Friday, September 2, 2016

whatever is lovely...

artwork by Tamara Peterson

This spectacular piece of artwork by Tamara Peterson inspired me to do a word study of Philippians 4:8 while worshipping with our worship leader, Kristi Brown, to the beautiful new hymn, Ever BeFaithful You have been and faithful You will be, You pledge Yourself to me and it's why I sing, Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips…

Philippians 4:8:

NASB: 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.

Amplified: For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

NLT: And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Phillips: Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good.

Wuest: Finally, brethren, whatever things have the character of truth, whatever things are worthy of reverence, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are attractive, whatever excellence there is or fit object of praise, these things make the subject of careful reflection.

Young's Literal: As to the rest, brethren, as many things as are true, as many as are grave, as many as are righteous, as many as are pure, as many as are lovely, as many as are of good report, if any worthiness, and if any praise, these things think upon.


Finally (loipon) means literally “for the rest” or “for what remains” and in the present context means “as to what remains to be said.” As Paul draws to the conclusion of his letter, in this verse he deals with the greatest conflict that every believer encounters—the battle for the control of our minds.

Pastor William Barclay writes: “The human mind will always set itself on something and Paul wished to be quite sure that the Philippians would set their minds on the right things. This is something of the utmost importance, because it is a law of life that, if a man thinks of something often enough, he will come to the stage when he cannot stop thinking about it. His thoughts will be quite literally in a groove out of which he cannot jerk them. It is, therefore, of the first importance that a man should set his thoughts upon the fine things and here Paul makes a list of them.”

True (alethes) is that which conforms to reality. In the final analysis whatever God says on any given subject is true! The unchanging God and His unchanging holy Word is the final test for truth. You do not have to look very closely to find our Lord Jesus Christ in verse 8 for Jesus said He was "the Truth" and each of these traits is true of Him.

Honorable (semnos) means worthy of respect or entitled to honor. It is that which inspires reverence or awe. It describes those things which are worthy, venerable, august, noble. The idea pertains to whatever evokes special respect.

Right (dikaios) refers to that which conforms to the perfect standard of God's righteousness. We know from Romans that the "good works" that God requires (they are "right") do not come from our good intentions, but originate out of faith that obeys. Dikaios describes whatever is in perfect harmony with God’s eternal, unchanging standards, as revealed in Scripture.

Pure (hagnos) is that which is free from defilement, stainless, that which will not contaminate, that which is "morally and inwardly" pure. The word refers to ceremonial purity, but also to the moral purity that is pictured by the ceremonial. It especially means keeping our bodies undefiled by abstaining from sexual sins.

Lovely (prosphile is a relationship word derived from pros = towards + philes = friend) refers to that conduct which is dear to someone. It is that conduct which is pleasing in its motive and actions towards others. Prosphile has the idea of that which is admirable or agreeable to behold or consider.

Pastor William Barclay writes: “Winsome is the best translation of all. The Greek is prosphile, and it might be paraphrased as that which calls forth love. There are those whose minds are so set on vengeance and punishment that they call forth bitterness and fear in others. There are those whose minds are so set on criticism and rebuke that they call forth resentment in others. The mind of the Christian is set on the lovely things—kindness, sympathy, forbearance—so he is a winsome person, whom to see is to love.”

Good repute (euphemos is from eu = well, good + pheme = rumor, fame) and refers to that which is well–spoken of, praiseworthy, laudable, highly regarded or well thought of. It is something or someone that deservedly enjoys a good reputation.

Excellence (arete) refers to any preeminence (moral, intellectual, military). Arete is a term denoting consummate ‘excellence’ or ‘merit’ within a social context. To the Greek philosophers, it meant “the fulfillment of a thing.” Arete came to mean quality of life which made someone or something stand out as excellent. In short, arete was a term denoting consummate ‘excellence’ or ‘merit’ within a social context. Exhibition of arete invites recognition, resulting in renown or glory.

Worthy of praise (epainos from epí = upon + aínos = praise) is literally "praise upon" and denotes commendation, praise, or approbation (an act of formally or officially approving). It means something which is worthy of being commended. The word can describe the act of expressing admiration or approval, praise, approval, recognition. In the present context epainos describes a thing that is praiseworthy or something that deserves to be praised. So when that thought comes into your mind ask "Is it praiseworthy?" Then reflect upon it.

Let…mind dwell (logizomai from lógos = reason, word, account) means to reckon, compute, calculate, to take into account, to deliberate, and to weigh. Logizomai refers to a process of careful study or reasoning which results in the arriving at a conclusion. Logizomai conveys the idea of calculating or estimating. The idea is to think about something in a detailed and logical manner. Logizomai was an accounting term and so one gets the picture of taking all of the truths Paul has listed regarding your thought life and putting them in the "calculator" of your human brain, thinking about them and coming to a conclusion, and most importantly, then letting that conclusion affect the way you live. The present tense and imperative mood commands a continuous action, a call to a spiritual discipline for the purpose of godliness for as a man or woman thinks in their heart so they are.

Pastor J. I. Packer says: “Logizomai, or meditation, is the practice of turning each truth we learn about God into matter for reflection before God, leading to prayer and praise to God. Logizomai is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.”

Pastor Wayne Barber writes: “In Philippians 4:8 the whole verse hinges on the phrase dwell on these things. It literally means to ponder these things. The word is logizomai. It is in the present imperative. Always be pondering these things. It means to reason something out. To look at something and see what it is all about and how it came to be.  Godly living is just not the result of a good intention by a sincere believer.”

