Friday, 24 February 2017
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
Once again, as in verse 3:1, Paul uses the word “finally.” Unlike there though, he is truly concluding his epistle; giving the final closing thoughts to his beloved church in Philippi. Again as in 3:1, he calls them “brethren.” He is showing his fraternal love for them in this manner. It is, therefore, a call that his coming words are to be taken in that light. He wants them to understand that just as he would pursue certain things with his walk, this is what he wants them to do also. They are united in Christ and should all conduct their affairs in that manner.
With this in mind, he next says, “whatever things are true.” In the world there is truth, and then there is falsehood. Quite often that which is false seems easier to comply with, or maybe easier to digest. But such an expediency is never the appropriate path to follow. The Greek word is an adjective which gives the sense of “attested because tested – literally, ‘what can’t be hidden’” (HELPS Word Studies). It is found in the book of John more than any other book. Jesus used the word many times, highlighting that truth is a most important aspect of our understanding of that which is correct to follow.
Following this he says, “whatever things are just.” The word in Greek gives the sense of that which is honorable. It is used four times in the New Testament, only by Paul, and this is its only use outside of the pastoral epistles. HELPS Word Studies defines it as, “…what is august (dignified, has ‘gravitas’); weighty, deeply respected because viewed as majestic (having ‘gravity’); grave.” Such things are in contrast to that which is lowly and indecent, even depraved.
He next says, “whatever things are pure.” Again, HELPS Word Studies provides us with the intent behind the word. It means “pure (to the core); virginal (chaste, unadultered); pure inside and out; holy because uncontaminated (undefiled from sin), i.e. without spoilation even within (even down to the center of one’s being); not mixed with guilt or anything condemnable.”
Following this, he says, “whatever things are lovely.” This word is found only here in the Bible. Vincent’s Word Studies defines it as, “Adapted to excite love, and to endear him who does such things.”
He then goes on to, “whatever things are of good report.” This also is a word found only here in the New Testament, and it means something which is spoken in a charitable spirit, worthy of praise, and of good reputation.
From there he goes on to note, “if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy.” The first word, translated as “virtue,” is used only here by Paul, but Peter uses it in both of his epistles. It speaks of that which is of moral virtue and even excellence; perfection. The second thought, which is translated as “worthy of praise,” is well-translated. It indicates something truly laudable.
In all of the things he has stated, he sums up with the words, “meditate on these things.” It is to be the Christian’s duty to carefully think on, and pay attention to, each of these things. We are to direct our minds on such things and not to anything which opposes them. If we do this, then our hearts and minds will be properly influenced, and our lives will be led in a manner which is acceptable to the Lord.
Life application: Go back and read the words of this verse. Think on them today. As you do, take time to consider what they are saying. Should negative thoughts come your way, redirect your mind based on what Paul exhorts here. In the future, continue to follow this pattern. In doing so, you will grow in holiness and in a life which is glorifying of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, help us to consider things that are good and noble, and to think on that which is morally right and decent. When we come across something that would direct our attention away from You, grant us that we would redirect our thoughts to that which is lovely and decent. In all things, may our minds be filled with the beauty which You have granted to us, and not the base and lowly things which so easily distract us from a right walk with You. Help us in this, O Lord. Amen.