The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

They preach Christ of strife (PDF) PDF version

They preach Christ of strife

In Philippians 1, Paul is speaking about the results of his imprisoning concerning the movement of the Word of God. There, in verses 12-18 we read:

Philippians 1:12-18
«But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ of STRIFE, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether IN PRETENCE or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.»

Paul being in the prison speaks about what he was seeing to take place outside, concerning the gospel. The gospel was preached and Paul was very glad about it. However, not all preached it sincerely. Among those who preached Christ, there were some that did it out of STRIFE. Their motive was not love or interest about the Word of God but strife. It is not simply what we do, but also WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. As then, so also today there are ministries that are not totally based in sincerity but (also) in STRIFE. Those people who preached Christ out of strife competed Paul thinking that they were adding to his affliction. But they didn’t. Paul was glad that the Word was preached. His interest was not in self-promotion but in the movement of the Word of God.

«Let nothing be done through strife..»

After Paul expresses his gladness, he carries on in the second chapter of Philippians:

Philippians 2:1-3
«Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. LET NOTHING BE DONE THROUGH STRIFE OR VAINGLORY, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of the others» (NKJV-KJV)

As the Word states very clearly, NOTHING SHOULD BE DONE THROUGH STRIFE OR VAINGLORY. Whatever is done out of these motives is not acceptable, even if this is the preaching of the Word as those who envied Paul were doing. In fact strife is one of the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:20. You can preach the Word of God and still this be out of a work of the flesh! Before therefore we start our next activity let’s just think: WHY DO I DO IT? Because the Lord called me or probably because of strife (because the so and so I envy did it) or vainglory (because of a desire that me or my ministry be shown to others)? The motive is what determines the quality of a work. We do not want works that will be burned in heavens but works in which God has called us to walk. And indeed there is a great need for workers of such works.

Anastasios Kioulachoglou