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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Philippians 4:8

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.

Adam Clarke Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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 semnaProperly, 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.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, 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.

Finally ... Paul had written this in Philippians 3:1; but as Caffin put it, "Again and again he prepares to close his epistle, but he cannot at once bid farewell to his beloved Philippians.[20]

Thought control is clearly the practice Paul enjoined here. If people would live correctly in God's sight, let them think of those qualities which possess positive value. Thinking of such things will lead to speaking of them, as exemplified in the lives of associates, thus contributing to the joy and unity of Christian fellowship.

Foulkes pointed out that the strong word ([@logizomai]) Paul used here, translated "take such things into account" is Paul's way of saying, "Let such things shape your attitudes."[21]

Of special interest in Paul's list given here is the word [@arete], translated "virtue." This is found nowhere else in Paul's letters and in only two other New Testament references (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3), despite the fact of its being "a frequent word in classical and Hellenistic Greek."[22] Lightfoot believed that Paul "seems studiously to avoid this common heathen term for moral excellence."[23] From this Lightfoot interpreted Paul's meaning to be, "Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue, whatever consideration is due to the praise of men, etc."[24] Barry concurred in this discernment, saying that Paul's introduction of virtue and praise after the hypothetical "if there be any" indicated that these last two words "occupy less firm and important ground"[25] than the others (due, of course, to pagan conceptions of what the terms meant).

Despite the above, however, this writer holds this list of desirables in the highest respect, the words in their commonly accepted denotations and connotations standing for the very greatest human excellence known to man. God help all people to let their thoughts dwell upon such things as Paul enumerated here.

[20] B. C. Caffin, op. cit., p. 157.

[21] Frances Foulkes, op. cit., p. 1138.

[22] R. P. Martin, op. cit.,, p. 172.

[23] J. B. Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), p. 162.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Alfred Barry, op. cit., p. 87.

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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

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.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Gill, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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, etc.

true — sincere, in words.

honestOld English for “seemly,” namely, in action; literally, grave, dignified.

just — towards others.

pure — “chaste,” in relation to ourselves.

lovely — lovable (compare Mark 10:21; Luke 7:4, Luke 7:5).

of good report — referring to the absent (Phlippians 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 (2 Peter 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 John 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 (Phlippians 4:9) whenever the occasion arises.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Finally (το λοιπονto loipon). See note on Phlippians 3:1.

Whatsoever (οσαhosa). Thus he introduces six adjectives picturing Christian ideals, old-fashioned and familiar words not necessarily from any philosophic list of moral excellencies Stoic or otherwise. Without these no ideals can exist. They are pertinent now when so much filth is flaunted before the world in books, magazines and moving-pictures under the name of realism (the slime of the gutter and the cess-pool).

Honourable (σεμναsemna). Old word from σεβωsebō to worship, revere. So revered, venerated (1 Timothy 3:8).

Pure (αγναhagna). Old word for all sorts of purity. There are clean things, thoughts, words, deeds.

Lovely (προσπιληprosphilē). Old word, here only in N.T., from προςpros and πιλεωphileō pleasing, winsome.

Of good report (ευπημαeuphēma Old word, only here in N.T., from ευeu and πημηphēmē fair-speaking, attractive.

If there be any (ει τιςei tis). Paul changes the construction from οσαhosa (whatsoever) to a condition of the first class, as in Phlippians 2:1, with two substantives.

Virtue (αρετηaretē). Old word, possibly from αρεσκωareskō to please, used very often in a variety of senses by the ancients for any mental excellence or moral quality or physical power. Its very vagueness perhaps explains its rarity in the N.T., only four times (Phlippians 4:8; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:5). It is common in the papyri, but probably Paul is using it in the sense found in the lxx (Isa 42:12; 43:21) of God‘s splendour and might (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 95) in connection with “praise” (επαινοςepainos) as here or even meaning praise.

Think on these things (ταυτα λογιζεστεtauta logizesthe). Present middle imperative for habit of thought. We are responsible for our thoughts and can hold them to high and holy ideals.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

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 virtueis 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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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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 if there be any praise, think on these things.

Finally — To sum up all.

Whatsoever things are true — Here are eight particulars placed in two fourfold rows; the former containing their duty; the latter, the commendation of it. The first word in the former row answers the first in the latter; the second word, the second and so on.

True — In speech.

Honest — In action.

Just — With regard to others.

Pure — With regard to yourselves.

Lovely — And what more lovely than truth? Of good report - As is honesty, even where it is not practised.

If there be any virtue — And all virtues are contained in justice.

If there be any praise — In those things which relate rather to ourselves than to our neighbour.

