“Finally, brethren, 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, dwell on these things” – Philippians 4:8.

What exactly do these words mean?  And what are some practical ways I can apply this verse to my life?  Let’s take a look!

True (Gk. “alethe”) means “actual, true to fact, conforming to reality, factual” (Vine, Unger, and White’s, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 1170). It means “not false and has its norm in God” (W. Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).

Examples:  Church history; the kind, gracious, corrective words or actions of people toward either you or someone else; people’s experiences or lessons learned that could benefit you morally/spiritually/relationally; people’s words or deeds that could be spiritually motivating to your well-being; the Bible; God’s attributes; Christian biographies; conversion testimonies; etc.

Honorable (Gk. “semnos”) means a “noble seriousness, worthy of reverence” (Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 2, “Philippians”, p. 110). It means “dignified, serious – in speech and behavior” (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).

Examples:  Either a sermon on or thinking about on your own, that of reaching the lost with the gospel; God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit and their attributes or works; people’s gracious, kind, or generous acts toward others; Christian people’s sacrificial giving of themselves (their time, talents, treasures) to build up and/or train other Christians; the Bible; the Christian’s purpose in life and priorities; martyrs for the Christian faith; hell, heaven, eternity; etc.

Right (Gk. “dikaios”) means “that which is in conformity to God’s standards” (J. Walvoord and R. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “just, fair, that which is in har­mony with God’s will and law” (New Testament – Philippians, p. 198).

Examples:  Situations or circumstances where people either said or did the right thing even though under pressure or tempted to say/do the wrong thing; accomplishing goals or objectives in a legitimate way; solving a problem or counseling a person the way God would want; having the proper attitude/motives for something you will be doing or saying; the Bible; performing some action/decision in a fair or proper way; etc.

Pure (Gk. “hagna”) means “wholesome, not mixed with moral impurity” (Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “not defiled or contaminated, free from fault/sin/evil” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, pp. 903, 175).

Examples:  How you can help someone in need because you love them Christianly; edifying conversations, hymns, or spiritual songs; biblical sermons/speeches; God’s creation or nature scenes; the Bible; cassette tapes on Christian growth; people as God’s wonderful creations; living a holy/obedient life for God; how to act biblically/correctly in different kinds of situations; etc.

Lovely (Gk. “prosphile”) means “what promotes peace rather than conflict” (Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “that which inspires love”(Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1330). It means “pleasing” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 695).

Examples:  God’s creation or nature; how to increase group morale and/or unity; what you could say to compliment/encourage someone; what someone said/did to comfort or encourage you; saying or doing something nice for someone who dislikes you; how you can reconcile a broken relationship; doing a special act of kindness for a needy person or to someone who’s in full-time Christian work; the Bible; how you can please your spiritual leader or others; etc.

Good repute (Gk. “euphema”) means “what is positive and constructive, admirable”(Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “uttering words of good report or fair-sounding or good reputation” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 953).

Examples:  Good things said about another person; a biblical sermon/talk/seminar; someone’s biblical advice to you or correction of you; the Bible itself; someone’s wise instruction; helpful lessons learned in life shared; Christian biographies or testimonies; witnessing experiences; tips on money management to be a good steward for God; someone’s complementation of another person; etc.

Excellence (Gk. “arete”) means “virtue; good in it” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1312). It means “moral/spiritual excellence; virtue” (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 199)

Examples:  People’s plans to serve God or to obey the Bible; a right decision made; a good deed performed by someone; a speech said that was biblical (i.e., true, loving, etc.); character changes in the lives of Christians; Christ-like traits displayed; etc.

 May God be glorified (honored) in your thought life!


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