Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1
As a prisoner, Paul knew that the government could order his death. So in his own mind, Paul had prepared himself for that (2:17). He only wanted to give honour to Christ, whether he lived or died (1:20)
However Paul did not believe that either the government or any judge had complete power over him. Often in the past, Paul had seemed certain to die, but God had rescued him (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). So Paul’s hope and trust was completely in God, and not in any person. For that reason, he urged the Christians in Philippi to pray with him at this important time in his life (1:19). They must all ask God to act powerfully in this situation, for his (God’s) own honour.
Nobody can be sure about anything in the future unless God shows it to him. Paul was not sure whether he would live or die (1:20-21). He was careful not to say if God had told him anything about this matter. However, Paul could see very clearly that the Christians in various churches still needed him (1:24). They needed his help in order to develop in their trust in God, and to increase in joy. Paul believed that God had given him that work to do. He knew that he must remain alive to do that work. So, that was what Paul expected. Therefore, he wanted the Christians to pray for that.
Of course, God might do something that Paul did not expect. For example, God might send someone else to do that work instead of Paul. So Paul was ready for whatever happened. He only wanted to do what God wanted him to do. However, he told these things to Philippi’s Christians so that they knew what to pray for him.
Next part: Give Christ the honour (Philippians 1:26)
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© 2020, Keith Simons.