Think about This
The world clamors for us to think about sickness, shootings, wars and rumors of wars, but what does God call us to think about as we walk through our day?
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~Philippians 4:8 NASB
God calls us to think on things: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent or praiseworthy. Let us examine each of these.
Thinking about what is true means we focus on what is genuine and real, not fake, false, unreliable or counterfeit.
“Satan is the liar, and he wants to corrupt our minds with his lies. “Has God said?” is the way he approaches us, just as he approached Eve. The Holy Spirit controls our minds through truth, but the devil tries to control them through lies. Whenever we believe a lie, satan takes over!” [WBC NT 653]
“Dr. Walter Cavert reported a survey on worry that indicated that only 8 percent of the things people worried about were legitimate matters of concern. The other 92 percent were either imaginary, never happened, or involved matters over which the people had no control anyway.” [WBC NT 653]
“What is true is found in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in God’s Word.” ~John MacArthur1
To be honorable implies respected or greatly esteemed.
“Believers are to meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, i.e., the sacred as is opposed to the profane.” [MA 1725]
Honorable means noble “or morally attractive.” [MD 2023]
“There are many things that are not respectable, and Christians should not think about these things. This does not mean we hide our heads in the sand and avoid what is unpleasant and displeasing, but it does mean we do not focus our attention on dishonorable things and permit them to control our thoughts.” [WBC NT 653]
Right intentions combined with right actions indicates lawfulness and justice with character.
“The believer is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness.” [MA 1725]
“Just means righteous, toward both God and man.” [MD 2023-4]
Pure suggests guiltless, innocent, genuine, clean, or incorrupt.
“That which is morally clean or undefiled.” [MA 1725]
“Pure would refer to the high moral character of a person’s life.” [MD 2023]
“Pure probably refers to moral purity, since the people then, as now, were constantly attacked by sexual impurity.” [WBC NT 653]
Webster speaks of lovely as “possessing qualities which may invite affection or excite love.” We say the Lord is lovely, a painting of a lily is lovely, and a bride in white is lovely.
“Believers are to focus on whatever is kind or gracious.” [MA 1725]
“Lovely has the idea of that which is admirable or agreeable to behold or consider.” [MD 2023-4]
Good hints moral, virtuous, valid, and sufficient; while repute signals one’s reputation, character, or established opinion.
Of good repute is “that which is highly regarded or thought well of. It refers to what is generally considered reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.” [MA 1725]
“Of good report means worth talking about, appealing. The believer must major on the high and noble thoughts, not the base thoughts of this corrupt world.” [WBC NT 653]
Excellence insinuates a valuable quality, virtue or dignity.
“Moral excellence or virtue.” [MD 2024]
Worthy of Praise
Worthy necessitates one is deserving because of eminent worth or because of distinguishing qualities; while praise entails an expression of gratitude, applauding, commending and even extolling the commendable one.
“Something that deserves to be commended.” [MD 2024]
“Virtue is used very often for any mental excellence or moral quality or physical power. Paul is using it in reference to God’s splendor and might in connection with ‘praise’ or even meaning praise.” [R 460]
Paul’s list in Philippians is comparable to David’s list in Psalm 19.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes. The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” ~Psalm 19:7-9 AMPC
“Since habits, attitudes, and lifestyle follow from the mind, believers [need to] set their minds on virtuous things. Paul gave a partial list of such things – honorable, right, lovely – but the list is only representative, not exhaustive. Thus he included anything worthy of praise. These worthy things the Philippians learned from watching Paul; now they [need to] put them into practice in their own lives.” [Moody 1864]
We too can imitate Christ. Peace involves both our hearts and our minds.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” ~Isaiah 26:3 NASB
“Wrong thinking leads to wrong feeling, and before long the heart and mind are pulled apart and we are strangled by worry. We must realize that thoughts are real and powerful, even though they cannot be seen, weighed, or measured. We must bring ‘into captivity and every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).” [WBC NT 653]
“No Christian can afford to waste ‘mind power’ on thoughts that tear him down or that would tear others down if these thoughts were shared. The Christian who fills his heart and mind with God’s Word will have a ‘built-in radar’ for detecting wrong thoughts. Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God.” [WBC NT 653]
Think about These Things
Comparing various translations of Philippians 4:8:
“…think about these things.” NASB
“…think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” AMP
“…think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” AMPC
“Think on these things speaks of ‘habit of thought.’ We are responsible for our thoughts and can hold them to high and holy ideals.” [R 460]
“Sow a thought, reap an action;
Sow an action, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
~Stephen R. Covey
Though the world clamors for us to listen and dwell on death and destruction, we can choose to think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, of good repute, excellent and praise worthy. Choose life.
A Powerful Psalm of Refreshment for Today A Powerful Psalm of Refreshment for Today – Strength with Dignity
5 Ways to be Strong Imitators of Christ 5 Ways to be Strong Imitators of Christ – Strength with Dignity
1 MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [MA] Thomas Nelson, 2005, page 1725.
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631.
Amplified Bible, Classis Edition (AMPC) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Covey, Stephen R. Published on Quote Fancy. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from Stephen R. Covey Quote: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” (quotefancy.com)
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [MA] Thomas Nelson, 2005, page 1725.
MacDonald, William. The Believer’s Bible Commentary. [MD] Thomas Nelson, 2016, pages 2-23-2024.
New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Volume IV, The Epistles of Paul. Published by the Sunday School Board of the SBC, 1931. Philippians IV, page 460.
The Moody Bible Commentary. General Editors: Michael Rydelnik and Michael Van Laningham. Moody Publishers, 2014, page 1864.
Webster 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from http://webstersdictionary1828.com
Wiersbe, Warren B. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament. [WBC NT] Published by David C. Cook, 2007, page 653.