John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 1:9 - 1:9

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - Philippians 1:9 - 1:9


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9This I pray that your love He returns to the prayer, which he had simply touched upon in one word in passing. He states, accordingly, the sum of those things which he asked from God in their behalf, that they also may learn to pray after his example, and may aspire at proficiency in those gifts. The view taken by some, as though the love of the Philippians denoted the Philippians themselves, as illiterate persons are accustomed very commonly to say, “ reverence,” — “ paternity,” is absurd. For no instance of such an expression occurs in the writings of Paul, nor had such fooleries come into use. Besides, the statement would be less complete, and, independently of this, the simple and natural meaning of the words suits admirably well. For the true attainments of Christians are when they make progress in knowledge, and understanding, and afterwards in love. Accordingly the particle in, according to the idiom of the Hebrew tongue, is taken here to mean with, as I have also rendered it, unless perhaps one should prefer to explain it as meaning by, so as to denote the instrument or formal cause. For, the greater proficiency we make in knowledge, so much the more ought our love to increase. The meaning in that case would be, “ your love may increase according to the measure of knowledge.” All knowledge, means what is full and complete — not a knowledge of all things. (48)



(48) “ word rendered judgment is capable of being rendered sense ( πάσὟ αἰσθήσει) in all sense. ‘ pray that you may have your spiritual senses in excerise — that you may have a judicious distinguishing sense.’ For what? Why, ‘ ye may approve things that are excellent,’ — so it follows, or, as the words there may be read, to ‘ things that differ.’“ — Howe’ Works, (Lond. 1822,) vol. 5, p. 145. — Ed.