FOR THIS REASON ALSO SINCE THE
DAY WE HEARD OF IT: Dia touto kai hemeis kai hemeis, aph es hemeras ekousamen
R Kent Hughes gives us
some interesting background for this great Pauline prayer...
It is significant that Paul
prayed for the Colossians' knowledge, because they were under siege
by people who were telling them they needed a better knowledge, a
gnosis. The Gnostics were teaching that Christ was a good place to
begin, but that there was so much more they could know and
experience if only they would incorporate the Gnostic system of
passwords, rites, and initiations. Their superior, know-it-all air
was intimidating, and some of the Colossians were made to feel they
were lacking. What is more, the system, by promising a special
understanding, appealed to the people's natural, elitist instinct.
And some had fallen...The Gnostics' characteristic word for
knowledge was gnosis. But Paul used the word
as a reference to full knowledge for the Colossians.
(Preaching the Word – Colossians: The Supremacy of Christ.)
In the introductory section of Spurgeon's sermon
(Colossians 1:9-10 Spiritual
Knowledge: It's Practical Results)
the prince of preachers observes that...
Paul felt encouraged by what he saw in the Colossian believers to pray
to God to enrich them yet farther. It should be our desire that our
best brethren should be better, and that those who are most like Jesus
should be still more completely conformed to his image. We cannot more
wisely show our love to our friends than by first acknowledging the
grace, which is in them, and then by praying that God may give them
more. Paul, as with an eagle eye, surveyed the church at Colosse,
which he loved so well, and he noted that it was somewhat lacking in
knowledge. The Colossian brotherhood differed considerably from the
church at Corinth, which abounded in talent, and was enriched with all
knowledge. The Colossians had fewer gifted brethren among them who
could act as teachers, and, though this was no fault of theirs, it
impoverished them in the matter of knowledge, and as Paul would not
have them come behind in any desirable attainment, he therefore prayed
for them that they might be filled with knowledge in all wisdom and
If you read this epistle through, you will observe that Paul
frequently alludes to knowledge and wisdom. To the point in which he
judged the church to be deficient he turned his prayerful attention.
He would not have them ignorant. He knew that spiritual ignorance is
the constant source of error, instability, and sorrow; and therefore
he desired that they might be soundly taught in the things of God. Not
that they were destitute of saving knowledge already, for he says in
the sixth verse that they “knew the grace of God in truth,” and that
they had brought forth fruits meet for salvation; but saving
knowledge, though it be the most essential attainment, is not the only
knowledge which a Christian should seek after. He longs to be useful
as well as to be safe. Being himself delivered out of darkness he
strives to bring others into the marvelous light of grace.
Paul would have his brethren thoroughly furnished for sacred service,
knowing the will of the Lord themselves, and able to teach others. He
desired for them that they might possess comforting knowledge,
strengthening knowledge, edifying knowledge, sanctifying knowledge,
directing knowledge; so that they might be ready for all the trials,
duties, and labors of life...
My first subject is The Great Value Of Intercessory Prayer; for
as soon as Paul felt his heart burning with love to the saints at
Colosse, and had heard of the work of the Spirit among them, he began
to show his love by lifting up his heart in prayer for them. He did
that for them which he knew would bless them.
Notice, that intercessory prayer is a very important part of the
work of Christians for one another.
We are not sent into the world to live unto ourselves, but we are
members of one body, and each member is expected to contribute to the
health and the comfort of the whole. It is true we cannot all preach,
but we can all pray; we cannot all distribute alms from our substance,
but we can all offer prayer from our hearts. In temporal things we may
not be able to enrich the church for lack of substance; but if we fail
to bless the church by our prayers it will be for lack of grace.
Whatever you fail in, dearly beloved---and I pray that you may in
nothing come behind---yet do not fail in prayer for all the saints,
that every blessing may abound towards them.
Intercessory prayer is to be esteemed as an invaluable proof of
love, and as the creator of more love. The man who will truly pray
for me will certainly forgive me readily if I offend him; he will
relieve me if I am in necessity; and he will be prepared to assist me
if I am engaged in a service too hard for me. Give us your earnest
prayers, and we know that we live in your hearts. How sweet it is to
be permitted thus to manifest our love to one another! When our hand
is palsied we can still pray; when our eye grows dim we can see to
pray; when by sickness we are altogether laid aside we can still pray;
and when we meet with cases in which we are unable to help, and yet
are moved with sympathy for a brother, our sympathy can always find
one open channel, for we can pray, and by prayer call in the aid of
one whose help is effectual. Therefore, by your love to your Lord, and
to all those who are in him, I beseech you abound in intercessory
prayer, as the apostle did.
Intercessory prayer, again, is most valuable, because it is an
infallible means of obtaining the blessings, which we desire for our
friends. It is not in vain that we ask, for it is written,
“Everyone that asketh receiveth.” It is not in vain that we
intercede for others, for the Lord delights to answer such petitions.
The unselfish devotion which pleads as eagerly for others as for
itself is so pleasing to the Lord that he puts great honor upon it. If
we desire any blessing for our friends our best course is to pray:
even if we would have them to be filled with knowledge in all wisdom
our safest course is to pray that it may be so. Of course, we must not
forget to instruct them and to aid them in their own studies as far as
lieth in our power, for every honest prayer supposes the use of all
proper means; but the instruction which we offer will be of no service
unless we first bring down the blessing of God upon it, that thereby
our friends may be made willing to learn, and may receive the truth
not as the word of man, but as from the Lord himself. None but
spiritual teaching will nourish spiritual life. The Holy Ghost must
teach divine truth to the heart, or it will never be truly known.
Whatsoever thou wisely desirest for thy friend go about to get it for
him, but hasten first to the throne of grace. If thou wouldst have thy
friend converted, if thou wouldst have him strengthened, if thou
wouldst have him taught of God, if thou wouldst have him quickened to
a nobler life, and elevated to a higher consecration, do him this
great service-take his case before the Lord in prayer; and in so doing
thou hast gone the wisest way to work to enrich him.
Note, brethren, for I am keeping to my text closely, that such
intercessory prayer will be all the more valuable if it is our
The apostle says,
“Since the day we heard it, we do not cease to pray for you.”
He began to pray at once. Whenever you perceive the work of the Spirit
in any heart, pray at once, that the holy change may proceed with
power. Whenever you discover any lack in a brother begin on the day
you hear of it to pray that his lack may be supplied. There should be
no delaying of prayer.
“He gives twice who gives quickly” is a human proverb, but I believe
that when we pray speedily we shall often find that God in answering
quickly gives us a double blessing.
Usually he shall win worldly riches who is the most diligent in the
pursuit of them, and assuredly he shall be richest towards God who is
most diligent in supplication. Linger not a minute, speed thee to the
mercy-seat. Now is the accepted time; the Lord waits to be gracious to
thee. The Lord indicates to thee what thy prayer shall be by the news,
which thou hast just heard of thy friend; therefore, bring his case at
once before the throne of grace. Divine providence has brought the
needful subject for prayer under thy notice; therefore, this day begin
to pray about it.
Our prayers will be all the more valuable if they are incessant as
well as immediate. “We cease not,” said Paul, “to pray for you
since the day we heard it.” “Oh,” says one, “was Paul always
praying for the Colossians from the day he heard of their welfare? It
may have been months and years; did he never cease to pray?” I
answer, he was always praying for them in the sense which he explains:
he adds, “and to desire.” Now, desire is the essence of prayer; in
fact, desire is the kernel of prayer, and the vocal expressions, which
we call by the name of prayer are often but its shell; inward desire
is the life, the heart, the reality of prayer. Though you cannot
always be speaking in prayer, you can always be desiring in prayer.
The miser is always desiring riches, though he is not always talking
about his gold and silver; and the man who loves his fellow-men, and
desires their profit, is really always praying for their benefit,
though he is not always lifting up his voice in supplication. “Since
the day we heard it,” saith Paul, “we do not cease to pray for
you.” The act of prayer is blessed, the habit of prayer is more
blessed, but the spirit of prayer is the most blessed of all; and it
is this that we can continue for months and years. The act of prayer
must, from force of circumstances, be sometimes stayed; but the habit
of prayer should be fixed and unvarying; and the spirit of prayer,
which is fervent desire, should be perpetual and abiding. We can
hardly realize the value to the church and to the world of that
intercessory prayer which ceases not day nor night, but without fail
ascends before the Lord from the whole company of the faithful, as the
incense ascended from the altar.
Dear friends, our intercessory prayer will be all the more precious
if it is an intense expression unto God. I suppose that by the use
of the word “desire” here, the apostle not only explains how he
continued to pray, but in what manner he prayed-with “desire.”
Remember how our Lord puts it- “with desire have I desired to eat
this passover with you before I suffer.” I wish we could always say
“with desire have I desired in prayer. I did not repeat a merely
complimentary benediction upon my friends, but I pleaded for them as
for my life; I importuned with God; I offered an effectual inwrought
prayer, which rose from the depths of my heart to the heights of
heaven, and obtained an audience with God.” Fervency is a great
essential for victorious prayer. God grant us to be importunate, for
then we shall be invincible.
INTIMATE UNION PRAYER
One more observation, and I have done with this. Intercessory prayer
is increased in value when it is not from one person alone, but is
offered in intimate union with other saints. Paul says, “We
also,” not “I only,” but “He also, since the day we heard
it, cease not.” If two of you agree as touching anything concerning
the kingdom, you have the blessing secured to you by a special promise
of God. Remember how Abraham prayed for the cities of the plain, but
succeeded not until Lot also added his supplication for Zoar. Then the
little city was spared. I compare Abraham’s intercession to a ton
weight of prayer, and poor Lot’s I can hardly reckon to have been more
than half an ounce, but still that half-ounce turned the scale.
So here is Paul, and with him is youthful Timothy, who, compared with
Paul, is inconsiderable; yet. Paul’s prayer is all the more effectual
because Timothy’s prayer is joined with it. Our Lord sent out his
servants by two and two, and it is well when they come back to him in
prayer two and two.
I commend to you, brethren and sisters, the habit of frequent prayer
together. When a Christian friend drops in, his visit, will perhaps
end in mere talk unless you secure its spiritual profit by at least a
few minutes spent in united prayer.
I frequently during the day, when a friend comes in upon the Master’s
business, say, “Let us pray before you go,” and I always find the
request is welcomed. Such prayers do not occupy much time, and if they
did, it might be well spent; but such united supplications oil the
wheels of life’s heavy wain, and cause it to move with less of that
creaking which we too often hear.
“I alone” is certainly a good word in prayer; but “we
also” is a better one. Let us link hands and intercede for our
brethren and the whole church of God.
Thus have I expatiated upon the excellencies which increase the value
of intercessory prayer. Use much this heavenly art. It is effectual
for ten thousand ends. It turneth every way to bless the church.
Brethren, pray for us, pray for all saints, pray for all sinners, and
by so doing you will be the benefactors of your age. (See
the full text)
(dia touto) Young's translates this literally as "because of this". What
refers to the favorable report Paul had received from Epaphras in the
Since the day Paul heard that report, he had been praying for the
Colossians. It may seem unnecessary to pray for those who are "doing
well". From my experience as a Sunday School leader, it is
interesting how much of the prayer time focuses on those who are struggling,
facing difficulties or fallen into sin or physical distress (and those
prayer are certainly to be encouraged). Paul,
however, knew that the knowledge that someone is growing in grace and
Christ-likeness should never lead one to stop praying for them.
Rather, it should encourage prayer that they would excel even more! The enemy reserves his
strongest opposition for those who have the most potential for
expanding God’s kingdom. Undoubtedly, another reason to pray for the
Colossians, is that they were still
believers in the midst of insidious Gnostic heresies beginning
to creep into and corrupt the body.
The progress which they had already
made, and the love which they had shown, constituted an encouragement
for prayer, and a reason why higher blessings still should be sought.
We always feel stimulated and encouraged to pray for those who are
NOT CEASED TO PRAY FOR YOU: ou pauometha (1PPMI) huper humon proseuchomenoi (PMPMPN): (Col
4:12 Eph 6:18, 1Sa 12:23 Acts 12:5 Php 1:4 1Th 1:3 5:17 2Th 1:11 2Ti
1:3, 4 Philemon 1:4)
Related to Prayer...
