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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(8, 9) Here, repeating the word “Finally,” the Apostle again draws to a conclusion, in a comprehensive exhortation to stand fast in all that is good on the foundation which he had laid in the name of Christ. The exhortation is marked by the reiteration of affectionate earnestness, in which, however, we may (as always) trace an underlying method. In each pair of epithets there seems to be reference both to an inner reality and to the outward development, by which it is at once manifested and perfected. In both St. Paul would have them grow up to perfection.

(8) True . . . honest (better, venerable; see margin).—Truth is the inherent likeness to God, who is Truth. Whatever is true in itself is also “venerable”—i.e., as the original word, usually rendered “grave” (as in 1Timothy 3:8; 1Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2) etymologically signifies, it claims a share of the reverence due primarily to God; it has in it a certain majesty commanding worship.

Just . . . pure.—“Just” is (as St. Paul’s habitual usage of “justify” shows) righteous in act and word, as tested by the declared will of man or God. “Pure” is righteous in essence, in the thought, which cannot be thus tested—showing itself in what is just and indeed perfected thereby, but in itself something holier still.

Lovely . . . of good report.—Both words are peculiar to this passage: in both we pass from truth and righteousness to love. “Lovely” is that which deserves love. The phrase “of good report” represents a Greek word which is commonly used for “fair-sounding,” or “auspicious” and “acceptable.” It is therefore the outward expression of what is “lovely,” winning the acceptance which loveliness deserves.

If there be any virtue, and . . . praise.—Still there is the same antithesis—“virtue” is the inherent quality; “praise” is virtue’s due. But the word “virtue,” so frequent in human morality, is hardly ever used in Scripture. In fact, the only other case of application to man is in 2Peter 1:5, where it stands between “faith” and “knowledge,” and seems specially to signify the energy of practice by which faith grows into knowledge. The reason of this is clear. To the very name of “virtue” clings the idea of self-reliance—such self-reliance as the Stoic philosophy (then the only dominant system of Roman opinion which had any nobleness in it) made its essential characteristic; and that idea is, of course, foreign to the whole conception of Christian morality. The occurrence, therefore, here of an appeal to “virtue” and to “praise” seems strange. We notice, however, that it is introduced by a new phrase of mere hypothesis (“if there be,” &c.), which may be taken to mark it as an outlying consideration, occupying a less firm and important ground. Probably, therefore, it is an appeal to the lower conceptions of the society, so characteristically Roman, around them: “Nay, even if there be any truth in the virtue and praise of mere human morality,” &c.



Php 4:8.

I am half afraid that some of you may think, as I have at times thought, that I am too old to preach to the young. You would probably listen with more attention to one less remote from you in years, and may be disposed to discount my advices as quite natural for an old man to give, and quite unnatural for a young man to take. But, dear friends, the message which I have to bring to you is meant for all ages, and for all sorts of people. And, if I may venture a personal word, I proved it, when I stood where you stand, and it is fresher and mightier to me to-day than it ever was.

You are in the plastic period of your lives, with the world before you, and the mightier world within to mould as you will; and you can be almost anything you like, I do not mean in regard to externals, or intellectual capacities, for these are only partially in our control, but in regard to the far more important and real things--viz. elevation and purity of heart and mind. You are in the period of life to which fair dreams of the future are natural. It is, as the prophet tells us, for ‘the young man’ to ‘see visions,’ and to ennoble his life thereafter by turning them into realities. Generous and noble ideas ought to belong to youth. But you are also in the period when there is a keen joy in mere living, and when some desires, which get weaker as years go on, are very strong, and may mar youthful purity. So, taking all these into account, I have thought that I could not do better than press home upon you the counsels of this magnificent text, however inadequately my time may permit of my dealing with them; for there are dozens of sermons in it, if one could expand it worthily.

But my purpose is distinctly practical, and so I wish just to cast what I have to say to you into the answer to three questions, the three questions that may be asked about everything. What? Why? How?

I. What, then, is the counsel here?

‘Think on these things.’ To begin with, that advice implies that we can, and, therefore, that we should, exercise a very rigid control over that part of our lives which a great many of us never think of controlling at all. There are hosts of people whose thoughts are just hooked on to one another by the slightest links of accidental connection, and who scarcely ever have put a strong hand upon them, or coerced them into order, or decided what they are going to let come into their minds, and what to keep out. Circumstances, the necessities of our daily occupations, the duties that we owe to one another, all these make certain streams of thought very necessary, and to some of us very absorbing. And for the rest--well! ‘He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls’; anybody can go in, and anybody can come out. I am sure that amongst young men and women there are multitudes who have never realised how responsible they are for the flow of the waves of that great river that is always coming from the depths of their being, and have never asked whether the current is bringing down sand or gold. Exercise control, as becomes you, over the run and drift of your thoughts. I said that many of us had minds like cities broken down. Put a guard at the gate, as they do in some Continental countries, and let in no vagrant that cannot show his passport, and a clear bill of health. Now, that is a lesson that some of you very much want.

