Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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Finally, brethren - As for what remains - τὸ λοιπὸν to loipon - or as a final counsel or exhortation.

Whatsoever things are true - In this exhortation the apostle assumes that there were certain things admitted to be true, and pure, and good, in the world, which had not been directly revealed, or which were commonly regarded as such by the people of the world, and his object is to show them that such things ought to be exhibited by the Christian. Everything that was honest and just toward God and toward people was to be practiced by them, and they were in all things to be examples of the highest kind of morality. They were not to exhibit partial virtues; not to perform one set of duties to the neglect or exclusion of others; not to be faithful in their duties to God, and to neglect their duty to people, not to be punctual in their religious rites, and neglectful of the comment laws of morality; but they were to do everything that could be regarded as the fair subject of commendation, and that was implied in the highest moral character. The word true refers here to everything that was the reverse of falsehood. They were to be true to their engagements; true to their promises; true in their statements; and true in their friendships. They were to maintain the truth about God; about eternity; about the judgment; and about every man's character. Truth is a representation of things as they are; and they were constantly to live under the correct impression of objects. A man who is false to his engagements, or false in his statements and promises, is one who will always disgrace religion.

Whatsoever things are honest - σεμνὰ semna. Properly, venerable, reverend; then honorable, reputable. The word was originally used in relation to the gods, and to the things that pertained to them, as being worthy of honor or veneration - Passow. As applied to people, it commonly means grave, dignified, worthy of veneration or regard. In the New Testament it is rendered "grave" in 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:11, and Titus 2:2, the only places where the word occurs except this; and the noun (σεμνότης semnotēs) is rendered "honesty" in 1 Timothy 2:2, and "gravity" in 1 Timothy 3:4, and Titus 2:7. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The word, therefore, does not express precisely what the word "honest" does with us, as confined to dealings or business transactions, but rather has reference to what was regarded as worthy of reputation or honor; what there was in the customs of society, in the respect due to age and rank, and in the contact of the world, that deserved respect or esteem. It includes indeed what is right in the transaction of business, but it embraces also much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society, when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God; compare 1 Timothy 3:7.

Whatsoever things are just - The things which are right between man and man. A Christian should be just in all his dealings. His religion does not exempt him from the strict laws which bind people to the exercise of this virtue, and there is no way by which a professor of religion can do more injury perhaps than by injustice and dishonesty in his dealings. It is to be remembered that the people of the world, in estimating a person's character, affix much more importance to the virtues of justice and honesty than they do to regularity in observing the ordinances of religion; and therefore if a Christian would make an impression on his fellow-men favorable to religion, it is indispensable that he manifest uncorrupted integrity in his dealings.

Whatsoever things are pure - Chaste - in thought, in feeling, and in the conversation between the sexes; compare the notes at 1 Timothy 5:2.

Whatsoever things are lovely - The word used here means properly what is dear to anyone; then what is pleasing. Here it means what is amiable - such a temper of mind that one can love it; or such as to be agreeable to others. A Christian should not be sour, crabby, or irritable in his temper - for nothing almost tends so much to injure the cause of religion as a temper always chafed; a brow morose and stern; an eye that is severe and unkind, and a disposition to find fault with everything. And yet it is to be regretted that there are many persons who make no pretensions to piety, who far surpass many professors of religion in the virtue here commended. A sour and crabby temper in a professor of religion will undo all the good that he attempts to do.

Whatsoever things are of good report - That is, whatsoever is truly reputable in the world at large. There are actions which all people agree in commending, and which in all ages and countries are regarded as virtues. courtesy, urbanity, kindness, respect for parents, purity between brothers and sisters, are among those virtues, and the Christian should be a pattern and an example in them all. His usefulness depends much more on the cultivation of these virtues than is commonly supposed.

If there be any virtue - If there is anything truly virtuous. Paul did not suppose that he had given a full catalogue of the virtues which he would have cultivated. He, therefore, adds, that if there was anything else that had the nature of true virtue in it, they should be careful to cultivate that also. The Christian should be a pattern and an example of every virtue.

And if there be any praise - Anything worthy of praise, or that ought to be praised.

Think on these things - Let them be the object of your careful attention and study, so as to practice them. Think what they are; think on the obligation to observe them; think on the influence which they would have on the world around you.

Finally, brethren - The object of the apostle is to recommend holiness and righteousness to them in every point of view; and to show that the Gospel of Christ requires all its professors to have the mind that was in Christ, and to walk as he himself also walked. That they were not to attend to one branch of righteousness or virtue only, but to every thing by which they might bring honor to God, good to their fellow creatures, and credit to themselves.

