Matter of Faith: What Paul prayed for


From: Bob Williams



In this series on “following Paul in prayer,” we briefly reviewed what Paul prayed “about”in the previous installment. His prayers in Philippians were primarily about the Fellowship of the Gospel in the context of the Mystery Truth God revealed to Paul. He then goes on to reveal what he prays for in Philippians 1:9-11: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

To those who have rejected  Paul’s distinct and unique apostleship, his prayer requests seem unimportant and of little significance. But to those, who like the Philippians, are operating in accord with Paul’s Mystery Truth, believing, embracing, partaking in and advancing it, Paul’s prayer requests mean everything in the universe. Note that Paul first prayed that their love (agape) would super-abound in full-knowledge (epignosis) and all judgment. 

It is common to hear Christians say things like: “We don’t need doctrine and knowledge; we just need love.” But what they miss is love flows out of knowledge. To throw away knowledge is to throw away love. Paul uses the Greek word “epignosis” here, which means advanced or full-knowledge. He uses this word 20 times, and of those the vast majority are in the context of Paul’s Mystery truth.

Similarly in Colossians, Paul desires (prays) that they be filled with the full-knowledge of His will, and that they increase in the full-knowledge of God,  (Col. 1:9-10). But how were they to do that? By recognizing all that Christ is and all He has done for believers, (Col. 1:11-24). And where do we learn that? By understanding that Paul is the steward of God’s Dispensation of Grace, which had been hid from the ages and generations, “but now” is made manifest to the saints through Paul’s epistles, (Eph 2; Ro. 16:25-26) .Through the Mystery Truth entrusted to Paul, God is today dispensing the riches of His glory to the world, especially the Gentiles, (Col. 1:25-27). In short, successful , victorious Christian living, knit together in love, will only come to the Colossians and Philippians (and all believers since) “by the full-knowledge of the Mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ,” (Col. 2:2).

To throw away Paul’s distinct apostleship is to throw away God’s Mystery Truth. And to throw away God’s Mystery Truth is to throw away the basis of all Christian living, including prayer. Paul’s concern isn’t they have more love in general, but that they have love of a specific kind. The kind of love that comes from the full-knowledge and all-perceiving understanding of God’s Mystery Truth given to Paul for the Body of Christ, which is the church of today. It is no wonder Paul made this his first prayer request.


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