Amplified: And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment], (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
NLT: I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: My prayer for you is that you may have still more love - a love that is full of knowledge and wise insight. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: And it is my prayer that your love may be more and more accompanied by clear knowledge and keen perception, for testing things that differ
Wuest: And this is the constant purport of my definite petitions, namely, that your love [divine and self-sacrificial in its nature as ministered to you by the Holy Spirit] yet more and more might overflow, but at the same time be kept within the guiding limitations of an accurate knowledge [of God’s word] gained by experience, and those [guiding limitations] of every kind of sensitive moral and ethical tact, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and this I pray, that your love yet more and more may abound in full knowledge, and all judgment,
|AND THIS I PRAY: kai touto proseuchomai (1SPMI): (Phil 1:4)
And - Alford (Comments) says this "refers back to the prayer in Php 1:4 'and this is the purport (design, intent, meaning) of my prayer.' At the same time this purport follows most naturally, after the expression of desire for them in the last verse." Bengel (Comments) writes that this refers to Php 1:3 where he begins to pray for them and that he now is explaining the substance of his prayer.
Joseph Beet - After mentioning for a moment in Php 1:4-note his petitions to God for his readers, Paul now adds to his thanks for the good work already begun in them and his hopes for its completion a definite prayer for its progress: and this I pray. The matter of this prayer, he describes as its purpose: he prays in order that their love... (Philippians 1:9-11 Commentary)
A W Pink laments on "How different are the prayers of Scripture from those which we are accustomed to hear in religious gatherings! Who ever heard this petition offered in public: "This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment"! How many would understand its purport if they should hear it? True spirituality, vital godliness, personal piety, has almost become an unknown quantity in Christendom today. How very different is this bold and comprehensive request "may abound yet more and more" from the halting and halfhearted "if it can please Thee to favor us with a sip" of those who seem utterly afraid to ask for anything worthy of such a God as ours! How little can such souls be acquainted with "the God of all grace." Seriously ponder the petitions of Paul and observe that he was not straitened, and therefore he asked for no half measures or scanty portions. Above all, realize that these prayers are recorded for our instruction, for our encouragement, for our emulation.
Pray (4336) (proseuchomai [word study] from prós = conveys sense of towards which adds the idea of consciousness on part of God’s presence and attention + euchomai = comprehensive term for invocation of deity, including the senses of "to vow" as well as "to ask, pray") (Click related noun proseuche) speaks of prayer directed consciously to God, with a definite aim. Proseuchomai carries with it a notion of worship which is not present in the word deomai (see related word deesis).
Proseuchomai is used of prayer to God in general and in classical Greek was the technical term for calling on a deity. The NT transforms the classical stiffness into the warmth of genuine conversation. Such entreaty in the NT is addressed to God or Jesus and typically is both personal and specific. The present tense of proseuchomai indicates this was a continuous activity with Paul and the middle voice means he not only initiated the action but participated in the results or effects thereof.
Proseuchomai is the verb that Jesus used when He instructed us why and how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount...
Proseuchomai reflects the importance of a reverential attitude in our prayers more than the length of the prayers. This praying is not restricted to time or place for the believer ''is not in a right place if he cannot continue to pray there.''
Therefore, Paul's injunction means that one should be constantly conscious of his full dependence upon God. It is important in our "me centered" society to note that Paul didn't pray for physical needs, success, or "blessing" in general (e.g., "Lord bless the saints at Philippi") in this prayer or for that matter anywhere else in his epistles. His attitude of reverential prayer for the spiritual growth of the saints should motivate all saints to be imitators of Paul for all the saints in their sphere of influence. It's one thing to have someone in mind but quite another to have them in your prayers!
Dwight Pentecost has some interesting insights "People who spend time together in prayer find themselves bound by the closest of ties. When two labor together in prayer before God, all hypocrisy is stripped away, all sham and pretext about loving one another evaporates and people are compelled to be perfectly honest with each other before God. When in the first chapter of Philippians we read of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for these believers in Philippi, the heart of the apostle is exposed. In all honesty before God, because of his love for them, he prays for them. In Php 1:8-11 we see the genuineness and depth of Paul’s love for these to whom he ministered personally some ten years before. Paul has had only the briefest personal contact with these Philippians since he first met them on his second missionary journey. Yet his heart is still bound to them by inseparable ties. In this we see something of the pastor’s heart of Paul, for even a decade has not diminished or dimmed his love for them. Neither has the passage of time removed the sense of obligation that the apostle feels as a shepherd toward his sheep. His love does not depend on his presence with them. It is a tie that was established because he was their pastor and they were sheep of his pasture. (The Joy of Living- A Study of Philippians)
Berean Bible Church...
THAT YOUR LOVE MAY ABOUND STILL MORE AND MORE: hina e agape humon perisseue (3SPAS) eti mallon kai mallon: (Phil 3:15; 16 Job 17:9; Pr 4:18; Mt 13:31, 32, 33; 2Co 8:7; 1Th 3:12; 4:1;4:9,10 2Thes 1:3; Philemon 1:6; 1Pe 1:22)
A GREAT PRAYER TO
Joseph Beet - He prays in order that their love (may increase)... the principle which prompts us to do good to our fellows; as always when not further defined. So Ro 12:9-note; Ro 13:10-note; 1Co 13:4ff-note. It is the distinctive feature of the Christian character. By asking for its increase, Paul assumes its existence. And rightly so. For it is implied (Php 1:5) in fellowship, of which mutual love is always the animating principle. (Philippians 1:9-11 Commentary)
A W Pink presents us an apt metaphor for agape type love "As you take from a fountain, still more comes. As a spring does not keep its water to itself, so love keeps nothing to itself, but it flows out for the use and benefit of others. Love is selfless: its very nature is to give, seeking to promote the glory of God and the good of men. As fountains have their rise in hills, so love is first in God’s heart in heaven. "We love him, because he first loved us" (1John 4:19).
Regarding agape Fee writes...
Agape purposely seeks the welfare of the one loved and springs from intelligence and good will (Philadelphia type love springs from personal warmth and affection and God teaches it as shown in 1Th 4:9 -note). Agape does not have its origin in the desirability of the object of ones affection. A believer has this love (divine nature) within and it is manifest as fruit by the Holy Spirit as we obey truth. Agape is self-sacrificial love which seeks the loved one's highest good. Agape is an attribute of God, the love that He is and He gives as John explained...
It follows that if agape is supernatural love, it cannot be dispensed from the heart of a natural man (unbeliever), nor can it be shown even by believers unless they surrender to the Holy Spirit Who is the Source and Enabler of this divine. Paul explained to the believers at Rome that...
God models for us this sacrificial love in the famous verse that teaches that...
As believers are surrender to God's Holy Spirit, and allow themselves to be controlled (filled with) the Spirit, He enables the yielded believer to bear fruit one aspect of that fruit being agape love as Paul explains writing that...
Believers cannot bear this spiritual fruit unless they abide in the "Divine Gardener", Christ Jesus, Who explained...
Abiding in Him implies knowing what He instructed in His Word as to how we are to walk or conduct ourselves and obeying His instructions without hesitation and in total reliance on His transforming, empowering grace, which alone is sufficient for such a supernatural conduct.
When we walk by faith and obedience in Christ we will glorify His Father by bearing much fruit which proves we are His disciples (John 15:8).
Maclaren links this ever abounding love with an ever increasing desire (and delight) to obey non-burdensome (1Jn 5:3) God's laws (cp Jn 14:15, 21, 23, 15:10, 13)...
How do we know we are walking in the Spirit and abiding in the Vine Christ Jesus? Paul gives us a practical "check list" to assess whether we are exhibiting sacrificial, agape, love...
Such supernatural love is like a rare, precious flower from heaven, planted in the soil of a believer’s heart
And so Paul prays that their agape love might increase. Love displays itself in knowledge and discernment. In proportion as it abounds it sharpens the moral perceptions for the discernment of what is best. Furthermore the divine love flowing through believers is regulated by an intimate understanding of God’s Word? It is not an uncontrolled emotion for real Biblical, Christ-like love is anchored in convictions based on the revealed truths of Scripture. Our love is to abound in “all discernment” which speaks of moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge. A Spirit produced love which has been confined like a river within the limiting banks of a full experiential knowledge and a sensitive moral and ethical tact, is the thing that sharpens the moral and spiritual perceptions for the discernment of the finer qualities of Christian conduct. This will result in the saint being sincere and without offense until The Day they stand before their Lord, the Righteous Judge.
Abound (4052) (perisseuo from perissos = abundant, exceeding some number, measure, rank or need, over and above) means to cause to superabound, to be superfluous, to overflow, to be in affluence, to excel or to be in abundance with the implication of being considerably more than what would be expected.)
Perisseuo carries the idea of exceeding the requirements, of overflowing or overdoing. It means to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure. It means to have or to be more than enough, to be extremely rich or abundant. To exceed or remain over (as used in loaves left over after feeding the 5000 [Mt 14:20]! When Jesus supplies there is more than enough so that some is even left over! How quick we are to forget this basic principle!) The idea is to overflow like a river out of its banks!