But, further, notice that company of fair guests that you may welcome into the hospitalities of your heart and mind. ‘Think on these things’--and what are they? It would be absurd of me to try to exhaust the great catalogue which the Apostle gives here, but let me say a word or two about it.

‘Whatsoever things are true . . . think on these things.’ Let your minds be exercised, breathed, braced, lifted, filled by bringing them into contact with truth, especially with the highest of all truths, the truths affecting God and your relations to Him. Why should you, like so many of us, be living amidst the small things of daily life, the trifles that are here, and never coming into vital contact with the greatest things of all, the truths about God and Christ, and what you have to do with them, and what they have to do with you? ‘Whatsoever things are true . . . think on these things.’

‘Whatsoever things are honest,’ or, as the word more properly and nobly means, ‘Whatsoever things are reverent , or venerable ‘--let grave, serious, solemn thought be familiar to your minds, not frivolities, not mean things. There is an old story in Roman history about the barbarians breaking into the Capitol, and their fury being awed into silence, and struck into immobility, as they saw, round and round in the hall, the august Senators, each in his seat. Let your minds be like that, with reverent thoughts clustering on every side; and when wild passions, and animal desires, and low, mean contemplations dare to cross the threshold, they will be awed into silence and stillness. ‘Whatsoever things are august . . . think on these things.’

‘Whatsoever things are just’--let the great, solemn thought of duty, obligation, what I ought to be and do, be very familiar to your consideration and meditation. ‘Whatsoever things are just . . . think on these things.’

‘Whatsoever things are pure’--let white-robed angels haunt the place. Let there be in you a shuddering recoil from all the opposite; and entertain angels not unawares. ‘Whatsoever things are pure . . . think on these things.’

Now, these characteristics of thoughts which I have already touched upon all belong to a lofty region, but the Apostle is not contented with speaking austere things. He goes now into a region tinged with emotion, and he says, ‘whatsoever things are lovely’; for goodness is beautiful, and, in effect, is the only beautiful. ‘Whatsoever things are lovely . . . think on these things.’ And ‘whatsoever things are of good report’--all the things that men speak well of, and speak good in the very naming of, let thoughts of them be in your minds.

And then he gathers all up into two words. ‘If there be any virtue’--which covers the ground of the first four, that he has already spoken about--viz. true, venerable, just, pure; and ‘if there be any praise’--which resumes and sums up the two last: ‘lovely and of good report,’ ‘think on these things.’

Now, if my purpose allowed it, one would like to point out here how the Apostle accepts the non-Christian notions of the people in whose tongue he was speaking; and here, for the only time in his letters, uses the great Pagan word ‘virtue,’ which was a spell amongst the Greeks, and says, ‘I accept the world’s notion of what is virtuous and praiseworthy, and I bid you take it to your hearts.’

Dear brethren, Christianity covers all the ground that the noblest morality has ever attempted to mark out and possess, and it covers a great deal more. ‘If there be any virtue, as you Greeks are fond of talking about, and if there be any praise, if there is anything in men which commends noble actions, think on these things.’

Now, you will not obey this commandment unless you obey also the negative side of it. That is to say, you will not think on these fair forms, and bring them into your hearts, unless you turn away, by resolute effort, from their opposites. There are some, and I am afraid that in a congregation as large as this there must be some representatives of the class, who seem to turn this apostolic precept right round about, and whatsoever things are illusory and vain, whatsoever things are mean, and frivolous, and contemptible, whatsoever things are unjust, and whatsoever things are impure, and whatsoever things are ugly, and whatsoever things are branded with a stigma by all men they think on these things. Like the flies that are attracted to a piece of putrid meat, there are young men who are drawn by all the lustful, the lewd, the impure thoughts; and there are young women who are too idle and uncultivated to have any pleasure in anything higher than gossip and trivial fiction. ‘Whatsoever things are noble and lovely, think on these things,’ and get rid of all the others.