Gems on Prayer by C H Spurgeon
Prayer Resources: Multiple links:
Topical Bible Studies, books, music
Global Prayer Digest
Praying for Your Missionaries:
Guide to specific daily prayers
Prayer for Deeper Understanding:
Prayer for Fullness: Wayne Barber's
Notes on the "Disciple's Prayer"
Notes on praying for hope, joy,
Notes on praying for enlightenment,
Notes on praying for inner
on praying when anxious
Notes on prayer for loving
Notes on praying without ceasing
(plural) have not ceased to pray - Not that they literally were
praying every moment but that this was their habitual practice (prayer
to Paul was a "lifestyle") to lift up these requests for the saints at
Colossae (this is the idea of interceding for one another). Paul gave
the saints at Thessalonica the command to
= command to do this continually) without ceasing
cp Mt 7:7-note),
something all believers are commanded to carry out and should be
motivated to gladly obey. Why pray (other than that it
is a command and God never commands what He does not enable - the
Spirit in us energizes our prayer)? Scripture records that out of
approximately 667 recorded prayers in the Bible, there are
about 454 recorded answers. God always answers of course but
the fact that such a high percentage of answers are recorded should
encourage us to pray without ceasing! Spurgeon had another
great reason to pray without ceasing observing that...
As you are tempted without
ceasing, so pray without ceasing (Heb 2:18-note
where tempting is in the
indicating we are continually being tempted).
has been making constant and earnest prayer for the saints at
Colossae, similar to 1Th 1:2-note;
and Eph. 1:15-note.
We all probably need to be a bit
more like the apostle James of whom Eusebius wrote that
knees grew hard like a camel’s
because of his constant worship of God, kneeling and asking
forgiveness for the people.
Edward Payson said
Prayer is the first thing, the
second thing, the third thing necessary to minister. Pray, therefore,
my dear brother, pray, pray, pray.”
Spurgeon in his book
Power in Prayer notes that...
It may be a revealing exercise for
some of you to find out how often in Scripture you are told to pray.
You will be surprised to find how many times such words as these are
given: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee”
(Psalm 50:15). “Ye people, pour out your heart before Him” (Psalm
62:8). “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found; call ye upon Him
while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). “Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”
“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Mark 14:38).
“Pray without ceasing” (1Th 5:12-note).
“Come boldly unto the throne of grace” (He 4:16-note).
“Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8-note).
“Continue in prayer” (Col 4:2-note).
I need not multiply what I could not possibly exhaust.
There Is an Eye that Never
by James Cowden Wallace
There is an eye that never sleeps
Beneath the wing of night;
There is an ear that never shuts,
When sink the beams of light
There is an arm that never tires,
When human strength gives way.
There is a love that never fails,
When earthly loves decay.
But there’s a pow’r which man can
When mortal aid is vain,
That eye, that arm, that love to reach
That list’ning ear to gain.
That pow’r is prayer, which soars
Through Jesus, to the throne;
And moves the hand that moves the sky,
A blessing to bring down.
prayer refers more to prayer as an attitude and not
just to prayer as an activity. As such this type of
prayer serves as a good reflection of our "spiritual health" and of
our level of communion ("high, medium, low") with our Father.
Thomas Kelley wrote that...
There is a way of ordering our
mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we can be
thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of
external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder
level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a
gentle receptiveness to divine breathings. (Thomas Kelly, Testament
of Devotion New York: Harper, 1941)
In his famous book Pilgrim’s
Progress John Bunyan described prayer this way...
About the midst of this valley I
perceived the mouth of hell to be, and it stood also hard by the
wayside. Now thought Christian, what shall I do? And ever and anon the
flame and smoke would come out in such abundance, with sparks and
hideous noises (things that cared not for Christian’s sword, as did
Apollyon before), that he was forced to put up his sword, and betake
himself to another weapon, called “All-Prayer.”
In the classic The Practice of the
Presence of God, Brother Lawrence explained "all-prayer"
The time of business does not
differ with me from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter
of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for
different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were
on my knees. (Would it be we would all be is such constant, clear
communion with the throne of grace!)
J N Darby has an interesting
note writing that...
If we had sufficient confidence in the interest which God takes in His
children, we should have greater boldness in asking God, according to
the intentions of His grace. We do not live enough by this grace, and
that is why our prayers are so constantly stamped with the sense of
want. We are often the Abraham of Genesis 15, who asks for himself,
saying to God: "What wilt thou give me?" But Paul shews himself here
the Abraham of Genesis 18, sitting before God, worshipping Him, and
making requests for others.
The ancient preacher Chrysostom
(his name means “golden-mouthed”) described the power of unceasing
prayer this way...
The potency of prayer has subdued
the strength of fire, it has bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy
to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons,
burst the chains of death, expanded the fates of heaven, assuaged
diseases, dispelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed
the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt.
There is (in it) an all-sufficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a
mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven
unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother of a
thousand blessings! (Ed: Beloved do I really believe this?
Better yet do I really believe what Jesus promises to those who ask,
seek and knock? My (and your) answer to this question will not be
evidenced by a simple "yes" or "no" but by the "calluses (or lack of)
on our knees" so to speak!)
prayer is not restricted to a set time, place or position of one's
body. The believer is not in a right place with God's Spirit if he
cannot pray anytime, anywhere. The Christian's life of righteousness
and his approach to relationships and responsibilities should be such
that he maintains a constant attitude of being in God's presence (cp
Brother Lawrence's "Practice of the Presence of God"). Such a person
will pray often and about many things, including requests, praise, and
prayer, it is better to have heart without words, than words without
heart. Prayer will make a man cease from sin.
William Heslop in his book
Sermon Seeds from the Psalms
alluded to this attitude of unceasing prayer in his comments on Psalm
5 writing that...
rule, the early morning hours are best for devotion, prayer, and the
exercise of faith. "In the morning will I direct my prayer... and
will look up." (Ps 5:3 -
Like a steady and determined archer, David directs his prayer. He
takes careful aim, steadies himself, prays intelligently and
perseveringly, and then looks up as though he were expecting and
anticipating an answer. Praying by spasms and without a fixed aim is
like throwing a line and sinker into the water without a worm or
minnow. Here is one of the golden keys which unlock the storehouses of
God, "and will look up." The poet prays expectantly,
anticipatively, and believingly. He "directs" his prayer and then
looks up for the answer. The Old Testament seers and sages oft times
prayed with the palms of their hands held up and out towards the sky
as though they expected GOD to put something in them. (ED:
Do you pray confidently and
HAVE YOU PRAYED IT THROUGH?
by William Poole
Have you prayed all night, till the
break of day,
And the morning light drove the dark away?
Did you linger there, till the morning dew,
In prevailing prayer, did you pray it through?
Did you pray till the answer came,
Did you plead in the Savior’s Name?
Have you prayed all night till the morning light,
Did you pray till the answer came?
Did you pray it through, till the answer came?
There’s a promise true for your faith to claim,
At the place of prayer, Jesus waits for you,
Did you meet Him there, did you pray it through?
As the Master prayed in the garden lone,
Let your prayer be made to the Father’s throne,
If you seek His will, He will answer you,
Are you trusting still, have you prayed it through?
(pauo) means to cease
(middle voice = oneself) from an activity in which one is engaged.
Pauo in the active sense means to cause
something or someone to cease from some activity or state. To make stop.
To stop, restrain, refrain, quit, desist. To come to
used 15 times in the NAS translated: cease, 4; ceased, 4;
finished, 2; incessantly, 1; keep, 1; kept right, 1; stopped, 2.
Luke 5:4 When He had finished
speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down
your nets for a catch."
Luke 8:24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master,
we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging
waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.
Luke 11:1 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place,
after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord,
teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples."
Acts 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they
kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Acts 6:13 They put forward false witnesses who said, "This man
incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;
Acts 13:10 and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you
son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not
cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?
Acts 20:1 After the uproar had ceased, Paul sent for the
disciples, and when he had exhorted them and taken his leave of them,
he left to go to Macedonia.
Acts 20:31 "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day
for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each
one with tears.
Acts 21:32 At once he took along some soldiers and centurions and ran
down to them; and when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they
stopped beating Paul.
1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of
prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will
cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
Ephesians 1:16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while
making mention of you in my prayers;
Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we
have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may
be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and
Hebrews 10:2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be
offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no
longer have had consciousness of sins?
1 Peter 3:10 For, "THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD
DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING
1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm
yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in
the flesh has ceased from sin,
found 78 times in the non-apocryphal
Septuagint (LXX) (Gen 11:8; 18:33; 24:14, 19, 22; 27:30; Exod
9:28-29, 33-34; 31:17; 32:12; Nu 16:31; 17:10; 25:8; Deut 20:9; 32:26;
Josh 7:26; 8:24; Jdg 15:17; 2 Sam 15:24; 1 Chr 21:22; Est 5:1; Job
6:7, 26; 14:13; 18:2; 29:9; 31:40; 37:19; 38:1; Ps 34:13; 37:8; Pr
18:18; 30:1; Isa 1:16, 24; 10:25; 16:10; 24:8, 11, 13; 26:10; 32:10;
33:8; 38:20; 57:10; 58:12; Jer 25:37; 26:3, 8, 13, 19; 31:15, 36;
43:1; 44:10; 48:2; 51:63)
middle voice indicates that Paul and Timothy initiate the
action of prayer and participate in the result (praying).
Middle voice has a reflexive sense (relating to, or constituting an
action -- as in “he perjured himself” -- directed back on the subject)
and can be translated "we ourselves have not ceased".
Cease is in the
this is a habit of life for Paul and Timothy. Said another way, prayer
was their lifestyle. Is prayer your lifestyle?
is the Greek ou which indicates absolute negation. In
other words, Paul and Timothy were always in communion with the Lord,
"always keeping the receiver off the hook” and thus never in
the position of having to say when praying “Lord, we come into Thy
presence,” because they never left His presence! They set a worthy
goal for all of us to “pray without ceasing” (1Th 5:17) because we are always
subject to temptations and attacks from the world, the flesh and the
devil. A surprise attack has defeated more than one believer who
forgot to “pray without ceasing.” Have you prayed today? Better yet,
have you left the receiver off the hook?
Praying without ceasing
does does not mean we are always saying an audible prayer for Jesus
made it clear we are not to think we "will be heard for (our many)
6:7). We are not to be walking around muttering prayers
under our breath. Rather, praying without ceasing is when prayer
becomes as natural to us as our regular breathing. Unless we are sick
or smothering, we rarely think about our breathing; we just do it.
Likewise with prayer—it should be the natural habit of our lives, the
“atmosphere” in which we constantly live. Prayer without ceasing
suggests the attitude and desire of one's heart as well as the words
of one's lips. A saint who has his heart fixed on the things above, is
ready to pray even when he is not conscious of it, because he is
living with an attitude of "God consciousness".
When Paul looked
around his world, everything he saw prompted him to prayer in some
way. When he thought of or heard about one of his beloved churches, it
moved him toward communion with God. Nehemiah
is an example of a man who continually left the receiver off the hook. After King Artaxerxes
demanded the reason for his sadness, Nehemiah told him of the
destruction of Jerusalem. Asked by the king for his request, he prayed
a quick, brief prayer before replying (Neh 2:4). In the midst of a
stressful situation, Nehemiah was conscious of God’s "attentive ear" and
faithfulness to hear the cries of His children.
AND TO ASK: kai aitoumenoi
= we keep on asking - note the verb is plural suggesting Paul has some
"prayer partners") is a specific word for prayer which
asks for something to be given and gives
prominence to the thing asked for rather than the person.
Blass says that this voice is
used in business transactions when one asks and gives (B.-D. 316, 2);
denotes an asking to which one
is entitled. This may occur in a business deal, but it may also take
place in far more refined relations when he of whom we ask in some way
entitles us to do so. Note, for instance, that Herod had entitled
Salome to ask for as much as the half of his kingdom. The reflexive
idea “ask for oneself” is only the starting point of this use of the
middle: ask as one who is entitled to ask. The entitling referred to
here is the fact that God commands us to ask; the
implies that only on this supposition do we ask. (Lenski, R. C. H.
