Philippians 1:9
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and profound insight,
A Comprehensive PrayerAlexander MaclarenPhilippians 1:9
Advancement in Knowledge Must be ConstantBp. SimpsonPhilippians 1:9
Definiteness in PrayerG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:9
Intelligent LoveR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 1:9
Knowledge and JudgmentG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:9
Knowledge the Basis of LoveN. Emmons, D. D.Philippians 1:9
LoveG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:9
Love Abounding Through KnowledgeA. J. Gordon.Philippians 1:9
Love and DiscernmentW. H. Griffith ThomasPhilippians 1:9
Love and KnowledgeCanon Liddon.Philippians 1:9
Love Inseparable from Christian LifeJ. Hutchinson, D. D.Philippians 1:9
Love Rich in PursePhilippians 1:9
Love: its Critical FunctionWebster and Wilkinson.Philippians 1:9
Love's Spring TidesG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:9
Paul's PrayerG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:9
Regulated LoveJ. Hutchinson, D. D.Philippians 1:9
The Excellence of LoveC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 1:9
The Importance of Christian KnowledgeGardiner Spring, D. D.Philippians 1:9
The Knowledge of Christ the Mainstay of Brotherly LoveA. J. Gordon.Philippians 1:9
The Love of God Without KnowledgeA. J. Gordon.Philippians 1:9
The Training of LoveW. B. Pope, D. D.Philippians 1:9
A Cheerful PrisonerFamily ChurchmanPhilippians 1:3-11
Blessed Remembrance and Joyful PrayersWeekly PulpitPhilippians 1:3-11
Christian RemembrancesJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 1:3-11
Expression of InterestR. Finlayson Philippians 1:3-11
Happy MemoriesG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:3-11
My GodG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:3-11
Pleasant Memories and Bright HopesR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 1:3-11
Retrospect and ForecastJ. J. Goadby.Philippians 1:3-11
The Apostle's Intercession and AssuranceR.M. Edgar Philippians 1:3-11
The Introduction to the EpistleJ. Daille.Philippians 1:3-11
The True Spirit of PrayerJ. Lyth, D. D., J. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 1:3-11
Aboundings of LoveA. Raleigh, D. D., J. Parker, D. D.Philippians 1:7-11
Ministers Carry the Images of Their People in Their HeartsPhilippians 1:7-11
Reasons for Paul's ConfidenceWeekly Pulpit., J. Lyth, D. DPhilippians 1:7-11
The Apologetic Value of Paul's BondsPhilippians 1:7-11
The Fellowship of the GospelJ. Parker, D. D.Philippians 1:7-11
The Heart of Paul and the Heart of ChristG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:7-11
The Unifying Influence of Christian LoveThe StudyPhilippians 1:7-11
The Things that ExcelW.F. Adeney Philippians 1:9, 10
Love -- the Heart's EyeS. Martin.Philippians 1:9-11
Perseverance to the Day of ChristW. B. Pope, D. D.Philippians 1:9-11
St. Paul's Prayer for the PhilippiansC. Lawson., J. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 1:9-11
The Apostle's PrayerT. Croskery Philippians 1:9-11
The Augmentation of Christly Love Ensures the Improvement of the Whole ManD. Thomas Philippians 1:9-11
The Life of God in the Soul of ManV. Hutton Philippians 1:9-11
The Recorded Prayers of St. PaulG. G. Ballard.Philippians 1:9-11
True Christian LoveS. Martin.Philippians 1:9-11
He had spoken of praying for them. This was the purport of his prayers: "And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all discernment."


1. The language implies the existence of this love as well as its imperfection. It had been manifest in many ways; but there were social rivalries and jealousies and disputes at Philippi. Therefore the apostle prays that their love may abound more and more.

2. absolutely that he speaks of, the grand principle, the motive power of Christian life. Matthew Henry says it is the law of Christ's kingdom, the lesson of his school, the livery of his family.

(1) It is Divine in its origin, for "love is of God;"

(2) it is the principle of the Divine indwelling, for "he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him;"

(3) it is the spring of all holy obedience, for it is "the fulfilling of the Law;"

(4) it is "the bond of perfectness;

(5) it has no metes or bounds like law, for we are to love with all our powers. The gospel lays the believer under a weightier line of obligation than the Law; for we are not to do this or that particular duty prescribed by the Law, but to do all that we can do through the constraining force of the love of God.

