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And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in accurate knowledge and all discernment. (Philippians 1:9)
We are to love all believers in Christ. Some are hard to love, even some of our friends. Paul here prays that we learn to love the unlovely, but this love is to be tempered by accurate knowledge and discernment of the people and situations. He is praying that we are not naïve and gullible in our dealings with one another.
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And this I pray. We pray for those whom we love: family, friends, and Christian brothers and sisters, as we see the betterment of their spiritual welfare. We want all to be happy, to find joy in this life and that to come, which can only come about through God. In all of Paul’s fourteen letters, we notice that he never prays for wealth, prosperity, or any other worldly desires. His prayers were always kept to spiritual blessings, and he pursued these as the most extremely important of all favors.
That your love may abound yet more and more; This is a proper matter of prayer. There are few better things to be praying for when it comes to our Christian friends, in that their love may abound yet more and more. This will improve their spiritual progress and welfare.
In accurate knowledge. Accurate Knowledge: (ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis) This is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. It is a personal recognition where one understands something clearly and distinctly or as true and valid. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis. Paul uses the term 15 times, while Peter uses it four times. Paul wrote about some who were “always learning and yet never able to come to accurate knowledge of truth.” (2Ti 3:6-7) He also prayed for those in the Colossian church, who clearly had some knowledge of the will and purposes of the Father, for they had become Christians, “that [they] may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Col 1:9) All Christians should desire to obtain or achieve accurate knowledge of God’s Word. (Eph 1:15-17; Php 1:9; 1Ti 2:3-4), It is crucial in one’s effort at putting on the new person that Paul spoke of, and in gaining peace. – Rom. 1:28; Eph. 1:17; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9-10; 3:10; 1 Tim 2:4; 2Pe 1:2.
And all discernment. Discernment (Insight): A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding” or “insight.” The Greek term (αἴσθησις aisthēsis) has the same sense in that it refers to one with the mental ability or thinking ability to understand and distinguish between relations. Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that recognizes and separates the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others. It is having the capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination. It can be defined as understanding, insight, and discernment, a good sense or wisdom to respond appropriately and correctly to Jehovah and the Word of God. (Deut. 4:6) Discernment and understanding involve realizing, perceiving, grasping what the authors meant, identifying individual verses in light of the whole, weighing, or evaluating one verse in the light of the others.