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Philippians 1:9: With Knowledge and All Discernment

Philippians 1:9
[9] And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, (ESV)

There are some things in life that we wish we could have an endless supply of. I am sure that a coach of a sports team never says, "That's too much winning." Rather, he wants to win more and more. Many of us think about winning a lottery we never play, dreaming about what it would be like to have money that never stopped coming our direction. Paul here talks about love. And he is praying that it abounds more and more. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have an endless supply of love?

This love that the Apostle Paul is describing is not just a mushy affection. It is also not a selfish manipulation of others, as in, "I will be loving to you if you are loving to me." Rather, this love is connected with two key things:  knowledge and discernment. What does Paul mean by knowledge and discernment.

We need to remember that Paul is addressing a body of believing Christians. Love has it's source in God. If Christians are to be more loving they should be more and more resembling the author and source of love, God himself. So, it would make sense that as they pursue biblical knowledge and discernment they will become more like God, and therefore more loving.

The knowledge that Paul is referring to is knowledge of the Word of God. We cannot claim that we want to grow in love if we are not willing to grow in our knowledge of the Word of God. This idea of discernment cannot happen if one does not first have knowledge. To discern is to be able to distinguish the truth of God's Word from that which looks like truth, but is not. Charles Spurgeon said it best:

Like Paul, I pray that you grow in love. Do so as you draw closer to the source of love. The more knowledge you have of him, and the more you reject the false, you will be more like him, loving those around you.


  1. We grow in God by drawing from two great sources, the LIVING WORD and the WRITTEN WORD. They are in total harmony.


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