3. It is love fed by knowledge and guided by judgment; for it is to abound "in perfect knowledge and universal discernment."

(1) Knowledge here is the thorough grasp of theoretical and practical truth.

(a) This is needed to feed love. We cannot love an unknown person; we cannot love an unknown gospel; we cannot love one another except so far as we know one another. The more we know of our blessed Redeemer the more shall we love him. Love is not a blind attachment.

(b) It is needed to regulate love. Love without knowledge may lead a Christian into mistakes, irregularities, improprieties, like a foolishly fond father who spoils his child. Love may waste itself on worthless or frivolous objects, or it may attempt impracticable projects by unwarrantable means; but if knowledge be the guide, these mistakes will be prevented.

(2) The love is in "all discernment." This is more than knowledge. It is more even than the application of knowledge. It is that discriminating power, which enables a man to appreciate the true nature of things presented to him in the sphere of religious realities.


1. Christian capacity to discern excellent things. "That you may be able to prove things that are excellent." Love, rightly guided, penetrates through all disguises of error. It is, in fact, a mighty preservative against error. The Christian is able "to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good." He does not lose sight of the true proportions and relations of truth. But the spiritual capacity of believers is found to differ like the natural capacities of men. Some are very deficient in the power of spiritual discernment, yet this may be mainly due to the weakness of love. Those who are strong maintain the tranquillity of their own mind, and will be a stay to the timid and the weak. Cecil says, "A sound heart is the best casuist."

2. Sincerity. "That ye may be sincere." Love, rightly guided, brings out the deep reality of Christian character, and presents it in a holy simplicity without stratagem, diplomacy, or manoeuvre. A sincere man has all the strength that springs from an undivided heart: his love is without dissimulation; his sincerity is a godly sincerity, which realizes the impossibility of uniting the interests and pleasures and pursuits of the present world with those of true religion.

3. The absence of offense. "And void of offense." It seems hard to be so in a world to which the gospel itself is an offense. Yet, though we are not to compromise the principles of the gospel, we are to live peaceably with all men, to take wrong rather than give offense, to have a good report from them that are without, to be "blameless and harmless as the sons of God." The duration of this temper of sincerity and inoffensiveness is "against the day of Christ " - the day of final account before the Judge, as if to imply the undeviating consistency of a life thus divinely ordered.

4. Positive fruitfulness in Christian life. "Being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which is by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." There is more needed than mere harmlessness: there must be a positive development of Christian life.

(1) The fruit of righteousness. The righteousness is not of nature, but of grace; it is not of the Law, but of faith; and is essentially fruitful. Therefore those who possess it are "trees of righteousness," and the quality of the tree is known by its fruit. The whole system of redemption has for its end to make men "fruitful of good works."

(2) This fruit is by Jesus Christ, because it is bound up with the life of Christ. "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me" (John 15:4).

(3) The end to which all is directed - "to the glory and praise of God." The glory is the manifestation of God's grace, the praise is the recognition by men of God's attributes.

(4) It is implied that believers are to be "filled" with the fruit of righteousness. Not a branch here and there, but all our branches are to be loaded with fruit. Thus there will be the more glory and praise to God. - T.C.

That your love abound yet more and more in all knowledge and in all Judgment

II.ITS BURDEN — "May abound," etc.

III.ITS AIM — "That ye may approve," etc.

(G. G. Ballard.)

1. Implies a deep consciousness of an intelligently apprehended need.

2. Is becoming when an intelligent being addresses the Divine Intelligence.

3. Is essential, from the very nature of prayer.

4. Affords a fixed ground for the exercise of faith.

5. Emboldens supplication.

6. Inspires hope of a definite response.

(G. G. Ballard.)

II. GOD'S LOVE, embraced by faith into the inmost personality of man, is the central force of Christian life.


1. Receives its first impulse from God's love.

2. Is sustained in activity by its power.

3. Moves in a refluent orbit of increasing circles which continuously grow (Romans 5:20).

III. ABOUNDING LOVE. As the river, although perfect, perpetuates itself only by its ever-onward flow, as the full ocean at spring tide "aboundeth yet more and more," so love, in abounding, gathers that true freshness, vigour, and activity, whereby it has power to abound yet more and more.