There are plenty of occasions round about you to force the opposite upon your notice; and, unless you shut your door fast, and double-lock it, they will be sure to come in:--Popular literature, the scrappy trivialities that are put into some periodicals, what they call ‘realistic fiction’; modern Art, which has come to be largely the servant of sense; the Stage, which has come--and more is the pity! for there are enormous possibilities of good in it--to be largely a minister of corruption, or if not of corruption at least of frivolity--all these things are appealing to you. And some of you young men, away from the restraints of home, and in a city, where you think nobody could see you sowing your wild oats, have got entangled with them. I beseech you, cast out all this filth, and all this meanness and pettiness from your habitual thinkings, and let the august and the lovely and the pure and the true come in instead. You have the cup in your hand, you can either press into it clusters of ripe grapes, and make mellow wine, or you can squeeze into it wormwood and gall and hemlock and poison-berries; and, as you brew, you have to drink. You have the canvas, and you are to cover it with the figures that you like best. You can either do as Fra Angelico did, who painted the white walls of every cell in his quiet convent with Madonnas and angels and risen Christs, or you can do like some of those low-toned Dutch painters, who never can get above a brass pan and a carrot, and ugly boors and women, and fill the canvas with vulgarities and deformities. Choose which you will have to keep you company.

II. Now, let me ask you to think for a moment why this counsel is pressed upon you.

Let me put the reasons very briefly. They are, first, because thought moulds action. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.’ One looks round the world, and all these solid-seeming realities of institutions, buildings, governments, inventions and machines, steamships and electric telegrams, laws and governments, palaces and fortresses, they are all but embodied thoughts. There was a thought at the back of each of them which took shape. So, in another sense than the one in which the saying was originally meant, but yet an august and solemn sense, ‘the word is made flesh,’ and our thoughts became visible, and stand round us, a ghastly company. Sooner or later what has been the drift and trend of a man’s life comes out, flashes out sometimes, and dribbles out at other times, into visibility in his actions; and, just as the thunder follows on the swift passage of the lightning, so my acts are neither more nor less than the reverberation and after-clap of my thoughts.

So if you are entertaining in your hearts and minds this august company of which my text speaks, your lives will be fair and beautiful. For what does the Apostle immediately go on to add to our text? ‘These things do’--as you certainly will if you think about them, and as you certainly will not unless you do.

Again, thought and work make character. We come into the world with certain dispositions and bias. But that is not character, it is only the raw material of character. It is all plastic, like the lava when it comes out of the volcano. But it hardens, and whatever else my thought may do, and whatever effects may follow upon any of my actions, the recoil of them on myself is the most important effect to me. And there is not a thought that comes into, and is entertained by a man, or rolled as a sweet morsel under his tongue, but contributes its own little but appreciable something to the making of the man’s character. I wonder if there is anybody in this chapel now who has been so long accustomed to entertain these angels of whom my text speaks as that to entertain their opposites would be an impossibility. I hope there is. I wonder if there is anybody in this chapel to-night who has been so long accustomed to live amidst the thoughts that are small and trivial and frivolous, if not amongst those that are impure and abominable, as that to entertain their opposites seems almost an impossibility. I am afraid there are some. I remember hearing about a Maori woman who had come to live in one of the cities in New Zealand, in a respectable station, and after a year or two of it she left husband and children, and civilisation, and hurried back to her tribe, flung off the European garb, and donned the blanket, and was happy crouching over the embers on the clay hearth. Some of you have become so accustomed to the low, the wicked, the lustful, the impure, the frivolous, the contemptible, that you cannot, or, at any rate, have lost all disposition to rise to the lofty, the pure, and the true.

Once more; as thought makes deeds, and thought and deeds make character, so character makes destiny, here and hereafter. If you have these blessed thoughts in your hearts and minds, as your continual companions and your habitual guests, then, my friend, you will have a light within that will burn all independent of externals; and whether the world smiles or frowns on you, you will have the true wealth in yourselves; ‘a better and enduring substance.’ You will have peace, you will be lords of the world, and having nothing yet may have all. No harm can come to the man who has laid up in his youth, as the best treasure of old age, this possession of these thoughts enjoined in my text.

And character makes destiny hereafter. What is a man whose whole life has been one long thought about money-making, or about other objects of earthly ambition, or about the lusts of the flesh, and the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, to do in heaven? What would one of those fishes in the sunless caverns of America, which, by long living in the dark, have lost their eyes, do, if it were brought out into the sunshine? A man will go to his own place, the place for which he is fitted, the place for which he has fitted himself by his daily life, and especially by the trend and the direction of his thoughts.

