Paul had suffered extremely harsh treatment by the unbelievers of Philippi. The love shown to him by the church overflowed to the other extreme with Lydia’s support and the washing of his stripes by the jailer at the beginning and then their aid to him as a Roman prisoner. He constantly remembered them in his prayers to God for their kindness. As they ministered to his needs, they were also sharing in his labors in Rome.
As one exercises his faith in the doing of good works, he becomes stronger as a Christian. Paul prayed that the Philippians would continue to increase and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (right living).
The apostle had stated in his letter to the Roman church about six years earlier, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” He related to the Philippians how that truth was being carried out during his imprisonment in Rome. Because of his circumstances, many of the Roman residents, including members of the palace guard had heard his message and had been converted to Christ. By seeing how Paul had reacted to his trials, others gained confidence to follow his example of preaching the gospel.
Some of those preachers were envious of Paul and tried to discredit him while others were true friends. He was not personally offended by their envy, but was happy that the gospel was being preached.