(G. G. Ballard.)

1. Roll to us immediately from the heart of God.

2. Are in harmony with His reign of grace.

3. Bring to us the fullest manifestation of His love.

4. Thrill us with holy excitement though performing monotonous duties, and inspire a holy daring though in view of the fiery trial.

5. Overleap in their impetuous progress every landmark of stern propriety set up by cold conventionalism.

6. Know no limits save "knowledge and judgment"

(G. G. Ballard.)

Such passages as these have a peculiar value for serious Christians; for one of the great questions of Christian life is, What is it best to pray for? Here Paul gives us a regulating principle for many of our own most earnest prayers.


1. He does not pray that their knowledge may abound more and more in love. Whenever knowledge and love are put in competition, the precedence is always given to love. As compared with knowledge love is intrinsically stronger, and worth more practically. To be knit to God by love is better than to speculate about Him. To enwrap other men in the flame of a passionate enthusiasm is better than to analyze rival systems of ethical, social, or political truth.

2. A personal affection for Jesus our Lord is the first step, the fundamental thing in real Christianity. What is it that provokes love?(1) Beauty, and our Lord's moral beauty acts upon the affections of a true soul just as the sun acts upon the petals of an unopened bud.(2) One specific kind of moral beauty — generosity. The generosity of Jesus in giving Himself to die for us appeals even more powerfully than the faultless beauty of His character. "The love of Christ constraineth us."(3) It is a distinct endowment, an infused grace, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.

3. To love Christ is to love(1) God; for God in Him is made apprehendible and approachable.(2) Man, in Him the representative.(3) Thus love to the Saviour is the common source of all that is not spiritual in religion, and most fruitful and creative in philanthropy.

II. St. Paul would have this love ABOUND MORE AND MORE IN KNOWLEDGE — ἐπιγνωσις — the higher knowledge.

1. There is a period in the growth of love when such knowledge is imperatively required. In its earliest stages the loving soul lives only in the warmth and light of its object. It asks no questions; it only loves. But from the nature of the case this period comes to an end, not because love grows cold but because it becomes more exacting. It cannot live apart from thought, and sooner or later must come to an understanding with it. It must know something accurately about its object, and begins to ask questions which must be wisely and truly answered, or in its deep disappointment it will sicken and die.

2. How repeatedly this truth is realized in the case of the sons of deeply religious people, and in people who have been deeply religious themselves, but have passed from fervent love to deep despair, because its training in knowledge has been neglected.

3. This law will explain what happened in the Early Church. At first love reigned alone, unenquiring, ecstatic. But when the Gentiles pressed into the fold questions could not be but asked. And so in God's providence love had to, and did, grow more and more in knowledge. Each of the four groups of St. Paul's Epistles marks a distinct stage in the doctrinal insight of the Church. Each of the great Alexandrian teachers, Clement, , Dionysius, , and Cyril poured a flood of light upon the Christian conscience. The Church passed from the agonies of the Coliseum and the catacombs to define, and to recognize before she defined, the unchanging faith at Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon.

4. What has been said applies to education. This must begin with the heart. Until a pupil's affections are won, the true groundwork of the process is not mastered. The repression of love will assuredly, sooner or later, avenge itself. Witness the case of J.S. Mill.

(Canon Liddon.)

This climax is unexpected. We should have thought "in fervour, zeal, self-sacrifice." Instead of that the direction is upward from the heart to the head.

I. KNOWLEDGE REVEALS CHARACTER AND CHARACTER DRAWS OUT LOVE. We can only love a person whom we know to be lovable. This holds especially true of our relations to God. Enmity comes of ignorance of Him. Hence, in Jesus He has given us a revelation of His heart, and to know Christ is to love God. "My people is destroyed for lack of knowledge," is the epitaph written over the graves of scores of dead Christians. Neglecting the diligent study of the Scriptures they have no nutriment for their love, and it starves.