So do not be led away by talk about ‘seeing both sides,’ about ‘seeing life,’ about ‘knowing what is going on.’ ‘I would have you simple concerning evil, and wise concerning good.’ Do not be led away by talk about having your fling, and sowing your wild oats. You may make an indelible stain on your conscience, which even forgiveness will not wipe out; and you may sow your wild oats, but what will the harvest be? ‘Whatsoever a man soweth that’-- that --’shall he also reap.’ Would you like all your low thoughts, all your foul thoughts, to return and sit down beside you, and say, ‘We have come to keep you company for ever’? ‘If there be any virtue . . . think on these things.’

III. Now, lastly, how is this precept best obeyed?

I have been speaking to some extent about that, and saying that there must be real, honest, continuous effort to keep out the opposite, as well as to bring in the ‘things that are lovely and of good report.’ But there is one more word that I must say in answer to the question how this precept can be observed, and it is just this. All these things, true, venerable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, are not things only; they are embodied in a Person. For whatever things are fair meet in Jesus Christ, and He, in His living self, is the sum of all virtue and of all praise. So that if we link ourselves to Him by faith and love, and take Him into our hearts and minds, and abide in Him, we have them all gathered together into that One. Thinking on these things is not merely a meditating upon abstractions, but it is clutching and living in and with and by the living, loving Lord and Saviour of us all. If Christ is in my thoughts, all good things are there.

If you trust Him, and make him your Companion, He will help you, He will give you His own life, and in it will give you tastes and desires which will make all these fair thoughts congenial to you, and will deliver you from the else hopeless bondage of subjection to their very opposites.

Brethren, our souls cleave to the dust, and all our efforts will be foiled, partially or entirely, to obey this precept, unless we remember that it was spoken to people who had previously obeyed a previous commandment, and had taken Christ for their Saviour. We gravitate earthwards, alas! after all our efforts, but if we will put ourselves in His hands, then He will be as a Magnet drawing us upwards, or rather He will give us wings of love and contemplation by which we can soar above that dim spot that men call Earth, and walk in the heavenly places. The way by which this commandment can be obeyed is by obeying the other precept of the same Apostle, ‘Set your minds on things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.’

I beseech you, take Christ and enthrone Him in the very sanctuary of your minds. Then you will have all these venerable, pure, blessed thoughts as the very atmosphere in which you move. ‘Think on these things . . . these things do! . . . and the God of Peace shall be with you.’ Php 4:8-9. Finally Το λοιπον, as for what remains for me to say, it may be despatched in a few words. The apostle, says Macknight, “being anxious to make the Philippians virtuous, mentions, in this exhortation, all the different foundations on which virtue had been placed, to show that it does not rest on any of these singly, but on them all jointly; and that its amiableness and obligation result from” whatsoever things are true — Conformable to truth; honest Σεμνα, grave, or venerable; just — Equitable and righteous; pure — Chaste and holy; lovely Προσφιλη, amiable, or, as the word may be rendered, friendly and kind; of good report Ευφημα, of good fame, or reputable; if there be any virtue — Any real worth, or beneficial tendency, in any quality or action: in this place alone does St. Paul use the word αρετη, rendered virtue: if there be any praise — Justly resulting from any thing. Bengelius gives a somewhat different view of the contents of this verse, thus: “Here are eight particulars placed in two four-fold 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 actions; just — With regard to others; pure — With regard to yourselves; lovely — And what more lovely than truth? of good report — As is honesty, even when 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.” Those things which ye have learned — As catechumens; and received — By continual instructions; and heard and seen — In my life and conversation; these do, and the God of peace shall be with you — Not only the peace of God, but God himself, the fountain of peace.4:2-9 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.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.

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.

As to what remains, he doth, with the fair compellation of

brethren, furthermore propose to their serious consideration, living in the neighbourhood of the Gentiles, what he doth here, hastening to a conclusion, heap up and fold together: especially,

whatsoever things are true, agree with truth and doctrine, in word and conversation, which show candour and sincerity of conscience, both with reference to believers and to infidels, Psalm 15:2 Ephesians 4:14,15,25.

Honest; venerable and grave, as becometh the gospel, Philippians 1:27, to adorn the gospel of God our Saviour, Romans 12:17 13:13 Titus 2:10; avoiding what may argue levity or dishonesty in gesture, apparel, words, and deeds, 2 Corinthians 7:2.

Just; giving what is due to every one by the law of nature, or nations, or the country, without guile, and not injuring any one, Ruth 3:13 Nehemiah 5:11 Matthew 22:21 Romans 13:7,8 Col 4:1 1 Timothy 5:8 Titus 1:8 2:12.

Pure; keeping themselves undefiled in the way, Psalm 119:1, from the pollution of sin, 1Jo 3:3, and the blemishes of filthy words and deeds, Ephesians 4:29 5:3-5.

