Paul’s Prayer

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is that their love may abound in “knowledge and moral understanding” (1:9) is one of the most significant verses of this passage. It is interesting that “knowledge” here arises out of love and not the other way around. We tend to think that the more we know about God or about a friend the more we will love them, or at least we will love them more truly. That is, we assume that our knowledge will lead to a more mature, well-informed love. Paul’s prayer for the Philippians seems to presume a different sort of ordering of love and knowledge. 1 John 2:27

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

These verses might help us see this. These verses remind us that the Spirit with which believers are anointed provides us with knowledge and truth and that this Spirit is agape or charity. “Charity” and “agape” are different words for love that Christians have traditionally used. In this way, love, in the person of the Spirit, precedes and leads believers into knowledge rather than knowledge leading us to love.

While the rest of us might be demanding answers from God, Paul is praying for God’s purpose, for God’s glory.  Yes, let us reflect upon this!


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