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EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 8

Verse 8. Finally, brethren. As for what remains to loipon—, 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 men 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 towards God and towards men was to be practised 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 men; not to be punctual in their religious rites, and neglectful of the common 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. semna. Properly, venerable, reverend; then honourable, reputable. The word was originally used in relation to the gods, and to the things that pertained to them, as being worthy of honour or veneration. Pussow. As applied to men, it commonly means grave, dignified, worthy of veneration or regard. In the New Testament it is rendered grave in 1 Ti 3:8,11, and Tit 2:2, the only places where the word occurs except this; and the noun (semnothv) is rendered honesty in 1 Ti 2:2 and gravity in 1 Ti 3:4; Tit 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 honour; what there was in the customs of society, in the respect due to age and rank, and in the intercourse 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. Comp. 1 Ti 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 men 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 men of the world, in estimating a man'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 favourable to religion, it is indispensable that he manifest uncorrupted integrity in his dealings.

Whatsoever things are pure. Chaste—in thought, and feeling, and in the intercourse between the sexes. See Barnes "1 Ti 5:2".

 

Whatsoever things are lovely. The word here used means, properly, what is dear to any one; 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, crabbed, and 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 crabbed 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 men 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 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 practise 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.

{f} "true" Eph 4:25 {1} "honest" "venerable" {g} "honest" 2 Co 8:21 {a} "just" De 16:20; Isa 26:7 {b} "pure" Jas 3:17 {c} "lovely" 1 Co 13 {d} "if there be any virtue" Col 4:5; Heb 11:2 {e} "virtue" 2 Pe 1:3,4 {f} "praise" Ro 13:3

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