Abound is in the progressive present tense indicating Paul's desire and plea to God was that the saints continually overflowing love. A growing and maturing love is something that has to be worked at (and prayed for). Like the law of entropy, which describes how the physical universe is winding down, our ability to express divine love disintegrates unless we commit ourselves daily to the Spirit's power. We need continual strengthening and practice in showing love to others.
Perisseuo - 39x in 35v in the NAS - Matt 5:20; 13:12; 14:20; 15:37; 25:29; Mark 12:44; Luke 9:17; 12:15; 15:17; 21:4; John 6:12f; Acts 16:5; Rom 3:7; 5:15; 15:13; 1 Cor 8:8; 14:12; 15:58; 2 Cor 1:5; 3:9; 4:15; 8:2, 7; 9:8, 12; Eph 1:8; Phil 1:9, 26; 4:12, 18; Col 2:7; 1 Thess 3:12; 4:1, 10. NAS = abound(10), abounded(1), abounding(1), abundance(2), abundant(1), better(1), cause(1), cause*(1), excel(2), has an abundance(1), have an abundance(3), have more than enough(1), having abundance(1), increasing(1), lavished(1), left over(4), leftover(1), live in prosperity(1), make...abound(1), overflowed(1), overflowing(2), surpasses(1), surplus(2).
In his prayers for the saints Paul made frequent use of the verb abound (perisseúo).
In Ro 15:13 Paul prayed for the Roman saints
In 1Thessalonians 3:12 Paul prayed for the Thessalonian saints that the
In 1Corinthians 15:58 (see note) he used abound to encourage the saints at Corinth
And finally a verse the truth of which surely forms in part the basis for Paul's frequent use of the verb abound (2Corinthians 9:8)
A common desire in Paul's prayers was that the believers ''super abound'': Here Paul prays that their love may keep on overflowing resulting in a perpetual "flood of love", and to do so "yet more and more" but always qualified by the limitations [like river banks keeping a river on course] "in real knowledge and all discernment".
More and more (3123) (mallon) coupled with the preceding verb "abound" paints the picture of the saint's love superabounding. This phrase also indicates their (and our) continual need for unremitting progress of growth in grace. But like a river in flood-time, rushing waters need to be brought within guiding limitations lest it work harm rather than bring blessing. So Paul prays that this love may overflow more and more, but that its outflow and application might be brought within the guiding limitations of knowledge and judgment as discussed below.
Dwight Pentecost notes that...
IN REAL KNOWLEDGE : en epignosei :(1Cor 14:20; Eph 5:17; Col 1:9; 3:10; 2Pe 1:5, 6; 3:18)
In real knowledge and all discernment - These, not warm, fuzzy feelings, should form the ground of their love!
Joseph Beet - Knowledge: more fully scientific knowledge, an orderly and comprehensive acquaintance with something; as in Ro 1:28; 3:20; 10:2: a favourite word of Paul, especially in his later Epistles. Its frequency there is a mark of his mature thought, and perhaps of his deepening conviction of the need, in order to escape prevalent dangers, of a fuller knowledge of the Gospel. (Philippians 1:9-11 Commentary)
A W Pink comments on the need for love to be abounding in real knowledge - As the understanding needs to be enlightened and the conscience informed, so love requires instructing. Love is necessarily connected with knowledge for its inception, continuance, and development. A person must be known by us before we can love him. Christ must become a living reality before the heart is drawn out unto Him. There must be a personal and spiritual acquaintance with divine things before they can be delighted in. Where God is truly known, He is necessarily adored. And...if our love for Him is to increase, we must be more occupied and absorbed with His perfections. But love not only needs to be fed and nourished; it also needs to be taught, if it is to act intelligently. Spiritual love should not act by blind impulse, but be scripturally regulated. The Jews had "a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (Ro 10:2). They sincerely believed they were serving God when they excluded Christians from their synagogues, and later killed them because they supposed those Christians were heretics (Jn 16:2), yet they erred grievously, and their case has been recorded as a solemn warning for us....The world says that "love is blind", but the love of the Christian should be enlightened, well instructed, and directed in all its exercises, effects, and manifestations by the Scriptures. Unless love is regulated by an enlarged and exact knowledge of the Word, and by that good judgment which is the result of matured discernment and experience, it soon degenerates into fanaticism and unwise exertions. An affectionate regard for our brethren is to be far more than a mere sentiment, namely, "love in the truth" (2Jn 1:1), love informed and controlled by the truth....Only as love is regulated by light, and light is accompanied by and infused with love, are we well balanced.
Real knowledge (1922) (epignosis [word study] from epí - upon, gives the force of “fully” + ginosko = to know related to gnosis = knowledge) is full knowledge, indicating that it is a fuller, more complete form of the root word, gnósis.
Both epignosis and gnosis denote acquired or experimental knowledge but whereas gnosis may be true or false, epignosis is always true knowledge and is knowledge in the spiritual (in contrast to the secular) sphere. It usually conveys the thought of full knowledge or increasing knowledge.
For example, Paul writes
The context makes clear that this knowledge is not speculative or theoretical nor only devotional, although this latter element is an essential factor in this epignosis.
Epígnosis is an intensely practical activity. It cannot be dissociated from the following exhortations to conducting themselves worthily of the Lord. These are the inevitable effects of an increase in the knowledge of God.
Epígnosis is knowledge based on personal involvement with the object of that knowledge (experiential)--not a mere intellectual understanding of the Truth.
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 knowledge(4).
True knowledge will hone our senses that we might accurately perceive what is true or what is worthless in any given matter. Far from being uncontrolled emotion, divine love is regulated by a knowledge of God's Word. Love controlled by God's Word is deep, anchored in convictions based on the truth. Vine adds that if the Philippian saint's "love were to increase, its outgoings were to be directed and controlled. Love is not impulsive, as though it were a mere emotion; love is intelligent, and therefore seeks that full and accurate knowledge which enables it to bestow itself worthily."
Kenneth Wuest - The full knowledge which these Philippians needed to gain by experience was a better understanding of God’s Word as translated into their experience, and a clearer vision of the Lord Jesus in all the beauty and fragrance of His Person. A Christian can have an “understanding” knowledge of the Word, that is, be able to explain its meaning to others, without having an experiential knowledge of the same. But when that Christian has put the Word of God into practice in his life, then he has what Paul is talking about here. This is the difference between a young convert and a matured believer. The former has not had time to live long enough to live out the Word in his life, the latter has. The former, if his life is wholly yielded, is a delight to look upon in his Christian life, as one would enjoy the vigor and sparkle of youth. The latter, in his mellowed, well-rounded, matured, and fully-developed Christian experience, his life full of tender reminiscences of his years of companionship with the Lord Jesus, has the fragrance of heavenly things about him. This was what the Philippian saints needed, but it would take time for this to be brought about. This mellowed Christian experience would constitute the limitations thrown around this overflowing love that would insure its proper application and wise outreach. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
AND ALL DISCERNMENT : kai pase aisthese: (~ delicate spiritual perception)
All (pas) - means all without exception. Compare to Paul's commands to the Thessalonians to "examine (present imperative = continually do this = continually necessary!) everything (pas)" (1Th 5:21-note) and "abstain (present imperative = continually ) from every (pas) form of evil." (1Th 5:22-note)
Alexander Maclaren - ‘Discernment’ literally means ‘sense,’ and here, of course, when employed about spiritual and moral things it means the power of apprehending good and bad as such. It is, I suppose, substantially equivalent to conscience, the moral tact or touch of the soul by which, in a manner analogous to bodily sense, it ascertains the moral character of things. This growth of love in the power of spiritual and moral discernment is desired in order to its exercise in ‘proving things that differ.’ It is a process of discrimination and testing that is meant, which is, I think, fairly represented by the more modern expression which I have used—keenness of conscience. (Sermon)
Maclaren goes on to offer some wonderful insights on how increasing love is linked to increasing discernment writing that...
Discernment (144) (aisthesis from aisthánomai = to apprehend by the senses, to perceive and in NT speaks primarily of spiritual perception; our English = aesthetic; the root verb is aio = to perceive) refers to the capacity to understand referring not so much to an intellectual acuteness but to a moral sensitiveness. It thus speaks of moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge--the deep knowledge Paul had already mentioned. Aisthesis therefore is more of an immediate knowledge than that arrived at by reasoning. It describes the capacity to perceive clearly and hence to understand the real nature of something. It is the capacity to discern and therefore understand what is not readily comprehensible. It refers to a moral action of recognizing distinctions and making a decision about behavior.
It is interesting to note that the meaning of aisthesis is almost the opposite of the English word “aesthetic” which is derived from the Greek word. Aesthetic speaks of one who is appreciative of, responsive to, or zealous about the beautiful. It has largely to do with personal taste and preference. Paul calls believers to put aside personal tastes and preferences and to focus instead on achieving mature insight and understanding.
