Philippians 1:7-9

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

September 11, 2002


Paul has a great fondness for the folks in Philippi.  The church was established under very difficult circumstances, such as Paul and Silas being beaten and thrown into jail.

Paul himself is writing this letter under very difficult times, being currently imprisoned in Rome, under constant guard by Roman soldiers.

Oddly enough, the theme of this letter is … joy.

Paul has been writing about how confident he is that God is going to be doing good things for them (Phil. 1:6)

:7 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.

meetdikaios – righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God

to thinkphroneo – to have understanding, be wise; to feel, to think; to have an opinion of one’s self, think of one’s self, to be modest, not let one’s opinion (though just) of himself exceed the bounds of modesty; to think or judge what one’s opinion is; to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for

bondsdesmon – a band or bond; Paul was chained to a Roman guard.

the defenceapologia – verbal defence, speech in defence; a reasoned statement or argument

confirmationbebaiosis – confirmation; from bebaioo – to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure

the gospeleuaggelion – a reward for good tidings; good tidings; the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the gospel

are partakerssugkoinonos – participant with others in anything, joint partner

gracecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

(Phil 1:7 NLT)  It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a very special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God, both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News.

:8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

recordmartus – a witness

I long afterepipotheo – to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after; to lust, harbour forbidden desire

bowelssplagchnon – bowels, intestines, (the heart, lungs, liver, etc.); the bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.); a heart in which mercy resides

Paul had a great love for these people.


Loving one another

Jesus said that the sign to the world that we belong to Him was in how much we love each other.
(John 13:34-35 KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

It wasn’t in how well we understood the doctrine of predestination (though that is an important thing).

It wasn’t in whether or not we performed great miracles or used spiritual gifts (though those are important things).

It was whether or not we loved each other like Jesus loves us.

:9  And this I pray,

I prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray


If you love them you will pray for them

I think that sometimes we can tell what we really think about someone by how we pray for them.
Do you pray for them in a way that you wish others would pray for you?

:9  that your love may abound yet more and more

love agape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence; love feasts

love - (agape) Paul doesn't use phileo or eros, he uses agape, the N.T. word that speaks of that special love demonstrated by God giving His Son for us.

moremallon – more, to a greater degree, rather

may abound perisseuo – to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure; to abound, overflow; to be abundantly furnished with, to have in abundance, abound in (a thing), to be in affluence; "Abounding" is used of a flower going from a bud to full bloom. Present tense - may keep on flowing, a perpetual flood of love


Pray for growing love

This is the basis of Paul’s prayer for the Philippians.
The tense of the verb indicates that Paul knows that they have love, but he is praying that it will continue to increase more and more.
1Cor. 13 – the definition of agape.
(1 Cor 13:1-8 NLT)  If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. {2} If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. {3} If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. {4} Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud {5} or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. {6} It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. {7} Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. {8} Love will last forever
Try substituting your own name for the word “love” in the passage.

Kind of falls a little short, huh? That’s how we know that we need to grow in agape

Try putting the name of Jesus in the passage.

Jesus is pure agape.

:9  in knowledge and in all judgment;

knowledgeepignosis – precise and correct knowledge; used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine; not just knowledge (gnosis), but it is a fuller, clearer, more thorough knowledge of facts or truths.  NAS – “real knowledge”; not just knowledge in the abstract as being vaguely familiar with love, but really knowing it.

Why is real knowledge important to love?

It’s important that we know what it really means to love someone, loving as in 1Cor.13.  We need to be careful not to have any false ideas about love, and that we don't just know it abstractly, but through intimate experience.    
God wants us to really, really understand what 1Corinthians 13 is all about.

judgmentaisthesis – perception, not only by the senses but by the intellect; cognition, discernment; of moral discernment in ethical matters; NAS – “discernment”; “delicate spiritual perception”

A related word is found in:

(Heb 5:11-14 KJV)  Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. {12} For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. {13} For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. {14} But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
sensesaistheterion – faculty of the mind for perceiving, understanding, judging; this is a word related to our word “judgment” or “discernment”

You could say, “those who by reason of practice have their “discernment” exercised to discern between good and evil.

to discerndiakrisis – a distinguishing, discerning, judging
We often think of “meat” as those Bible Studies that really zing us in the heart, those Bible Studies that we perceive as really “deep” and “spiritual”.

Yet the writer says that “meat” is what we are able to receive when we get real good at telling good from evil, and that comes from practice.

“Meat” is for those who learn to tell right from wrong, and who practice it.

How is discernment related to love?

Love is not blind - it knows about another's faults and loves anyways; it does not excuse evil, it forgives and cleanses - loving with your eyes open

Paul prays that their love may keep growing and flowing; but within the guidelines of real knowledge and discernment.  It’s as if love is pictured as a river, and the river banks that keep the river on track are real knowledge and discernment.