(1937). The interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians,
to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon (33).
Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern)
conveys the sense of asking with urgency, even to the point of demanding and
refers to the seeking by the inferior from the superior (Acts 12:20),
by a beggar from the giver (Acts 3:2), by the child from the parent
(Mt 7:9-note) or by a man from God
cf Jas 1:5-note
THAT YOU MAY BE
(completely filled, totally controlled): hina plerothete (2PAPS):
is hina which introduces the purpose of their prayer.
(pleroo) means to be filled (passive
saints acted on by outside force) to the brim (a net, Mt 13:48, a
building, Jn 12:3, Acts 2:2, a city, Acts 5:28, needs Phil 4:19), to make complete in every
particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to
flood, to diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so
to ultimately to control.
used 87 times in the NAS - Matt 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14;
5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35, 48; 21:4; 23:32; 26:54, 56; 27:9; Mark 1:15;
14:49; Luke 1:20; 2:40; 3:5; 4:21; 7:1; 9:31; 21:24; 22:16; 24:44;
John 3:29; 7:8; 12:3, 38; 13:18; 15:11, 25; 16:6, 24; 17:12f; 18:9,
32; 19:24, 36; Acts 1:16; 2:2, 28; 3:18; 5:3, 28; 7:23, 30; 9:23;
12:25; 13:25, 27, 52; 14:26; 19:21; 24:27; Ro 1:29; 8:4; 13:8;
15:13f, 19; 2 Cor 7:4; 10:6; Gal 5:14; Eph 1:23; 3:19; 4:10; 5:18;
Phil 1:11; 2:2; 4:18f; Col 1:9, 25; 2:10; 4:17; 2Th 1:11; 2Ti
1:4; Jas 2:23; 1Jn 1:4; 2Jn 1:12; Rev 3:2; 6:11. NAS is
translated: accomplish(1), accomplished(1), amply supplied(1),
approaching(1), complete(1), completed(3), completing(1), elapsed(1),
fill(3), filled(16), fills(1), finished(1), fulfill(20),
fulfilled(20), fully carry(1), fully come(1), fully preached(1),
increasing(1), made complete(2), made full(5), make...full(1),
make...complete(1), passed(2), supply(1).
used 77 times in the
(Gen 1:22, 28; 9:1, 7; 25:24; 29:21; 50:3; Exod 32:29; Lev 8:33; 12:4;
25:29f; Num 6:5, 13; 7:88; Josh 3:15; Jdg 17:5, 12; 2 Sam 7:12; 1 Ki
1:14; 2:27; 7:14; 8:15, 24; 13:33; 2 Ki 4:4; 1 Chr 12:15; 17:11; 29:5;
2 Chr 6:4, 15; 13:9; 24:10; 29:31; 36:21f; Job 20:22f; Ps 16:11;
20:4f; 65:9; 71:8; 72:19; 74:20; 81:10; 83:16; 104:24; 110:6; 127:5;
129:7; Eccl 1:8; 6:7; 9:3; 11:3; Song 5:14; Isa 8:8; 13:3; 40:4;
65:11; Jer 13:12f; 23:24; 25:12, 34; 29:10; 33:5; 34:14; 44:25; 51:11,
14; Lam 4:18; Ezek 7:19; Dan 2:35; 4:11, 34; 5:26; 8:23; Zeph 1:9)
Pleroo also means
to fulfill, to complete, to carry out to the full (eg Lk 9:31 at the transfiguration, Moses
and Elijah were "speaking of [Jesus'] departure which He was
about to accomplish [pleroo] at Jerusalem")
indicates more than just pouring water in a glass up the brim and has
at least three shades of meaning that are helpful in illustrating the
(1) pleroo was often used of the wind
billowing the sails of a ship and providing impetus to move the ship
across the water. To be filled with the Spirit then to is to be moved
along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which
the writers of Scripture were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2Pe 1:21-note).
In the spiritual realm, this concept depicts the Holy Spirit providing
the thrust to move the believer down the pathway of obedience. A
Spirit-filled Christian is not motivated by his own desires or will to
progress. Instead, he allows the Holy Spirit to carry him in the
proper directions. Another helpful example of this first meaning is a
small stick floating in a stream. Sometime in our lives most of us
have tossed a stick into a creek and then run downstream to see the
twig come floating by, propelled only by the force of the water. To be
filled with the Spirit means to be carried along by the gracious
pressure of the Holy Spirit. From a negative aspect, the men in (Ro
1:29-note) are being moved by their depraved minds to do
(2) pleroo also conveys the idea of permeation as
of salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it.
God wants the Holy Spirit to permeate and flavor our lives so that
when we’re around others they will know for certain that we possess
the pervasive savor of the Spirit.
conveys the sense of domination or total control. It is used by
the Gospel writers in various passages to indicate that people were
dominated by a certain emotion. In Luke 5:26, after Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and healed the
paralytic, the people were astonished and “filled with fear.”
In Luke 6:11, when Jesus restored a man’s hand on the Sabbath, the
scribes and Pharisees “were filled with rage.” When our Lord told
the disciples that He would soon be leaving them, He told of their
reaction: “sorrow has filled your heart” (John
16:6). The person who is
filled with sorrow is no longer under his own control but
is totally under the control of that emotion. In the same way, someone
who is filled with fear, anger or even Satan (Acts 5:3) is no longer under
his own control but under the total control of that which dominates him.
Each of these uses reveals an emotion so overwhelming within the
people that it dominated their thoughts and excluded every other
The word pleroo
can also convey the idea of
being fully equipped and was used to describe a ship that was "fully
equipped" and ready
for a voyage at sea. The believer has in Christ all that he needs for the
"voyage of life" for we "are complete
(pleroo - perfect tense = having been filled full, with the present
result that you are in a state of fulness) in Him” (Col 2:10-note). “And of His fullness have all we received” (John
The more common meaning of "filled"
in the NT is to be controlled by that which fills one's heart and
mind. For example, in (Ep 5:18-note)
Paul commands (imperative
mood) all believers (the verb is plural) at Ephesus "do
not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but
(pleroo) with the
Spirit". The verb is
present tense calling for all
saints to be continually filled, which describes what should be "the
normal Christian life" to be enjoyed and experienced constantly and
not to be reserved for a few special "spiritual" experiences.
Pleroo is in the
passive voice (subject receives the
action - in this context the "divine passive") which points out the fact that as believers we do not fill
ourselves but permit the Spirit of God to fill us (and control us). In
other words God discloses a knowledge of Himself. One cannot simply
learn to know God. God is not like secular truths which may be
learned. Divine truth must be revealed!
Melick notes that...
Christians must place themselves in
that spiritual environment with the hope and expectation that God will
reveal his will regarding specific matters. Paul’s point was not the
difficulty of knowing God; it was the attitude required by the seeker
of knowledge. In Christ God always makes himself known. (Melick, R. R.
V32: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon; The New American Commentary.
Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers)
The verb “fill”
has less to do with contents, as though we are empty vessels that need
a required amount of spiritual fuel to keep going. The person who is
filled with sorrow (Jn 16:6) is no longer under his own control but is under the
control of that emotion. In the same way, someone who is filled with
fear (Luke 5:26),
anger (Luke 6:11),
jealously (Acts 5:17) or even Satan (Acts 5:3) is no longer
under his own control but under the control of that which
"fills" him. To be filled in this sense is to be totally dominated and
controlled, and it is the most important meaning of pleroo for believers
Luke records that “all
in the synagogue were
with rage” (Luke 4:28) indicating that they were controlled by rage. What
was the result? "They rose up and cast Him (Jesus) out of
the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had
been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff." (Luke
4:29) The rage had so controlled Jesus' audience they were
driven to the point of seeking to murder Jesus! Have you ever been
furious? You know that you when anger controls you, you are capable of
doing some things you would otherwise never consider.
In Acts 4:8 Peter "filled
with the Holy Spirit"
boldly proclaimed Jesus to the "rulers and elders of the people"
even reminding them that they had crucified Jesus! This bold action
shows the effects of one filled with the Spirit versus being filled
with the flesh (see Peter's contrasting behavior on the night Jesus
was betrayed in Mt 26:69ff)
In Acts 6:5 Stephen, a "man full
of faith and of the Holy Spirit" was so
controlled that he proclaimed to the hostile Jewish audience
one of the most powerful sermons ever recorded in (Acts
7), with the result that it cost him his earthly life. In
the fullness of the Spirit refers to His control
over the yielded or surrendered believer.
When Paul and Barnabas
arrived at Pisidian Antioch, Paul began proclaiming Jesus as Savior to
the point that people were even begging for more of Paul's expository
preaching. “When the Jews saw the crowds, they were
with jealousy, and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and
were blaspheming.” (Acts 13:45)
In sum, to be “filled with the
Spirit” means to be constantly controlled by the Spirit in our mind,
emotions, and will. To be filled with the Spirit is not to have Him somehow
progressively added to our life until we are full of Him. It is to be
under His total dominion and control. This is in direct contrast to
the uncontrolled drunkenness and dissipation in the worship of
Dionysius that was alluded to in the first half of (Ep 5:18-note).
Remember that what ''fills'' you will control you...it will control
both your actions and your reactions. Are you letting the Word of
Christ richly dwell within you (Col 3:16-note)
so that you might be controlled by the will of God in the Word of God
as taught by the Spirit of God? How can you tell that you are "filled
with the Spirit"? In Ephesians 5 Paul gives at least three "markers"
of a person controlled by the Spirit because such an individual is (1)
joyful (Eph 5:19-note),
(2) thankful (Eph 5:20-note),
and (3) submissive (Eph 5:21-33-note).
Are you joyful, thankful and submissive? Then you
are being controlled by God's Holy Spirit. Note that this filling is a
repeated experience, for we constantly need to be filled with
spiritual power if we are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
F. D. Moule has said, this prayer makes two great requests: (1) It
asks for the discernment of God's will and (2) for the power to
perform that will.
William Barclay has an interesting note
We are trying not so much to make
God listen to us as to make ourselves listen to him; we are trying not
to persuade God to do what we want, but to find out what he wants us
to do. It so often happens that in prayer we are really saying, "Thy
will be changed," when we ought to be saying, "Thy will be done." The
first object of prayer is not so much to speak to God as to listen to
So when Paul prays that his friends
may have wisdom and understanding, he is praying that they may
understand the great truths of Christianity and may be able to apply
them to the tasks and decisions which meet them in everyday living. A
man may quite easily be a master of theology and a failure in living;
able to write and talk about the eternal truths and yet helpless to
apply them to the things which meet him every day. The Christian must
know what Christianity means, not in a vacuum but in the business of
This knowledge of God's will, and
this wisdom and understanding, must issue in right conduct. Paul prays
that his friends may conduct themselves in such a way as to please
God. There is nothing in this world so practical as prayer. It is not
escape from reality. Prayer and action go hand in hand. We pray not in
order to escape life but in order to be better able to meet it.
To do this we need power.
Therefore, Paul prays that his friends may be strengthened with the
power of God... What we need is power; and that we receive in prayer.
If God merely told us what his will was, that might well be a
frustrating situation; but he not only tells us his will, he also
enables us to perform it.
Nothing could satisfy the apostle,
either for himself or his hearers, but the fullness of the blessing of
the Gospel of peace. The Colossians had knowledge, but they must have
more; it is their privilege to be filled with it. As the bright
shining of the sun in the firmament of heaven fills the whole world
with light and heat, so the light of the Sun of righteousness is to
illuminate their whole souls, and fill them with Divine splendor, so
that they might know the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual
understanding; in a word, that they might have such a knowledge of
Divine things as the Spirit of truth can teach to the soul of man.
Spurgeon commenting on the idea of be filled says that...
...this is grand scholarship, to
have the mind, and heart, and the whole of our manhood filled with
knowledge. Paul would not have a believer ignorant upon any point: he
would have him filled with knowledge, for when a measure is full of
wheat there is no room for chaff. True knowledge excludes error. The
men that go after false doctrine are usually those who know little of
the word of God; being untaught they are unstable, ready to be blown
about with every wind of doctrine (Ep 4:14-note).