Whatsoever things are true - Ὁσα - αληθη· All that is agreeable to unchangeable and eternal truth. Whether that which is to be learned from the nature and state of created things, or that which comes immediately from God by revelation.

Whatsoever things are honest - Ὁσα σεμνα· Whatever is grave, decent, and venerable. Whatever becomes you as men, as citizens, and as Christians.

Whatsoever things are just - Ὁσα δικαια· Whatsoever is agreeable to justice and righteousness. All that ye owe to God, to your neighbor, and to yourselves.

Whatsoever things are pure - Ὁσα ἁγνα· Whatsoever is chaste. In reference to the state of the mind, and to the acts of the body.

Whatsoever things are lovely - Ὁσα προσφιλη· Whatsoever is amiable on its own account and on account of its usefulness to others, whether in your conduct or conversation.

Whatsoever things are of good report - Ὁσα ευφημα· Whatsoever things the public agree to acknowledge as useful and profitable to men; such as charitable institutions of every kind, in which genuine Christians should ever take the lead.

If there be any virtue - If they be calculated to promote the general good of mankind, and are thus praiseworthy;

Think on these things - Esteem them highly, recommend them heartily, and practice them fervently.

Instead of ει τις επαινος, if there be any praise, several eminent MSS., as D*EFG, add επιστημης, of knowledge; and the Vulgate and the Itala have disciplinae, of discipline; but none of these appear to be an original reading.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,.... To close all with respect to the duties of Christianity incumbent on the professors of it, the apostle exhorts to a regard to everything that is true; that is agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, to the Gospel the word of truth, or to the law and light of nature; and whatever was really so, even among the very Heathens, in opposition to falsehood, lying, and hypocrisy

whatsoever things are honest; in the sight of men; or grave, or "venerable" in speech, in action or attire, in opposition to levity, frothiness, or foppery:

whatsoever things are just; between man and man, or with respect both to God and men; giving to God what belongs to him, and to man what is his due; studying to exercise a conscience void of offence to both, in opposition to all impiety, injustice, violence, and oppression:

whatsoever things are pure; or "chaste", in words and deeds, in opposition to all filthiness and foolish talking, to obscene words and actions. The Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions render it, "whatsoever things are holy"; which are agreeable to the holy nature, law, and will of God, and which tend to promote holiness of heart and life:

whatsoever are lovely; which are amiable in themselves, and to be found even among mere moral men, as in the young man whom Christ as man is said to love, Mark 10:21; and which serve to cultivate and increase love, friendship, and amity among men; and which things also are grateful to God and lovely in his sight, in opposition to all contention, strife, wrath, and hatred:

whatsoever things are of good report; are well spoken of, and tend to get and establish a good name, which is better than precious ointment, Ecclesiastes 7:1; for though a good name, credit, and reputation among men, are to be sacrificed for the sake of Christ when called for; yet care is to be taken to preserve them by doing things which may secure them, and cause professors of religion to be well reported of; and which beautiful in all, and absolutely necessary in some:

if there be any virtue; anywhere, among any persons whatever, in opposition to vice:

and if there be any praise; that is praiseworthy among men, and deserves commendation, even though in an unjust steward, Luke 16:8, it should be regarded. The Vulgate Latin adds, "of discipline", without any authority from any copy. The Claromontane manuscript reads, "if any praise of knowledge":

think on these things: meditate upon them, revolve them in your minds, seriously consider them, and reason with yourselves about them, in order to put them into practice.

{7} Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things {i} 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.

(7) A general conclusion, that as they have been taught both in word and example, so they build their lives to the rule of all holiness and righteousness.

(i) Whatever things are such that they beautify and set you apart with a holy gravity.

8. Summary of all his exhortations as to relative duties, whether as children or parents, husbands or wives, friends, neighbors, men in the intercourse of the world, &c.

true—sincere, in words.

honest—Old English for "seemly," namely, in action; literally, grave, dignified.

just—towards others.

pure—"chaste," in relation to ourselves.

lovely—lovable (compare Mr 10:21; Lu 7:4, 5).

of good report—referring to the absent (Php 1:27); as "lovely" refers to what is lovable face to face.

if there be any virtue—"whatever virtue there is" [Alford]. "Virtue," the standing word in heathen ethics, is found once only in Paul's Epistles, and once in Peter's (2Pe 1:5); and this in uses different from those in heathen authors. It is a term rather earthly and human, as compared with the names of the spiritual graces which Christianity imparts; hence the rarity of its occurrence in the New Testament. Piety and true morality are inseparable. Piety is love with its face towards God; morality is love with its face towards man. Despise not anything that is good in itself; only let it keep its due place.