Lovely; whatsoever may gain the real respect of, and be grateful to, good men, in an affable deportment acceptable to God, Titus 3:2.

Of good report; whatsoever is in a tendency to maintain a good name; not to court vain-glory or popular applause, Galatians 1:10, but that which may be for the honour of Christ, and the reputation of the gospel among the Gentiles, Romans 15:2 1 Peter 2:12; in agreement with the word of God; otherwise we must pass through evil as well as good report, Luke 16:15 2 Corinthians 6:8.

If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise; and upon supposition there be really any other commendable practice amongst any, any praiseworthy deportment.

Think on these things; diligently consider and prosecute these things. 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.

Php 4:8 f. A summary closing summons to a Christian mode of thought and (Php 4:9) action, compressing everything closely and succinctly into a few pregnant words, introduced by τὸ λοιπόν, with which Paul had already, at Php 3:1, wished to pass on to the conclusion. See on Php 3:1. This τὸ λοιπόν is not, however, resumptive (Matthies, Ewald, following the old expositors), or concluding the exhortation begun in Php 3:1 (Hofmann), for in that passage it introduced quite a different summons; but, without any reference to Php 3:1, it conveys the transition of thought: “what over and above all the foregoing I have to urge upon you in general still is: everything that,” etc. According to de Wette, it is intended to bring out what remained for man to do, in addition to that which God does, Php 4:7. But in that case there must have been expressed, at least by ὑμεῖς before ἀδελφοί or in some other way, an antithetic statement of that which had to be done on the part of man.

ὅσα] nothing being excepted, expressed asyndetically six times with the emphasis of an earnest ἐπιμονή. Comp. Php 2:1, Php 3:2; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. 398].

ἀληθῆ] The thoroughly ethical contents of the whole summons requires us to understand, not theoretical truth (van Hengel), but that which is morally true; that is, that which is in harmony with the objective standard of morality contained in the gospel. Chrysostom: ἡ ἀρετή· ψεῦδος δὲ ἡ κακία. Oecumenius: ἀληθὴ δέ φησι τὰ ἐνάρετα. Comp. also Theophylact. See 1 John 1:6; John 3:21; Ephesians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:8. To limit it to truth in speaking (Theodoret, Bengel) is in itself arbitrary, and not in keeping with the general character of the predicates which follow, in accordance with which we must not even understand specially unfeigned sincerity (Erasmus, Grotius, Estius, and others; comp. Ephesians 4:21; Plat. Phil. p. 59 C: τὸ ἀληθὲς καὶ ὃ δὴ λέγομεν εἰλικρινές), though this essentially belongs to the morally true.

σεμνά] worthy of honour, for it is in accordance with God. Comp. 1 Timothy 2:2 : εὐσεβείᾳ καὶ σεμνότητι. Plat. Soph. p. 249 A: σεμνὸν καὶ ἅγιον νοῦν. Xen. Oec. vi. 14: τὸ σεμνὸν ὄνομα τὸ καλόν τε κἀγαθόν. Dem. 385. 11; Herodian, i. 2. 6; Ael. V. H. ii. 13, viii. 36; Polyb. ix. 36. 6, xv. 22. 1, xxii. 6. 10.

δίκαια] upright, as it ought to be; not to be limited to the relations “erga alios” (Bengel, Heumann, and others), so that justice in the narrower sense would be meant (so Calvin: “ne quem laedamus, ne quem fraudemus;” Estius, Grotius, Calovius, and others). Comp., on the contrary, Theogn. 147: ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ συλλήβδην πᾶσʼ ἀρετή ἐστι.

ἁγνά] pure, unstained, not: chaste in the narrower sense of the word (2 Corinthians 11:2; Dem. 1371. 22; Plut. Mor. p. 268 E, 438 C, et al.), as Grotius, Calovius, Estius, Heumann, and others would explain it. Calvin well says: “castimoniam denotat in omnibus vitae partibus.” Comp. 2 Corinthians 6:6; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 Timothy 5:22; Jam 3:17; 1 Peter 3:2; 1 John 3:3; often so used in Greek authors. Comp. Menand. in Clem. Strom, vii. p. 844: πᾶς ἁγνός ἐστιν ὁ μηδὲν ἑαυτῷ κακὸν συνιδών.