The English dictionary states that discernment is the power to see what is not evident to the average mind and stresses accuracy as in reading character or motives. The idea is to detect with the senses and in the present context speaks of a believer's "spiritual senses" being "fine tuned" (not judgmental but also not gullible - instead discriminating, able to see the difference between two or more things).
Love that abounds in all discernment is love that is controlled by theology, and theology must be applied to life with insight. It is used of those moral and spiritual concepts and actions which involve delicate and keen distinctions, those that require a deep and keen discernment to recognize. Not the ordinary, everyday, easily understood spiritual obligations, but the finer points of Christian conduct. It speaks of those things that are superior, vital, that surpass, that excel! Finally, it refers to the ability to make proper moral and spiritual decisions in the midst of a vast array of differing and difficult choices.
Berean Bible Church...
John Eadie writes that aisthesis...
Joseph Beet says the idea of aisthesis is...
MacArthur writes that aisthesis
Barclay writes that
NIDNTT adds that...
Although aisthesis is used only here in the NT, there are 23 uses in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ex 28:3; Pr 1:4, 7, 22; 2:3, 10; 3:20; 5:2; 8:10; 10:14; 11:9; 12:1, 23; 14:6f, 18; 15:7, 14; 18:15; 19:25; 22:12; 23:12; 24:4). Note the predominance of uses in Proverbs. It is not surprising that Wisdom literature would have most of the Scriptural uses on discernment! For example, Solomon writes that the proverbs are written in part...
Aisthesis represents a moral action of recognizing distinctions and making a decision about behavior. Discernment selects, classifies, and applies what is furnished by knowledge. It means to have the capacity to perceive clearly. It describes the ability to understand the real nature of something and once discriminating to make the proper moral decision.
Hebrews has the sole NT use of the related word aistheterion refers to the organs or senses of perception...
Luke has the sole NT use of the root verb aisthanomai recording that
John Eadie explains that
One of the sure marks of maturity is discerning love. This goal speaks of sensitive moral perception, and a quickness of ethical tact. How often we saints mean to be loving to others, and say the wrong words or do the wrong thing. We lack that delicate sensibility, that ability to express ourselves correctly, that gentle, wise, discriminating touch which would convey the love we have in our hearts to the lives of others. But this can be ours if we but live in close companionship with the One who always exhibited that sense of delicate tactfulness in His life. While it is true that we must approach the Word of God with an open mind, we also must recognize that God’s truth provides absolute boundaries for that openness.
Paul was praying that their self sacrificial love produced in yielded hearts by the Holy Spirit might overflow like a river in flood-time whose powerful waters needed to be brought within limits (cp "real knowledge and all discernment") lest it work harm rather than bring blessing.
R J Morgan writes that...
G. K. Chesterton spoke to a believer's need love that is discerning when he wrote,
Harry A. Ironside - DISCERNING LOVE - Lack of discernment often accounts for the failure of those in the pew to realize the full import of unsound teaching from the pulpit.
A brilliant modernistic preacher, who had pleased his audience with flowery oratory and beautiful perorations, as he discoursed glibly of the importance of breadth of view and the danger of bigoted opinions, was bidding farewell to his congregation as he was about to leave them for a new parish. One of his young men approached him and said, "Pastor, I am sorry we are losing you. Before you came I was one who did not care for GOD, man, or the devil, but through your delightful sermons, I have learned to love them all!" This is mere sentimentality -- not discerning love
AMPLIUS LIVES - It is said that one day Michelangelo entered his studio to examine the work of his students. As he came to the painting of one of his favorite pupils, he stood and looked at it for a long time. Then, to the utter surprise of the class, he suddenly took a brush and wrote one word across the canvas. That one word he splashed on the picture was amplius, meaning "larger." Michelangelo was not rejecting the work, for it exhibited great skill and was good as far as it went. But the small size of the canvas had made its design appear cramped. It needed to be expanded.
The Lord may have to write the word amplius across many of our lives. Our spiritual outlook becomes confined, and our vision of what God wants to do in and through us gets restricted by our small faith and limited spiritual growth (and limited spiritual vision). He wants to increase the dimensions of our spiritual lives (and the spiritual vision of our hearts), widen our outreach, and strengthen our witness.
OUR LIMITED VISION
A W Pink's exposition - The petition. "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment" or "sense."
Paul not only prayed for these saints, but he acquainted them with the particular things he requested for them, so that they might know what they should ask for and earnestly strive after. In like manner, his prayer is placed on permanent record in the Word that saints in all generations might be similarly instructed. If we would ascertain our special spiritual needs, if we would be better informed of the specific things we most need to ask for, then we should pay more than ordinary attention to these prayers of the apostle.
We should fix them in our minds, meditating frequently on them, begging God to open to us their spiritual meaning, and to effectually impress our hearts with the same. There is nothing provincial or evanescent about these prayers, for they are suited to and designed for Christians of all ages, places, and cases.
There is a wealth of heavenly treasure in them which no expositor can exhaust, and which the Holy Spirit will reveal to humble, earnest, seeking souls.
Those Philippian saints already loved God and His Christ, His cause, and His people, yet the apostle prayed that their love might "abound yet more and more"....The more we discern the grace of God at work in an individual Christian or church, the greater encouragement we have to make request that a still larger measure of it may be communicated to him or them.
Goodwin pointed out that the Greek word here used for "abound" is a metaphor taken from the bubbling up and flowing of a spring of water, and showed the force and appropriateness of it. A spring flows naturally and spontaneously, and not by the mechanical efforts of men. Such is divine love in the soul: it operates freely and not by constraint, it works readily, and requires no urging from without. Where Christ is known to the soul, the heart cannot help being drawn out unto Him and delighting in Him.
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another" (1Th 4:9).
No one can be made to love one another, but where there is love it will act freely and readily.
As you take from a fountain, still more comes. As a spring does not keep its water to itself, so love keeps nothing to itself, but it flows out for the use and benefit of others. Love is selfless: its very nature is to give, seeking to promote the glory of God and the good of men. As fountains have their rise in hills, so love is first in God’s heart in heaven. "We love him, because he first loved us" (1John 4:19).
To the phrase "that your love may yet abound," or spring up and flow forth, the apostle added "yet more and more." God can never have enough of our love, nor us of His grace. If we would receive an enlargement of love we must be more and more engaged with its Object.
Love to Be Informed and Controlled by the Truth - It is painful to witness sincere and affectionate believers making mistakes and falling into wrong courses through lack of light, yet there are many such cases. A wrongly instructed and injudicious Christian causes trouble among his fellow Christians, and often increases the reproaches of the world. Paul here prayed for an intelligent affection in the saints, for a warm heartedness based upon and flowing from an enlarged perception of divine things, that they might have a clear apprehension of the just claims of God and of their brothers and sisters in Christ. The world says that love is blind, but the love of the Christian should be enlightened, well instructed, and directed in all its exercises, effects, and manifestations by the Scriptures. Unless love is regulated by an enlarged and exact knowledge of the Word, and by that good judgment which is the result of matured discernment and experience, it soon degenerates into fanaticism and unwise exertions. An affectionate regard for our brethren is to be far more than a mere sentiment, namely, "love in the truth" (2Jn 1:1), love informed and controlled by the truth.
Some Christians have a good understanding of the truth yet are considerably carnal in their walk (1Co 3:1, 2, 3). Others, though defective in knowledge and unsettled in the faith, are yet warmhearted, having much zeal toward God and His cause, and a considerable command over their passions. God’s people should labor for both. It was love and zeal for Christ which prompted the apostles to say, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias [Elijah] did?" when they saw how their Master was slighted. Yet it was misdirected love and zeal, as His "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of" (Lk 9:54, 55) showed. Love must be instructed if it is to be placed on legitimate objects and restrained from non permissible ones, if it is to be rightly exercised on all occasions. And the needed instruction can be obtained only from God’s Word. Only as love is regulated by light, and light is accompanied by and infused with love, are we well balanced.
"That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment." Something more than bare knowledge, even though it is a knowledge of the Word, is needed if love is to be duly regulated and exercised. That something is here termed "judgment," or in the margin, "sense." (Ed: or "all discernment") That word occurs in the singular number nowhere else in the New Testament, and only once (Heb 5:14) in its plural form, where it is rendered "senses." In Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible it is defined as "perfection, sense, intelligence.’’
Not only do we need to be thoroughly familiar with the Scriptures. If we are to make proper use of such knowledge, then good judgment is required in the governing of our affections and the ordering of our affairs.
Our Love to Abound in Knowledge - Many are wise in the general principles and in the letter of the Word, but err grievously in the applying of those principles in detail. There is a vast variety of circumstances in our lives. These call for much prudence in dealing with them aright. If our hearts are to be properly governed and our ways suitably ordered, much instruction and considerable experience are required. Besides a knowledge of God’s will, the spirit of discretion is needed. There are times when all lawful things are not expedient, and wisdom is indispensable to determine when those times and where those places are, as well as by which persons they may be used or performed. Indiscretion and folly remain in the best of us. The chief work of our judgment is to perceive what is proper for the time, the place, the company where we are, that we may order our behavior aright (Ps. 50:23); that we may know how to conduct ourselves in all relations civil and sacred, in work or in recreation; that we may conduct ourselves wisely as husbands, fathers, wives, or children; as employers or employees. Love needs to be directed by good judgment in all its exercises and expressions. (Prayer for Discerning Love)
Amplified: So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences], and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble].
KJV: That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
NLT: For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: I want you to be able always to recognise the highest and the best, and to live sincere and blameless lives until the day of Jesus Christ. I want to see your lives full of true goodness, produced by the power that Jesus Christ gives you to the praise and glory of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: so that you may be men of transparent character, and may be blameless, in preparation for the day of Christ,
Wuest: So that you may after testing, recognize the true value of the finer points of Christian conduct and thus sanction them, in order that you may be pure and not a stumbling block, keeping in view the day of Christ, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for your proving the things that differ, that ye may be pure and offenceless -- to a day of Christ,
SO THAT YOU MAY APPROVE : eis to dokimazein (PAN) humas: (You - Isa 7:15; 16 Am 5:14; 15 Mic 3:2; Jn 3:20; Ro 2:18; 7:16, 22; 8:7; Ro 12:2, 9) (approve Job 12:11; 34:3; 2Co 11:13, 14, 15; Ep 5:10; 1Th 5:21; He 5:12, 5:13 14; 1Jn 4:1; Rev 2:2)
So that (eis) is a preposition of motion which literally means toward or into. When eis is used to describe a result, effect, consequence, it marks that which a person inclines toward or becomes (in this case a person with such a increasing knowledgeable and discerning love is becoming one who can continually test and approve things as genuine - see below). Whenever you see a "so that", pause and ponder "so what?" You may be surprised at how much greater insight the Spirit will give you when you prayerfully take time to interrogate terms of purpose or result with the 5W/H questions!
PRAYING FOR DISCERNMENT
While Paul is praying for discernment here in Php 1:9-10, in his letter to the Romans Paul commands the saints (and us) to be pursuing after discernment...
Approve (1381) (dokimazo [word study]) was used in ancient times for the testing of gold to determine its purity, of testing money to be sure it wasn't counterfeit and for trying oxen to assess their usefulness for the task at hand (see Lk 14:19). The purpose of increasing in love, controlled by knowledge and discernment, is to be able to evaluate people and situations correctly.
Paul desires that the saints at Philippi might continually (note his use of present tense = continuous action) test things for the purpose of approving and ultimately practicing what is morally and ethically superior. He wants them to continually put things to the test in order to detect the good. And so he prays for them to have the ability to sift or test things and recognize its worth so that they might give it their stamp of approval.
Two good tests for us to follow as we exercise spiritual discernment: (1). Will it make others stumble? (2) Will I be ashamed if Jesus should return?
Dokimazo - 22x in 20v in NAS - Luke 12:56; 14:19; Rom 1:28; 2:18; 12:2; 14:22; 1 Cor 3:13; 11:28; 16:3; 2 Cor 8:8, 22; 13:5; Gal 6:4; Eph 5:10; Phil 1:10; 1 Thess 2:4; 5:21; 1 Tim 3:10; 1 Pet 1:7; 1 John 4:1. NAS = analyze(2), approve(3), approved(1), approves(1), examine(4), examines(1), prove(1), proving(1), see fit(1), test(2), tested(3), try(1), trying to learn(1).
A W Pink comments on approving the things that are excellent.
THE THINGS THAT ARE EXCELLENT IN ORDER TO BE SINCERE : ta diapheronta (PAPNPA) hina ete (2PPAS) eilikrineis: (Phil 1:16; Ge 20:5; Jos 24:14; Jn 1:47; Acts 24:16; 2Co 1:12; 2:17; 8:8; Eph 4:15; 5:27; 6:24; 1Th 3:13; 5:23)
The things - Always interrogate with 5W/H questions - e.g., What things? In this context, the answer is immediately apparent - those things that are excellent, of more value to one's spiritual life.
The things that are excellent - The things that differ.
As Beet says...
Only a divinely given comprehension of the great realities and discernment of moral details will enable us to distinguish the comparative excellence of various modes of action. And no gift is of greater practical worth.
Alexander Maclaren alludes to the believer's continual great need for learning to approve the things that are excellent...
We are surrounded by temptations to evil, and live in a world where maxims and principles not in accordance with the Gospel abound. Our own natures are but partially sanctified. The shows of things must be tested. Apparent good must be proved. The Christian life is not merely to unfold itself in peace and order, but through conflict. We are not merely to follow impulses, or to live as angels do, who are above sin, or as animals do who are beneath it. When false coins are being passed, it is folly to accept any without a test. All around us there is glamour, and so within us there is need for careful watchfulness and quick discrimination.
Berean Bible Church...
Excellent (1308) (diaphero from dia = separation, through + phéro = carry, bear) means literally to carry or take something through an area or structure (Mk 11:16, more figuratively of God's Word in Acts 13:49, Passive sense of a ship being driven about - Acts 27:27).
A T Robertson says that originally diaphero meant
“test the things that differ.” The verb was used for assaying metals. Either sense suits this context, but the first step is to distinguish between good and evil and that is not always easy in our complex civilization.
In the intransitive sense, diaphero means to differ, to be different. To differ in an advantageous way speaks of those things that are superior, to be worth more (in the present context Paul speaks of those things that are worth more from an eternal/spiritual perspective!)
Diaphero applies to those moral and spiritual concepts and actions which involve delicate and keen distinctions and a deep and keen discernment to recognize the differences. These are not the ordinary, everyday, easily understood spiritual assessments, but speak of the finer points of Christian conduct. And thus the great need to pray this prayer for ourselves and our fellow believers!
Paul was not referring merely to the ability to distinguish between good and evil, white and black, so to speak. Most everyone is able to do that (but not always when the mind and heart and conscience is so tainted and distorted - see Isa 5:13, which leads to Isa 5:20, 21, cp Hos 4:6, 7, 8, Malachi 2:17). Paul was concerned about distinguishing between the better and the best -- a capability only a few believers seem to manifest. That kind of discernment enables a person to focus his or her time and energy on what really counts (Remember only the Word and Souls will endure forever!). This quality of spiritual discernment separates the simple from the profound, the weak from the powerful, and the common from the exceptional (all of these primarily referring to the spiritual aspect).
Wuest explains that...
The expression “the things that are more excellent” (the definite article is used in the Greek, pointing to particular things), comes from a word that means “to carry two ways,” thus “to carry different ways,” thus “to differ.” It refers here to those moral and spiritual concepts and actions which involve delicate and keen distinctions, those that require a deep and keen discernment to recognize. Not the ordinary, every-day, easily-understood spiritual obligations, but the finer points of Christian conduct are in the apostle’s mind. The Greek word is found in an early secular document in the sentence, “you are superior to Ptolemais in experience,” and in the phrase “most vital interests in the treasury.” It speaks of those things therefore that are superior, vital, that surpass, that excel. Thus, a Spirit-produced love in the heart and life of the saint, which has been confined like a river within the limiting banks of a full experiential knowledge and a sensitive moral and ethical tact, is the thing that sharpens the moral and spiritual perceptions for the discernment of the finer qualities of Christian conduct. This will result in the saint being sincere and without offence until the day of Christ, which latter expression refers to the Rapture of the Church. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Unnecessary difficulty has been made in the explanation of this phrase. Love displays itself in knowledge and discernment. In proportion as it abounds it sharpens the moral perceptions for the discernment of what is best. The passage is on the line of 1Cor. 12:31, “Covet earnestly the best gifts,” and the “more excellent way” to attain these gifts is love (1Cor 13:1ff).
Thayer (abbreviated and altered)...
1. to bear or carry through any place: Mk. 11:16.
2. to carry different ways, i.e.
a. transitively to carry in different directions, to different places: thus persons are carried hither and thither in a ship, driven to and fro, to carry different ways = to toss or cast about = Acts 27:27; metaphorically to spread abroad: Acts 13:49
There is a secular Greek use - Carrying stones through a gate. Of time - to go through life, will pass his life
b. intransitive (like the Latin differo) to differ: to test, prove, the things that differ: i.e. to distinguish between good and evil, lawful and unlawful, Ro 2:18; Php 1:10,
In Romans 2:18 diaphero has the definite article in front of the verb in Greek - the sense is "the specific things that are of greater value" (essential)
Elsewhere, adopting a secondary sense of each verb in the above passages, translate to approve the things that excel; diaphero tinos = to differ from some one or some thing, i.e. to excel, surpass one: Mt. 6:26; 10:31; 12:12; Lk. 12:7, 24, 1Co 15:41 Gal. 4:1.
c. Impersonally = it makes a difference, it matters, is of importance: it matters nothing to me, Gal 2:6
(Thayer, J. H. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. 1889)
Diaphero - 13x in 13v - Mt 6:26-note; Mt 10:31; 12:12; Mark 11:16; Luke 12:7, 24; Acts 13:49; Acts 27:27 = "driven about"; Ro 2:18-note; 1Cor 15:41; Gal 2:6; 4:1; Php 1:10. NAS = carry(1), differ(1), differs(1), driven about(1), essential(1), excellent(1), makes...difference(1), more valuable(3), spread(1), valuable(1), worth...more(1).
Diaphero in non-apocryphal Septuagint (Lxx)- Esther 3:13; Pr 20:2; 27:14; Da 7:3, 23, 24, 28. In Apocrypha - 1Esd 5:53; 2Macc 3:4; 4:39; 15:13; 3Macc 6:26; Wis 18:2, 10; Pss Sol. 2:27; 16:3; Dat 7:3
This part of Paul's prayer is a prayer for the mind, just as the first part was a prayer for the heart. Very few people are able to pursue excellence because they don't use their minds. Instead they do whatever impulse, emotion, mood, or their environment suggests that they do. They don't think; they just react. They don't control themselves; their selves control them. They can't pursue what is excellent because they can't discern what is excellent. They are like a ball bouncing off every wall it hits in a new direction.
CHOOSING THE BEST
J R Miller - The man with the muck-rake (Ed: muck is dung in a moist state or a mass of dung and putrefied matter)
In another place J R Miller notes that...
An educational study was done in which a group of people were presented a new concept. 50% percent of the people believed the new concept immediately without thinking and 30% didn't; 15% wanted to wait a little while before they made up their minds but didn't ask for any clarification or information. Only 5% analyzed all the details before coming to a conclusion. Apparently 5%t of the population thinks, 15% thinks they think, and 80% would rather die than think!
Someone has said that most of society is on a caboose looking backward: they see only what has already gone by. There's a story about a pilot who came on the loudspeaker during a flight and said,
This may seem funny but sadly it's a fairly accurate picture of how most people live. They have no directional instrumentation and a strong tail wind, so they fly through life with no idea of where they're going. The pursuit of excellence that Paul prays for is realized as we exercise our minds according to the Scriptural pattern laid out in the following Scriptures (among many others): (Ro 12:2-note, Php 4:8-note, Ep 5:9, 9, 10-note, Ep 5:15-note, 1Th 5:21-note)
Take a look at your life: is it filled with the pursuit of the abiding fruit of spiritual excellence or the lusts of the world which are passing away?
In order that (2443) (hina) should again cause you to pause and ponder interrogate this term of conclusion with a 5W/H question! In this context hina marks the purpose of approving the things that are excellent for it is only as the saint approves what is good (as God esteems "goodness") that he or she is able to order their steps in a manner worthy of the Lord. The idea is that believers love (Phil 1:9) so they can pursue excellence (Phil 1:10) , which would in turn produce integrity (sincere and blameless).
Tests are to be applied in order that the counterfeit and the false may be distinguished from the real and the true, and that when they are distinguished the former may be refused, the latter accepted and followed.
R J Morgan (Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook) writes that...
In order (2443) (hina) is a term of conclusion or purpose clause which should prompt a 5W/H question such as "For what purpose?" Some of the questions/answers re easier than others but the value is that this discipline causes you to pause and ponder, in short to learn to meditate on the Scripture, a vanishing discipline in the modern evangelical church, but one that God promises to richly reward (cp Joshua 1:8-note, Ps 1:1-note, Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note)
"SUN TESTED" SAINTS:
To be sincere - The verb eimi (to be) is in the present tense (ete) which calls for their character to continually be sincere, to continually be "like an open book waiting to be read." (Wuest)
Sincere (1506) (eilikrines from heíle = shining or splendor of the sun + kríno = judge, discern = but see possible alternative derivation below) literally means that which is "judged by sunlight' (compare the "Son's light", that day when all believers will ''appear before the bema of Christ'' to be judged - 2Co 5:10-note) As discussed more below, when something is tested by sunlight it is shown to genuine, pure, sincere, uncontaminated, unmixed by seductive influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Eilikrines describes that which is free from spot or blemish such a degree as to bear examination in full splendor of sun.
Alternatively, some say that eilikrines may be derived from eilein which means to whirl round and round as in a sieve and so to sift until every impurity is extracted. On that basis the Christian character is cleansed of all evil until it is altogether pure. The picture is like a winnowing process that removes chaff which leaves that which is unalloyed or unmixed, figuratively here referring to moral and ethical purity.
Eilikrines is rarely used in secular Greek but one use describes fire, the purest thing of all and another use describes a 'total' eclipse of the sun.
Moffatt translates eilikrines as "transparent" in Php 1:10 and as "pure" in the only other NT use in 2Peter 3:1.
Vine writes that eilikrines
As noted the only other NT use of eilikrines is by Peter...
In the OT, eilikrines is found only in the Greek translation of the apocryphal book The Wisdom of Solomon 7:25 where eilikrines describes Wisdom as a “pure influence” or as the Revised Version renders it “clear effluence.”
Paul's and Peter's point is that the sincere Christian is not afraid to ''stand in the light'' for they know that their character can stand any light in which it must stand. There is no hypocrisy about such a saint. His or her life is like an open book waiting to be read by the Author and Perfecter of our faith. What you see is what you get! Paul calls for genuineness, integrity, honesty; of transparent character; clear as crystal, so that the world will see Christ in our character and conduct (cp Mt 5:16-note, Php 2:15-note)
And remember that the "light" of the Word of God will expose our true character
Eilikrineia is the related noun (1Co 5.8, 2Co 1.12, 2Co 2.17) and most versions translate it as 'sincerity'.
James Montgomery Boice has the following illustration in his commentary on Philippians...
Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language (also cited in Collins English Dictionary) records that the English word sincere is "from Latin sincerus, which is said to be composed of sine, without, and cera, wax; as if applied originally to pure honey."
Indeed, God wants His people to have "sun-judged minds" (cp "Son judged!"), not those in which their "sin spots" have been covered over but which have been specifically confessed and fully forsaken.
John MacArthur adds that...
In the church are those who appear as "fine pottery" but are not. There are cracks of sin in their lives filled with the wax of religious ceremony and activity. When held up to the light of God’s Word, the presence or absence of sinful cracks will be apparent. That’s why it is so important for us to feed daily on Scripture (Ps 119:9, 10, 11-note) and to allow our lives to be shaped by its power (Heb 5:14-note).
As followers of Christ who desire to be honorable vessels used by Him (2Ti 2:20-note), we need to cleanse ourselves, so that we might indeed "be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." (2Ti 2:21-note)
Barclay adds several piercing questions regarding eilikrines...
Barnes comments on sincere...
Sincerity - In the palmy days of Roman prosperity, when her merchants lived in their marble palaces on the banks of the Tiber, there was a sort of emulation in the grandeur and artistic adornment of their dwellings. Good sculptors were eagerly sought after and employed. But tricks were sometimes practised, then as now; thus, if the sculptor came upon a flaw in the marble, or chipped a piece out by accident, he had a carefully prepared wax, with which he filled in the chink, and so carefully fixed it as to be imperceptible. In process of time, however, heat or damp would affect the wax, and reveal its presence. The consequence was, that when new contracts were made for commissioned works of art, a clause was added to the effect that they were to be sine cera, or without cement. Hence we have a word picture of great significance. (J. Tesseyman.)
"Sincere and without offence" - Are words closely connected. "Sincere" seems to be an allusion to a practice common then and now. In the bazaars in the East goods are stored away in very obscure places, and persons go in to make their purchases, and purchase them in that dull light. Those who wish to know the matter thoroughly take the goods to the open space where the sunbeam plays, and then, under the full blaze of the light, if no flaw, and if no stain shall be revealed, the article is pronounced "sincere" in the sense of the text, and consequently without offence. He that walks in darkness knows not where he is going. He strikes against this, and he strikes against that, and he cannot understand it. He gets bewildered and ultimately overthrown. (J. Aldis.)
AND BLAMELESS : kai aproskopoi: (Mt 16:23; 18:6, 7; 26:33; Ro 14:20, 21; 16:17; 1Co 8:13; 10:32; 2Co 6:3; Gal 5:11; 1Th 3:13)
SAINTS THAT ARE NOT
Wuest - This saint is not a stumbling block to others.
Alexander Maclaren explains that blameless or one who ...
Berean Bible Church notes that blameless relates to
Blameless (677) (aproskopos [word study] from a = not + proskopto = strike at, to trip, dash against as foot against a stone) literally means without offense, without stumbling, not stumbling or not tripping. Not causing others to stumble or fail. Not giving offense (thus inoffensive).
NIDNTT adds that aproskopos means "both giving no offense, unobjectionable, blameless, and taking no offense, unhurt."
Aproskopos describes "relational integrity" (See digression on Integrity an attribute that is rapidly vanishing in American society and even in Christianity!) meaning that Christians are to live lives of true integrity that do not cause others to stumble. It is blameless in the sense of not offending or not causing someone else to stumble. It describes one who does not lead others into sin. Such a one is inoffensive and clear (in their conscience).
Aproskopos - Only 3x in the NT - Acts 24:16; 1Cor 10:32; Phil 1:10. In Acts 24:16 aproskopos speaks of the apostle’s aim to have a conscience “void of offense toward God and men,” and in 1Corinthians 10:32, Paul exhorts the saints to “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.”
