Philippians 1:9
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9, 10) If we study carefully the opening thanksgivings and prayers of St. Paul’s Epistles, we may note that he always thanks God for what is strong in the Church to which he writes, and prays God for the supply of that in which it is weak. Here he thanks God for the characteristic enthusiasm and large-heartedness of the Philippians; he prays for their advance in knowledge, perception, judgment—the more intellectual and thoughtful side of the Christian character—in which they, and perhaps the Macedonian Churches generally, were less conspicuous. In the opposite case of the Corinthian Church (see 1Corinthians 1:4-10), he thanks God for their richness in all utterance and all knowledge, but he bids them “wait” for Him who shall “establish them as blameless,” and exhorts them to unity and humility.

(9-11) In this sentence, the original shows that there is not the three-fold parallelism which our version would suggest. St. Paul’s immediate prayer is that “their love may abound in knowledge and all judgment.” To this is subjoined, as an immediate consequence, “the proving the things that are excellent.” The final result of the knowledge and judgment so applied, is “that they may be sincere and without offence.”

(9) That your love may abound more and more in knowledge.—The original verb here signifies to “overflow,” a sense which our word “abound” properly has, but has in general usage partially lost; and St. Paul’s meaning clearly is that love shall not only primarily fill the heart, but “overflow” in secondary influence on the spiritual understanding. (1) The “knowledge” here spoken of is the knowledge gradually rising to perfection, so constantly alluded to in these Epistles. (See Ephesians 1:17, and Note there.) Since it is clearly a personal knowledge of God in Christ, it may be gained, under His inspiration, by one of many processes, by thought, by practice, by love, by devotion, or, perhaps more properly, by some or all of these combined. Here St. Paul singles out the way of love—the enthusiasm of love to God and man which he knew that the Philippians had—and prays that it may overflow from the emotional to the intellectual element of their nature, and become, as we constantly see that it does become in simple and loving characters, a means of spiritual insight, in “knowledge and all judgment,” or rather, all perception. (2) The word “perception” properly applies to the senses, and seems here to signify the insight which recognises a truth as the eye recognises an object. In the same sense (Hebrews 5:14) Holy Scripture speaks of those who “by use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.” In fact, the “perception” here spoken of differs from knowledge in dealing not with general principles, but with concrete examples and questions. (3) Accordingly he connects with it, as a direct consequence, the power of “approving” or “testing” the things that are excellent. Now the word here translated “excellent” carries with it the idea of distinctive and relative excellence, conspicuous amidst what is either evil or defective. To “test” is obviously first to distinguish what is the best, and then by trial to prove its absolute goodness. Clearly the process may be applied either speculatively to truths or practically to duties. In Romans 2:18, where exactly the same phrase is used, the latter application is made.

PHILIPPIANS

A COMPREHENSIVE PRAYER

Php 1:9-11 {R.V.}.

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--Can we pray about them? If not, should we have them? Are they blessings to us or to others?

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 than growth in the love of God. 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 coin is current 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 fruits 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, and to make our own all that we see in Him of ‘things that are lovely and of good report.’

