1. Exposition

Who are those who have impure motives behind their preaching?

Philippians 1:15–17 (ESV)

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

Some have suggested Judaist opponents,1,2 but this is not very likely, since the apostle has no objection to the content of their preaching. Moreover, these verses must pertain to the brothers who were mentioned in a positive sense in Philippians 1:14. These preachers apparently fall into two categories, not in regard to the gospel but rather to their relationship to Paul: the one group preaches in solidarity with Paul, the other group does the same, but out of a certain rivalry.3,4,5,6,7

Greijdanus and Vincent contest this view.8,9 According to them it can hardly be possible that some of the same preachers about whom the apostle wrote so positively in verse 14 are now suddenly mentioned in a negative sense. After all, Paul has just appreciatively noted that they had regained confidence in the Lord and had been enabled to continue proclaiming the gospel with renewed courage, due to his imprisonment. Apparently, however, it is quite possible for the good and the less good to be entangled!10