In going through Philippians, both on my own and as part of a Bible study, I’ve had difficulty with Philippians 1:14-18a:
"And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word.
“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (ESV).
Something about this attitude seems off, especially considering that Paul goes on in chapter 2 to exhort the Philippians to “do nothing out of selfish ambition.” I expect such a utilitarian sentiment from modern-day teachers who are most interested in maximizing their audiences, not from an apostle who wrote half of the New Testament as part of his efforts to promote sound doctrine and Christ-like living. Is Paul really so foolish as to not realize that corruption and false doctrines are more likely to creep in when people preach out of selfish ambition? Or is there some other angle to this that I’m not seeing?