“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,“
Paul’s prayer was that love would abound in knowledge. This word “knowledge” means full, experiential knowledge. To love in God’s economy is to love beyond emotion and feeling. There is something at the foundation of this love.
To love in knowledge means that we do not call every person “honey” or “darling.” This is not saccharin, imitation love, which is not authentic. Authentic love loves on the basis of substance or content.
Love has nothing to fear from light. Suspicion puts the light out; it kills love. Intense love makes people sensitive to slights and misunderstandings unless they apply full knowledge. Knowledge here denotes fineness of perception.
Knowledge is important for any specialist in any field. I do not want my plumber to perform surgery on me. Neither do I want my surgeon to work on my plumbing! Each specialist is adept at his specialty because of what he knows. A Christian is to be a specialist in love. That love is to abound in knowledge. An indifferent, vague, sloppy love is not Christian love. True love is an informed love.
Love grows best in the radiant light of knowledge.
“and all discernment”
Knowledge is the accumulation of facts. Discernment, however, is an advance upon knowledge. Discernment is the correct use of the facts. But we must have knowledge to have discernment.
The more we know, the more we can divide things that differ. We can separate and make distinctions. Discernment can tell the difference between maudlin and authentic love. Maudlin love may not employ “tough love” when necessary. Maudlin love loves on the basis of sympathy, not empathy.
Authentic love requires both knowledge and discernment.
Authentic love requires both knowledge and discernment. As well, God wants us to “abound still more and more” in love that loves on the basis of knowledge and discernment.
Do you love purely with your emotions? Can you dislike someone and still love that person? It is valid biblically to deplore the foolishness of individuals and still love them.