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 fruits 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.Php 1:9-11. This I pray, that your love — To God and one another, and all mankind which you have already shown; may abound yet more and more — The fire which burned in the apostle’s breast never says, It is enough; in knowledge — Arising from, and attended with, a more perfect knowledge of God, of Christ, and of spiritual things in general; and in all judgment — Or rather, in all sense, or feeling, as παση αισθησει signifies: that is, That you may have a spiritual sense and taste, or an experimental knowledge and feeling of God’s love in Christ to you. Our love must not only be rational, but it must be also experimental: we must not only understand and approve the reasons why we should love God and one another; but we must know and feel that we do so; that ye may approve — Greek, εις το δοκιμαζειν, that ye may try, or prove by experience; things that are excellent — Not only that are good, but the very best; the superior excellence of which is hardly discerned but by the adult Christian. The original expression, τα διαφεροντα, is, literally, the things that differ: that you may discern the real difference which there is in things, namely, in matters of doctrine, experience, and practice; how truth differs from, and how much it excels error; how much fervency of spirit, a life of entire devotedness to God, and continual, persevering diligence in the work of faith, patience of hope, and labour of love, differs from and excels lukewarmness of heart, negligence of life, sloth, indolence, and the being weary of well-doing; that ye may be sincere — Upright before God, truly desiring to know and to do his will in all things; and having always a pure intention, or a single eye to his glory, in the choice and pursuit of the best things; and a pure affection, giving him an undivided heart. The original word, ειλικρινεις, from ειλη, the shining, or splendour, of the sun, and κρινω, to judge, properly signifies such things as, being examined in a bright light, are found pure, and without fault. Applied, as here, to believers, it refers both to their spirit and conduct, and is represented as the proper and natural fruit of that abounding love which the apostle had asked for them in the preceding verse. And without offence — Chargeable with no disposition, word, or action, at which others can justly take offence; but holy and unblameable. The expression properly signifies, giving no occasion of stumbling, namely, to others; and may imply also not stumbling ourselves at the real or supposed failings or faults of others; unto the day of Christ — The day of death, when the time of your trial will be ended. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness — All holy dispositions, words, and actions toward God, our fellow-creatures, and ourselves; which are by Jesus Christ — Through union with him, and grace derived from him, to the glory and praise of God — To whom they are rendered acceptable through Christ’s sacrifice and intercession. Observe, reader, here are three properties of that sincerity which is acceptable to God. 1st, It must bear fruits, all inward and outward holiness, all goodness, righteousness, and truth, Ephesians 5:9; (see also Galatians 5:22;) and that so abundantly, that we may be filled with them, or all our powers of body and mind, our time and talents, occupied therein. 2d, The branch and the fruits must derive both their virtue and their very being from the all-supporting, all-supplying root, Jesus Christ. 3d, As all these flow from the grace of Christ, so they must issue in the glory and praise of God.1:8-11 Shall not we pity and love those souls whom Christ loves and pities? Those who abound in any grace, need to abound more. Try things which differ; that we may approve the things which are excellent. The truths and laws of Christ are excellent; and they recommend themselves as such to any attentive mind. Sincerity is that in which we should have our conversation in the world, and it is the glory of all our graces. Christians should not be apt to take offence, and should be very careful not to offend God or the brethren. The things which most honour God will most benefit us. Let us not leave it doubtful whether any good fruit is found in us or not. A small measure of Christian love, knowledge, and fruitfulness should not satisfy any.And this I pray - We pray for those whom we love, and whose welfare we seek. We desire their happiness; and there is no way more appropriate of expressing that desire than of going to God, and seeking it at his hand. Paul proceeds to enumerate the blessings which he sought for them; and it is worthy of observation that he did not ask riches, or worldly prosperity, but that his supplications were confined to spiritual blessings, and he sought these as the most desirable of all favors.

That your love may abound ... - Love to God; love to one another; love to absent Christians; love to the world. This is an appropriate subject of prayer. We cannot wish and pray for a better thing for our Christian friends, than that they may abound in love. Nothing will promote their welfare like this; and we had better pray for this, than that they may obtain abundant riches, and share the honors and pleasures of the world.

In knowledge - The idea is, that he wished them to have intelligent affection. It should not be mere blind affection, but that intelligent love which is based on an enlarged view of divine things - on a just apprehension of the claims of God.

And in all judgment - Margin, "sense;" compare the notes at Hebrews 5:14. The word here means, the power of discerning; and the meaning is, that he wished that their love should be exercised with proper discrimination. It should be in proportion to the relative value of objects; and the meaning of the whole is, that the wished their religion to be intelligent and discriminating; to be based on knowledge, and a proper sense of the relative value of objects, as well as to be the tender affection of the heart.

