Paul is one of the most complex writers in the Bible. When first year Greek students begin their work on actual biblical passages they usually start in the Gospel of John. John uses the simplest forms of the language. He shares the most complex truths using the simplest grammatical structures. This makes John’s writings ideal for the first year Greek Student. But the second year student usually moves into Paul’s work. Philippians is the 08 fruit2preferred book to begin with. It’s more complex than John, but not as complex as Romans. In most translations of Philippians 1:9-11 it is presented as one long sentence. The central idea of this passage is that Paul is praying that our love will continue to grow more and more. But the rest of the passage adds additional ideas to Paul’s prayer. First he wants our love to have the boundaries of truth and understanding. If they do, we’ll be able to recognize the right ways to behave. This will result in our growing towards being pure and blameless as the return of the Lord approaches.

This wraps up verses 9 and 10, but verse 11 is part of the sentence as well. As we advance in our love for others we become more like Christ who perfectly loved others. The scriptures teach us that we can only love God and others because He first loved us. No one can love like God until they are loved by God. Receiving Christ in our lives brings, as Paul puts it, “Christ in us.” We simply become the channel of God’s love. I think that’s what Paul meant in Philippians 1:11, “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” The Late F. F. Bruce asks a very profound question: “Does this mean that righteousness bears the fruit, or that righteousness itself is the fruit? Both thoughts seem to be present here. Only that ‘righteousness from God that depends on faith’ (3:9) can be adequate to produce rectitude of conduct. We are made righteous that we may become righteous. But this fruit is through Jesus Christ. In Him alone we are righteous, and by Him alone can the life be beautiful.”

Christ’s love for us, works in us to produce a growing love for each other. Our love is bordered by truth and understanding just as Christ’s love for us is. We learn to recognize or to discern right choices in life which results in excellence in all our relationships. We’re changed from the inside out. This change is characterized by Paul as “the fruit of righteousness.” Homer Kent puts it this way, “Paul desires that when his readers stand before Christ, their lives will have been filled with the right kind of fruit. He is not talking about mere human uprightness measured by outward conformity to law. He is rather speaking of the spiritual fruit that comes from Jesus Christ, produced in them by the Holy Spirit sent by Christ (Gal 5:22). Consequently, all the glory and praise belongs not to believers but to God, for he has redeemed them by the work of his Son and has implanted within them his Spirit to produce the fruit of righteousness.”