“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things 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 there be any praise, think on these things.”

         The purpose of this verse was to help the believers know what they should allow their minds to dwell on.  In this exhortation Paul assumes that there were certain things admitted to be true, 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.  Paul gives eight particulars placed in two fourfold groups with the first four containing their duty; the second four being the commendation of it.  The first word in the first group answers the first in the latter; the second word, the second and so on. 
         Paul exhorts these Philippian believers that everything that was honest and just towards God and towards men 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:

1.      Exhibit partial virtues;
2.      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;
3.      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.

        FINALLY:  (Grk.–loipon)–This is really a very weak, or too narrow, rendering of the Greek word loipon, for this word can also mean, “the remaining” or “the rest.”  Elsewhere it has been rendered as, “besides” and “moreover.”  In the context of this verse the word should have been rendered as, “besides, moreover” or “to sum it up.”

“whatsoever things are true,”
Literally:  “Whatever is true.”–This is the first of six items for them to consider.  No distinction should be made between spiritual truth and secular truth.  ALL truth it God’s truth.

        TRUE:   (Grk.–alethe)–Refers here to everything that was the reverse of falsehood, or factually true;  that which is factually true in contrast to that which is false. 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.

They were to be true…
1.      To their engagements;
2.      To their promises;
3.      In their statements; and,
4.      In their friendships.

They were to maintain the truth:
1.      About God;

2.      About eternity;
3.      About the judgment; and
4.      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.   No distinction should be drawn between spiritual truth and secular truth, for ALL truth is God’s truth.  The believer should think on those things which are true, not on those which are false.

There are many things which are true, but there are also many things in this world that are deceptive and illusory;  promising what they can never perform, offering a false peace and happiness which they can never supply.  We should always set ous thoughts on the things which will not let us down.

“whatsoever things are honest,”
Literally:  “Whatever honorable.” 

        HONEST:  (Grk.–semna)–The meaning of that which is honorble or worthy of respect; or that which has the dignity of holiness upon it. Whatever is grave, decent, and venerable.  Whatever becomes you as men, as citizens, and as Christians. This Greek word is used in the N.T. here and in I Tim. 3:8, 11 and Titus 2:2.   This Greek word semna is from sebô, to worship, to revere.”

        “Likewise, {must} the deacons {be} grave (Literally:  reverant semna )…
        “Even so,
{must their} wives {be} grave (Literally:  reverant
semna)… (I Tim. 3:8, 11).         

        “That the aged men be sober (Literally:  temperatesemna)…” (Titus 2:2).

To the pagan Greeks, semna was a word that was used as an epithet of the gods and of the temples of the gods.  When used to describe an individual, it describes a person who, as it has been said, moves through life as if the whole world were the temple of God. 

“whatsoever things are just”
Literally:  “Whatever just.” Whatsoever is agreeable to justice and righteousness. All that you owe to God, to your neighbor, and to yourselves.

         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 favorable to religion, it is indispensable that he manifest uncorrupted integrity in his dealings.

        JUST:  (Grk.–dikaios)–The things which are right between man and man. This word may also may be translated as “righteous.” This refers to that which corresponds to the divine standard; whatsoever is agreeable to justice and righteousness; that which is what the believer is to think about.. 

All that you owe to God, to your neighbor, and to yourselves. It refers to that which corresponds to the divine standard; i.e., that which is right is what the believer is to think about.  In other words, dikaios is the word for duty faced and duty done.  There are those who set their minds on pleasure, comfort and easy ways; but the Christian’s thoughts are to be on  duty to other people and especially duty to God.

“whatsoever things are pure,”
Literally:  “Whatever pure.” Whatsoever is chaste. In reference to the state of the mind, and to the acts of the body. Chaste, (in thought, and feeling), and in the intercourse between the sexes (I Tim. 5:2).

         Although we may think that our time is the most decadent time in history, we forget that the Roman world of Paul’s day was also a sex-saturated society.  Many of these Philippian believers had been saved out of idol worship which had prostitutes for priestesses, and it was necessary for Paul, and the other Scripture writers, to emphasize the need for purity. This world is full of things which are sordid and shabby and soiled and smutty.  Unfortunately, many people develop a way of thinking that soils everything.  The Christian is to set his/her mind on things which are pure; thoughts so clean that they can stand even the scrutiny of God

        PURE:  (Grk.–hagnos)–In reference to the state of the mind, and to the acts of the body. This describes that which is morally uncontaminated.  Paul uses this Greek word  (hagnos),  which means “holy” or “pure.”