9. The subject of his prayer for them (Php 1:4).

your love—to Christ, producing love not only to Paul, Christ's minister, as it did, but also to one another, which it did not altogether as much as it ought (Php 2:2; 4:2).

knowledge—of doctrinal and practical truth.

judgment—rather, "perception"; "perceptive sense." Spiritual perceptiveness: spiritual sight, spiritual hearing, spiritual feeling, spiritual taste. Christianity is a vigorous plant, not the hotbed growth of enthusiasm. "Knowledge" and "perception" guard love from being ill-judged.

And this I pray: having praised God for their attainments, he returns, {as Philippians 1:4} in token of his love, to his great petition for them.

That your love may abound; viz. that their love both to God and man, showed in their bounty to him, might, as a rising stream from its springing fountain, yet further flow out, and more abundantly communicate itself in all Christian offices, and not abate, (as it seems it afterwards did among the Ephesians, Revelation 2:4), as our Saviour foretold it would (to in some, Matthew 24:12, {see 2 Timothy 1:13 2 Timothy 4:10} but continue increasing to the end, 1 Thessalonians 3:12.

Yet more and more in knowledge; being founded on a sound and saving understanding of the things of God, and ourselves, John 17:3 Romans 3:20 Ephesians 1:17, with Ephesians 4:13 2 Peter 3:18; and an acknowledgment of the truth which is after godliness, Titus 1:1.

And in all judgment; in the practical judgment, or internal sense, and particular experience, taste, and feeling the testimony of the Spirit in the heart concerning the grace of God, and adoption, Romans 5:1,5 8:16,17 14:17; when there is not only a right notion in the head, but a true sense and savour of spiritual things in the heart, Hebrews 5:14; which is when knowledge is not only an empty cloud in the air, but becomes effectual by falling down in a kindly shower upon the heart, warmed with the love of God, and the virtue of Christ’s resurrection, as he after gives his own experience, Philippians 3:10, like David’s, Psalm 34:8. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more,.... As a proof of his great affection for them, he puts up this petition on their account; which supposes that they had love, as they must certainly have, since the good work of grace was begun in them; for wherever the work of the Spirit of God is, there is love, which is a fruit of the Spirit; and where there is not love, there cannot be that good work; for it signifies nothing what a man says, nor what he has, nor what he does, if love be wanting; but this grace was in these Philippians, they had love to God, to Christ, to one another, to all the saints, and to the ministers of the Gospel, and particularly to the apostle, of which they had lately given him a proof: and it also supposes, that this grace, which was implanted in them in regeneration, was in exercise, which is meant by its "abounding"; it was not only a principle in the heart, and expressed by the mouth, but it was in action; it lay not in word, and in tongue, but showed itself towards the objects of it in deed and in truth; and it was in a very larger and lively exercise; it abounded, it flowed and overflowed; it rose up out of the heart, as water out of a fountain; it was as grace is said to be, a well of living water, springing up, and spreading itself various ways; wherefore the apostle did not pray that they might have love, nor merely that their love might abound, but that it might abound "yet", might continue to abound, that there might be no stop put to its flow and exercise, and so concerns the perseverance of it, and its actings; and that it might abound "more and more"; which regards the increase of it, and enlargement of its exercise. The Syriac version reads it, that it "may be multiplied and abound"; intimating, that spiritual love cannot be exceeded in; there is no going to an extreme in the exercise of it; natural love may, but not spiritual; God and Christ can never be loved too much, nor saints, as saints, though they may as men: wherefore let love abound ever so much to these objects, it is capable of abounding more and more, without any danger of excess; and it is to be wished for; for where it is ever so large and abundant in its actings, it is not perfect, nor will it be in this life; so that there is always room for such a petition; besides, the apostle knew how apt love is to grow cold, and saints to sink in their spiritual affections through the prevalence of sin, the cares of the world, and temptations of Satan: he adds,

