“Hello, Lord Jesus. We’re on our third lesson and we do need your guidance. Thank you helping us study your word.”
8 For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 10 so that ye may [f]approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; 11 being filled with the [g]fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (ASV.)
Verse #8 is a nice transition into prayer. “I love you, I miss you and I am praying for you.” How many times do we say these words to absent loved ones? Paul truly cares for the people of Philippi. In verses #9-11 Paul refers back to verse #6 and offers one of the best prayers or blessings that can be found. (My opinion.) I wonder why it is not one of the frequently quoted famous verses?
The King James & New King James are similar, the NIV translates it like this:
8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
This time the Asbury Bible Commentary is very helpful in that it explains the word translated “blameless” and one who is not “faultless” but one who has pure motives, even with a flawed performance.
These four verses really spoke to me. As I read them I felt the love Paul and Timothy had for their friends in Philippi. Paul has mentioned that he is in prison. We know, from Acts 16, of Paul’s imprisonment and the subsequent miracle concerning his incarceration when he was in Philippi. In this letter he is again imprisoned. He knows what’s going on in Philippi and he tells his friends that they share his chains. Now he prays for them. Comparing Ephesians,Galatians and Colossians, I see nothing like this. Paul is, for me, filled out here. He speaks as a friend, not as a distant bishop. I think this is Paul being the pastor of this flock and not just the “Apostle to the Gentiles”.