It you leave empty spots in your minds unstored with holy teaching,
they will be an invitation to the devil to enter in and dwell there.
Fill up the soul, and so shut out the enemy.
Paul desired the Colossian saints
to be filled-filled up to the brim with the knowledge of God’s will.
Brethren, we would have you know all that you can know of God’s truth.
Rome flourishes by man’s ignorance, but the New Jerusalem rejoices in
light. No knowledge of the revealed will of God can ever do you any
harm if it be sanctified. Do not be afraid of what they call “high
doctrines,” or the “deep things of God.” They tell us that those
things are secrets, and therefore we ought not to pry into them. If
they are secrets, there is no fear that anybody can pry into them; but
the truths revealed in the word are no longer secrets, seeing that
they are revealed to us by the Spirit of God, and as far as they are
revealed it should be our desire to understand them, so as to be
filled with the knowledge of them.
WITH THE KNOWLEDGE
(deep, thorough, experiential): ten epignosin:
(1Co 1:5 Eph 1:15, 16, 17,
18, 19, 20,
3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 Php 1:9, 10, 11 Col 2:2, 3:10 2Pe1:2, 3)
Spurgeon comments on this intimate, experiential type of knowledge
exhorting us to...
Let us try to know divine truth
more and more intimately. You know a man, for you pass him in the
streets with a nod; you know another man far better, for you lodge in
the same house with him; you know him best of all when you have shared
his trouble, partaken in his joy, and have, in fact, had fellowship
with him by blending your two lives in one common stream of
When you learn a spiritual truth
endeavor to know it out and out; to know its foundation and up
building; to know it by the application of the Spirit to your own soul
so that you are filled with it.
You may have knowledge in the
brain, but it may not run into your spirit, so as to penetrate, and
permeate, and saturate your spirit, till you are filled therewith. Oh,
to get the gospel into one’s entire nature, and to be like the water
pots of Cana, filled up to the brim! Lord, fill thy poor children with
the knowledge of thy will!
Paul is praying in essence for
these saints to have a Christian mind in the midst of a secular
world who has a mindset radically and definitively in opposition to
God and His will. Harry Blamires puts it this way in his book
The Christian Mind explaining that...
The Christian mind has succumbed to
the secular drift (cp Col 2:8-note)
with a degree of weakness and nervelessness unmatched in Christian
history....as a thinking being, the modern Christian has succumbed to
secularization. He accepts religion - its morality, its worship, its
spiritual culture; but he rejects the religious view of life, the view
which sets all earthly issues within the context of the eternal...the
view which sees all things here below in terms of God's supremacy and
earth's transitoriness, in terms of Heaven and Hell. The
Christian mind (is) a mind trained, informed, equipped to handle data
of secular controversy within a framework of reference which is
constructed of Christian presuppositions. The Christian mind is the
prerequisite of Christian action. (Harry
Blamires: The Christian Mind- How Should a Christian Think. Vine
[word study] from gnosis = knowledge gained by experience + epi
= here used to intensify the meaning) full, perfect, precise
thus signifying a more complete, more thorough, larger knowledge than
that found in gnosis. Epignosis as used by Paul stresses
a true knowledge of God and His will. It was also, generally, the
appropriate term for personal rather than intellectual knowledge. Epignosis thus implies a more intimate
and personal relationship than gnosis. The learner
exhibits a more thorough participation
in the acquiring of
Epignosis - 20x in 20v - Rom
1:28; 3:20; 10:2; Eph 1:17; 4:13; Phil 1:9; Col 1:9f; 2:2; 3:10; 1 Tim
2:4; 2 Tim 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1; Philemon 1:6; Heb 10:26; 2 Pet 1:2f,
8; 2:20. NAS = acknowledge*(1), knowledge(14), real knowledge(1), true
In the New Testament epignosis is always used of the
knowledge of things ethical or divine, and is never ascribed to God.
In the NT epignosis often refers to
which very powerfully influences the form of one's spiritual life (in
contrast to gnosis which Vincent says "may be concerned with the
intellect without affecting the character").
Epignosis is not merely an intellectual understanding of
the truth, but a heart submission and appropriation of the same.
is thus a
laying claim to personal involvement. The definite article signifies "the" very specific
knowledge & in the case
of God's will found primarily in the Word of God.
In contrast to the so-called "superior" knowledge claimed by the Gnostics & hidden
from all but the initiated, Paul wants the Colossians to be totally
controlled by GOD'S
knowledge Paul wants the Colossians
to have is a deep and thorough knowledge of God's word, will and ways.
Ideally then epignosis controls & directs one's behavior. Ignorance
contrary to popular thought is not bliss. Most of Paul's letter give
this pattern of ''knowledge''
or doctrine, then duty.
Bruce quotes Bultmann’s definition
of epignosis is ‘almost a technical term for the decisive
knowledge of God which is involved in conversion to the Christian
faith’. It is just because, in Christ, the Christians already have
access to the privilege of this ‘full knowledge’ of God, that Paul can
pray for them that they may be filled with it. If conversion to Christ
had not brought with it this decisive understanding, then it would be
reasonable to teach the need for some further initiation, and thus to
occupy the same sort of ground as the new teachers. Paul does not ask
for the Christians a new knowledge, however, but rather the proper use
of what is already theirs in Christ, so that they can the better
discern the will of God for their lives. (Lucas, R. C. Fullness &
Freedom : The Message of Colossians & Philemon. Downers Grove, Ill.:
H A Ironside
(Paul) told his readers that he
prayed that they "might be filled with the knowledge of [God's] will."
Those who were troubling the Colossian saints boasted of their
superior knowledge. These Gnostics had evolved a complex system of
mystical and wholly imaginative teaching regarding the soul's approach
to God through an interminable number of intermediaries; they coupled
this teaching with ascetic regulations and legal 31observances. In
their eyes the gospel as preached by Paul was simplicity indeed; they
looked on it as a child's conception of the philosophy of the
universe; they viewed the gospel as puerile for men of mature minds.
But he who knew this gospel in all its grandeur, as few other men have
ever known it, spoke here of being "filled with the knowledge of
[God's] will" (italics added); and he used a superlative instead of a
word that the Gnostics were very fond of. They boasted of gnosis,
which means "knowledge," but he said epignosis, which literally means
"superknowledge." It is in the divine revelation alone that
this is found. (H. A. Ironside Expository Commentary –
Wuest adds that
which grasps and penetrates into an object. It was a favorite word of
the Gnostics who used it to designate the superior knowledge which
they claimed al their exclusive possession. Paul prays that all the
saints might become possessors of this
indicating that it was open for all to appropriate, not a secret
mystery into which only a favored few could be initiated. If the
Gnostics had their superior knowledge, so did the Christian Church.
The former was speculative and false, the latter, positive and true.
Paul prays that they not only might have it but that they might be
filled with it."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
F B Hole
makes an important distinction regarding this experiential knowledge
our knowledge is to be in spiritual
understanding; that is, understanding acquired by the Spirit of God
and not by a merely intellectual process. It is possible to acquire
Biblical information in much the same way as one obtains historical or
geographical information, and in such a case one may be able to
analyze and expound the Scriptures and yet be quite a stranger to
their experimental bearing and their power. Also our knowledge is to
be in all wisdom. The wise man is he who is able with good judgment to
apply his knowledge to the circumstances that he has to face. So what
the Apostle desired for the Colossians, and for us, is that we might
gain full knowledge of God's will by the teaching of the Holy Spirit,
for in that way we shall ourselves be governed by what we know and
also be able to apply our knowledge to practical details in the midst
of the tangled circumstances that surround us. (Colossians
OF HIS WILL: tou thelematos
God's Will -
note at end of this section.
I do not think he was referring
merely to God's will for the individual believer's life from day to
day, although that would indeed be involved in the broader concept,
just as a drop of water is included in the ocean. I think the apostle
was referring to the Father's wondrous plan that has been known from
eternity, is now being carried out in time, and will have its
consummation in the ages to come. Knowledge of this eternal purpose of
God is superknowledge indeed! The cleverest human intellect could
never fathom it, apart from divine revelation.
This revelation we have in our
Bibles. Running throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to the
Apocalypse, it furnishes a theme for devout contemplation, demands
enthusiastic study and careful examination by the most erudite minds
and brilliant intellects, and calls for the deepest investigation of
the most spiritual believers. At the same time, unlearned and ignorant
Christians will find constant enjoyment in this revelation if they
allow themselves to be guided by the Spirit in searching the
Scriptures for knowledge of God's will. (H.A. Ironside Expository
Commentary – Colossians)
explains that in...
the matter of this knowledge is;
“filled with the knowledge of his will.” What is that? It means the
revealed will of God. Paul would have the Colossians know what the
Lord has revealed, as far as human mind could grasp it, whether it
were doctrine, precept, experience, or prophecy. How well it is to
know the perceptive will of God.
Our prayer should daily be,
“Lord, what wilt thou have me to
do?” Lord, teach me what is sin, and what is righteousness, that I
may discern things which are excellent. Whereas there are questions in
the church of God itself upon what the will of the Lord is, Lord help
me not to care to know what is the will of this learned doctor, or
what is the will of a certain assembly, but what is the Lord’s will."
“To the law and to the
testimony,” this is our touchstone. Our desire is to be filled with
the knowledge of the Lord’s will so as to do it without fail.
Especially would we know the will
of God, as it constitutes the gospel; for Jesus says,
This is the will of him that sent
me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have
Oh, to know His will in that
respect most clearly, so as to go and tell it out on all sides, that
men may know the way of life, and may be led into it by our word! Once
more we read in 1Thessalonians
4:3 (see note):
This is the will of God, even your
Oh, to be filled with the knowledge
of the Lord’s will till you know what sanctification means, and
exhibit it in your daily life! It is yours to teach men what God means
by holiness. Your mission is not fulfilled, and the will of God is not
accomplished unless you are sanctified. This it is with which we need
to be filled.
Know anything, know everything that
is worth knowing.
“That the soul be without
knowledge is not good.”
Never attempt to run side by side
with the agnostic whose glory it is that he knows nothing; but let it
be your delight to know all that can be learned out of the Book of the
Lord, by the teaching of the Holy Ghost. Concentrate your faculties
upon the will of God. Here dive into the deeps and climb up to the
heights, and be afraid of nothing; ask the Holy Spirit to saturate you
with truth, as Gideon’s fleece was wet with the dew of heaven, as the
golden pot was filled with manna, or as Jordan is filled in the time
of harvest, when it overflowed all its banks.
(2307) (thelema) refers to a desire which comes
from one’s heart or emotions. Thelema is what one wishes or has
determined shall be done or that which is desired or wished for. Here
thelema refers to God’s gracious disposition. We understand the will of God through the Word of
God (Col 3:16-note). The Spirit teaches us as we submit to Him.
62x in 58v - Matt 6:10; 7:21; 12:50; 18:14; 21:31; 26:42; Mark 3:35;
Luke 12:47; 22:42; 23:25; John 1:13; 4:34; 5:30; 6:38ff; 7:17; 9:31;
Acts 13:22; 21:14; 22:14; Rom 1:10; 2:18; 12:2; 15:32; 1 Cor 1:1;
7:37; 16:12; 2 Cor 1:1; 8:5; Gal 1:4; Eph 1:1, 5, 9, 11; 2:3; 5:17;
6:6; Col 1:1, 9; 4:12; 1 Thess 4:3; 5:18; 2 Tim 1:1; 2:26; Heb 10:7,
9f, 36; 13:21; 1 Pet 2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19; 2 Pet 1:21; 1 John 2:17;
5:14; Rev 4:11. NAS = desire(1), desires(1), will(57).
of His will"
could be considered as the science of God's will and perhaps one could call this science "thelemology" (since
word for will is thelema). God has indeed given us guidelines for
knowing His will. The principles of "thelemology" could be grouped in
two categories: God's general will for all His people, and God's
specific will for each individual believer. His general will includes
knowledge and acceptance concerning creation (Rev 4:11-note,
the last occurrence of will in the Bible, there translated
"pleasure"), redemption (Heb 10:7, 8, 9, 10-note),
salvation (2Ti 1:9-note),
regeneration (Jn 1:13; Eph 1:5-note),
security (Jn 6:39;17:24), sanctification (1Th 4:3-note;
and our eternal presence with Christ (Jn 17:24; Eph 1:9, 10, 11-note).