in knowledge and in all judgment; that is, either with knowledge and judgment; and the sense be, that as their love abounded, so their knowledge might be increased, and their judgment in spiritual things be better informed and established. Some Christians are more affectionate, and less knowing; others are more knowing, and less affectionate; it is well when love and knowledge go and keep pace together: or it may be rendered "by knowledge", suggesting, that love is increased thereby, which is true; for the more saints know of God and Christ, the more they love them; and the more they know of one another's grace and experience, the more they love each other: by "knowledge" may be meant the knowledge of God; not that which is general, is by the light of nature, and is very obscure and insufficient to salvation; but that which is special, is of God in Christ, as a God gracious and merciful, as a covenant God and Father in him; and which at best is imperfect, and needs increasing: and also knowledge of Christ; not general, notional, and speculative, as that he is the Son of God, the Messiah, and Saviour of the world in common; but that which is special, spiritual, and saving; and which is a knowledge of approbation, whereby a soul approves of Christ above all others, as a Saviour; a fiducial one, whereby it trusts in him, and commits itself to him; an experimental and practical one, to which is joined a cheerful obedience to his commands and ordinances, and becomes an appropriating one; yet is in this life imperfect, and so needs increasing; and all means should be used in order thereunto: moreover, the knowledge of one another may be included; an increase of which is necessary to promote brotherly love, and make communion with one another delightful and profitable. By all "judgment", or "sense", as in the Greek text, is designed a spiritual apprehension, judgment, and sensation of things. The Syriac version renders it, "all spiritual understanding", and may intend a spiritual perception, and sense of the love of God shed abroad in the heart, an enlarged experience of the grace of God, and particularly faith, which is expressed by all the live senses; as by "seeing" the Son, the glory, fulness, suitableness, and excellency of him, and the unseen glories of another world; by "hearing" the joyful sound, the voice of Christ in the Gospel, so as to understand and distinguish it; by "smelling" a sweet smell in the person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, which are of a sweet smelling savour to faith, as are also the things of God, and of the Spirit of God; and by "tasting" how good the Lord is, how sweet is his word, and delicious his fruit; and by "feeling", laying hold on Christ, embracing and handling him, the word of life: and now a believer having these his spiritual senses exercised, he is capable of discerning between good and evil, and so of approving things most excellent; which is the end of this petition, as appears from the following words.

{3} And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

(3) He shows what thing we ought to chiefly desire, that is, first of all that we may increase in the true knowledge of God (so that we may be able to discern things that differ from one another), and also in charity, that even to the end we may give ourselves to truly good works, to the glory of God by Jesus Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 1:9. After having stated and discussed, in Php 1:3-8, the reason why he thanks God with respect to his readers, Paul now, till the end of Php 1:11, sets forth what it is that he asks in prayer for them. “Redit ad precationem, quam obiter tantum uno verbo attigerat (namely, Php 1:4); exponit igitur summam eorum, quae illis petebat a Deo” (Calvin).

καί] the simple and, introducing the new part of,[54] and thus continuing, the discourse: And this (which follows) is what I pray,—so that the object is placed first in the progress of the discourse; hence it is καὶ τοῦτο προσεύχομαι, and not κ. προσεύχ. τοῦτο. Hofmann’s explanation of the καί in the sense of also, and his attaching ἐν σπλ. Χ. . to Php 1:9, are the necessary result of his perverse metamorphosis of the simple discourse, running on from πεποιθώς in Php 1:6, into a lengthened protasis and apodosis,—a construction in which the apodosis of the apodosis is supposed to begin with ἐν σπλ. Χ. .; comp. on Php 1:6.

ἵνα] introduces the contents of the prayer conceived of under the form of its design (Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Matthew 24:20), and thus explains the preparatory τοῦτο. Comp. on John 6:29. “This I pray, that your love should more and more,” etc.

