For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
1. The pains of ministers with and for the Lord's people are so far from being at an end when people are brought to Christ and built upon Him by faith, that even their being brought this length doth lay a new tie upon their ministers, both to deal with God on their behalf, and to labour with themselves so much the more earnestly, that, not only they do not lose those things which are already wrought (2 John 8), but also they may make progress answerable unto their fair beginnings; lest otherwise they mar their own comfort (Psalm 51:12), make the name of God to be evil spoken of (2 Samuel 12:14).
2. Such powerful influence hath God upon hearts, that He can make those who for the time are cruel persecutors of truth, prove afterwards famous martyrs and sufferers for it; for Paul was once a bloody persecutor (Galatians 1:13), but is now a famous sufferer.
3. Sufferings for Christ and truth are so far from being cause of just reproach to those who suffer from others, or from being matter of shame and blushing to themselves, that they are rather a glory unto them, yea, and sometimes will be gloried in by them, as that wherein their chiefest honour standeth; for Paul, after the example of kings and nobles, who design themselves by their most honourable styles, doth in place of all take this one, of a prisoner for truth, unto himself; "I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ."
4. So far ought people to be from stumbling at truth, because of the oppressed and suffering lot of those who preach it, that even their sufferings for truth should make their pains the more acceptable, and add a weight unto the word of truth in their mouth; for Paul describeth himself from his present suffering lot, that both his person and pains might have the more weight and efficacy with them; "I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ."
5. The Lord doth sometimes give so far way to the rage of persecutors, as that the choicest instruments for carrying on His work may be, for a season, restrained in their liberty, and so laid aside as useless, even in a time when there is greatest need of their pains and diligence; far Paul, an eminent instrument (1 Corinthians 15:10), was at such a time cast in prison; "I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ."
6. No afflictions or sufferings do loose a pastor from his duty towards the Lord's people, over whom he is set; but when he is restrained in his liberty from preaching to them, he ought even then endeavour their edification by writing to them, and praying for them.
Parallel VersesKJV: For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,