Monday, 20 March 2017
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Colossians 1:9
This takes us right back to verses 3-8. Paul had said in verse 3, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” After that, he gave his reasons for this thanks. Now, using that same list, he says, “For this reason we also…” The same thing that brought thanks to the hearts of Paul and Timothy is the thing which now brings something else along with it.
Before he tells what it is that he is referring to, he says, “since the day we heard it.” As soon as the news came to their ears, and even until the present moment, this has held true. And that thing is that they “do not cease to pray for you.” They weren’t just thankful for the good news that they heard, but they began to pray for those who they were thankful for. Although this isn’t necessary in all situations, Paul next explains what the prayers are for. He says it is “to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
These words set up the train of thought for the rest of his epistle. The question must be, “How can someone be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding without being properly instructed in it?” Paul’s words ahead will help lead them on this path. They may have had a copy of the Old Testament writings available to them if there were Jews among them who had converted to Christ, but they probably had no instruction on the doctrines of Christ outside of their instruction from Epaphras.
Now they would need that instruction, lest they fall into the heresies which were already coming into being at the time. To have “the knowledge of His will” means that of His will for us in Christ. This is certain, because Christ is God’s will for all humanity. To have a faulty view of Christ would then lead to a faulty view of God’s will.
This knowledge is to be “in all wisdom.” The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To have that, and then to grow in that fear of the Lord is the proper path. The book of Ecclesiastes shows the contrast between earthly wisdom and that which is heavenly. The prayers of Paul and Timothy were for those in Colossae to have this heavenly wisdom.
But their prayers were not only for wisdom, but also “spiritual understanding.” This is the ability to “put things together.” Not only should the Christian have wisdom, but also the ability to take that wisdom and to be discerning in it. Though the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible, Christians should be able to discern that is is a truth which is clearly presented there, and which can be logically deduced from various passages. The same is true with other major doctrines as well. Spiritual understanding is also speaking of that which is not correct. That Jesus Christ is God is plainly evident from even a cursory reading of the Bible. Therefore, to say that He is a created being is false. Spiritual understanding will reveal this.
Life application: It is good to give thanks for the salvation of others, but it should also be our heart’s desire that they grow in wisdom and knowledge concerning God and His word. Therefore, in addition to the thanks we give for the salvation of others, let us remember to pray for their development into mature followers of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, it is always a wonderful thing to see people come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus, but it should also be our desire to seem them mature in their walk with Him. Help us to remember to give thanks for what You have done in them, and also to give prayers in hopes of what You will continue to do in them. May this be so in order that they will be mature, doctrinally sound believers. Amen.