praise—whatever is praiseworthy; not that Christians should make man's praise their aim (compare Joh 12:43); but they should live so as to deserve men's praise.

think on—have a continual regard to, so as to "do" these things (Php 4:9) whenever the occasion arises.

honest: or, venerable4:2-9 Let believers be of one mind, and ready to help each other. As the apostle had found the benefit of their assistance, he knew how comfortable it would be to his fellow-labourers to have the help of others. Let us seek to give assurance that our names are written in the book of life. Joy in God is of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. It more than outweighs all causes for sorrow. Let their enemies perceive how moderate they were as to outward things, and how composedly they suffered loss and hardships. The day of judgment will soon arrive, with full redemption to believers, and destruction to ungodly men. There is a care of diligence which is our duty, and agrees with a wise forecast and due concern; but there is a care of fear and distrust, which is sin and folly, and only perplexes and distracts the mind. As a remedy against perplexing care, constant prayer is recommended. Not only stated times for prayer, but in every thing by prayer. We must join thanksgivings with prayers and supplications; not only seek supplies of good, but own the mercies we have received. God needs not to be told our wants or desires; he knows them better than we do; but he will have us show that we value the mercy, and feel our dependence on him. The peace of God, the comfortable sense of being reconciled to God, and having a part in his favour, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, are a greater good than can be fully expressed. This peace will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will keep us from sinning under troubles, and from sinking under them; keep us calm and with inward satisfaction. Believers are to get and to keep a good name; a name for good things with God and good men. We should walk in all the ways of virtue, and abide therein; then, whether our praise is of men or not, it will be of God. The apostle is for an example. His doctrine and life agreed together. The way to have the God of peace with us, is to keep close to our duty. All our privileges and salvation arise in the free mercy of God; yet the enjoyment of them depends on our sincere and holy conduct. These are works of God, pertaining to God, and to him only are they to be ascribed, and to no other, neither men, words, nor deeds. 4:8 Finally, brethren. As he concludes his letter, he sums up Christian duties into a single paragraph.

Whatsoever things are true. Truth in word, in action, and in thought, must be cherished. Christ is THE TRUTH. His followers must be truth itself.

Honest. The Greek is reverend. Whatever is worthy of reverence.

Just. Strict justice in all dealings; an upright life.

Pure. Chaste lives and clean hearts and thoughts.

Lovely. Such deeds as spring from love and inspired love in others.

Of good report. A life of which no evil thing can be truthfully said.

If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise. Lest he may have omitted some excellency he adds, If there be aught else which is virtuous or praiseworthy, let these all be the things to which you give your minds.

Verse 8. - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true. He repeats the "finally" of Philippians 2:1, He again and again prepares to close his Epistle, but cannot at once bid farewell to his beloved Philippians. He urges them to fill their thoughts with things good and holy. Christ is the Truth: all that is true comes from him; the false, the vain, is of the earth, earthy. Perhaps the verb (ἐστίν) may be emphatic. Sceptics may deny the existence of absolute truth; men may scoffingly ask, "What is truth?" Truth is real, and it is found in Christ, the Truth. Whatsoever things are honest. The word (σεμνά) occurs only here and four times in the pastoral Epistles. It is a word difficult translate. "Honourable" or" reverend" (the renderings of the R.V.) are better equivalents than "honest." It points to a Christian decorum, a Christian self-respect, which is quite consistent with true humility, for it is a reverence for the temple of God. Whatsoever things are just; rather, perhaps, righteous, in the widest meaning. Whatsoever things are pure; not only chaste, but free from stain or defilement of any sort. The word used here (ἁγνός) is not common in the New Testament. The adverb occurs in Philippians 1:16, where it is rendered "sincerely," and implies purity of motive. Whatsoever things are lovely (προσφιλῆ); not beautiful, but pleasing, lovable; whatsoever things would attract the love of holy souls. Whatsoever things are of good report. The word (εὔφημα) means "well-speaking" (not "well spoken of"), and so "gracious," "attractive;" in classical Greek it means "auspicious," "of good omen." Of these six heads, the first two describe the subjects of devout thought as they are in themselves; the second pair relate to practical life; the third pair to the moral approbation which the contemplation of a holy life excites in good men. If there be any virtue. This word, so very common in the Greek moralists, occurs nowhere else in St. Paul. Nor does any other of the New Testament writers use it except St. Peter (l Peter 2:9 (in the Greek); 2 Peter 1:3, 5). Bishop Lightfoot says, "The strangeness of the word, combined with the change of expression, εἴ τις, will suggest another explanation: 'Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue, whatever consideration is due to the praise of men; ' as if the apostle were anxious not to omit any possible ground of appeal." And if there be any praise; comp. Romans 12:17 and 2 Corinthians 8:21, where St. Paul bids us "provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." Nevertheless, in the highest point of view, the praise of the true Israelite is not of man, but of God. Think on these things; or, as in the margin of R.V., take account of. Let these be the considerations which guide your thoughts and direct your motives. The apostle implies that we have the power of governing our thoughts, and so are responsible for them. If the thoughts are ordered well, the outward life will follow.