When it is used ceremonially, it describes that which has been so cleansed that it is fit to be brought into the presence of God and used in His service.  When the mind is permitted to drift, it often settles on that which is impure, but the believer is to see to it that the mind remains on that which is pure.  Therefore,

“whatsoever things are lovely,”
Literally:  “Whatever {is} lovely.” Whatsoever is amiable on its own account and on account of its usefulness to others, whether in your conduct or conversation. Adapted to excite love, and to endear him who does such things.

         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, or crabby, and irritable in his temperament, for nothing tends so much to injure the cause of Christ as a believer with a short temper, or one always chafed.  Such things as a brow that is stern; an eye that is severe and unkind, and a disposition that finds fault with everything.
        And yet it is to be regretted that there are many persons, who make no pretensions to piety or holy living, who far surpass many professors of Christianity in the virtue that Paul here commends. A sour and “crabby” temper in a professor of Christ will undo all the good that he attempts to do.

        LOVELY:  (Grk.–prosphilē)–This Greek word is used only here in the N.T. Greek word has been translated in other translations as “pleasing, agreeable, attractive,” but the most often used translation is “lovely.”  Wuest, in his Expanded Translation, also used “lovely.”  Dr. David Stern, in his Jewish New Testament, translates it as, “lovable or admirable,” which would also fit. 

Christians are to think on that which produces and keeps harmony rather than on that which causes strife.
1.      There are those whose minds are so set on vengeance and punishment that they cause bitterness and fear in others.  And…

2.      There are those whose minds are so set on criticism and rebuke that they bring out resentment in others.
Paul’s plea is that Christ sets their minds on the lovely things:  kindness, sympathy, patience, so they are charming or attractive people whose presence inspires feelings of love.

“whatsoever things are of good report,”
Literally:  “Whatever of good report.” Whatsoever things the public agrees to acknowledge as useful and profitable to men; such as charitable institutions of every kind, in which genuine Christians should ever take the lead.

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.

        GOOD REPORT:  (Grk.–euphēmos)–This Greek word “signifies the delicacy which guards the lips, that nothing may be expressed in public worship that could disturb devotion or give rise to scandal.”  The word could mean, in our vernacular, “gracious,” or “high-toned” or even, “whatever has a good name.”   This Greek word is used only here in the N.T. 

In ancient Greece  euphēmos  was connected with the holy silence at the beginning of a sacrifice in the presence of the gods; now, it might not be stretching it too far to say that it describes the things which are fit for God to hear.  There are many ugly, and false, and impure words in this world, but on the lips and minds of Christians there should be only words which are fit for God to hear.

“if there be any virtue”
Literally:  “If {of} any virtue.” If they be calculated to promote the general good of mankind, and are thus praiseworthy. Having just mentioned six qualifications for what believers are to think about, Paul summarizes by saying, “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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; if there is anything truly virtuous, they should be careful to cultivate that.  The Christian should be a pattern and example of every virtue.

        IF–(Grk.–ei)–does not suggest doubt in Paul’s mind, for in the sentence construction he used, it has the meaning of “since” or “because.”

This is like telling a Christian, “If you are a believer, you should study the Bible.”  Since there are virtue (moral excellence) and praise (things worthy of praise) in the qualities previously listed, then the believer is commanded “to think on these things.”

        VIRTURE:  (Grk.–aretē)–This Greek word may also be rendered as “excellence.”  Although this was one of the common classical Greek words, Paul usually seems to avoid it, for this is the only time it occurs in any of his writings. 

In classical thought, it was used to describe every kind of excellence.  It could be used to describe the excellence of the ground in a field, the excellence of a tool for its purpose, the excellence of an animal, the excellence of the courage of a soldier, and the virtue of an individual. 


“there be any praise,”
Literally:  “If [of] any praise.” Anything worthy of praise, or that ought to be praised.  Again we must emphasize that the word “if,”
(ei), does not suggest doubt in Paul’s mind, for in the sentence construction he used, it has the meaning of “since” or “because.” 

In one sense, it is true that Christians never think of the praise of others, but in another sense it is true that every good individual is uplifted by the praise of good men and women. 
So Paul says that believers will live in such a way that they will neither conceitedly desire nor foolishly despise the praise of others.

