The joy of discerning the will of God in Pauline theology? (Philippians 1)

Discussion in 'Exegetical Forum' started by TheThirdandReformedAdam, Nov 12, 2017.

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  1. TheThirdandReformedAdam

    TheThirdandReformedAdam Puritan Board Freshman

    I am preparing to discuss Philippians 1:9-11 this week, and I have found particular enjoyment in unpacking the phrase "so that you may approve what is excellent" (v. 10a, ESV). My current interpretation goes as follows: Paul precedes this statement by saying that he prays for the Philippians that they would gain "knowledge and all discernment." Therefore, I concluded that the statement "you may approve what is excellent" most likely means "approve what the will of God is; what is pleasing to God." Nevertheless, Paul elects to use the word excellent, here, instead of "the will of God" or some similar statement. Thus, it seems plausible that Paul is here reminding the Philippians that discerning the will of God is much more than an apathetic exercise in differentiating A from B, but is instead a much more lively (and exciting) activity; it is to discern the beautiful from the ugly; the excellent from the dross.

    Does anyone agree/disagree with this interpretation? Do you find this view of the joyfulness of discerning the will of God to be a typical Pauline characteristic?

    I have also wondered whether this same attitude might be detected in Romans 12:2 - we are to discern what the will of God is, specifically "what is good." Can good here be understood as good as opposed to bad (or that which is unpleasant), or is it merely to be taken as good as opposed to evil? Thoughts?
     
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