 that even in the first century there were different ways of preaching Christ. Both Paul and the Judaistic believers preached Christ, but in their preaching of Him they were very different.  Because there are different ways of preaching Christ, we need knowledge and discernment. This was the reason Paul prayed for the Philippians that their “love may abound yet more and more in full knowledge and all discernment” (1:9). We need discernment concerning the different preachings of Christ. Christians all over the world are preaching Christ. However, we should not think that simply because all are preaching the same Christ, everything is fine. We need to realize that there are different ways of preaching Christ and discern between them.

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