Thayer has the following entry for aproskopos...
There are only two other NT uses of aproskopos...
Barclay adds that...
Christians are to live lives of such integrity so that they do not cause others to sin. This kind of integrity requires a no-compromise attitude in accord with God's Word. We are to live deeply planted in the rich soil of biblical truth so that our roots tap deep into divine revelation and we flourish. That means many times you will find yourself standing against the world. (Ro 12:2, Jas 1:27, Jas 4:4, 1Jn 2:15)
The eighteenth-century reformer John Wesley was blessed with a godly mother. When he went away to school she reminded him that
UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST: eis hemeran Christou: (1Cor 1:8)
Until (eis) is a preposition marking motion (into, toward). In context, in a sense we are moving "toward" the glorious (for believers only!) day, the day of Christ. Note that until is an expression of time which indicates continuance of an action or condition up to a point in time (to the event mentioned or the time of that event, e.g., Ge 49:10 "until Shiloh comes" where Shiloh ~ the Messiah) and should always prompt you to pause and ponder with the 5W/H questions, questions like "When does until end?" (the day of Christ), "What condition is to continue until that ?" (in this case saints are to continue to be sincere, blameless, and fruitful) Are you ready? John exhorts believers to "be ready" at all times...
Jamieson writes that the day of Christ refers to...
Maclaren exhorts all believers...
Berean Bible Church says that the day of Christ...
Day of Christ - This time phrase (see expressions of time) alludes in part (see below) to the future day when believers will stand
At that time...
On the day when the Lord comes He will...
At that time we will be rewarded according to our deeds, so let us heed our Lord's loving reminder
The sobering reality of the day of Christ should have a purifying effect on the life of every saint (Cp the motivating effect of our being made like Christ one day in the future = our future hope [absolute assurance!] = 1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note) As an aside, given the motivating and purifying influence that a belief in the imminence of Christ's return can have on a believer's life, it is not surprising that roughly 1 in every 20 verses in the NT alludes either directly or indirectly to the Second Coming! Don't mock (turn your nose up to) this truth! (2Pe 3:3, 4-note)
The Day of Christ
|Philippians 1:11 having been filled (RPPMPN) with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (NASB: Lockman)|
Amplified: May you abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (of right standing with God and right doing) which come through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), to the honor and praise of God [that His glory may be both manifested and recognized].
KJV: Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
NLT: May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: I want to see your lives full of true goodness, produced by the power that Jesus Christ gives you to the praise and glory of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: being filled full with the fruit of righteousness, which fruit is through Jesus Christ, resulting in glory and praise to God (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: being filled with the fruit of righteousness, that is through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
|HAVING BEEN FILLED WITH THE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS : pepleromenoi (RPPMPN) karpon dikaiosunes: (Phil 4:17; Ps 1:3; 92:12, 13, 14; Isa 5:2; Lk 13:6, 7, 8, 9; Jn 15:2, 8, 16; Ro 6:22KJV; 15:28; 2Co 9:10; Gal 5:22, 23; Eph 5:9; Col 1:6, 10; Heb 12:11; Jas 3:17 Jas 3:18)
Having been filled - Paul has just described the coming Day of Christ when all saints will see and stand before their Lord blameless. Fruit of righteousness probably describes our position (blameless) and/or our practice (fruit that brings glory to God).
Constable acknowledges the value of Paul's prayer as a model for the prayers of all saints "What an excellent prayer this is! In our day when we tend to voice prayer requests for physical needs primarily we need to follow Paul’s example of putting the spiritual needs of others high on our prayer lists. Christians still need God’s supernatural enablement to value highly the things of greatest importance as revealed in Scripture. Only then will we make choices that will prepare us to give a good account of ourselves at the judgment seat of Christ."
William MacDonald - filled with the fruit of righteousness, that is, with the fruits which righteousness produces, or with all the Christian virtues that make up a righteous life. The source of these virtues is Jesus Christ (Believer’s Bible Commentary)
KJV Bible Commentary comments on being filled - The word (Greek-pleroo) means to make full, cause to abound, filled to the full. This Greek perfect participle expresses the present results of a past action. They have been filled and are still filled. There is no room for anything else; there is no room for any other fruit. With the fruits of righteousness. Righteousness fruit. Which are by Jesus Christ. This fruit cannot be produced by human power but only by the Holy Spirit as the believer is in vital union with Christ (Jn 15:4–5). Unto the glory and praise of God. This is the spiritual purpose of all Christian endeavor.
Robert Lightner comment on being filled with the fruit of righteousness - A righteous stand before God, resulting from being clothed in Christ’s righteousness, ought to produce fruit for God. Such inner qualities, partially described in Galatians 5:22–23, will be evident to others. The fruit of the Spirit comes through Jesus Christ, for it is really His life lived out through believers. Such fruit magnifies God, not self. So a life that exhibits such traits is to the glory and praise of God. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)
Constable comments on being filled - This verse modifies the last half of Php 1:10. The only way we will be able to stand (Ed: "Blameless" cf Jude 1:24-note) before God sincere and blameless is if we allow the Holy Spirit to control us. If we do, He will fill our lives with the fruit that is the product of His righteousness (Gal. 5:22-note, Gal 5:23-note). This righteousness and its fruit come to us through Jesus Christ, not as a result of our own good deeds (Ed: And I would add our so-called "good deeds," deeds done in our strength are wood, hay and stumble at the Bema Seat!). Therefore all the glory and praise for our righteousness, our fruit, and hopefully our flawless and blameless condition at the judgment seat of Christ, goes to God. He is the ultimate source of it all (cf. Eph. 1:6-note, Eph 1:12-note, Eph 1:14-note).
David Garland on the the fruit of righteousness - The unstated agent in this case is God, who fills Christians with this fruit. The genitive “righteousness” may be rendered “fruit that is righteousness” (genitive of apposition), “righteous fruit” (attributive genitive), or “fruit that comes from or is produced by righteousness” (subjective genitive). “Fruit” is related to ethical behavior, and Silva, translates it “the fruit of right conduct.” Caird, asserts that the state of being declared right is a seed that produces a Christian harvest: “It is God’s free unearned gift through Jesus Christ, but it enables man to bear the harvest he ought and so to give God the glory and praise that are his due.” This theme reverberates throughout the letter, as Paul urges the Philippians to obey, to work out their salvation in fear and trembling, and to beware of the libertine lifestyle of the enemies of the cross. It always appears with the corollary that it is God who is working in them (Php 1:6, 2:13) and that the fruit of righteousness comes through Christ. Paul picks up this theme again in Php 3:9. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary)
J Vernon McGee - The “fruits of righteousness” are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Muller - The church, however, can only be pure and irreproachable, if it is filled, like a tree heavily laden, with the fruits of righteousness, if a holy life is revealed, a life that is right before God and adapted to His will, a life abounding in virtues and devoted to God. This subjective righteousness of life is, however, not the result of any human effort, but is only “through Jesus Christ,” who enables the believers to attain it as He works it in them. They who abide in Him (and He in them) bear much fruit (John 15:4, 5). (NICNT).
Gordon Fee explains that the perfect passive participle modifies “that you might be.” (Ed: In Php 1:10 = that you might be sincere and blameless...having been filled...) This is an excellent example of the nuance of the Greek perfect, which is not easily carried over into English. It reflects the present state of something that happened in the past; in this clause, which is from the perspective of the future day of Christ, the “past” is the present. (Paul's Letter to the Philippians)
Some like John MacArthur interpret Paul's the perfect tense in this context to picture the saint's standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2Co 5:10-note) and looking back over their life so to speak. Others disagree, for example Ralph Martin who writes "It is clear that this is part of his prayer for their present experience and influence, rather than a looking forward to their future state at the day of Christ, as Moule takes it."
At the Judgment Seat they are filled with spiritual fruit that has come through Jesus Christ. MacArthur says that "when believers stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat, they already will have been filled with the fruit of righteousness. That refers to a divinely completed state, or condition, of righteousness that is based on the love, excellence, and integrity Paul has just explained." MacArthur does not limit the significance of our being filled with fruit of righteousness to the future, but applies it practically to the present, writing "It is God’s purpose to produce such good works in all believers because “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10)."
How do we walk in and practice the "good works" that are in us, prepared even before we were saved (Eph 2:10)? We can do so only as we jettison "self-reliance" and learn to daily surrender to (and be filled with) the Spirit, abiding in the Vine (Jn 15:5), trusting the Spirit to produce supernatural fruit in our lives which will one day be assessed for authenticity ("our" fruit or "His" fruit?) at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1Co 3:12-15). The perfect tense also speaks of permanence, which would suggest that the fruit that endures the Refiner's testing gaze (Rev 1:14-note), will endure throughout eternity. If that is indeed the case, it begs the question - What will your (my) "harvest" be beloved? Will we have a "bumper crop" (cp Lk 12:42-44, Lk 19:17-19, Da 12:3, Mt 24:45-47) or will we pass into eternity with relatively "empty fruit baskets" so to speak because the majority of our righteous deeds even after our new birth have been "our" deeds, not His deeds through us! May it be the ambition of our life to continually strive and fight and seek to be pleasing to Him (2Co 5:9-note)! Let us not miss this "once in a lifetime opportunity" to bear fruit that endures for eternity (Jn 15:16)!
