The Gospel’s impact goes beyond the immediate circumstances of its audience. It has a viral quality to it. Paul tells the church in Philippi that the Gospel has moved outside his imprisonment – probably house arrest – and caused an impact in two other arenas. Following the previous passages (1:6), the completing work of Christ is producing a ministry within the praetorian and among the other preachers. One of the chief qualities of God’s work is that it is greater than the sum of its parts. The false charges leveled by his opponents are slowly becoming of no consequence as all involved see the truth that it is on Jesus’ account that he stands accused.
God’s purposes led Paul into trouble and hardship. Many struggle with the theological concept of God preparing and applying trouble. Paul makes no excuses for the situation in order to lessen the impact of this theological reality. In fact, he exalts suffering for the right purposes. In God’s perspective, suffering has a function.