The Age of Enlightenment brought many benefits. One of the disadvantages, however, that came with the enlightenment was the assumption that there are answers for everything. Faith and the supernatural were put in the dock and everything, including religion, became a science. This approach to religion not only pits reason against faith but also against sense. We can identify this in evangelicalism today in the “book-chapter-and-verse” mentality that demands a reason for everything we should do or should not do.
Biblical Christianity is reasonable; it addresses the intellect, and so Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love would “abound more and more in knowledge.” But it is also supernatural, and so Paul continued his prayer that their love would abound in knowledge “and insight” (AV: “all judgment”). The word that the apostle uses is found only here in the New Testament. A related word, aistheterion, is found in Hebrews 5:14 where it is translated “senses.” You may recognize this Greek word as the word from which we get the English word aesthetic. You will know also that a sense of aestheticism is intuitive, like learning a mother language; whereas, a second language is learned intellectually.
There is a knowledge that is deeper than the intellect or reason and there is a love, like other graces that is only learned intuitively at the feet of the Saviour—it is a supernatural insight that only the godly have regardless of education or academic ability. This is the nature of the love that Paul prays for the Philippians and it is for this love that we need to pray for ourselves and our fellow-believers.
Reading: “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 offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”—Philippians 1:9–11