An old Native American Christian was explaining to a missionary that the battle inside of him was like a black dog fighting a white dog. “Which dog wins?” asked the missionary. “The one I feed the most,” he replied. In Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul says, “Feed your mind on the pure truth of God’s Word.”

We were created to worship God. It is the reason for our existence both here on earth and throughout eternity. Sometimes our concept of worship is going to church one hour each week. But God desires continual fellowship with us and wants us to live a lifestyle characterized by worship—keeping our hearts and our thoughts fixed on Him. How is that possible? When we go about our day delighting in the things God delights in, finding our greatest satisfaction and joy in Him, honoring Him in all we do, and ascribing to the Lord the glory due His name—we are worshiping God. Whether our days are filled with changing diapers and washing dirty dishes, sitting at a computer, or teaching, we can experience worship as a lifestyle through our thought life. When we fulfill God’s call with joyful obedience and do our work to the glory of God, that is true worship. Outward expressions of worship such as kneeling, bowing, praying, and lifting hands may enhance our worship experience, but true worship emanates from our hearts. Let us respond joyfully to God’s call to worship. We will be blessed beyond measure as we walk all day long in the light of His presence!

Lord Jesus, what a privilege it is to worship You! Purify my heart and my thoughts so that I can learn to worship You continually. Help me to perform all of my duties today in joyful obedience to You so that even my work becomes authentic worship—keeping my heart and my thoughts fixed on You….Faithful You have been and faithful You will be, You pledge Yourself to me and it's why I sing, Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips…In Your Mighty Name we pray, amen.

Look up – Meditate on Philippians 4:8. Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look in – Meditate on Philippians 4:8. Pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is ______________, I will ______________.”

Look out – Meditate on Philippians 4:8. Pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.  

* If you liked this post you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

 

24 comments:

  1. Thank you, Beth. This verse has come to mind more than once when I've had to do a hard left or a hard right turn in order to get my mind out of the ditch of fear or worry or faithlessness. Blessings to you!

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    1. Michele, I so appreciate your wonderfully specific and encouraging comments. God’s Word truly is living and active...always new depths to discover in every verse. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. Beautiful truths here in each translation of Philippians 4:8--and encouragement to meditate on this verse! I enjoyed the comments of Pastors William Barclay and Wayne Barber. (Our precept class studied Covenant last year and Wayne Barber was the teacher on our video series.)

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    1. Carol, thank you so much for sharing that with me. I so enjoy digging into God’s Word and sharing insights with others. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. This is a great study. Thanks for sharing it. What stuck out to me is that the definition of true is: whatever God says (which is not necessarily the facts.)
    Blessings to you. :)
    (visiting from Word of God speaks linkup)

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    1. Jo, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your heart! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. I love the paragraph about the white and black dog. It's so true. I can feed my worry or I can feed my faith.
    Thank you for explaining this passage in more detail. I learned a lot!
    Your #InspireMeMonday neighbor,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, I so agree with you about that white dog and the black dog...I once heard a counselor use this illustration to help a client...it splashed over on me and I never forgot it! Many blessings to you!

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  5. Thank you for helping me start this day with a reminder of where to fix my thoughts. I always appreciate your studies!

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    1. Angela, thank you so much for your kind words. It helps me so much to start my day building that "groove" in my mind with God's Word. Many blessings to you!

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  6. Hi Beth ... this is one of my favorite verses, one I often talk through with clients who are really struggling. There's so much in life we can't control, but we can choose how we go about responding.

    Thank you for sharing God's Word!

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    1. Linda, you are such a precious encourager to me and I'm sure to your clients. I would be honored if you felt led to share this blog post with them, if you think it would be helpful. Many blessings to you!

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  7. Beautiful word study! I love the quote by Packer here:

    “Logizomai, or meditation, is the practice of turning each truth we learn about God into matter for reflection before God, leading to prayer and praise to God."

    This is what studying God's Word is about, leading us to prayer and praise and relationship with Him.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Cathy, I so agree with you...When we open His Word and seek Him in prayer, the Author of the book shows up...Praise His Holy Name! Many blessings to you!

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  8. Wow, this is so well researched, Beth. Thank you for sharing these wonderful truths. Last October, I took part in the Write 31 days challenge and my topic was overcoming negativity based on this verse. Fixing our minds upon these things is a choice--sometimes a difficult one when we are struggling--but always one that never disappoints! Thank you for all the hard work you put into this post, Beth. Sitting near you at Dance With Jesus

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Mary. All praise and honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ--from Whom ALL our blessings flow! It is a blessing to dig into God's Word and find such wonderful nuggets of Truth. I know you agree with me. Many blessings to you!

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  9. Love the verse - and artwork. We have memorized the verse with our kids using the Steve Green Hide 'Em In Your Heart musical resource. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I will check out Steve Green's resource for my grandsons! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  10. Thanks for sharing your awesome post at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy, Beth - you are one of our Featured Guests this week! #245

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    1. WOW! What a blessing to be one of your featured posts! It is an honor to share with others what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you❤️

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  11. Phil 4:8 was on my mind and in my blog today, too. I guess God is reminding us of the importance of right thinking!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Esther. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  12. One of my favorite verses!! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! :)

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    1. I so agree with you! It is a blessing to link-up with sweet sisters in Christ at the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Stranger & Pilgrims on Earth! Many blessings to you ❤️

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