The passive voice (subject receives the action - in this context the "divine passive") points out that believers do not fill themselves but are filled by an outside Source, in this case obviously God Himself.
Fruit of righteousness - The question arises as what Paul means by the phrase “the fruit of righteousness”. Melick notes - The construction (of fruit of righteousness) is actually capable of three possible translations of the genitive “righteousness”: fruit which is righteousness (appositional genitive); the fruit which righteousness produces (subjective genitive); the fruit which is righteous fruit (descriptive genitive). Regarding the definition of righteousness, there are two options: forensic (imputed righteousness) or ethical (moral conduct). Some interpret it to mean the fruit produced by their imputed righteousness. Most, however, understand the phrase to mean the result of righteous activity as Christians. It refers to an ethical righteousness. The Old Testament supports this conclusion (Hos 10:12), and it fits Paul’s attitude expressed in Philippians. (New American Commentary)
The writer to Hebrews teaches that God uses the rod of discipline to train us and to bring forth "the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb 12:11-note)
Solomon teaches that "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he who is wise wins souls. (Pr 11:30)
Alexander Maclaren explains that "The life which discerns keenly will bring forth the fruit which consists of righteousness, and that fruit is to fill the whole nature so that no part shall be without it."
Paul is not interested in ''churchianity'' but spiritual fruit produced by abiding in Christ (Jn 15:5). Apart from receiving the desire and the power from Jesus our Vine "we can do nothing". Paul reiterates this same idea with the following clause which says that fruit comes "through Jesus Christ." Too many Christians try to ''produce'' fruit in or through their own efforts and then ask God to bless those efforts instead of abiding in Him and allowing His life to bear fruit as we "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)
GOD DESIRES A "BUMPER CROP"
Eadie sees the fruit as that "which springs from this righteousness (and) is to be possessed not sparingly, but richly ("filled"); and for such fulness does the apostle present his prayer. His pleading for them is, that their life might not be marked merely by the absence of insincerity and offence (Php 1:10), but that they might be adorned with all such Christian graces as result from the new nature—the deeds which characterize the “new man created in righteousness.” (Eph 4:24-note) And this was the last subject or purpose of the petition; for love increasing in knowledge and spiritual discernment, knowing what genuine obedience is, and what is but the semblance of it, appreciating the gospel and cherishing communion with those who oftentimes in suffering extend and uphold it, keeping the day of Christ in view and preparing for it— moves and enables the whole nature to “bring forth fruit unto holiness.” (Ro 6:22KJV-note) (Philippians 1:9-11 Commentary)
Warren Wiersbe explains it this way - Paul also prays that they might have mature Christian service. He wants them filled and fruitful (Phil. 1:11). He is not interested simply in “church activities,” but in the kind of spiritual fruit that is produced when we are in fellowship with Christ. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me” (John 15:4, cp Jn 15:5). Too many Christians try to “produce results” in their own efforts instead of abiding in Christ and allowing His life to produce the fruit.
H C G Moule - The phrase “fruit of righteousness” occurs in the LXX., Pr 11:30, 13:2; Amos 6:12; and in St James, 3:18. By analogy with such phrases as e.g. “fruit of the Spirit,” it means not “fruit which is righteousness,” but “fruit which springs from righteousness.”—“Righteousness” is properly a condition satisfactory to Divine law. Thus it often means the practical rectitude of the regenerate will; and so probably here. But often in St Paul we can trace an underlying reference to that great truth which he was specially commissioned to explain, the Divine way of Justification; the acceptance of the guilty, for Christ’s sake, as in Him satisfactory to the Law, broken by them, but kept and vindicated by Him. See further below, on 3:9. Such an inner reference may be present here; the “fruit” may be the fruit not merely of a rectified will, but of a person accepted in Christ. (Philippians 1 Commentary)
Fruit (2590) (karpos [word study]) is literally the fruit (as of trees, vines, etc) and then the "fruit" of ones loins, specifically his or her offspring. Most of the NT uses are figuratively describing an effect or a result = that which originates or comes from something. The context determines the exact nuance as can be discerned from noting the numerous ways karpos is translated in the NAS.
Karpos - 67x in 57v - Matt 3:8, 10; 7:16ff; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mark 4:7f, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Luke 1:42; 3:8f; 6:43f; 8:8; 12:17; 13:6f, 9; 20:10; John 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4f, 8, 16; Acts 2:30; Rom 1:13; 6:21f; 15:28; 1 Cor 9:7; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11, 22; 4:17; 2 Tim 2:6; 4:13; Heb 12:11; 13:15; Jas 3:17f; 5:7, 18; Rev 22:2.
NAS translates karpos = benefit, 2; crop, 5; crops, 2; descendants, 1; fruit, 43; fruitful, 1; fruits, 4; grain, 1; harvest, 1; proceeds, 1; produce, 4; profit, 1,
What fruit? See the Scripture references above for all the NT uses of karpos (fruit, benefit, crop, produce) to obtain a better understanding of the incredible privilege believers have to bear fruit that endures throughout eternity! Spiritual fruit in contrast to (self righteous) religious activity (cp Isa 64:6) result in the glory and praise of God. If we produce the fruit in our strength, our natural (fleshly) tendency is to boast. When the Spirit of Christ produces fruit in a surrendered saint, the saint can only bow down in awe, adoration and thankfulness that he or she was allowed to witness such a miracle and to experience God!
Remember, beloved that a fruit tree does not make a great deal of noise when it produces its crop. It merely allows the life within to work its way out in a natural way, and fruit is the natural result. Jesus gave us His "formula for fruitfulness" in John 15 declaring...
Lehman Strauss - The Christian is appointed to bear the fruit of righteousness. Jesus said: "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you" (John 15:16). The word "fruit" occurs eight times in this chapter, and it is associated closely with our relation to Christ and His expectation of us. The branches on a vine are intended to bear fruit....The glory of a vine is its fruit. How solemn a thought that the Lord is depending on us for a display of His glory! The fruit of righteousness is a godly life as seen in that ninefold cluster of the fruit of the Holy Spirit: "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" [or self-control] (Galatians 5:22-23). (Philippians Commentary)
For a natural fruit tree to produce fruit, it needs (among other things) light. By analogy we who are called to be "fruit bearers", are charged by Paul to walk in the light so that we might bring forth the fruit of light which is righteousness...
WHICH COMES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST : ton dia Iesou Christou: (Ps 92:14, 92:15; Isa 60:21; 61:3, 61:11 Mt 5:16; Jn 15:4, 15:5; 1Co 10:31; Eph 2:10; Col 1:6; 2Th 1:12; Heb 13:15, 13:16; 1Pet 2:5, 2:9, 2:12; 4:10, 4:11, 4:14)
John Eadie reminds us that spiritual fruit "is not self-produced, but is “by Jesus Christ,” in and through His gracious operations upon the heart by His Spirit. Righteousness is of His creation, and all the fruits of it are through Him, not by His doctrine or by faith in Him, but through Himself. (Philippians 1:9-11 Commentary)
Calvin - “We are wild and useless olive trees till we are grafted into Christ, who, by His living root, makes us fruit-bearing branches”
A J Gordon writes that "our relation to Christ determines also our Christian walk. This is obvious. A true Christian walk is a reproducing in our lives (Ed: by yielding to the power of the Spirit) the righteousness which is already ours in Christ. Compare Col 2:6 - we began by faith ["As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord"] and must now continue to live the same way ["so walk in Him"]! (from Gordon's book In Christ)
Boice comments that the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ "refers to what is seen externally. The fruit of righteousness is the fruit that righteousness produces. This is to be seen in the innumerable acts of kindness and service to which every believer in Jesus Christ is called."
Which come through Jesus Christ - The Greek literally reads "that through Jesus Christ". The Source and the "conduit" of these virtues is Jesus Christ, and their object is the glory and praise of God.
Through Jesus Christ (14x in the NAS) = Jn 1:17 Acts 10:36 Ro 1:8 Ro 5:21 Ro 7:25 Ro 16:27 Gal 1:1 Eph 1:5 Php 1:11 Titus 3:6 Heb 13:21 1Pe 2:5 1Pe 4:11 Jude 1:25.