προσφιλῆ] dear, that which is loved. This is just once more Christian morality, which, in its whole nature as the ethical καλόν, is worthy of love;[184] Plat. Rep. p. 444 E; Soph. El. 972: φιλεῖ γὰρ πρὸς τὰ χρηστὰ πᾶς ὁρᾶν. “Nihil est amabilius virtute, nihil quod magis alliciat ad diligendum, Cic. Lael. 28. Comp. ad Famil. ix. 14; Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 33. The opposite is the αἰσχρόν, which deserves hate (Romans 7:15). Chrysostom suggests the supplying τοῖς πιστοῖς κ. τῷ Θεῷ; Theodoret only τῷ Θεῷ. Others, as Calovius, Estius, Heinrichs, and many: “amabilia hominibus” But there is no necessity for any such supplement. The word does not occur elsewhere in the N. T., although frequently in classical authors, and at Sir 4:8; Sir 20:13. Others understand kindliness, benevolence, friendliness, and the like. So Grotius; comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.: “quaecumque ad alendam concordiam accommoda.” Linguistically faultless (Ecclus. l.c.; Herod, i. 125; Thuc. vii. 86; Polyb. x. 5. 6), but not in keeping with the context, which does not adduce any special virtues.

εὔφημα] not occurring elsewhere either in the N. T., or in the LXX., or Apocrypha; it does not mean: “quaecumque bonam famam conciliant” (Erasmus; comp. Calvin, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Estius, Heinrichs, and others, also Rheinwald); but: (Luther), which has an auspicious (faustum) sound, i.e. that which, when it is named, sounds significant of happiness, as, for instance, brave, honest, honourable, etc. The opposite would be: δύσφημα. Comp. Soph. Aj. 362; Eur. Iph. T. 687: εὔφημα φώνει. Plat. Leg. vii. p. 801 A: τὸ τῆς ᾠδῆς γένος εὔφημον ἡμῖν. Aesch. Suppl. 694, Agam. 1168; Polyb. xxxi. 14. 4; Lucian, Prom. 3. Storr, who is followed by Flatt, renders it: “sermones, qui bene aliis precantur.” So used in later Greek authors (also Symmachus, Psalm 62:6); but this meaning is here too special.

εἴ τις κ.τ.λ.] comprehending all the points mentioned: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise; not if there be yet another, etc. (de Wette).

ἀρετή used by Paul here only, and in the rest of the N. T. only in 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:5,[185] in the ethical sense: moral aptitude in disposition and action (the opposite to it, κακία: Plat. Rep. 444 D, 445 C, 1, p. 348 C). Comp. from the Apocrypha, Wis 4:1; Wis 5:13, and frequent instances of its use in the books of Macc.

ἔπαινος] not: res laudabilis (Calvin, Grotius, Estius, Flatt, Matthies, van Hengel, and many others; comp. Weiss), but praise (Erasmus: “laus virtutis comes”), which the reader could not understand in the apostle’s sense otherwise than of a laudatory judgment actually corresponding to the moral value of the object. Thus, for instance, Paul’s commendation of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is an ἔπαινος; or when Christ pronounces a blessing on the humble, the peacemakers, the merciful, etc., or the like. “Vera laus uni virtuti debetur,” Cic. de orat. ii. 84. 342; virtue is καθʼ αὑτὴν ἐπαινετή, Plat. Def. p. 411 C. Mistaken, therefore, were such additions as ἐπιστήμης (D* E* F G) or disciplinae (Vulg., It., Ambrosiaster, Pelagius).

ταῦτα λογίζεσθε] consider these things, take them to heart, in order, (see Php 4:9) to determine your conduct accordingly. “Meditatio praecedit, deinde sequitur opus,” Calvin. On λογίζεσθαι, comp. Psalm 52:2; Jeremiah 26:3; Nahum 1:9; Psalm 35:4; Psalm 36:4; 3Ma 4:4; Soph. O. R. 461; Herod, viii. 53; Dem. 63, 12; Sturz, Lex. Xen. III. p. 42; the opposite: θνητὰ λογίζεσθαι, Anthol. Pal. xi. 56. 3.

Php 4:9. The Christian morality, which Paul in Php 4:8 has commended to his readers by a series of predicates, he now again urges upon them in special reference to their relation to himself, their teacher and example, as that which they had also learned, etc. The first καί is therefore also, prefixing to the subsequent ταῦτα πράσσετε an element corresponding to this requirement, and imposing an obligation to its fulfilment. “Whatsoever also has been the object and purport of your instruction, etc., that do.” To take the four times repeated καί as a double as well … as also (Hofmann and others), would yield an inappropriate formal scheme of separation. Καί in the last three cases is the simple and, but so that the whole is to be looked upon as bipartite: “Duo priora verba ad doctrinam pertinent, reliqua duo ad exemplum” (Estius).

] not ὍΣΑ again; for no further categories of morality are to be given, but what they are bound to do generally is to be described under the point of view of what is known to the readers, as that which they also have learned, etc.