ἡ ἀγάπη ὑμῶν], not love to Paul (van Hengel, following Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, Bengel, and others),—a reference which, especially in connection with ἔτι μᾶλλον κ. μᾶλλον, would be all the more unsuitable on account of the apostle having just received a practical proof of the love of the Philippians. It would also be entirely inappropriate to the context which follows (ἐν ἐπιγνώσει κ.τ.λ.). Nor is it their love generally, without specification of an object for it, as a proof of faith (Hofmann); but it is, in accordance with the context, the brotherly love of the Philippians one to another, the common disposition and feeling at the bottom of that κοινωνία εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ., for which Paul has given thanks in Php 1:5.[55] This previous thanksgiving of his was based on the confidence, ὅτι ὁ ἐναρξάμενος κ.τ.λ., Php 1:6, and the contents of his prayer now is in full harmony with that confidence. The connection is misapprehended by Calovius and Rheinwald, who explain it as love to God and Christ; also by Matthies (comp. Rilliet), who takes it as love to everything, that is truly Christian; comp. Wiesinger: love to the Lord, and to all that belongs to and serves Him; Weiss: zeal of love for the cause of the gospel,—an interpretation which fails to define the necessary personal object of the ἀγάπη, and to do justice to the idea of co-operative fellowship which is implied in the κοινωνία in Php 1:5.

ἔτι μᾶλλον] quite our: still more. Comp. Homer, Od. i. 322, xviii. 22; Herod. i. 94; Pind. Pyth. x. 88, Olymp. i. 175; Plat. Euthyd. p. 283 C; Xen. Anab. vi. 6. 35; Diog. L. ix. 10. 2. See instances of μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον in Kypke, II. p. 307. With the reading περισσεύῃ note the sense of progressive development.

ἐν ἐπιγνώσει κ. πάσῃ αἰσθήσει] constitutes that in which—i.e. respecting which—the love of his readers is to become more and more abundant. Comp. Romans 15:13; 2 Corinthians 3:9 (Elz.), 2 Corinthians 8:7; Colossians 2:7; Sir 19:20 (24). Others take the ἐν as instrumental: through (Heinrichs, Flatt, Schinz, and others); or as local: in, i.e. in association with (Oecumenius, Calvin, Rheinwald, Hoelemann, and others),

περισσ. being supposed to stand absolutely (may be abundant). But the sequel, which refers to the ἐπίγνωσις and αἴσθησις, and not to the love, shows that Paul had in view not the growth in love, but the increase in ἐπίγνωσις and αἴσθησις, which the love of the Philippians was more and more to attain. The less the love is deficient in knowledge and αἴσθησις, it is the more deeply felt, more moral, effective, and lasting. If ἐπίγνωσις is the penetrating (see on 1 Corinthians 13:12; Ephesians 1:17) cognition of divine truth, both theoretical and practical, the true knowledge of salvation,[56] which is the source, motive power, and regulator of love (1 John 4:7 ff.); αἴσθησις (only occurring here in the New Testament), which denotes perception or feeling operating either through the bodily senses[57] (Xen. Mem. i. 4. 5, Anab. iv. 6. 13, and Krüger in loc.; Plat. Theaet. p. 156 B), which are also called αἰσθήσεις (Plat. Theaet. p. 156 B), or spiritually[58] (Plat. Tim. p. 43 C; Dem. 411. 19, 1417. 5), must be, according to the context which follows, the perception which takes place with the ethical senses,—an activity of moral perception which apprehends and makes conscious of good and evil as such (comp. Hebrews 5:14). The opposite of this is the dulness and inaction of the inward sense of ethical feeling (Romans 11:8; Matthew 13:15, et al.), the stagnation of the αἰσθητήρια τῆς καρδίας (Jeremiah 4:19), whereby a moral unsusceptibility, incapacity of judgment, and indifference are brought about. Comp. LXX. Proverbs 1:7; Exodus 28:5; Sir 20:17, Rec. (ΑἼΣΘΗΣΙς ὈΡΘΉ); 4Ma 2:21. Paul desires for his readers every (πάσῃ) ΑἼΣΘΗΣΙς, because their inner sense is in no given relation to remain without the corresponding moral activity of feeling, which may be very diversified according to the circumstances which form its ethical conditions. The relation between ἘΠΊΓΝΩΣΙς and ΑἼΣΘΗΣΙς is that of spontaneity to receptivity, and the former is the ἩΓΕΜΟΝΙΚΌΝ for the efficacy of the latter. In the contrast, however, mistaking and misapprehending are not correlative to the former, and deception to the latter (Hofmann); both contrast with both.

