I began a ten-week study of the book of Philippians this week. I’m using a resource by Keri Folmar as a guide. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in joining me in the study. I’d be happy to give you more information.

Philippians is the inspiration of this Monday School and I feel certain will be a source of several more in the coming weeks.

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians in chapter 1 verses 9-11 jumped out at me when I read it the other day. I’m currently reading the ESV Bible, but often pull out other versions to compare the wording in each. One of my favorite study Bibles is my NIV and this one is marked up and highlighted, with notes written in margins and passages dated.

On May 17, 2000, I marked the same prayer.  IMG_7015

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”                   Philippians 1:9-11

It was my prayer then and is my prayer now, that my love may abound more and more. A love that is grounded in knowledge and understanding, and knowledge and understanding saturated in love.

Paul told the Philippians why he prayed for their love to abound more and more at the beginning of verse ten. Different versions say it different ways.

The NIV – to be able to discern what is best
The CEV – to understand how to make right choices
The ESV – so that you approve what is excellent

My favorite phrase is in the NLT.  “For I want you to understand what really matters.” I love that. Paul wants our love to abound more and more so we understand what really matters.

Here’s the thing: we’re learning to follow Jesus as we’re following Jesus. We don’t learn everything then follow. We learn as we go. More and more.

It’s been 18 years of learning since I dated that prayer and I can confidently say I’m better at discerning what is best. I love better because God is causing my love to abound more and more.

In verse 11, Paul makes it clear that ultimately it’s all for God’s glory and praise. All the abounding love and knowledge and depth of insight. All the discerning what is best and growing more and more like Jesus. It’s to point others to Him.

I’ve marked today’s date at the top of Paul’s prayer for the Philippians in my newest Bible because I have more and more to learn about what really matters.

May our love abound more and more.

Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash