Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #60
Posted: September 22, 2005

A Study of Positional Truths

We turn our gaze upon another IN CHRIST phrase found in Philippians 1:12-13 which says, “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.”

Paul in these verses deals with his lot in life.  Let me remind us that to be IN CHRIST does not always bring about a rosy lot in life.  Let us not use our lot in life as an excuse for not doing all to give out the message of the gospel position we enjoy IN CHRIST.  Let us not use our age, financial status, family background, sorrows, job, or physical well being as an excuse of our lot in life to hinder our ministry for Him.  We will see from this text that it will not float with the Lord. 

The history behind this text is that Paul has been locked up for two years in a Roman prison.  He is chained 24 hours a day to a Roman soldier of Caesar’s guard.  Wuest Greek Word Study believed that Epahroditus had told Paul that the church at Philippi had felt his imprisonment was hindering his ministry.  He tells them his lot has not hindered but enhanced the ministry to a higher and deeper level. 

Paul tells us in verse 12 “But I would that you understand…” The word ‘would’ means to will a desired purpose.  The word ‘understand’ means to learn through experience.  Paul’s purposed desire was for the church to learn some things through his experience. 

The phrase, “…have fallen out…” in verse 12 has the idea of having come to results.  This imprisonment has brought furtherance to the gospel.  The word ‘furtherance’ is a picture word of a group of woodcutters who go before an army company to cut a road through an impenetrable forest.  The army could not have gone through without the furthering work of these woodcutters.  Paul’s prison experience is a woodcutter in the forest of hindrances to the furtherance of the gospel.

In verse 13 the word ‘bonds’ is referring to Paul’s imprisonment by the Roman Empire.  The word ‘manifest’ means to make clearly known and plain to others.  The word manifest refers back to Paul’s position IN CHRIST and not his bonds.  It was known clearly to everyone that Paul was in prison because of his preaching of the gospel IN CHRIST.  Whenever one would ask, ‘How come you are in prison’ it led immediately to a proclamation of the gospel.  Oh, let us not use our lot in life rather bad or good to hinder the telling of the story of our eternal position IN CHRIST. 

Paul tells us this message of Christ is known throughout the ‘palace’.  The word ‘palace’ speaks of the royal guard of Caesar.  Paul closes Philippians with these words, “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”  This tells us that many of those who were chained to Paul during his two-year imprisonment have come to know our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul didn’t take this opportunity to complain of his lot in life but to tell of the God who caused his lot in life.  In fact Paul said this gospel story spread when he said “…and in all other places.”  These soldiers who were saved through Paul’s lot in life took the gospel to the corners of the known world during their campaigns of battle. 

Let us remember the words of Horatio Spafford after losing two daughters on an ocean liner in the Atlantic when he wrote,  

When peace, life a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.”