[54] The word προσεύχομαι, which now occurs, points to a new topic, the thanksgiving and its grounds having been previously spoken of. Therefore κ. τ. προσεύχ. is not to be attached, with Rilliet and Ewald, to the preceding verse: and (how I) pray this. Two different things would thus be joined. The former portion is concluded by the fervent and solemn ver. 8. Jatho also (Br. an d. Phil., Hildesh. 1857, p. 8) connects it with ὡς, namely thus: and how I pray for this, namely, to come to you, in order that I may edify you. But to extract for τοῦτο, out of ἐπιποθῶ ὑμᾶς, the notion: “my presence with you,” is much too harsh and arbitrary; for Paul’s words are not even ἐπιποθῶ ἰδεῖν ὑμάς, as in Romans 1:11.

[55] The idea that “your love’ means the readers themselves (Bullinger), or that this passage gave rise to the mode of addressing the hearers that has obtained since the Fathers (very frequently, e.g. in Augustine) in the language of the church (Bengel), is purely fanciful.

[56] Not a mere knowledge of the divine will (Rheinwald), which leads to the right objects, aims, means, and proofs of love (Weiss; comp. Hofmann). This, as in Colossians 1:9, would have been expressed by Paul. Neither can ἐπιγν. be limited to the knowledge of men (Chrysostom, Erasmus, and others).

[57] “Nam etiam spiritualiter datur visus, auditus, olfactus, gustus, tactus, i. e. sensus investigativi et fruitivi” (Bengel).

[58] “Nam etiam spiritualiter datur visus, auditus, olfactus, gustus, tactus, i. e. sensus investigativi et fruitivi” (Bengel).Php 1:9-11. PRAYER FOR THEIR INCREASE IN CHRISTIAN DISCERNMENT.9. I pray] He takes up the words, Php 1:4, “in every request for you all.”

that] Lit., by classical rules, “in order that.” But in later Greek the phrase has lost its more precise necessary reference to purpose, and may convey (as here) the idea of purport, significance. So we say, “a message to this effect,” meaning, “in these terms.”—In John 17:3 (where lit., “in order to know, &c.”), the phrase conveys the kindred idea of equivalence, synonymous description; “life eternal” is, in effect, “to know God.”

your love] Perhaps in its largest reference; Christian love, however directed, whether to God or man, to brethren or aliens. But the previous context surely favours a certain speciality of reference to St Paul; as if to say, “your Christian love, of which I have such warm evidence.” Still, this leaves a larger reference also quite free.

abound] A favourite word with St Paul. In this Ep. it occurs again, Php 1:26, Php 4:12; Php 4:18. Cp. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 for a near parallel here.—Nothing short of spiritual growth ever satisfies St Paul. “The fire in the Apostle never says, Enough” (Bengel).

in] As a man “abounds in” e.g. “hope” (Romans 15:13). He prays that their love may richly possess knowledge and perception as its attendants and aids.

knowledge] Greek, epignôsis, more than gnôsis. The structure of the word suggests developed, full knowledge; the N.T. usage limits the thought to spiritual knowledge. It is a frequent word with St Paul.