Think on these things — That ye may both practise them yourselves, and recommend them to others.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8.Finally What follows consists of general exhortations which relate to the whole of life. In the first place, he commends truth, which is nothing else than the integrity of a good conscience, with the fruits of it: secondly, gravity, or sanctity, for τὸ σεμνόν (240) denotes both — an excellence which consists in this, that we walk in a manner worthy of our vocation, (Ephesians 4:1,) keeping at a distance from all profane filthiness: thirdly, justice, which has to do with the mutual intercourse of mankind — that we do not injure any one, that we do not defraud any one; and, fourthly, purity, which denotes chastity in every department of life. Paul, however, does not reckon all these things to be sufficient, if we do not at the same time endeavor to make ourselves agreeable to all, in so far as we may lawfully do so in the Lord, and have regard also to our good name. For it is in this way that I understand the words —

If any praise, (241) that is, anything praiseworthy, for amidst such a corruption of manners there is so great a perversity in men’s judgments that praise is often bestowed (242) upon what is blameworthy, and it is not allowable for Christians to be desirous even of true praise among men, inasmuch as they are elsewhere forbidden to glory, except in God alone. (1 Corinthians 1:31.) Paul, therefore, does not bid them try to gain applause or commendation by virtuous actions, nor even to regulate their life according to the judgments of the people, but simply means, that they should devote themselves to the performance of good works, which merit commendation, that the wicked, and those who are enemies of the gospel, while they deride Christians and cast reproach upon them, may, nevertheless, be constrained to commend their deportment.

The word, προσφιλὢ καὶ εὔφημα however, among the Greeks, is employed, like cogitare among the Latins, to mean, meditate. (243) Now meditation comes first, afterwards follows action.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘Think on these things.’

Philippians 4:8

This age has been called an age of growth, and so in many ways it is—growth of empire, of commerce, of wealth, of population, and an improvement in physique.

But what of spiritual growth? There is a growth in organisations, in spiritual activities, in spiritual fuss, but this is only the scaffolding; the building itself grows but little. What is the remedy? We find it in the first word of our text, ‘Think.’

I. Get time to think.—It is more necessary than many realise; it is indeed absolutely necessary, for without time to think our spiritual life cannot grow. We hear too much of the voice of man. Get time to hear the voice of God.

II. Acquire the habit of thinking.—The mind quickly forms habits just as the body does, and if those habits are habits of idleness, or day-dreams, or vanity, the mind will soon become useless for thinking. Discipline your mind! Keep still and think. Think deeply, and so become deep. Think regularly, and so acquire the habit of thinking.

III. What shall we think?—It is a good thing to drive out wrong and impure thoughts from our hearts—we must do so; but unless we obtain good thoughts to fill their place the evil thoughts will return with sevenfold force. What, then, shall we think? ‘Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, any praise, think on these things.’ That is the great remedy for our lack of spiritual growth. The scaffolding is here; let us build up the spiritual building.

Bishop A. N. Thomas.



One party in the modern Church might wish the Apostle to have said, Think on your baptism and your covenanted privileges; and another, Think on your conversion. What he actually says is, Think on all things beautiful and good.

I. Thus to write, in the capacity of a teacher of religion, was distinctively Christian.—How vital a thing it is, for the great majority of men and women, whose only abstract thinking is about religion, to have purity and goodness consecrated.

II. It is another mighty corrective (and it is required for the efficiency of the first) that we should learn to appraise aright all things true and beautiful. To do this will rebuke our greed, and calm our passions, and strengthen every noble impulse and desire.

III. This advice becomes a Christian teacher still more, because all such thinking leads up straight to the Cross of the Redeemer.—For in the same proportion in which inward things predominate over show and the senses and the world—self-control over appetite, self-sacrifice over indulgence—as purity and love become precious, and vileness more terrible than pain, so does the great life, the great sacrifice, the supernatural personality of Jesus our Lord become at once credible and splendid; and the visage that was more marred than that of any man is seen to be the fairest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely.

IV. One cannot think long upon such matters and continue indifferent to Him.—No; nor fail to confess the need of Him.

Bishop G. A. Chadwick.


‘Wherever you discern moral obligation or moral charm, the Apostle says not, Do homage to this, nor even, Work this out in your external conduct, though he very certainly expects that both these results will follow. But rather he says, Let it sink in; take stock of it; reckon it up: let your intelligence play upon it—for such is the meaning of his expression. And this is the one thing which we most need to-day, a dominant interest in really high concerns.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Church Pulpit Commentary. https: 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 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 if there be any praise, think on these things.

