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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Think on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, 
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things.
(Philippians 4:8)

Let’s go through this verse phrase by phrase, and see what it actually says.

Finally, brethrenBrethren are those men and women who know Christ as their personal Savior. This verse isn’t directed to everyone. It’s for a specific group of people: Christians. If you’re a Christian, it’s for you.

whatsoever things are trueTruth is the opposite of a lie. It is an absolute. The Bible tells us several things are truth:
  • The Word of God is truth. (1 Kings 17:24; Psalm 119:142; John 17:17)
  • Jesus is the truth. (John 14:6)
  • The Holy Spirit is truth. (1 John 2:27; 5:6)
  • The gospel is the truth. (Galatians 2:5 14; Colossians 1.5)

whatsoever things are honestHonest means “grave, to be venerated, of character.” It’s the only time in the Bible that this Greek word semnos is used. It seems to indicate seriousness.

whatsoever things are justJust means “righteous, right (in a judicial sense).” This same word is used very often in the Bible, in different contexts. Here are just a few of them:
  • Speaking of a justified person: For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
  • Qualifications for a pastor: But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate (Titus 1:8).
  • Speaking of Christ Himself: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
  • About how God forgives sin: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
  • Praising God’s ways: And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints (Revelation 15:3).

whatsoever things are pureThis concept of purity is perhaps one of the most difficult for us to understand. It means “chaste, pure, and clear.” It’s used to describe a holy thing. What a standard! We’re to think about perfectly holy things.

whatsoever things are lovely—I enjoy looking at lovely, pleasant things, which is exactly what this word is talking about. We’re to think on loveliness, pleasantness.

whatsoever things are of good report—This one seems obvious and it is. It means those things that are positive, good, and nice—of good report.

if there be any virtue—This if can be better read whoever or whatever, so this phrase turns out to mean “whoever/whatever is of moral excellence,” this is what we’re to think about. The same Greek word for virtue is used several times in the following passage: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge (2 Peter 1:3-5).

if there be any praiseThe other uses of this same Greek word for praise refer to people’s lives glorifying God. So, we’re to think about people in this context, about those things in their lives that actually praise God!

think on these thingsWhat a wrap-up phrase, a simple statement telling us what to think about.

The practical application of Philippians 4:8—This verse should revolutionize our thought processes. As sinful human beings, we tend to be negative. We think about things that are exactly the opposites of the list in this verse.

We need to think about:
  • truth instead of falsehoods
  • serious themes instead of silliness
  • righteousness instead of unrighteousness
  • holy instead of polluted
  • lovely instead of ugly
  • good instead of negative
  • moral excellence instead of moral decadence
  • how people glorify God in their lives instead of their faults.

Consciously and conscientiously turning our thoughts around will help us to focus on what’s right. If, when our thoughts drift toward the negative, we change them to positive using the outline of Philippians 4:8, we will have a whole new outlook, a whole new emphasis.

Years ago, I was discouraged because my eyes were on people—people who disappointed. I started meditating on Philippians 4:8, turning my thoughts to what was true, just, pure, praise-worthy, and all the rest. It made an amazing difference! This verse is transformational.

Thoughts inspire actions. When our thoughts are in line with the Word of God, right actions and attitudes follow.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise . . .

think on these things.


  1. Muy bueno!!! Debemos recordar todo esto puesto que tendemos a ser negativos en la mayoría de las situaciones que no apuran. Hemos de pensar antes de actuar y ser mas calmados.

    1. Thank you, Tere. God bless you as you grow in the Lord.


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