Finally. See on ch.

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things …

whatsoever.

Romans 12:9-21 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold …

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs …

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, …

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, …

2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; …

are true.

Matthew 22:16 And they sent out to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, …

John 7:18 He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks …

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold …

2 Corinthians 6:8 By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, …

Ephesians 4:25 Why putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: …

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having …

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through …

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but …

honest. or, venerable.

Acts 6:3 Why, brothers, look you out among you seven men of honest report, …

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the …

Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, …

2 Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but …

2 Corinthians 13:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear …

1 Thessalonians 4:12 That you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that …

1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a …

1 Timothy 3:4,8,11 One that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection …

Titus 2:2,7 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in …

Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, …

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things …

1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas …

are just.

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household …

Deuteronomy 16:20 That which is altogether just shall you follow, that you may live, …

2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, He that rules …

Psalm 82:2 How long will you judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Proverbs 16:11 A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights of the …

Proverbs 20:7 The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Isaiah 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness: you, most upright, do weigh the …

Mark 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, …

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; …

Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counselor; and he was …

Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that …

Titus 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

are pure.

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise your youth; but be you an example of the believers, …

1 Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, …

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To …

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, …

2 Peter 3:1 This second letter, beloved, I now write to you; in both which I …

1 John 3:3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

are lovely.

2 Samuel 1:23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in …

Songs 5:16 His mouth is most sweet: yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my …

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not …

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity …

are of.

Acts 6:3 Why, brothers, look you out among you seven men of honest report, …

Acts 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that …

Acts 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good …

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest …

1 Timothy 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, …

Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

virtue.

Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to you all that you require…

Proverbs 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that makes ashamed …

Proverbs 31:10,29 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies…

2 Peter 1:3,4 According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain …

praise.

Proverbs 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise …

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that …

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will …

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who …

2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel …

think.

Luke 16:15 And he said to them, You are they which justify yourselves before …

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they …

Honest (σεμνὰ)

Rev., honorable, reverend in margin. In classical Greek an epithet of the gods, venerable, reverend. The word occurs only here and in the pastoral epistles, 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2, where it is rendered grave, both in A.V. and Rev. There lies in it the idea of a dignity or majesty which is yet inviting and attractive, and which inspires reverence. Grave, as Trench observes, does not exhaust the meaning. Gravity may be ridiculous. "The word we want is one in which the sense of gravity and dignity, and of these as inviting reverence, is combined." Ellicott's venerable is perhaps as near as any word, if venerable be divested of its modern conventional sense as implying age, and confined to its original sense, worthy of reverence.

Pure (ἁγνά)

See on 1 John 3:3.

Lovely (προσφιλῆ)

Only here in the New Testament. Adapted to excite love, and to endear him who does such things.

Of good report (εὔφημα)

Only here in the New Testament. Lit., sounding well. The kindred verb is commonly used in an active sense. Hence not well spoken of, but fairspeaking, and so winning, gracious (Rev., in margin).

Virtue (ἀρετὴ)

With this exception the word occurs only in Peter's epistles; 1 Peter 2:9 (note); 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:5 (note).

Praise (ἔπαινος)

Commendation corresponding to the moral value of the virtue. In the Septuagint, ἀρετὴ virtue is four times used to translate the Hebrew praise. The two ideas seem to be coordinated. Lightfoot remarks that Paul seems studiously to avoid this common heathen term for moral excellence, and his explanation is very suggestive: "Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue, whatever consideration is due to the praise of men."

4:8 Finally - To sum up all. Whatsoever things are true - Here are eight particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former containing their duty; the latter, the commendation of it. The first word in the former row answers the first in the latter; the second word, the second and so on. True - In speech. Honest - In action. Just - With regard to others. Pure - With regard to yourselves. Lovely - And what more lovely than truth? Of good report - As is honesty, even where it is not practised. If there be any virtue - And all virtues are contained in justice. If there be any praise - In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbour. Think on these things - That ye may both practise them yourselves, and recommend them to others.
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