II. KNOWLEDGE OF GOD BRINGS US INTO COMMUNION WITH THAT DIVINE LIFE WHICH IS THE SPRING OF ALL DIVINE LOVE. If God is love, the more we come into fellowship with Himself the more we shall come into the exercise and experience of His love. But it is only through knowledge that we can come into this experience.

(A. J. Gordon.)

I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY CHRISTIANS HAVING THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. This cannot mean perfect knowledge. None but Deity can comprehend Deity. But we may have a true knowledge, and the difference between the two is that the former is a knowledge of all things that are true concerning God, and the latter of some things which are true. And what Christians know is as true as if they knew everything, They know, e.g., God to be self-existent, omnipotent, just, merciful, etc., although they do not know the ground of His self-existence, etc. No man knows everything about anything, but the little he knows is as true as though he knew all.


1. By the light of nature, "The invisible things," etc.

2. By Divine revelation. Though God cannot tell men in any language all things about Himself, He can tell some things in their language which they can understand.

III. THEIR TRUE LOVE FOR GOD IS FOUNDED ON THEIR TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. They do not love or worship an unknown God. Knowledge not ignorance is the mother of their devotion: which will appear if we consider —

1. That if Christians should love God for what is not true concerning Him, they would love a false character of God, which would not be true, but false love — the same as loving a false god, which is the essence of idolatry.

2. It is the knowledge which Christians have of the real and supreme excellency of God that lays them under moral obligation to love Him supremely. The more they know of God the more they feel themselves bound to love Him with all their heart.Improvement: If Christians have some true knowledge of God from His works and Word, then —

1. They may have some true knowledge of every doctrine that God has revealed.

2. There is a propriety in preaching upon any doctrine that God has revealed.

3. Christians have no right to disbelieve any doctrine because there is something mysterious in it. If we disbelieve on this ground, we must disbelieve everything.

4. Those who have gained this certain knowledge ought to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

5. There is no excuse for religious errors.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)


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.)

These are the limits which define the course of love, and thus deepen it.

I. ADVANCED KNOWLEDGE is derived from —

1. Experience.

2. Attentive study of —

(1)The Divine perfections.

(2)The gospel mystery.

(3)The Divine claims.

(4)The principles of Christ's teaching, which should pervade all Christian conduct.


1. Results from the full exertion of every moral sense.(1) There are many things in Christian life which cannot be formulated, but must be felt to be known.(2) Grace awakens the moral senses. Love makes them delicately sensitive to spiritual things. Christian life appeals to them. Experience comes in the exercise of them.(3) This experience produces a profounder knowledge and a deeper love by intensifying spiritual perceptions, because —

2. It is a medium of communication with the unseen and eternal.

3. As a medium of communication with God it makes the soul superior to, and independent of, the senses. When these close at eventide, the moral senses only open wider for the morning sun.

4. It robes the soul with a halo of light more assuring and glorious than "the glory cloud" emitted.

5. It imparts to the soul that delicate tact and instinct which almost instinctively perceives what is right, and almost unconsciously shrinks from what is wrong.

6. It is indestructible by death, and shall be an imperishable avenue for the soul's perpetual advance in knowledge.

(G. G. Ballard.)

Goethe says, "We hear of a particular regulation in force in the British naval service. The whole cordage, from the strongest to the weakest, has a red thread moving throughout it, which cannot be twisted out with out undoing it all. In this way even the smallest parts are recognized as the property of the Crown." Love in the Christian character, we may say, is that which is woven into every part of it, is that which cannot be removed without destroying the whole, and is that which is enduring and indestructible evidence that the character is owned by Him who is King.

(J. Hutchinson, D. D.)

Love abounding in all discernment distinguishes the wrong from the right, just as a good ear distinguishes a false and imperfect note from the true.

(Webster and Wilkinson.)

As we train the bodily senses of sight, and touch, and hearing to discriminate accurately, and bring them by exercise, voluntary or involuntary, to exquisite precision and almost unfailing accuracy, so our love must be trained to be itself a universal spiritual sense, at once the eye and the ear and the hand of the heart, seeing and hearing and touching in things Divine, with a sure and delicate feeling that seldom needs correction.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

The chariot in ancient warfare had its two occupants, the warrior and the charioteer: the one could not engage the enemy unless the other held the reins and guided the course. So love, the true, the only commissioned soldier in that warfare whose every triumph is peace, can fight towards victory only when knowledge directs and controls every movement that is made.