The knowledge of His particular will is conditioned on willingness to
follow it (Jn 7:17; Ro 12:1-note,
obedience when known (Jas 1:22-note;
prayer for guidance (1Jn 5:14, 15), obedience to the relevant
Scriptures (Ps 119:105-note),
recognition of relevant circumstances (1Cor 12:4,11; Ro 8:26, 27-note,
and inner confidence (Php 4:6-note,
Ps 32:8; Pr 3:5,6).
For the Colossians, who are faced
with errorists, Paul asks the knowledge they need in order to see
through these errorists; and again the wording fits the special need:
that you may be filled with full knowledge (epignosis), with no gaps
in this knowledge that may lay you open to deception. They are to know
fully “his (God’s) will” so that no one may substitute something for
what God has really willed...
We note the combination
epignosis-sophia-sunesis, the first dominating, the other two
presenting its form. When it is connected with “wisdom” real knowledge
of God’s will knows how to use and to apply this knowledge in life’s
situations, for instance, when error confronts one. When it is
connected with “understanding” (bringing this and that together) such
knowledge will analyze and combine, will take one point after another
of the error and will set against each point the part of truth
regarding God’s will which refutes and exposes that error. (Ibid)
The "will" (thelematos) of God is
what God has revealed in His Word to be correct regarding both belief
(faith) and behavior (works, morality; cf. 4:12; Acts 22:14; Rom.
12:2). In the broadest sense, the will of God is the whole purpose of
God revealed in Christ. (Colossians
Ferguson said that...
The will of God
means death to our own will, and resurrection only
when we have died to all our own plans...It should
be the aim of every Christian to have his will
directed by the will of God revealed in Scripture
(and)....Only in obedience can we discover the great
joy of the will of God...Wisdom and the will of God
are intimately related... Nothing is more vital for
practical knowledge of the purposes of God than
IN ALL SPIRITUAL WISDOM: en
pase sophia kai sunesei pneumatike:
(Col 3:16, 4:5, Ps 119:99,
Eph 1:8, Jas 1:5)
"in comprehensive insight into the
ways and purposes of God" (Amplified)
In all spiritual wisdom -
Note how every word is important - In - In the "atmosphere" of,
bathed in, invigorated with. All - Not just a part but all...
all that God's Spirit will illuminate to me... all that my spiritual
estate will bear. Give it all Lord. Spiritual - Oh, for
spiritual wisdom rather than human wisdom which is earthly, natural
and demonic. Give us experientially the mind of Christ O God.
Barnes feels this means
In understanding those things that
pertain to the "Spirit;" that is, those things taught by the Holy
Spirit, and those which he produces in the work of salvation. 1
Corinthians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 2:13. Comp. 1 John 2:20, 5:20.
we must now notice the manner as
well as the matter of this knowledge: “in all wisdom and spiritual
Wisdom is better than knowledge,
for wisdom is knowledge rightly used.
Knowledge may find room for folly,
but wisdom casts it out.
Knowledge may be the horse, but
wisdom is the driver.
When a man hath knowledge it is
like the corn which is laid in the barn; but wisdom is the fine flour
prepared for food.
We want Christian people not only
to know, but to use what they know.
Happy is he who knows what to do at
the right time! Many people are very knowing half an hour after it is
too late; but to be filled with wisdom is to be able at once to apply
knowledge rightly in difficult cases.
Wisdom enables you to bring your
knowledge practically to bear upon life, to separate between the
precious and the vile, to deal with your fellow Christians in their
different conditions, and to deal with sinners and those that are
You need wisdom so to conduct your
affairs that nothing therein shall scandalize the weak, or bring
dishonor upon the name of Christ; for mere knowledge will not suffice
Knowledge is the blade, wisdom is
the fall corn in the car.
Knowledge is the cloth, but wisdom
is the garment.
Knowledge is the timber, but wisdom
hath builded her house.
May all our knowledge be sanctified
by grace and attended with the guidance of the Spirit that we may
become wise to know what the will of the Lord is.
“All wisdom,” saith the
apostle-many-handed wisdom, wisdom of all sorts, wisdom that will
serve you in the shop, wisdom that will be useful in the
counting-house, wisdom that will aid the church of God, and wisdom
that will guide you if you are cast among the vilest of mankind. May
you “be filled with knowledge in all wisdom.”
But that wisdom which operates
without must be attended by a spiritual understanding which is
powerful within. I hardly know how to explain this: it is an inward
knowledge of truth, the knowledge of the inward parts of things. It is
a spiritual discernment, taste, experience, and reception of truth,
whereby the soul feeds upon it, and takes it into herself.
We know many men who know much but
understand nothing. They accept implicitly what they are taught, but
they have never considered it, weighed it, estimated it, found out the
roots of it, or seen the heart of it. Oh, to have in the church men
full of spiritual understanding! These can say that they have tasted
and handled the good word of life, and have proved and tested the
truth as it is in Jesus.
You know how it was with the
sacrifices of old: a man who was poor brought turtle-doves or pigeons,
and of these we read of each bird, “The priest shall cleave it with
the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder:” but a man who
was rich in Israel brought a bullock or a sheep, and this offering was
not only cleft down the middle, but further divided, and the fat and
the “inwards” are mentioned in detail. The poorer sacrifice
represents the offering of the uninstructed; they have never rightly
divided the word of God, and know not its fullness of meaning; but the
man who is rich in grace is comparable to him who brought his bullock;
for he can enter into detail and see the secret meanings of the Word.
There is a deep, which lieth under, and he that is taught of the Lord
shall find it.
“The secret of the Lord is with
them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant;” (Ps
and blessed are they that are taught of the Lord so as to read the
mystery of His grace!
Here, then, is a grand petition for
us. To go back to our first head, let our intercessory prayers go up
for all our brethren. Lord, teach them Thy word. Let them know Thy
book from cover to cover, and let the truths therein revealed enter
into them until they are filled to the brim: then grant thou them the
skill to use in daily life the knowledge which thy Spirit has
imparted, and may they more and more in their inmost souls be guided
into all truth, that they may comprehend with all saints what are the
heights, and depths, and know the love of Christ which passeth
is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of
action, based on knowledge and understanding.
used 6x in Colossians (a
51x in 49v - Matt 11:19; 12:42; 13:54; Mark 6:2; Luke 2:40, 52; 7:35;
11:31, 49; 21:15; Acts 6:3, 10; 7:10, 22; Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 1:17, 19ff,
24, 30; 2:1, 4ff, 13; 3:19; 12:8; 2 Cor 1:12; Eph 1:8, 17; 3:10; Col
1:9, 28; 2:3, 23; 3:16; 4:5; Jas 1:5; 3:13, 15, 17; 2 Pet 3:15; Rev
5:12; 7:12; 13:18; 17:9 NAS = cleverness, 1; learning, 1; wisdom, 49.
138x in the Septuagint - Ex 31:3; 35:26, 31, 33, 35; 36:1f;
Deut 4:6; 2 Sam 14:20; 20:22; 1 Kgs 2:6, 35; 3:1; 4:29; 5:12; 1 Chr
22:12; 28:21; 2 Chr 1:10ff; 9:3, 5ff, 22f; Ezra 7:25; Job 4:21; 11:6;
12:2, 12f; 13:5; 15:8; 26:3; 28:12, 18, 20, 28; 32:7, 13; 33:33;
38:36f; 39:17; Ps 37:30; 49:3; 51:6; 90:12; 104:24; 107:27; 111:10;
Prov 1:2, 7, 20, 29; 2:2f, 6, 10; 3:5, 13, 19; 4:11; 5:1; 6:8; 7:4;
8:1, 11f; 9:1, 10; 10:13, 23, 31; 11:2; 14:6, 8, 33; 15:33; 16:16;
17:16, 28; 18:2; 20:29; 21:30; 22:4; 24:3, 7, 14; 28:26; 29:3, 15;
30:3; 31:5; Eccl 1:13, 16ff; 2:3, 9, 12f, 21, 26; 7:10ff, 19, 23, 25;
8:1, 16; 9:10, 13, 15f, 18; 10:1, 10; Isa 10:13; 11:2; 29:14; 33:6;
Jer 8:9; 9:23; 10:12; 49:7; 51:15; Dan 1:4, 17, 20; 2:20f, 23, 30;
Thayer makes an excellent
point that wisdom is...
used of the knowledge of very
diverse matters, so that the shade of meaning in which the word is
taken must be discovered from the context in every particular case.
is godly wisdom (contrasting with worldly wisdom - study and
make a list of the contrasts in Jas 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and
1Cor 1-2) which involves living
life in the light of the revelation of God’s Will in His Word and
applying this knowledge to specific situations. Biblical wisdom is
definable as skill for living. God's plan to redeem us destroyed the
wisdom of the worldly wise men (1Cor 1:19). In fact, human wisdom
never could comprehend God's plan for salvation (1Cor 1:21). Paul was
not bound by the limits of human wisdom because the Holy Spirit
conveyed spiritual wisdom through him (1Cor 2:13). Human wisdom is
totally inadequate to accept God's salvation (1Cor 3:18,19).
is given only by the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, Solomon
exemplified this wisdom (Matt 12:42). When Jesus came, His wisdom also
outshone the wisdom of the wisest among men (Matt 13:54). This wisdom
was seen in the Lord Jesus, even when He was a small Boy (Luke
2:40,52). When leaders became necessary in the Jerusalem church, the
apostles set about to select men who possessed this spiritual wisdom
Wisdom is the
insight into the true nature of things. Knowledge is the mental
possession of powers of perceiving objects, wisdom is
the power of right reasoning concerning them and forming right
Wisdom is the
ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action,
based on knowledge and understanding.
Wisdom is the art
of being successful, of forming the correct plan to gain the desired
results. Its seat is the heart, the centre of moral and intellectual
Sophia emphasizes understanding of ultimate things—such
as life and death, God and man, righteousness and sin, heaven and
hell, eternity and time.
Sophia is mental excellence in its highest and
fullest sense (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament. Vol.
3, Page 1-129).
Sophia is used
frequently in the New Testament to describe the ability to discern and
conform to God’s will.
In the time of
Homer, wisdom was an attribute but in some Greek writings
sophia was not infrequently used to describe shrewdness and cunning.
To the Greeks sophia was never an action, as saying wise words or doing
wise deeds. In fact, in ancient Greece wisdom had a practical aspect, for a
"wise" carpenter was one who knew his trade well. In Greek
culture the College of Seven Sages was distinguished by both wisdom
and political discernment. According to Socrates, wisdom was knowing
how little one really knew. Aristotle equated wisdom with
"philosophy." The Stoics described wisdom as the application of
knowledge. In the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament,
is used 135 times, and in the first use Jehovah tells Moses that...
And I have filled him (Bezalel
in preparation for the task of fashioning and constructing the
tabernacle) with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in
knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship" (Exodus 31:3)
Comment: Notice how God's
work is to be done with God's wisdom and not worldly wisdom
Moses instructed Israel that they should
keep and do
them (statutes and judgments which Jehovah had commanded Moses
Israel to carry out in the land they were entering to possess it),
for that is your wisdom (LXX = sophia) and your understanding in the
sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely
this great nation is a wise (sophos) and understanding people. (Deut
Wisdom is sometimes
personified, as in the Proverbs as special knowledge,
mainly knowledge concerning Jehovah ("Wisdom shouts in the street. She
lifts her voice in the square" Pr 1:20). When Solomon prayed for wisdom to
"Now God gave Solomon
wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of
mind, like the sand that is on the seashore." (1Kings 4:29) And
so "so King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in
riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the
presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in
his heart." (2Chronicles 9:22, 23) which is what led the Queen of
Sheba to come and see and then declare "How blessed are your men, how
blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and
hear your wisdom." (2Chronicles 9:7)
In what is
considered to be the oldest book in the Bible we read Job's
thoughts on divine wisdom:
But where can wisdom (LXX =
sophia) be found? And where is the place of understanding?... "Coral
and crystal are not to be mentioned; and the acquisition of wisdom
(LXX = sophia) is above that of pearls." So what was the source of
this valuable resource? "And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the
Lord, that is wisdom (LXX = sophia) and to depart from evil is
understanding.' (Job 28:12, 18, 28)
Below are a few
examples of verses from Psalms (7 uses of sophia) and
Proverbs (43 uses of sophia, compared with 25 uses in Ecclesiastes) which use sophia in the LXX:
Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters
wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. (Spurgeon's
Psalm 51:6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth
in the innermost being, and in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know
Psalm 90:12 (Moses prays) So teach us to number our days, That
we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom. (Spurgeon's
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the
beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 2:2 Make your ear
attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;
Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives
wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 2:10 For wisdom
will enter your heart, And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Proverbs 3:13 How blessed is the
man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding.
Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom
founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens
Proverbs 8:11 "For wisdom is
better than jewels; And all desirable things can not compare with her.
When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get
understanding is to be chosen above silver.
A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company
with harlots wastes his wealth.
The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way
brings shame to his mother.
While sophia is the insight into the true nature of things,
phronesis is the ability to discern modes of action
with a view to their results; while sophia is
is practical” (Lightfoot).
Paul sums up spiritual
wisdom and knowledge with the truth that in Christ "are hidden all
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col 2:3-note,
cf 1Cor 1:24, 30)
It is not enough to have
knowledge -- one has to have wisdom to be able to use that
knowledge correctly. Knowledge enables us to take things apart, but
wisdom enables us to put things together and relate God’s truth to
Wuest comments that
wisdom or sophia
“was a great word with
the Greeks. With them the word included the ideas of cleverness and
skill in handicraft and art, skill in matter of common life, sound
judgment, intelligence, practical wisdom, learning, speculative
wisdom, natural philosophy and mathematics” (Liddell and Scott). Trench says that sophia is recognized in the NT and in Christian
writers as expressing the highest and noblest in wisdom. He says; “We
may affirm with confidence that sophia is never in Scripture ascribed
to other than God or good men, except in an ironical sense.…
For, indeed, if sophia includes the striving after the best ends as
well as the using of the best means, is mental excellence in its
highest and fullest sense,… there can be no wisdom disjointed from
goodness.” Thayer says that when sophia is used of God, it
refers to supreme intelligence such as belongs to God....Expositors
says; “Sophia is the collective moral intelligence, ‘insight
into the true nature of things’ (Lightfoot) and in the Pauline
Epistles it is this intelligence in especial as knowledge of the
divine plan of salvation long hidden and now revealed."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Wisdom is the
right use of knowledge:
All true spiritual wisdom is found only in Christ
Nelson's New Illustrated
Bible Dictionary adds that
"The biblical concept of wisdom,
therefore, is quite different from the classical view of wisdom, which
sought through philosophy and human rational thought to determine the
mysteries of existence and the universe. The first principle of
biblical wisdom is that people should humble themselves before God in
reverence and worship, obedient to His commands. This idea is found
especially in the Wisdom Literature: the books of Job,
Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. In the Old Testament, the best example of
a “wise man” is King Solomon (1Ki 10:4,6, 7, 8). And yet the same book
that heaps such lavish, warm, and glowing praise upon Solomon for his
reputed wisdom (1Ki 4:29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34) also points out how
Solomon’s heart turned away from the Lord (1Ki 11:1–13)."
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
So clearly "spiritual wisdom"
is no guarantee that one will walk worthy, but needs to be affect our
heart decisions in order to be practical. How are you doing in this
area? Or, are you like "wise" King Solomon, filled with "spiritual
wisdom" and yet
choosing to walk in a manner counter to God's clearly revealed will?
Bible study won't do you much good unless it transforms your thinking
and your walk. True spiritual wisdom must affect your daily
life. Wisdom and practical intelligence must go together.
James writes that when we find
ourselves in trials and are uncertain how to behave
"if any of you
let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without
reproach, and it will be given to him"
God gives wisdom to those who ask Him, provided they are sincerely
willing to obey Him (Jas 1:6-note).
It is amazing that the same spiritual wisdom which motivated Christ
during His earthly ministry is available to Christians now.
Paul and Timothy are praying for "wisdom"
for the Colossian saints, but it is not just any wisdom
but that which is “spiritual.”
in which the false teachers boasted had to do with
which have, to be sure, the appearance of
in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the
body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence"
cf Col 2:8-note
In other words their
wisdom was for "show" and clearly had no redeeming value in
regard to denying self and living a genuinely holy life.
wisdom" is in
contrast to "fleshly wisdom" or wisdom pertaining to
what is human or characteristic of human nature as Paul mentioned in (2Cor
Spiritual intelligence is the
beginning of a successful, fruitful Christian life. God puts no
premium on ignorance. I once heard a preacher say, "I didn't never go
to school. I'm just a igerant Christian, and I'm glad I is!" A man
does not have to go to school to gain spiritual intelligence; but
neither should he magnify his "igerance."
Great men of God like Charles
Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, and H. A. Ironside never had the
privilege of formal Bible training. But they were devoted students of
the Word, learning its deeper truths through hours of study,
meditation, and prayer. The first step toward fullness of life is
spiritual intelligence—growing in the will of God by knowing the Word
(1899-1981) defined divine wisdom as
"that attribute by which God
arranges His purposes and His plans, and arranges the means which
bring forth the results that He purposes."
A.W. Tozer said that
"Wisdom ... is the ability to
devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect
Billy Graham said that
"Knowledge is horizontal. Wisdom is vertical—it comes down from
C H Spurgeon said that...
"Wisdom is the right use of
knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and
are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as
a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom."
James describes the most debased form of wisdom
"earthly, natural, demonic" and is associated
ungodly behavior such as "jealousy
and selfish ambition..., disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom
from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of
mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy."
Billy Graham commented that
"Knowledge is horizontal. Wisdom
is vertical—it comes down from above."
which is spiritual
is spoken of again in this epistle in Colossians where Paul says
proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom,
that we may present every man complete in Christ." (Col 1:28-note).
Contrast the outcome of teaching
with spiritual wisdom with that associated with the other types of
wisdom mentioned above.
Again in (Col
3:16-note) we see that "spiritual
associated with letting "the word of Christ richly dwell within
you, with all wisdom
teaching and admonishing one another."
In (Col 4:5-note)
Paul brings out the practical aspect of "spiritual
the Colossians "Conduct yourselves with wisdom
toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity."
The NLT phrases it "Live wisely among those who are
not Christians and make the most of every opportunity."
Deuteronomy, just before the children of Israel (who were to be
"lights" to the lost Gentiles all around them) went into the promised
land, Moses exhorted them to "keep and do them, (statutes &
judgments - faithfully obey them) for that is your wisdom
and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all
these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and
(Dt 4:6) If the Israelites had walked in a manner worthy of the Mosaic
Law, their behavior and lifestyle would have displayed their godly
wisdom to the Gentiles all around. Unfortunately, not only did Israel
for the most part not walk worthy, but they even behaved worse than
the pagans around them!
The Hebrew idea of wisdom is the practical application of the knowledge of God's will to
the multi-colored situations of real life. Wisdom then, in a sense, is
the ability to see something from God’s viewpoint and to respond
Paul did not want the Colossians to be filled with "head knowledge" but
necessary for making decisions in light of eternity and thus living to please
God. Beware when someone gives you a tape set of ''deeper truths'' for these
will more often then not detour you from simply walking in a manner
worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects. Instead of getting
burning hearts of devotion to Christ (Lk 24:32) these
folks get big heads and
can create big problems in a church body in a short time.
All Biblical truth is
practical, not theoretical so that if we are growing in knowledge, we should
"grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.
Amen." (2Pe 3:18-note).
How is your spiritual "garden" growing?...in grace or
infested (with weeds of sin)!?
I like how someone described
Wisdom is the quality that keeps
you from getting into situations where you need it.
In Knowing God, J. I. Packer
"Wisdom is the power to see and
the inclination to choose the best and highest goal, together with the
surest means of attaining it."
C H Spurgeon once quipped
The doorstep to the temple of
wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.
A W Tozer reminds us that
"is the fountain of all wisdom,
but He is more—He is wisdom itself. In Him are all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge hidden away!"
has some wise advice about "wisdom" warning us not to...
"expect wisdom to come into your
life like great chunks of rock on a conveyor belt. It isn’t like that.
It’s not splashy and bold . . . nor is it dispensed like a
prescription across a counter. Wisdom comes privately from God as a
by-product of right decisions, godly reactions, and the application of
spiritual principles to daily circumstances. Wisdom comes . . . not
from trying to do great things for God . . . but more from being
faithful to the small, obscure tasks few people ever see."
From an Our Daily Bread devotional entitled
"Wisdom from Above" we read...
Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore, get wisdom; get
understanding. Proverbs 4:7
A series of cartoons in a New York newspaper depicted a young woman,
garbed in cap and gown, holding a diploma with much pride. With her
head held high she is looking down her nose at "Mr. World," while that
cold, cruel cynic is saying,
do we have here?"
Next, with shoulders thrown back,
the young lady replies,
you know who I am. I'm Cecelia Shakespeare Doaks, a graduate of
Prestige College. I have my A.B."
child," Mr. World says in reply, "come with me, and I'll teach you the
rest of the alphabet!"
Now, we certainly would not discourage the quest for learning, nor the
desire to pursue an education to meet the demands and opportunities of
life — we would encourage it! But it's important to remember that
there is more involved in a well-rounded education than the completion
of some college courses. Four years of classroom instruction, even
under the most competent teachers, doesn't make one all-wise. The
"school of hard knocks" often makes a far greater impact than the
"university of hard facts."
Even with the best education and
down-to-earth, practical experience, however, a man or woman really
"knows" nothing apart from God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning
of wisdom" (Pr 9:10).
Knowledge is the acquisition
of facts. Wisdom is the ability to use this knowledge rightly.
A person may acquire much
knowledge, but without wisdom his acquired storehouse of facts will do
him little good; in fact, it may even be spiritually harmful to him.
Get an education? Yes, but also
seek for that wisdom which is from above. James tells us, "If any of
you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it shall be given him"
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show
out of a good life [behavior] his works with meekness of wisdom"
(James 3:13). (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
A man may store his mind with
Till knowledge from it overflows,
But lacking wisdom from Above,
He's still a "fool" till Christ he knows.—Bosch
True wisdom consists principally of
two parts: the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves! —John
Below are some other devotionals on
wisdom from Our Daily Bread:
Don’t Be Deceived!
The Path Of Wisdom
Information Isn't Wisdom
How Do You Know?
The Smart House
In Honor Of Barking Dogs
Listen And Learn
The Main Goal Of Life
The Wisdom Of Age
Are You Searching For Wisdom?
A Little Foolish
AND UNDERSTANDING: kai
R Kent Hughes
makes an appeal with which I strongly concur...
Typically when we pray for
ourselves or for others, we pray for physical health, well-being,
social relationships, and spiritual growth. But part of our
intercessory prayers ought to be for "the knowledge of his will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding."
Have you prayed like
this for others?
It is an important prayer for your
pastor, for new believers, for your family members. And we ought to be
part of the answer to our own prayers! Every believer should be
reading and meditating on God's Word. The very blood they bleed ought,
in Spurgeon's words, to be "bibline." Every Christian should be
concentrating when he or she hears the preaching of God's Word. Every
believer should be able to filter his culture's seductive gnosis
through the grid of God's epignosis.
R. K. Colossians and Philemon: The Supremacy of Christ: Crossway Books
(Bolding and color added for emphasis)
The Colossian church needed
understanding as much as that of Philippi needed unity; the brethren
were too easily duped and decoyed from the gospel. We need in these
days to know the gospel well, and hold it firmly; for many deceivers
are abroad who will mislead us if we permit them to do so.