all judgment] “All”:—with reference to the manifold needs and occasions for its exercise; judgment developed, amplified to the full for full use.—“Judgment”:—lit. “sensation, perception.” The word occurs here only in N.T., and cognates to it only Luke 9:45; Hebrews 5:14.—R.V., “discernment.” But the word “judgment” (in the sense e.g. of criticism of works of art, or of insight into character) is so fair an equivalent to the Greek that the A.V. may well stand.—In application, the “judgment” would often appear as delicate perception, fine tact; a gift whose highest forms are nowhere so well seen as in some Christians, even poor Christians.Php 1:9. Καὶ τοῦτο, and this) He declared, from Php 1:3 and onward, that he prayed for them; he now shows what was his prayer in their behalf.—ἡ ἀγάπη, love) Love makes men docile and [spiritually] sagacious, 2 Peter 1:7-8. Hence arose the form used formerly in the assemblies of the Church,[4] and which is vernacular among us: Caritas vestra, your love (charity), in a wider sense.—ὑμῶν, your) Correlative to the love of Paul, Php 1:7-8. A previous [anticipatory] allusion to the love which they had shown to him; ch. Php 4:10; Php 4:18.—ἔτι μᾶλλον, yet more) The fire in the apostle’s mind never says, It is sufficient [past and present attainments are enough].—ἐν ἐπιγνώσει καὶ πάσῃ αἰσθήσει, in all knowledge and perception [judgment]) Knowledge is a very noble species, as sight is in the body: αἰσθήσις, perception, is the genus; for we have also [included under it] spiritual sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, i.e. the senses for investigation, and those for enjoyment,[5] as they are called. So part of the perception [sense] is joy, frequently mentioned in this epistle. And all is an indication that it is the genus; 2 Corinthians 8:7, note. In philosophy, the Peripatetics referred all things only to knowledge [which is the principal fault of the modern philosophers also, when they come upon spiritual subjects.—V. g.] The Platonists referred all things to the remaining word, sense, or perception; for example, in lamblicus. Regard is to be had to both in Christianity: each is met with in the Cross, and renders men fit to approve. Here, after love, expressly mentioned, he describes faith and hope in the following verse. Paul everywhere describes Christianity as something vigorous; wherefore the doctrine of the Mystics on Privation is so to be received, as not to be in any respect injurious to that practical ardour of mind.

[4] Or else in sermons.

[5] Sensús investigativi et fruitivi.Verse 9. - And this I pray. This is the purport of the prayer already mentioned in Ver. 4. The conjunction ἵνα marks the end of St. Paul's prayer, and so its purport. That your love may abound yet more and more. Your love; not love for the apostle only, but the grace of Christian charity. St. Paul finds no fault with the Philippians, but "ignis in apostolo nunquam dicit, Sufficit" (Bengel). He prays for their continued growth in love, but not unintelligent love. In knowledge and in all judgment. Ἐπίγνωσις is a stronger word than γνῶσις: it means full, complete knowledge. The Greek αἴσθησις (literally, sense) occurs only here in the New Testament, though αἰσθητήρια (organs of sense) is found in Hebrews 5:14. "Discernment," the rendering of R.V., is more correct than "judgment." It is, Bishop Wordsworth says, "that delicate tact and instinct, which almost intuitively perceives what is right, and almost unconsciously shrinks from what is wrong." It cannot exist without love. "Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." With love there comes a spiritual sense, spiritual sight, spiritual hearing, a sense of the beauty of holiness, a fine perception of Christian propriety; ἡ ἀγάπη οὐκ ἀσχημονεῖ. Judgment (αἰσθήσει)

Only here in the New Testament. Rev., better, discernment: sensitive moral perception. Used of the senses, as Xenophon: "perception of things sweet or pungent" ("Memorabilia," i., 4, 5). Of hearing: "It is possible to go so far away as not to afford a hearing" ("Anabasis," iv., 6, 13). The senses are called αἰσθήσεις. See Plato, "Theaetetus," 156. Plato uses it of visions of the gods ("Phaedo," 111). Compare αἰσθητήρια senses, Hebrews 5:14. Discernment selects, classifies, and applies what is furnished by knowledge.

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