The “Truth”Test Phil.1:19-10.

Phil.1:9-10.And this I pray,that you love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment:That you may appove,”to ;test”,”prove”things that are excellent;that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

The Greek words for knowledge and discernment deserve careful study.

(1)We use the word “diagnosis” for knowledge of a very thorough sort.

(2)We use the word “prognosis” for a knowledge  so accurate as to predict the course of a disease.

(3)Another word is “epignosis”,which is a transliteration of the very word used here.Phil.1:9.(Knowledge.) It suggests knowledge heaped up as in a pile,one fact upon another,and the possessor on top of it all.

The other word translated “discernment” is that from which “esthetic”is derived.The overtones of a rich emotional life are present in this “science of the beautiful.”(Ralph Herring).

The immediate effect sought in this prayer is explained in the first part of verse 10,”so that you may approve the things that are excellent.”

Approval is the next step after knowledge and all discernment.

There are three stages to the idea in the word translated “approve.”

(1) The meaning of the  first stage is “to test,” and it is illustrated by the use of this same word in 1.John.4:1.”Beloved,believe not every spirit,but prove the spirits,whether they are of God.”

(2)The idea involved in the second stage is “approve.”Phil.1:10.

(3)For the meaning to be found in the third stage..see Rom.12:-2..That you may “prove” what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.The idea in this final stage differs from that in the first in that the will of God must be proved by experience as good and acceptable and perfect.

Ralph Herring relates this illustration:Many years ago when there was little currency in use in China and almost all purchases were made in cash,the merchants would keep a smooth block of polished marble or stone on their counters conveniently near the cash drawer.

There were so  many counterfeits among the silver coins which were passed that the merchant,if he had the slighest suspicion,would fling the coin upon the smooth stone.If it did not have the right “ring”,he would not hesitate to ask for another.If its tone marked it as genuine silver,he would put it in the drawer,and the transaction would be completed.

So much that is counterfeit is being passed over life’s counters that God wants his children skilled in the art of discernment.

They must first test,then approve,and finally ring up in the cash drawer of experience the coinage of truth,which is the medium of exchange for real riches.In a world where values differ so widely,the Christian whose ability to discriminate has not been sensitized by the love of God and by the love of truth is utterly at a loss.

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