And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
I. THE SUBJECTS WHICH CHRISTIANITY PRESENTS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT AND SUBLIME IN THE UNIVERSE.
II. JUST CONCEPTIONS OF THE TRUTH OF GOD ARE INDISPENSABLE TO THE POSSESSION OF TRUE HOLINESS. What is holiness but obedience to truth; truth desired, loved, obeyed? But how is truth to be obeyed unless it is known? It is an unchanging law of our being that the heart is affected through the medium of the understanding.
III. WITHOUT THE SPIRIT OF THEOLOGICAL RESEARCH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE RAPID ADVANCES IN THE DIVINE LIFE. Christians have much to learn of God that they may desire greater manifestations of His glory; of themselves, that they may be stimulated to greater attainments; of their obligations, that they may press after perfect holiness. There are, of course, instances in which growth in knowledge does not secure growth in grace; but that is because truth does not make its appropriate impression on the mind, and is opposed by sin. But the clearer our views of God the more fervent our love of Him; of sin, the more self-abasing our repentance; of Christ, the stronger our faith; of duty, the stronger our desires to perform it.
IV. THE ATTAINMENT OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE IS THE SOURCE OF PURE AND ELEVATED ENJOYMENT. Of all the prospective emotions the desire of knowledge is the most exalted. The pleasures of intellect transcend those of sense. How much purer and higher the felicity consequent on advances in the knowledge of God. The veriest infant in the school of Christ finds his understanding satisfied, his heart filled with love at the discovery of every new principle in the Word of God.
V. RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE WIDENS THE SPHERE OF CHRISTIAN USEFULNESS. A well-informed Christian possesses a weight of character and a power of moral feeling, which exert the best influence. Such a man is always ready for action. If the spirit of His master rests upon him in proportion to his intellectual attainments, he will instruct the ignorant, etc. The Church has sustained no small detriment from the ignorance of good men.
VI. THE CHARACTER OF OUR AGE FURNISHES A REASON FOR SOLICITUDE IN RELATION TO THE DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE. There is a strange apathy to the truth. It is an age of business, and not of investigation. Conclusion:
1. Ministers ought not to be reproached for instructive preaching, and for not yielding to the demand for sensationalism.
2. The love of truth is the conclusive test of Christian character.
3. Rest not in intellectual attainments in religion.
(Gardiner Spring, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;