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Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel (Philippians1:12)
The wording of this passage seems to suggest that possibly the Philippian church was concerned that now that Paul was in prison, the work of spreading the gospel may have been curtailed. On the other hand, Paul wants them to understand that exactly the opposite was true.
Paul, here says that the things that happened to him actually caused the gospel to cut through and go forward (Greek prokope). Originally, the word carried the image of a pioneer cutting his way through the brushwood. It came to mean progress or to advance forward.
Instead of seeing the prison confinement as an event that would possibly stop the forward movement of the gospel, Paul was seeing how God was using it to move the evangelistic drive forward. He continues on to explain this.
More in-depth Insights
Now I want you to know. Paul is now reflecting on himself as to how he feels about his trials and how his imprisonment in Rome has affected him. His reason for divulging this information is that they were lovingly connected to him and would be interested in his well-being. Second, it was conceivable that they might hear baseless speculations about how he was being treated. And Paul wanted them to have accurate knowledge of the truth. Third, he had actual insights that he wanted to pass on to them, which would bring them much joy related to his imprisonment.
That what has happened to me. There were false accusations lodged against him, so he was forced to appeal to Caesar. So, he was taken to Rome as a prisoner. (Acts 25–28) His being arrested and imprisoned could have impacted his ministry in two ways: (1) putting a negative stain on those he had already brought into Christianity, and (2) negatively impacting anyone he may evangelize in the future.
[It] has really served to advance the gospel. However, it has turned out to be just the opposite, as if a man is willing to die for what he believes, it as a minimum deserves a hearing ear. This proved to be the case through the first three centuries of Christianity. Every time the Roman government persecuted the Christians, martyring many, their numbers went up.
 Jerry Falwell, ed., The Liberty Annotated Study Bible, King James Version, ed. Jerry Falwell (Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson, 1988). Note on verse 12.