1. In Phil.1.12 Paul says that his imprisonment has served to advance the gospel. Sometimes persecution has this effect (e.g. in communist China), but not always; for example the church disappeared from most of North Africa during the advance of Islam from the 7th century onwards – and looks in danger of disappearing from the middle-east today; likewise the reformation initially had a big effect on France and Austria, but this later fizzled out. What decides whether persecution has a positive effect on Christian witness? How can we be ready to thrive if persecution comes?
2. Does the character of the preacher not matter? (see v.18)
3. In v.27-30 we get the impression that suffering for Christ is actually a privilege – how is this so? Is it really something we should welcome? How should we react to opposition? See also Matt.5.10-12, John 15.20 & 17.15, Rom.5.1-4 & 8.17-18, 2 Cor.12.10.