I recently read a forceful comment from an unknown BSF’er (Bible Study Fellowship), “thinking about Paul the Apostle today, He spent much of his ministry ‘quarantined’ in prison or house arrest and yet his correspondence with sisters and brothers in Christ yielded nearly half the New Testament. The gospel is never bound.” Let me assure you, Paul’s multiple imprisonments were in nasty environments with no lighting, no flooring, no plumbing meaning neither restrooms nor a place to perform proper hygiene. And, most certainly, the prison guards had zero tolerance and often brutalized the prisoners including Paul. Yet, the content of his letters written in these environments were truthful, positive, powerful, encouraging and enlightening.
Let’s take a look at verses written by Paul found in Philippines during one of his incarcerations:
- 4:4, Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.
- 4:5, Let your gentlenessbe known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.
- 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
- 4:7, And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. In this verse, he used the metaphor of the prison guards surrounding him. The Roman prison guards made sure the prison environment was secure. Likewise, the blood of Jesus, the power of the resurrection and the Holy Spirit delivers to each Christ-Follower our eternally secure salvation and its peace.
- 4:8, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- 4:19, My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
- 4:20, To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul penned these verses knowing that his destiny would lead to decapitation from the hands of the Roman prison guards. Nevertheless, he talks about rejoicing, gentleness, thanksgiving, peace, true, honor, honor, just, pure, lovely, praise and strength.
Let’s face it. No doubt about it. We are living in global turmoil. Yet, in the midst of turmoil, Paul’s life gives testimony of the victorious life of Christ. Jesus declares in John 14:27, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Take heart brothers and sisters. Let’s not get caught up in the tribulations of this world but live in the truths and triumph of our wonderful Lord and Savior.