Philippians 1:9-10

Mike Sangrey mike at
Wed Sep 13 10:23:44 EDT 2000

At 7:25 PM -0400 9/12/00, Mike Sangrey wrote:


>Is this saying that love promotes sound and practical scholarship?

Carl Conrad <cwconrad at> said:
> I've seen Mark Wilson's response to this and agree essentially with
> what he says, but my own initial reaction was that this suggestion of
> Mike's was composed with tongue in cheek. Was I mistaken? 

Well, not really `tongue in cheek' as much as perhaps `outside of the
box'; an appellative I've worn sometimes with honor, sometimes with
shame. :-)
> I think that the moral progress envisioned here and given expression
> in these seemingly intellectual words EPIGNWSEI, AISQHSEI and
> DOKIMAZEIN TA DIAFERONTA is actually more a matter of developing
> sophisticated discernment as to how God's will for the well-being of
> the person(s) one is dealing with in each particular situation is to
> be promoted by one's own behavior in that situation.

I would add, and perhaps this is a prominent difference, that "one's own
behavior" must receive its impetus from love.  This is the difference
I note between my perspective and Mark's.

Mark Wilson <emory2oo2 at> said:
> I take EN EPIGNWSEI as Means.
> "Your love may abound by means of..."
> Love, therefore, abounds as a by-product of knowledge. Not knowledge as the 
> academically driven accumulation of information or data, but knowledge in 
> the biblical sense of: [relationship with Jesus Christ--MJS].

However, while I agree with Mark's statement, I don't think that is the
thought these verses are making.  What struck me with this verse is that
love should abound in two areas and that the areas are intellectual in
nature.  With Mark, I tend to think of EPIGNWSIS as `intimate knowledge'
and therefore think of it more in terms of relationship.  However, here
it is coupled with PASHi AISQHSEI which I can't think of in those terms.
So, I think of this phrase as "competency and significant capacity to
understand".  And THAT phrase, to me, means scholarship.  However, it
doesn't stop there, but moves into a "proving out that which is valuable."
Which is again a characteristic of sound scholarship, but with a twist:
one must understand the `valuable' things are not intellectual in nature,
but moral, thus DIKAIOSUNH.  (That's why I used the phrase "practical

It appears to me (if I may pit two extremes off of each other) to be
a very careful balance between "Christianity is a spiritual thing,
NOT intellectual" and "Education will usher in the new millennium".
Scholarship, properly permeated with love (respect, humility), will
result in intellectual growth which in turn results in keen discernment
regarding what is really important morally.

Or to put it differently, these verses appear to me to form the basis
for the following quote taken from the Netiquette supplement sent to
all subscribers of this list:

    While scholarly debate, including disagreement, is encouraged as a
    goal of this conference, attacks upon the character, intelligence,
    or faith of those participating are not acceptable. Criticism must
    focus upon the arguments of others; it may not be directed to the

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