παρελάβετε] have accepted. Comp. Php 4:8. The thought of this paragraph (Php 4:8-9) is closely connected with that of the preceding by the resumption of the phrase ἡ εἰρήνη τ. Θ. (Php 4:7) in a new form ὁ Θ. τῆς εἰρήνης (Php 4:9). The peace of God will be the guardian of their thoughts and imaginations, only they must do their part in bending their minds to worthy objects. Lft[33]. and Ws[34]. have elaborate classifications of Paul’s list of moral excellences. It is not probable, in the circumstances, that any such was before the Apostle’s mind.—τὸ λοιπόν is probably used to show that he is hastening to a close. See on chap. Php 3:1 supr. Beyschl. well remarks on the “inexhaustibility” of the Christian moral ideal which is here presented. It embraces practically all that was of value in ancient ethics.—ἀληθῆ and δίκαια express the very foundations of moral life. If truth and righteousness are lacking, there is nothing to hold moral qualities together.—σεμνά. “Reverend.” The due appreciation of such things produces what M. Arnold would call “a noble seriousness” (so also Vinc.).—προσφιλῆ. Our “lovely” in its original force gives the exact meaning, “those things whose grace attracts”. The idea seems to be esp[35]. applied to personal bearing towards others. See Sir 4:7, προσφιλῆ συναγωγῇ σεαυτὸν ποιεῖ; Sir 20:13, ὁ σοφὸς ἐν λόγῳ ἑαυτὸν προσφιλῆ ποιήσει. Cf. W. Pater’s description of the Church in the second century: “She had set up for herself the ideal of spiritual development under the guidance of an instinct by which, in those serious moments, she was absolutely true to the peaceful soul of her Founder. ‘Goodwill to men,’ she said, in whom God Himself is well-pleased.’ For a little while at least there was no forced opposition between the soul and the body, the world and the spirit, and the grace of graciousness itself was pre-eminently with the people of Christ” (Marius, ii., p. 132).—εὔφημα. Exactly = our “high-toned”. (So also Ell[36].) “Was einen guten Klang hat” (Lips[37].). It is an extremely rare word.—εἴ τ. ἀρετ. κ.τ.λ. “Whatever excellence there be or fit object of praise.” The suggestion of Lft[38]., “Whatever value may exist in (heathen) virtue,” etc., goes slightly beyond the natural sense, from the reader’s point of view. Cf. Sayings of Jew. Fathers, chap. ii., 1, “Rabbi said, which is the right course that a man should choose for himself? Whatsoever is a pride to him that pursues it and brings him honour from men.” On the important range of meanings belonging to ἀρετή, see Dsm[39]., BS[40]., p. 90 ff.—ἔπαινος, as Hort (on 1 Peter 1:7) points out, corresponds exactly to ἀρετή and implies it, including in itself the idea of moral approbation. He observes that it refers chiefly to “the inward disposition to acts as actions” (see the whole valuable note).—τ. λογίζ. “Make them the subject of careful reflection.” Meditatio … praecedit: deinde sequitur opus (Calv.).

[33] Lightfoot.

[34] . Weiss.

[35] especially.

[36] Ellicott.

[37] Lipsius.

[38] Lightfoot.

[39] Deissmann (BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien).

[40] . Bibelstudien8–9. as a last spiritual entreaty, let their regenerate minds be true-thoughtful: let them remember Paul’s word and practice

8. Finally] A phrase introducing a precept, or precepts, more or less based on what has gone before. See above, on Php 3:1He begs them to give to their minds, thus “safeguarded” by the peace of God, all possible pure and healthful material to work upon, of course with a view to practice. Let them reflect on, take account of, estimate aright, (see note below on “think on these things”), all that was true and good; perhaps specially in contrast to the subtle perversions of moral principle favoured by the persons described above (Php 3:18-19), who dreamed of making an impossible divorce between the spiritual and the moral.

true] Both in the sense of truth-speaking and truth-being. Truthfulness of word, and sincerity of character, are absolutely indispensable to holiness. Nothing is more unsanctified than a double meaning, or a double purpose, however “pious” the “fraud”.

honest] Margin, “venerable”; R.V., honourable. The adjective is rendered “grave,” 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2. It points to serious purposes, and to self-respect; no small matter in Christianity. In older English “honest” bore this meaning more than at present.

just] Right, as between man and man; scrupulous attention to all relative duties.

pure] Perhaps in the special respect of holy chastity of thought and act as regards the body. There may be more in the word: see 2 Corinthians 7:11; and cp. 1 John 3:3. But most surely this is in it. See Trench, Synonyms, ii. § xxxviii.