        PRAISE:  (Grk.–epainos)– Anything worthy of praise, or that ought to be praised.  In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbor. According to Vincent’s Word Studies in the N.T.,  this Greek word means “Commendation corresponding to the moral value of the virtue. In the Septuagint (LXX) virtue (Grk.–apetē) is four times used to translate the Hebrew praise

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. 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 these things.”
Literally:  “Meditate on these things.” Esteem them highly, recommend them heartily, and practice them fervently. 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.

        THINK:  (Grk.–logizomai)-Literally meaning, reckon, calculate, consider.” 

The believer is to consider, or let his mind dwell on that which meets the qualifications previously mentioned.  This is Scriptural positive thinking.  Paul uses the word in the Greek present tense, indicating that the believer is to continuously consider these things; i.e., “keep on thinking on these things;” or as we say here in the South, “keep on keeping on.”

“Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:  and the God of peace shall be with you.”

“Those things which ye have both learned,”
Literally:  “And what things you learned.” From my preaching and writing. 

         In verse 8 Paul instructed the believers as to what they should think about; but here in verse 9 he instructs them in what they should do.  The Philippian believers had learned and received many great truths from Paul while he was with them.  Also, he had been an example by his own life.  The things that they had learned from Paul he now exhorts them to do.   They are to behave them as well as to believe them.

         Paul seems to think it important to treat the area of the mind before specifying actions.  Christians are defeated more in the battle for the mind than in the area of their actions.  However, proper actions are the result of proper thinking.  

        LEARNED:  (Grk.–emathete)–Paul and others had taught these believers the things summarized in the previous verse.   The Philippian believers had “learned” (Grk.–manthano), as Paul gave them information during his stay with them (Acts 16:12-40). 

         ”and received,”– Received by faith, as a revelation from God. 

        RECEIVED:  (Grk.–paralambanō)–This was the common word for “receiving something From Paul they had learned more than just information; they had received it unto themselves. But they more than just heard information:  they had received it.  In the context it implies that they responded to the information by taking it to themselves.

“and heard”- That is, what you have witnessed in me, and what you have learned of me, and what you have heard about me.  That you have heard from my preaching, and that of those who labored with me; and heard from me, in my private communications with you; and heard of me from other Churches;

“and seen in me, do:”
Literally:  “And saw in me, practice.” That is, what you have witnessed in me, and what you have learned of me, and what you have heard about me, practice yourselves.

Paul refers them to his uniform conduct-to all that they had seen, and known, and heard of him, as that which it was proper for them to imitate. It was not enough to Paul that these Philippians had gained more knowledge; he wanted to see a change of behavior that resulted from that knowledge. The Philippians had heard and seen things in Paul’s life (v. 8).  He had been an example to them as he had suffered imprisonment and had taught them the truth of God. 

        DO:  (Grk.–prassō)–Meaning to do in the sense of “to practice it; put it into use.”   Also, for emphasis, he put the word in the Greek present tense to emphasize continuous action.  By putting this in the present tense Paul has made a double emphasis on these Philippian believers need to constantly demonstrate in their actions all they had learned.  Practice,; make it a habit.

“and the God of peace shall be with you.”–The God who gives peace (comp. Heb. 13:20; I Thess. 5:23.). He who is the Author of peace, the Lover of peace, and the Maintainer of peace; He who has made peace between heaven and earth, by the sacrifice of His Son, shall be ever with you while you believe and act as here recommended.

         The meaning here is, that Paul, by pursuing the course of life which he had led, and which he here counsels them to follow, had found that it had been attended with the blessing of the God of peace, and he felt the fullest assurance that the same blessing would rest on them if they imitated his example. The way to obtain the blessing of the God of peace is to lead a holy life, and to perform with faithfulness all the duties which we owe to God and to our fellow-men.
        They had learned these instructions from Paul; they had heard it from their ears, and they had seen it with their eyes.  Now there to, literally, “keep on practicing these things,” or as we say here in the South–“Keep on keepin’ on.”   The result would be that the God of peace would be with them.

         By this Paul was not implying that they would be forsaken of God if they fell short, but that rather the full experience of God’s presence as the God of Peace would be their portion, and with His presence would come the peace of God mentioned in v. 7.  This portion of Scripture should be in the mind and thinking of Christians in a troubled world with many troubled hearts!