Lawrence of Arabia once brought a group of Bedouins to London and housed them in a beautiful hotel. The only kind of dwelling they had ever lived in was a tent in the desert. They quickly became fascinated with the faucets in the hotel. In the desert water was hard to come by, but in the hotel they merely had to turn a knob to get all the water they needed. When Lawrence helped them pack up to leave, he discovered they'd taken the faucets off all the sinks and put them in their bags. They believed that if they possessed the faucets they would also possess the water. Christians often forget that in the spiritual realm they are like faucets. Unless they are connected to the pipeline of spiritual water, they are just as useless as the faucets the Bedouins had in their bags. Spiritual fruit flows out of a Christian only when he or she is connected to the source of spiritual power..."which comes through Jesus Christ"
You are a "spiritual" faucet
Electricity - There is an illustration of these relationships (in Php 1:9, 10, 11) in the area of electrical science. Anyone who has any acquaintance at all with electrical theory knows the basic formula: volts x amperes = watts. Voltage is a measurement of pressure. Amperage is a measurement of flow. And wattage is a measurement of power; it is the product of the pressure multiplied by the flow of electricity. Everything that Paul says can be expressed in this terminology. All good works depend on being filled with God's love, which is the pressure behind good works. Good works also depend on a channel where the amperage can be high. Our lives must not be filled with resistors (which impede the flow) or condensors (which store it up for private use). They must be open. The love of God times a life free of resistance equals good works. (Boice Expositional Commentary – Philippians)
TO THE GLORY AND PRAISE OF GOD : eis doxan kai epainon theou: (Jn 15:8; Eph 1:12, 1:14) (Torrey's Topic "Glorifying God")
The Westminster Catechism says that man's chief end is to glorify God. The Puritan author Thomas Watson rightly reminds us...
To the glory and praise of God - This phrase parallels the words of our Lord Jesus
Genuine spiritual fruit brings glory and praise to God the Father. And so Paul sets down the Christian aim which is to live in such a way that the glory and praise are given to God and not to us. Christian fruit is not meant to bring adulation to us but is meant to generate glory and praise to God.
John Eadie says us that...
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As Homer Kent explains...
And so we see that highest purpose of Paul’s prayer was that God's nature and character would be manifestly magnified for all to see. As the fruit in us comes forth supernaturally, believers and non-believers alike are able to see through this supernatural effect, the handiwork of the Supernatural One, the only One worthy of our praise.
Jesus commanded his hearers in the Sermon on the Mount to...
Isaiah describes the believing Jewish remnant (all of whom are made righteous by faith) in the end times, which is a beautiful picture applicable to all of God's children of all ages...
The final result of growing in love and of living a wise and pure life that overflows with righteousness is that God will be honored and pleased. All the glory and praise belongs not to believers but to God, for he has redeemed them by the work of his Son and has implanted within them his Spirit to produce the fruit of righteousness.
In Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century, J. C. Ryle describes the ministries of great British Christian leaders--George Whitefield, John Wesley, and others observing that...
In our own time many have come to view spiritual fruit to be an optional characteristic in the Christian life--not a natural product of salvation. Paul said,
Are you living a holy life that produces fruit "to the glory and praise of God"?
WHAT a blessed friendship is that of which the natural language is prayer! We have many ways, thank God, of showing our love and of helping one another, but the best way is by praying for one another. All that is selfish and low is purged out of our hearts in the act, suspicions and doubts fade away when we pray for those whom we love. Many an alienation would have melted like morning mists if it had been prayed about, added tenderness and delicacy come to our friendships so like the bloom on ripening grapes.
We may test our loves by this simple criterion—
This prayer, like all those in Paul’s epistles, is wonderfully full. His deep affection for, and joy in, the Philippian church breathes in every word of it. Even his jealous watchfulness saw nothing in them to desire but progress in what they possessed. Such a desire is the highest that love can frame.
We can wish nothing better for one another
Paul’s estimate of the highest good of those who were dearest to him was that they should be more and more completely filled with the love of God and with its fruits of holiness and purity, and what was his supreme desire for the Philippians is the highest purpose of the Gospel for us all, and should be the aim of our effort and longing, dominating all others as some sovereign mountain peak towers above the valleys. Looking then at this prayer as containing an outline of true progress in the Christian life, we may note:
I. The Growth In Keenness Of Conscience Founded On Growth In Love.
Paul does not merely desire that their love may abound, but that it may become more and more ‘rich in knowledge and all discernment.’ The former is perhaps accurate knowledge, and the latter the application of it. ‘Discernment’ literally means ‘sense,’ and here, of course, when employed about spiritual and moral things it means the power of apprehending good and bad as such. It is, I suppose, substantially equivalent to conscience, the moral tact or touch of the soul by which, in a manner analogous to bodily sense, it ascertains the moral character of things. This growth of love in the power of spiritual and moral discernment is desired in order to its exercise in ‘proving things that differ.’ It is a process of discrimination and testing that is meant, which is, I think, fairly represented by the more modern expression which I have used—keenness of conscience.
I need spend little time in remarking on the absolute need of such a process of discrimination. We are surrounded by temptations to evil, and live in a world where maxims and principles not in accordance with the Gospel abound. Our own natures are but partially sanctified. The shows of things must be tested. Apparent good must be proved. The Christian life is not merely to unfold itself in peace and order, but through conflict. We are not merely to follow impulses, or to live as angels do, who are above sin, or as animals do who are beneath it. When false coins are being passed, it is folly to accept any without a test. All around us there is glamour, and so within us there is need for careful watchfulness and quick discrimination.
This keenness of conscience follows on the growth of love. Nothing makes a man more sensitive to evil than a hearty love to God. Such a heart is keener to discern what is contrary to its love than any ethical maxims can make it. A man who lives in love will be delivered from the blinding influence of his own evil tastes, and a heart steadfast in love will not be swayed by lower temptations. Communion with God will, from its very familiarity with Him, instinctively discern the evil of evil, as a man coming out of pure air is conscious of vitiated atmosphere which those who dwell in it do not perceive. It used to be said that Venice glass would shiver into fragments if poison were poured into the cup. As evil spirits were supposed to be cast out by the presence of an innocent child or a pure virgin, so the ugly shapes that sometimes tempt us by assuming fair disguises will be shown in their native hideousness when confronted with a heart filled with the love of God.
Such keenness of judgment is capable of indefinite increase. Our consciences should become more and more sensitive: we should always be advancing in our discovery of our own evils, and be more conscious of our sins, the fewer we have of them. Twilight in a chamber may reveal some foul things, and the growing light will disclose more. ‘Secret faults’ will cease to be secret when our love abounds more and more in knowledge, and in all discernment.
II. The Purity And Completeness Of Character Flowing From This Keenness Of Conscience.
The Apostle desires that the knowledge which he asks for his Philippian friends may pass over into character, and he describes the sort of men which he desires them to be in two clauses, ‘sincere and void of offence’ being the one, ‘filled with the fruits of righteousness’ being the other. The former is perhaps predominantly negative, the latter positive. That which is sincere is so because when held up to the light it shows no flaws, and that which is without offence is so because the stones in the path have been cleared away by the power of discrimination, so that there is no stumbling. The life which discerns keenly will bring forth the fruit which consists of righteousness, and that fruit is to fill the whole nature so that no part shall be without it.
Nothing lower than this is the lofty standard towards which each Christian life is to aim, and to which it can indefinitely approximate. It is not enough to aim at the negative virtue of sincerity so that the most searching scrutiny of the web of our lives shall detect no flaws in the weaving, and no threads dropped or broken. There must also be the actual presence of positive righteousness filling life in all its parts. That lofty standard is pressed upon us by a solemn motive, ‘unto the day of Christ.’ We are ever to keep before us the thought that in that coming day all our works will be made manifest, and that all of them should be done, so that when we have to give account of them we shall not be ashamed.
The Apostle takes it for granted here that if the Philippian Christians know what is right and what is wrong, they will immediately choose and do the right. Is he forgetting the great gulf between knowledge and practice? Not so, but he is strong in the faith that love needs only to know in order to do.
The love which abounds more and more in knowledge and in all discernment will be the soul of obedience, and will delight in fulfilling the law which it has delighted in beholding.
Other knowledge has no tendency to lead to practice, but this knowledge which is the fruit of love has for its fruit righteousness.
III. The Great Name In Which This Completeness Is Secured.
The Apostle’s prayer dwells not only on the way by which a Christian life may increase itself, but in its close reaches the yet deeper thought that all that growth comes ‘through Jesus Christ.’
He is the Giver of it all, so that we are not so much called to a painful toil as to a glad reception.
Our love fills us with the fruit of righteousness, because it takes all these from His hands. It is from His gift that conscience derives its sensitiveness. It is by His inspiration that conscience becomes strong enough to determine action, and that even our dull hearts are quickened into a glow of desiring to have in our lives, the law of the spirit of life, that was in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:2-note), and to make our own all that we see in Him of ‘things that are lovely and of good report.’ (Php 4:8-note)
The prayer closes with a reference to the highest end of all our perfecting—the glory and praise of God; the former referring rather to the transcendent majesty of God in itself, and the latter to the exaltation of it by men.
The highest glory of God comes from the gradual increase in redeemed men’s likeness to Him.
They are ‘the secretaries of His praise,’ and some portion of that great honour and responsibility lies on each of us.
If all Christian men were what they all might be and should be, swift and sure in their condemnation of evil and loyal fidelity to conscience, and if their lives were richly hung with ripened clusters of the fruit of righteousness, the glory of God would be more resplendent in the world, and new tongues would break into praise of Him who had made men so like Himself.