Wisdom, which is the ability
to use knowledge correctly, is imparted by the Spirit; He alone gives
true understanding. The mind of God as revealed in His Word can
be comprehended when there is subjection of heart to the divine
Teacher and when there is that self-judgment and self-distrust which
lead one to walk softly before God—not in self-will or egotism, but in
humility and lowly dependence on the One who inspired the Holy
Scriptures, which alone can make the simple wise.
God opens up His truth to us so
that we may delight in the wondrous things He has revealed and so that
we may walk in the power of the knowledge He has given. So Paul prayed
that his readers "might walk worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10). We
can only "walk worthy of the Lord" as we know His mind. The study of
His Word and a godly walk should always go together. (H.A. Ironside
Expository Commentary – Colossians)
wisdom and understanding - These two words are frequently found
together (see Exodus 31:3KJV; Deuteronomy 4:6; 1Chronicles 22:12KJV;
2Chronicles 1:10KJV; Isaiah 11:2; Isa 29:14KJV;1 Corinthians 1:19KJV
enlightenment of various genres were offered by the false teachers in
Colossae (cf. Col 2:4, Col 2:8, Col 2:16-23). Thus Paul prays that the
Colossian saints will have the wisdom and understanding that
comes only from the Spirit of God and will buttress their minds and
hearts for the verbal onslaughts of the false teachers.
these two words (wisdom and
understanding) are used to describe the qualities David asked for his
son Solomon as he took charge over Israel (1Chr 22:12KJV), and that
Solomon himself asked for in the light of his vast responsibilities
(2Chronicles 1:10KJV). Faced daily with difficult problems, and
often even more difficult people, Solomon must know how to relate the
unchanging principles of God’s will, revealed in the law, to the
present and quickly changing questions of the day. For such work the
best wisdom of the world is insufficient. (Lucas, R. C. Fullness &
Freedom : The Message of Colossians & Philemon. Downers Grove, Ill.:
suniemi [word study]
= to comprehend, reason out in
turn derived from sun = with + hiemi = send) literally
is a sending together or a bringing together. Sunesis describes
the putting together, grasping or exhibiting quick comprehension.
Sunesis is the ability to understand concepts and see
relationships between them and thus describes the faculty of
comprehension, intelligence, acuteness, shrewdness
Sunesis - 7x
in 7v - Mark 12:33; Luke 2:47; 1 Cor 1:19; Eph 3:4; Col 1:9; 2:2; 2
Tim 2:7 and is translated: cleverness, 1; insight, 1; understanding,
82x in the
- Ex 31:3, 6; 35:31,
35; Deut 4:6; 34:9; 1 Sam 25:3; 1 Kgs 3:11; 7:14; 1Chr 12:32; 22:12;
28:19; 2Chr 1:10, 11, 12; 2:12f; 30:22; Job 6:30; 12:13, 16, 20; 15:2;
20:3; 21:22; 22:2; 28:20; 33:3; 34:35; 38:4; 39:17; Ps 32:1, 9; 42:1;
44:1; 45:1; 49:3; 52:1; 53:1; 54:1; 55:1; 74:1; 78:1, 72; 88:1; 89:1;
111:10; 136:5; 142:1; 147:5; Prov 1:7; 2:2f, 6; 9:6, 10; 13:15; 24:3;
Isa 10:13; 11:2; 27:11; 29:14, 24; 33:19; 40:14; 47:10; 53:11; 56:11;
Jer 51:15; Dan 1:17, 20; 2:20f; 5:11f, 14; 8:15; 9:22; 10:1; Hos 2:15;
was originally used by Homer in the Odyssey to describe the running
together or a flowing together of two rivers.
quickness of apprehension, the penetrating consideration which
The Strong's entry "Synonyms" (#5826)
compares Gnosis - denotes knowledge by itself,
Sophia - denotes wisdom as exhibited in action. Gnosis
applies chiefly to the apprehension of truths, Sophia
adds the power of reasoning about them and tracing their
relationships. Sophia denotes a “mental excellence of
the highest sense”, Sunesis denotes a critical,
apprehending the bearing of things.
Sunesis is the
of quick comprehension, mother-wit, sagacity (pertains to being
keen in sense perception or keen and farsighted penetration and
judgment) (Liddell, H. G., Scott, R. A Greek-English lexicon)
Sunesis refers to
understanding (the power of comprehending; especially the
capacity to apprehend general relations of particulars), perception,
comprehension (the act or action of grasping with the
In secular Greek sunesis
first meant union and confluence and then comprehension, understanding
Sunesis is the
ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them.
Sunesis describes Jesus as a youth for
who heard Him were amazed at His understanding (sunesis)
and His answers." (Lk 2:47)
After discussion the metaphors of a soldier, an
athlete and a farmer, Paul encouraged Timothy to
(noieo means to give deep thought to) (command to do this continually
present imperative) what I
say, for the Lord will give you understanding (sunesis)
in everything (In how much?)." (see note
2 Timothy 2:7). (Comment: This
principle would apply to all worthwhile spiritual understanding - it
is from God's Spirit Who teaches us.)
"a union or bringing together of the mind with an
object, and so used to denote the faculty of quick comprehension,
intelligence, sagacity...that quality of mind which combines:
understanding not only of facts, but of facts in their mutual
In another notation
that this word denotes
"that peculiarity of mind which brings the
simple features of an object into a whole."
"is the ability to assess any situation and decide what practical
course of action is necessary within it." (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The
Sunesis is used 75
times in the
Apocrypha) - (Ex 31:3, 6; 35:31, 35; Deut 4:6; 34:9; 1Sa 25:3; 1Ki
3:11; 7:14; 1Chr 12:32; 22:12; 28:19; 2Chr 1:10-11; 2:12-12; 30:22;
Job 6:30; 12:13, 16, 20; 15:2; 20:3; 21:22; 22:2; 28:20; 33:3; 34:35;
38:4; 39:17; Ps 32:1, 9; 42:1; 44:1; 45:1; 49:3; 52:1; 53:1; 54:1;
55:1; 74:1; 78:1, 72; 88:1; 89:1; 111:10; 136:5; 142:1; 147:5; Pr:7;
2:2f, 6; 9:6, 10; 13:15; 24:3; Isa 10:13; 11:2; 27:11; 29:14, 24;
33:19; 40:14; 47:10; 53:11; 56:11; Jer 51:15; Dan 1:17, 20; 2:20-21;
5:11-12, 14; 8:15; 9:22; 10:1; Hos 2:15; Ob 1:7-8)
adds that the
makes much use of the group,
especially in Wisdom writings. The use is similar to that in the Greek
world except that understanding is native only to God and hence is a
gift for which one must pray (1Ki. 3:9 = So give Thy servant an
understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good
and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?”;
Ps 119:34). Practical judgment rather than theoretical understanding
is the main concern, its organ is the heart (Isa 6:9-10 = "And He
said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not
perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.' "Render the
hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes
dim, Lest they see with their eyes, Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed."), and
its objects are God’s works (Ps 28:5), fear (Pr 2:5), righteousness
(Pr 2:9), will (Ps. 111:10), and wisdom (Pr 2:1ff.). Earlier the
appeal for understanding is motivated by a reference to God’s will,
later by a reference to the law.
"Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding" (sunesis in the
Septuagint = LXX, Greek translation of Hebrew) for if you cry for discernment,
lift your voice for understanding (sunesis)...then
you will discern the fear of Jehovah and the knowledge of God" (Pr
The psalmist utters this great prayer
me understanding (verb form related to sunesis),
that I may observe Thy law, and keep it with all my heart." (Ps
The ISBE notes that the root
"etymologically means “bring together” but in
the NT it is used exclusively in a figurative sense for rational or
spiritual perception. It can signify a positive, spiritual quality, as
when Jesus summarizes the law by the love commandment, which must
involve all one’s understanding (Mk 12:33), or when it is paired with
“spiritual wisdom” (Col 1:9-note)
or when it is set forth as the key to comprehending an important truth
On the other hand, it can refer to a godless intellectualism or a
religious piety that in fact sets itself against God’s will (Mt. 11:25
where the related adjective sunetos is used) ." (Bromiley, G. W. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans)
not the mind or intelligence but reflective thought, grasp of the
understanding, discernment." It "suggests quickness of
apprehension, the mental penetration which precedes action, and he who
exercises this merely human quality in the matter of salvation is here
ironically described by the corresponding adjective
sunetos, “prudent.”" (Vine,
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
Sunesis is the special faculty of
intelligence or insight which discriminates between the false and the
true, and grasps the relations in which things stand to each other.
Sunesis means one has the capacity to assemble facts into
an organized whole or the faculty of putting "2" and "2" together so
to speak. It's the ability to understand concepts & see relationships
"is used in the NT of mental apprehension. It is
defined as “insight depending on judgment and inference.” It appears
to denote the idea of a critical understanding, the apprehension of
the bearing of things...sunesis is the special faculty of
intelligence or insight which discriminates between the false and the
true, and grasps the relations in which things stand to each other."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
"is what the Greeks sometimes described as critical knowledge, meaning
the ability to apply first principles to any given situation which may
arise in life. So when Paul prays that his friends may have wisdom and
understanding, he is praying that they may understand the great truths
of Christianity and may be able to apply them to the tasks and
decisions which meet them in everyday living. A man may quite easily
be a master of theology and a failure in living; able to write and
talk about the eternal truths and yet helpless to apply them to the
things which meet him every day. The Christian must know what
Christianity means, not in a vacuum but in the business of living." (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The
Sunesis is the ability to assess any situation and
decide what practical course of action is necessary within it.
uses this same term in the next chapter, probably alluding to prayer,
that Colossian saint's
"hearts may be encouraged, having been knit
together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the
full assurance of understanding (sunesis),
resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ
Himself." (Col 2:2-note)
The effect upon the Apostle himself
is thus seen. Because he hears of the spread of the gospel he
continues to pray more, and he desires that the work which has been
begun may be perfected. Paul does not rest content with present
attainments, saying, You have done enough for the time being, and
by-and-by you may endeavor to do a little more if you feel so
disposed. Paul never lowers the tone of his exhortation; he will have
nothing less than the best that heaven can give, with which to enrich
the hearts of the saints; he will that Colossians and Christians
everywhere might be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all
wisdom and spiritual understanding. Here the Apostle is grandly
metaphysical. He will not be alphabetic and elementary always; he will
continue his processes of education until the soul is literally bathed
and submerged in all the holiest influence which God can bring to bear
upon it. Paul will not have literal Christians—that is, literalists,
learning only in the letter; he will have his followers rich in
"spiritual understanding." That is one thing which the churches most
want—the churches of literature and science; they are consummately
able in debate and controversy, but what have they of inward, vital,
spiritual understanding? (The People's Bible)
WILL OF GOD
Knowing the Will
Through the Scripture
Godly George Mueller (Brief
Full book biography)
man of great faith used greatly by God gave this advice for
determining the will of God: (note I said "advice" not his
(1) I seek to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of it's
own in a given matter. When you're ready to do the Lord's will,
whatever it may be, nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome.
(2) Having done this I don't leave the result to feeling or simply
impression. If I do so, I leave myself liable to great delusion.
(3) I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection
with, God's word. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look
to the Spirit alone with out the Word, I lay myself open to great
delusion also. If the Spirit guides us, He'll do it according to the
scriptures, not contrary to them.
(4) Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often
plainly indicate God's will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
(5) I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me.
(6) Thus, through prayer, the study of the Word, and reflection, I
come to a deliberate judgment, according to the best of my ability and
knowledge. If my mind is thus at peace, and continues after two or
three petitions, I proceed accordingly. I have found this method
always effective in trivial or important issues."
speaking on the advantages of the New Covenant reminds us
the Holy Spirit is promised to
those interested in the covenant. He shall come upon their minds and
shed light instead of darkness, illuminating them as to what the
will of God is. The ungodly man
some degree of light, but it is merely intellectual. It is a light
that he does not love. He loves darkness rather than light, because
his deeds are evil. But where the Holy Spirit comes, He floods the
soul with a divine luster, in which the soul delights and desires to
participate to the fullest degree. Brethren, the renewed man, the man
under the covenant of grace, does not need constantly to resort to his
Bible to learn what he ought to do, nor to go to some fellow Christian
to ask instruction. He has not got the law of God now written on a
table of stone, or upon parchment, or upon paper; he has got the
law written upon his own mind (see note
There is now a divine, infallible Spirit dwelling within him which
tell him the right and the wrong, and by this he speedily discerns
between the good and the evil. He no longer puts darkness for light,
and light for darkness, bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. His
mind is enlightened as to the true holiness and the true purity which
The best way to study a
subject often begins with a definition of that subject.
