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The process of development and maturing, used to refer to the progress of the kingdom of God and the spiritual development of believers. Scripture uses images of growth (such as seeds, plants and infants) to stress the dynamic nature of personal faith and the kingdom of God.

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Images of growth

Infancy to maturity

Ephesians 4:13–15 KJV 1900
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
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Seeds and plants

Luke 8:14–15 KJV 1900
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
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The apostles worked and prayed for growth in believers

2 Corinthians 13:9 KJV 1900
For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.
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Dimensions of spiritual growth

In faith

2 Corinthians 10:15–16 KJV 1900
Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.
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In knowledge

2 Peter 3:18 KJV 1900
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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In love

1 Thessalonians 4:10 KJV 1900
And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
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Growth comes from God

Colossians 2:19 KJV 1900
And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
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Growth comes through discipleship

Putting away the sinful self

1 Peter 2:1 KJV 1900
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
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Moving on from basic teaching

Hebrews 6:1–2 KJV 1900
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
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Maturing in thinking

1 Corinthians 14:20 KJV 1900
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
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Persevering in faith

James 1:4 KJV 1900
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
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Contributing to growth in the church by exercising gifts

Ephesians 4:11–12 KJV 1900
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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Examples of spiritual growth in some of God’s servants

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The growth of the kingdom of God

God promises that his kingdom will grow

Colossians 1:6 KJV 1900
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
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The early church experienced rapid numerical growth

Acts 4:4 KJV 1900
Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
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