(J. Hutchinson, D. D.)

Spain once held both sides of the Mediterranean at the Straits of Gibraltar. So highly did she value her possessions, that she stamped on her coin the two Pillars of Hercules (as the promontories of rock were called); and on a scroll thrown over these were the words, ne plus ultra, "no more beyond." But one day a bold spirit sailed far beyond these pillars, and found a new world of beauty. Then Spain, wisely convinced of ignorance, struck the word ne from the coin, and left plus ultra, "more beyond." How many a man, whose conceit is great, thinks he has reached the limits of knowledge, when further investigation would open to him a continent of truth before unknown.

(Bp. Simpson)

We have many servants who regard their work as drudgery, and though they do their duties, they do them with no regard for our interests: but the old-fashioned servants were of another kind. If you have any such, you will prize one of such above a thousand others. They love their master, and they identify themselves with his interests. Old John did not want orders, he was a law to himself, he served from love. When his master one day spoke about their parting, he wanted to know where his master was going, for he had no idea of going himself: he was part and parcel of the household, and was worth his weight in diamonds. You may well say, "I would give my eyes to get such a servant as that." I dare say you would. Our Lord Jesus gave Himself that He might make such servants out of us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A poor widow contributed to the Dorpatian Branch of the Russian Bible Society a rouble; and, to the question whether that sum was not rather too much for one in her circumstances, she answered, "Love is not afraid of giving too much."

Blind love fails in any sphere of action. A true-hearted boy, who finds his mother suddenly made a widow, and his young sisters and himself fatherless, and sees want coming on with fierce visage and rapid steps like an armed man, is impelled by his love to the dear ones around him to rush at once into the midst of the struggle of life; and in the place, and with the weapons, of a full-grown man, give the enemy battle. The love and the zeal are most beautiful and admirable, yet those among the onlookers who have experience of the world's difficulty cannot but fear that the young hero may soon be brought home from the battlefield wounded and bleeding and despondent. He needs training. His love must have the knowledge of men and things along with it, before it is likely to reach its aim. So with Christian love generally, going forth to do work for God and man in the world. Having talents entrusted to us by God to lay out for Him, we must strive — by the study of our powers and opportunities, temptations and dangers; by the consideration of present circumstances, and by cautious forecast; by carefully looking in and out, and at all things in the light of God's Word — to become wise and successful spiritual traffickers.

(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)

The affections of the human soul are certainly not devoid of heavenly aspirations; but what if they do not clearly know God? Then, like the vine stretching up its tendril fingers and finding no support, and so falling back again to creep upon the earth from which it sprung, the heart that fails to find God, only loves the world the more desperately and hopelessly. Blessed be God, therefore, for the Cross of Christ, that trellis for the heart's affection. It is this by which the soul learns to know the love of God; and upon it the renewed affections climb higher and higher; beneath it they strike their roots deeper and deeper; upon its arms they reach out farther and farther; ever-more increasing in love by increasing in knowledge.

(A. J. Gordon.)

Two burnished reflectors can radiate the brightness from one to the other if there be a light between them. But, if each only reflects from the other, there can be no illumination: because neither furnishes any supply of light. So two Christians, reciprocating each other's affections, will make but a poor exhibit of brotherly love, unless they have Christ between them as the centre and source of their life. And there is just as little to admire in mutual fellowship among Christians, unless Christ be in the midst of them as the centre of that fellowship. To exhort one another, to comfort one another, and to love one another, are all most solemn duties. But where will be the profit in them unless Christ be the central theme, and His grace and glory be the central objects of our admiration and praise? The cherubim stood with "their faces one toward another;" but the mercy seat was between. And it was upon faces bending in eager gaze upon those "things which the angels desire to look into," that the glory of God was reflected. If we get cheer and brightness from looking into each other's faces, and communing with each other in the services of God's house, it will be because Christ stands in the midst of us, the object of all our meditations and the fountain of all our joys. "This is eternal life, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent." "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."

(A. J. Gordon.)

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