“And most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear.”
We come now to the second result of Paul’s imprisonment. The first result spread the gospel all over the Roman Empire—a number of the Praetorian Guard came to Christ. The second result impacted the Christians of Rome.
In Rome the church lived its Christianity with caution and care. They would take no chances; they shirked sharing their faith yet they were ready to say, “We told you so.” Their insecurities were obvious.
“and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains,”
The phrase “having become confident” means having received confidence. Paul’s testimony impacted them so powerfully that they derived confidence from it.
“are much more bold”
Boldness in Rome took some courage. A person could risk imprisonment or even death. Open season was declared on Christians. This issued a timid and mousy witness. Believers were not sure of themselves. They were afraid of what might happen if they ran afoul of Roman authority.
Christians today often are mousy and afraid to share their faith with far less consequence than the Romans. We are apologetic and quiet about our faith. We are afraid to hurt feelings. We do not want to speak up so that the issue—heaven and hell—are clear.
The word “are” shows continual action in the Greek. Their boldness became a pattern. Previously Paul had written to the Romans that their “faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). Evidently they did witness previously, but that had become intermittent and anemic. They were cautious because they were afraid. But here they established a pattern of “much more” boldness.
To be bold is one thing. To be more bold is another. Yet to be much more bold is still another. Paul’s testimony had a mighty impact on advancing the gospel among Christians!
Why were they bold? Because they “received confidence” from Paul’s witness in prison. They saw that he was always on the move when it came to sharing his faith. He had another ministry in prison. We often are quick to find excuses for not sharing our faith; Paul was alert to every opportunity.
“to speak the Word without fear.”
Fear disappeared from their witness. The prayer of the church shortly after it began was:
“Grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29).
One of the least common denominators in witnessing is boldness. If we are not confident of what we are sharing, we are dead in the water before we begin. People will know that we do not believe what we are saying.
Confidence vanquishes fear.
Paul’s great model of sharing his faith under adversity and winning some of the Praetorian Guard to Christ encouraged Christians of his day to share their faith. Are we a witness to Christians? Do we model the dynamics of witnessing for our faith?