lovely] Pleasing, amiable. Cp. for the English in this meaning, 2 Samuel 1:23. It is a meaning rare now, if not obsolete, but it was still common a century ago.—The Christian is here reminded that his Master would have him attend to manner as well as matter in his life. Grace should make gracious. Cp. 1 Peter 3:8.—The Rhemish version has “amiable” here.

of good report] Better, probably, sweet-spoken; “loveliness” in the special respect of kindly and winning speech. So Lightfoot. Ellicott explains the word, however, in a different direction; “fair sounding,” “high-toned”; with a special reference to elevated truths and principles. R.V. retains the rendering of A.V., with margin “gracious”.

if there be any virtue] “Whatever virtue there is.” To complete his meaning, he bids them exercise thought on whatever is rightly called “virtue,” even if not expressly described in the previous words.

The word rendered “virtue” (arětê) occurs here only in St Paul, and elsewhere in N.T. only 1 Peter 2:9 (of God, and in the sense of “praise,” as always in LXX.); 2 Peter 1:3 (of God, as rightly read), and 5 (twice), of an element in Christian character. It is remarkable that a favourite word of Greek ethics should be thus avoided; but the reason is not far to seek. By derivation and in usage it is connected with ideas of manhood, courage, and so self-reliance. The basis of goodness in the Gospel is self-renunciation, in order to the reception of grace, the undeserved gift of God.

Here however the Apostle concedes a place to the word, so to speak, as if to extend in every direction the view of what is right in action. In 2 Peter 1:5 it is used with the quite special meaning of vigour in the life of grace.

any praise] “Whatever praise there is,” justly given by the general human conscience. Here again he is, as it were, conceding a place to an idea not quite of the highest, yet not at discord with the highest. It is not good to do right for the sake of the selfish pleasure of praise; but it is right to praise what is rightly done, and such praise has a moral beauty, and may give to its recipient a moral pleasure not spoiled by selfishness. St Paul appeals to the existence of such a desert of praise, to illustrate again what he means when he seeks to attract their thoughts towards things recognized as good, “There is such a thing as right praise; make it an index of the things on which you should think.”

think on] Literally, “reckon, calculate”; see above, first note on this verse.Php 4:8. Τὸ) The summing up. In ch. Php 3:1, τὸ λοιπὸν concludes the particular admonition to joy; and here τὸ λοιπὸν concludes the general exhortation to every duty.—ὅσα, whatsoever things) in general. “Α, Those things which, Php 4:9, specially in regard to Paul.—ἀληθῆἔπαινος, true—praise) Eight nouns, in two rows of four members each, of which the one has regard to duty, the other to the commendation of it. If we compare both rows of nouns with one another, the first noun corresponds to the first, the second to the second, the third to the third, the fourth to the fourth. It is a manifold and elegant Chiasmus, comprehending the duties of children, parents, husbands, and wives, and the other (relative) duties.—ἀληθῆ, true) in words.—σεμνὰ, honest) in action.—δίκαια, just) towards others.—ἁγνὰ, [pure] chaste) in respect to yourselves.—προσφιλῆ, loveable, lovely) προσφιλῆ συναγωγῇ σεαυτὸν ποίει, make thyself a person to be loved by the synagogue, Sir 4:7.—ὁ σοφὸς ἐν λόγῳ ἑαυτὸν προσφιλῆ ποιήσει, the wise man will make himself a person to be loved in what he says, Sir 20:12 (13).—ὅσα εὔφημα, whatsoever things are of good report) προσφιλῆ, lovely or loveable, face to face: εὔφημα, of good report, is used with respect to the absent: comp. Php 1:27.—ἀρετὴ, virtue) Paul uses this word only in this passage. It refers to δίκαια, whatsoever things are just. For every virtue is included in righteousness, ἐν δὲ δικαιοσύνῃ συλλήβδην πᾶσʼ ἀρετή ἐστι.—ἔπαινος, praise) even in those things which belong less to your neighbour than to yourselves.—ταῦτα λογίζεσθε, have respect or regard to these things) This refers to the things that are true, and which have been practised or are now practised even by others, that we may approve, remember, help forward, promote (advance), imitate such things. We should not only do them when they fall in our way, but also take care, beforehand, that they be done. Ταῦτα πράσσετε, do these things, follows with Asyndeton, which [the absence of a connecting particle between ταῦτα λογίζεσθε and ταῦτα πράσσετε] denotes that the one kind of good things [viz. those in Php 4:8] does not differ from the other [those in Php 4:9].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. 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."

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