Is our love abounding in knowledge and insight?

By 
Jim Squires
Sunday, November 14, 2021
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While imprisoned in Rome Paul wrote Philippians 1:9-11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.”

Note that Paul prays that their love may abound more and more. But Paul is even more specific in praying that their love abound more and more in knowledge and insight. Paul continues with the desired outcome, that they be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. Paul’s thought is completed with the request that they be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus. And that is to the glory and praise of God.

My eighth-grade English teacher Mrs. Crowley would describe this as a run-on sentence. I would describe it as the Holy Spirit inspiring the authors of Scriptures to write in their own words and language patterns in order to convey meaning.

Paul’s request that they be able to discern what is best is significant today. Are we seeking to do what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 6:33? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

In our modern world we witness various groups promoting pluralism, relativism, and denominationalism or religious division. Commonly, inspired Scriptures are not regarded with due respect and reverence.

As a consequence, there is a lack of sound reasoning resulting from this lack of Biblical literacy.

In 2 Timothy 4:1b Paul was inspired to write: I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

In Titus 2:1-15 we find explicit instructions: You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. … teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. … they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God… Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.. 11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Are we discerning of sound doctrine? Is our love abounding in knowledge and insight? Does Paul’s prayer and the warnings in 2 Timothy and Titus speak to our hearts and minds?

Jim Squires preaches at the church of Christ in Glendive. He can be reached at csquires@midrivers.com.

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