What do we mean by the will of God? It is
that holy and stated purpose of the Father to make His
dear children as much like Christ as possible. Without
doubt the most important factor in finding God’s will is
the Bible itself. God speaks to us not in some loud voice,
but through the Scriptures.
1) The Scriptures declare He does have a definite
will for my life. “The steps of a good man are ordered by
the Lord” (Ps 37:23-note).
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should
go” (Ps 32:8-note).
See also Eph 2:10-note;
2) God desires us to know this will for our lives.
“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will
of the Lord is” (Ep 5:17-note).
3) This will is continuous. It does not begin when
I am thirty years of age. God has a will for children,
young people, adults, and senior citizens. See Isa 58:11.
4) God’s will is specific. “Your ears shall hear a
word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isa
“But the way of the upright is a highway” (Pr 15:19).
5) God’s will is profitable (Joshua 1:8-note;
What is the will of God for us? As we have already noted,
it differs from believer to believer. But here are four
aspects in the will of God which apply to every Christian:
rightly stated that there is no safer place for
anyone on earth than in the will of God.
As John Calvin
approve of anything that is not supported by his
Word...If we would avoid a senseless natural
philosophy we must always start with this principle:
that everything in nature depends upon the will of
God, and that the whole course of nature is only the
prompt carrying into effect of His orders.
It is His will that we learn more about God
It is His will that we grow in grace 1Thes 4:3
It is His will that we study His Word - 2Ti 3:14,
15, 16, 17-see notes
It is His will that we share our faith Acts
1:8; 1Ti 2:4,
Ferguson said that...
The will of God
means death to our own will, and resurrection only
when we have died to all our own plans...It should
be the aim of every Christian to have his will
directed by the will of God revealed in Scripture
(and)....Only in obedience can we discover the great
joy of the will of God...
God's will is the
rule of righteousness, and His righteousness is the
rule of His will.
Pettingill really "nails" many of us when he
Most people don't
want to know the will of God in order to do it; they
want to know it in order to consider it.
Rees counters with the admonition that...
To understand the
will of God is my problem; to undertake the will of
God is my privilege; to undercut the will of God is
Swindoll in his unique style puts it this way...
plan doesn't always make earthly sense.
F B Meyer
(in his devotional on Mt 6:10 -
see notes) writes that...
MANY PEOPLE shrink from God's
will. They think that it always means pain, or sorrow, or
bereavement. They always feel melancholy when you speak of doing the
Will of God. Alas! how the devil has libeled God. The will of God is
the will of a Father. It is the Fatherhood of God going out in action.
"It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones
should perish." "This is the will of God, even your sanctification."
If only the will of God were
done on earth, as it is done in heaven, there would be peace between
the nations, and love and happiness in all our homes. Love would
cement the union of all men in a city of blessedness. The fact of the
world's present condition is no argument against the beneficence and
blessedness of the will of God. It is because men will not do the will
of God that things are as they are!
In our own life we shall never be
really fight or happy until we have got to the point of saying: "I
delight to do Thy will, O my God." We may not begin there. The first
step is to choose it, then we shall come to accept it lovingly and
thankfully; but, finally, we shall rejoice and delight in it. If you
cannot say "Thy Wilt be done," say: "I am willing to be made willing
that Thy Will should be done." If your will is like a bit of rough and
rugged iron, tell God that you are willing for it to be plunged into
the furnace of His love, so that all which is unyielding and obdurate
may pass away before the ardent heat of the Divine Fire. Depend on it
that He will not fail, nor be discouraged with the long process that
may be required; and that He will not be rough or violent. He will
stay His east wind. He will keep His hand on the pulse, that He may be
aware of the least symptom that the ordeal is too strong.
At first there may be a twinge of
pain, as when a dislocated limb is pressed back into its proper
position, but afterwards there is the blessed restoration of healthy
vigor. You will only lose what you would gladly give up if you know as
much as God does of what promotes soul-health. "Whosoever," said our
Lord, "will do the Will of my Father, the same is my brother, and
sister, and mother." "In His Will is our peace."
Most Gracious God, to know and love
whose will is righteousness, enlighten our souls with the brightness
of Thy presence, that we may both know Thy Will and be enabled to
perform it. AMEN.
The great Puritan writer Thomas Watson listed the following principles
to invoke in order to rightly discern God's will...
How shall we do God’s will aright?
(1) Get sound knowledge. We must know his will before we can do it;
knowledge is the eye to direct the foot of obedience. The Papists make
ignorance the mother of devotion; but Christ makes ignorance the
mother of error. ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ Mt.
22:29. We must know God’s will before we can do it aright. Affection
without knowledge, is like a horse full of mettle, but his eyes are
(2) If we would do God’s will aright, let us labor for self denial.
Unless we deny our own will, we shall never do God’s will. His will
and ours are like the wind and tide when they are contrary. He wills
one thing, we will another; he calls us to be crucified to the world,
by nature we love the world; he calls us to forgive our enemies, by
nature we bear malice in our hearts. His will and ours are contrary,
and till we can cross our own will, we shall never fulfil his.
(3) Let us get humble hearts. Pride is the spring of disobedience.
‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?’ Ex. 5:2. A proud
man thinks it below him to stoop to God’s will. Be humble. The humble
son says, Lord what will you have me to do?’ He puts, as it were, a
blank paper into God hand; and bids him write what he will, and he
will subscribe to it.
(4) Beg grace and strength of God to do his will. ‘Teach me to do thy
will:’ as if David had said, Lord, I need not be taught to do my own
will, I can do it fast enough, but teach me to do thy will. Psalm
143:10. And that which may add wings to prayer, is God’s gracious
promise, ‘I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in
my statutes.’ Ezekiel 36:27. If the lodestone draw the iron, it is not
hard for the iron to move: if God’s Spirit enable, it will not be
hard, but rather delightful to do God’s will.
Martin Luther said...
“If it were in the will of God, I’d plant an oak tree today, even if
Christ were coming tomorrow”
When David Livingstone was asked if he didn’t fear that going into
Africa was too difficult and too dangerous, he answered,
“I am immortal until the will of God for me is accomplished.”
An illustration of the principles to utilize when seeking the will of
F. B. Meyer was sailing many years ago to England from northern
Ireland. He told the story of how it was night and, as the ship
entered the harbor, nothing was to be seen but a confusing array of
lights. Dr. Meyer wondered how the captain could hope to navigate into
the harbor safely at night in such a confusing jumble of lights, and
so he asked him. The captain took him up to the bridge and said, “You
see, sir, it’s really very simple. I’ll show you how. Do you see that
big light over to the left? And do you see that other big light over
there to the right of it? And now, do you see that outstanding light
farther still this way? Well now, keep your eyes on those three lights
and see what happens.” As Dr. Meyer watched, the big outer light on
the left gradually moved in until it coincided with the middle one.
Then, as the ship turned, the light gradually merged into the third.
“There now,” said the captain, “all I have to do is to see that those
three big lights become one; then I go straight forward.” The point is
that the believer also has three lights to guide him into the will of
God. When Scripture and conscience are lined up with outward
circumstances so that the three become one, we need have no fear. We
may go straight ahead. God’s will is clear.
An illustration of how not to discern the will of God...
A middle-aged farmer who had been desiring for years to be an
evangelist was out working in the field one day when he decided to
rest under a tree. As he looked into the sky he saw that the clouds
seemed to form into the letters P and C. Immediately he hopped up,
sold his farm, and went out to P-reach C-hrist, which he felt was
God’s leading. Unfortunately, he was a horrible preacher. After one of
his sermons a neighbor came forward and whispered in his ear, “Are you
sure God wasn’t just trying to tell you to P-lant C-orn.”
Related resources on the "will of God"
Matthew 6:9-10: Thy Will Be Done - Sermon on Mount Series On Site
Romans 11:33-12:2: Discovering the Will
of God - Ray Stedman
What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know
It? - John Piper
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of
Spurgeon -If, for your own
and others’ profiting, you desire to “be filled with the knowledge of
[God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9),
remember that prayer is your best means of study. You may force your
way through anything with the leverage of prayer. (Daily Help)
><> ><> ><>
J C Philpot -January 2
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18
Growth is the sure mark of life. We see this in vegetation, in the
animal creation, in the growth of our own bodies, and of every other
thing in which there is life. Where, then, there is the life of God
in the soul, there will be a growth in that life. Paul says to the
Thessalonian Church--"We are bound to thank God always for you,
brethren, as it is fit, because your faith grows exceedingly" (2
Thess. 1:3); and Peter says, "But grow in grace, and in the
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." There is "an
increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10), and "a coming in
the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto
a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of
Christ" (Eph. 4:13). It was for this increasing knowledge of the Son
of God that Paul stretched every desire of his soul when he followed
after, if that he might apprehend that for which also he was
apprehended of Christ Jesus; and thus reaching forth unto those
things which were before, he pressed toward the mark, for the prize
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12-14).
This is not what is called 'progressive sanctification', as if the
flesh got holier and holier, for that is still ever "the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" but this is a
growth of that "new man, which after God is created in righteousness
and true holiness." After this growth in grace, this closer
conformity to the image of Christ, should we ever be striving with
all the powers of our soul; not satisfied with a low and lean state
before God, but with unceasing prayer and supplication, begging of
the Lord that we might be "filled with the knowledge of his will in
all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that we might walk worthy of
the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and
increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:9, 10).
><> ><> ><>
Magazine Christianity- Are
we "Time-magazine Christians"? Pastor Stan Henderson used this phrase
to describe how some believers divide their lives into departments,
with the religious section given a half-page somewhere near the back.
Little if any attempt is made to relate matters of faith to the
everyday issues of life.
Some think that the spiritual part of their lives can be taken care of
by church attendance or doing some good. Then they are free to run
their own businesses, choose their entertainment, or relate to people
in whatever way pleases them. But Christianity can't be confined to
just one area of our lives.
When Paul prayed for the believers in Colosse, he asked God to fill
them with "the knowledge of His will" (1:9). He asked that they would
know His will in every aspect of their experience—what they thought
and what they did—so that they would live a life worthy of the Lord
and please Him in every way (v.10).
Our relationship with Christ must affect all areas of life. There is
no way we can live a life that is pleasing to God if we keep our faith
limited to the religious section. Walking with Christ is a total-life
Invite Jesus into all of your life. Then you won't be a Time-magazine
Christian. — David C. Egner
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
For Further Thought
Is there a part of your life that you're keeping under your own
control--finances, recreation, work, home, goals, habits,
relationships? Yield it to Christ's control.
Give Christ the key to every
room in your life.
Praying Like Paul - It's
dark. It's cold. You've been thrown into prison, and you don't know
when you'll get out or when you'll eat your next
meal. You bow your head to pray. What will you pray for? Safety?
Deliverance? A decent meal?
If you are the apostle Paul, you pray for something far different. You
talk to God about a group of people you have never seen.
Colossians 1 gives us a brief record of Paul's prison prayer for the
people at the church in Colossae. His words help us see how important
intercessory prayer should be--even when we have our own troubles.
In Paul's case, he prayed for what he thought this young church
needed. He asked God to give them several things, including spiritual
understanding (v.9), fruitful lives (v.10), and strength, patience,
and joy (Col 1:11-note).
Paul gave thanks and prayed for his fellow believers "always" (Col
Not just when he felt good. Not just when he was warm and well-fed.
How often is our prayer-life interrupted by circumstances that we turn
into excuses? Our friends, our family members--even people we don't
know--need our intercession. No matter what our difficulty, let's pray
for others. — Dave Branon
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
We give to others what they need;
We show no greater care
Than when we give them to the Lord,
Surrounding them with prayer. --DJD
The best way to influence people for God is to intercede with God