Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds…
I. Was it a slip of the pen when Paul wrote "I HAVE YOU IN MY HEART"? Will he modify it? No, he will make it more than it was. Lest it should be supposed that it was only his manner of speech, and that he is only uttering a passing sentiment, he puts before what he has to say a solemn asseveration. "God is my witness." Such a form of expression would hardly be regarded in these days as meeting the laws of taste and propriety, and some object to it on the ground that God cannot be called into court to witness to a thing, and that after all it is only the testimony of a man. Granted: Yet it is the highest form in which testimony can be given. And apart from the apostle's anxiety to be believed, there was a naturalness in his using it which would not belong to any other. He was often alone, separated from his converts, but he carried them about with him in his heart. He often spoke to God about them, so that God knew of his love to them. And not only so; it is as though he said, "Did I say I had you in my heart? I should rather have said, 'I long after you in the heart of Jesus Christ.' 'I love, yet not I, but Christ loveth in me.' His heart and mine meet in unison here."
II. LOVING THUS HOW NATURAL THAT HE SHOULD PRAY ABOUT THEIR LOVE. He asks that the great love faculty should fill their souls. "In all knowledge." There is the knowledge of the schoolboy, of the well-informed man, of the philosopher. Here it is the latter, the higher knowledge, such as is strong meat to the strong man. "In all perception." The first term deals with the general knowledge of the gospel; this comes down to particulars of Christian apprehension, "That ye may approve things that are excellent" or "try things that differ." It is good to have the faculty for so discerning, that we may never call darkness light; but the apostle prays for more, even that in the region of things, all of which are good and true, they may discern the most excellent, always seeing and choosing the best. Again, there are different ways of doing good things. So that the apostle goes on to pray that they may be "sincere and without offence" or "stumbling" — anything that prevents advance.
III. THE PRAYER IS SUMMED UP in the words: "that ye may be filled with the fruits of righteousness." In so doing they would have the sublime glory of living to the praise of God — the highest end and aim of being. Men living the Christian life by distinct intent and aim achieve the noblest thing in actual result. Bat a little thing does it seem? Every little stream contributes to the majestic swell of the ocean, so every fruitful life is sending its little to contribute to the fulness of the Divine glory.
IV. THE RELATION BETWEEN THE PHRASE, "THAT YOUR LOVE MAY ABOUND," AND ALL THAT COMES AFTER. That is the root phrase, the key to the position, mother to all the virtues. Love will produce all these, and make a beautiful character. The soul is a living house having many doors. Some, the greatest number, stand by the door of reason, and strive to enter, and many go in. But when they get in they find the house full of company. How did they get in? By other doors, or by the windows. From deep convictions, blossoming hopes, and heavenly aspirings, but most got in by the door of love. This is not so imposing a way of entrance. There is no great knocker to this door called logic. You come in by it softly, you do but whisper, and are admitted.
V. THE PRACTICAL USE of all this is that we should take the best things we can think of to promote the aboundings of love.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)The sixth verse was like the peal of a trumpet; the seventh is the low sweet murmur of the summer morning. The expression of the text is of singular beauty. Who can measure the circumference of a truly philanthropic heart? Has arithmetic any cunning art by which to calculate the girth of that organ of affection? A man in Rome carrying the Philippian Church in his heart!
I. HE WHO CARRIES THE WORLD ELSEWHERE THAN IN HIS HEART WILL SOON WISH TO CAST OFF HIS BURDEN.
II. HE WHO CARRIES THE GOOD IN HIS HEART CAN NEVER BE DESOLATE. Loneliness is an impossibility to the well-stored heart.
III. HE WHOSE HEART IS ENGAGED WITH THE TENDER OFFICES OF AFFECTION IS THE PROFOUNDEST INTERPRETER AND THE MOST EFFICIENT SERVANT OF MANKIND.
IV. HE WHO ENSHRINES HIS BENEFACTORS IN HIS HEART HAS BROKEN THE DOMINION OF SELFISHNESS.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
WEB: It is even right for me to think this way on behalf of all of you, because I have you in my heart, because, both in my bonds and in the defense and confirmation of the Good News, you all are partakers with me of grace.