Ver. 8. Whatsoever things are true] This is that little Bible, as the eleventh to the Hebrews is by one fitly called a little Book of Martyrs. In this one verse is comprised that Totum hominis, whole of man, Ecclesiastes 12:13; that Bonum hominis, good of man, Micah 6:8. For if ye do these things here enjoined, ye shall never fall, but go gallantly into heaven, as St Peter hath it, 2 Peter 1:10-11.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Philippians 4:8

When the Apostle wrote these words, he was filled with the best of all loves. These grand words were almost the last outpouring of the fulness of the Apostle's love. Everybody knows them; everybody admires them; everybody is conscious of an undefined pleasure in them.

I. Observe that all the good and holy things of the text purify. St. Paul does not say, Do them, but what is far more: "Think on them." The word means literally, Take them into your mouths; dwell on them; imbue your very spirit with them; for there is life in them when fostered in the inner life of which the outer life is only a reflection. Every mind must have its thoughts, and every thought must have its food. Thought dies without food. Some men think too abstractedly; some men think much of the evils which they wish to avoid; that is vainness: the thought may take the bad character even from the wrong thing, which it is the object of that very thought to destroy. It is far safer, it is far better, and far more effective to think of the true, the holy, and the good.

II. The more you meditate upon the truth, the honesty, and the justice which regulate the sacred transactions between Heaven and man—that is, the more you see the Cross of Christ as the great embodiment of the mind of God and contemplate the highest truth as it is exhibited there—the more prepared you will be to go on to take a proper estimate of what is to be "the true, the honest, and the just" in the relations and dealings of the present life. Whenever you can form this lofty conception of the inner and beautiful principle, your standard will be very high, and you will be better able to take measure of the circumstances of life. He will always make the best prophet the eye of whose mind is the most familiar with a Divine and prompt obedience.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 1874, p. 151.

I. We can all appreciate the importance of being able to guide and control our thoughts; we can all understand that it must be a serious thing to have lost or not to possess the power of doing so. And who has not known by experience something of the evil effects of thinking of the opposite things to those which St. Paul here recommends? St. Paul bids the Philippians entertain one kind of guests within, and by inference exclude or expel another. And which of us does not feel that there is wisdom in this caution? A man who lives much amongst the evil things of human nature, even if professional or other duty requires it of him, can seldom preserve unsullied the purity of his Christian feeling. And if such be the effect of an acquaintance with things hateful and impure in those who approach them at the call of business or duty, how must it be with those who live amongst them by choice? There are those who gloat upon the records of vice or crime, and find in them an attraction and fascination which is wanting in things lovely and of good report.

II. St. Paul's charge has a depth of wisdom and a wholesomeness of counsel scarcely noticed perhaps on its surface. We ought to cherish only such thoughts concerning others as are lovely and of good report; we ought to dwell by choice only upon virtues. The charge presupposes a power over the thoughts. And thus we are led to a serious reflection upon the importance of turning our faith to account in the work of regulating and disciplining thought. Of ourselves we can neither think nor do one good thing; but if the Gospel be true, we can think as well as do all things through Christ who strengtheneth us. Let us pray to God to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit.

C. J. Vaughan, Lectures on Philippians, p. 295.

References: Philippians 4:8.—F. W. Farrar, Everyday Christian Life, p. 46; T. M. Herbert, Sketches of Sermons, p. 158; W. B. Pope, Sermons, p. 213; Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 200; Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 115; R. M. Stewart, Ibid., vol. xix., p. 121; H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. xxvii., p. 148; J. G. Rogers, Ibid., vol. xxviii., p. 28; Ibid., p. 295; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. vii., p. 289. Philippians 4:9.—W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 277; S. Martin, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 219; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 382.

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Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things, &c.— The reader will find in the Inferences a complete exposition of this beautiful and comprehensive passage

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https: 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here we have a very comprehensive precept, describing the duties of all christians: Whatsoever things are true; truth is the principal character of our profession, and is to be expressed in our words and actions.

Whatsoever things are honest, venerable, or grave; that is, answer the dignity of our high calling, and agree with the gravity and comeliness of the christian profession.

Whatsoever things are just, according to divine and human laws.

Whatsoever things are pure and chaste; intimating that we must preserve the heart, the hand, the tongue, the eye, from all impurity.

Whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report; as easiness to pardon, readiness to oblige, compassion to the afflicted, liberality to the distressed, sweetness of conversation, without gall and bitterness; these are of universal esteem with mankind, and soften the most savage tempers and dispositions.

Note here, 1. That there are things naturally honest, just, and lovely, in their own nature, and praise-worthy in themselves, which do raise and refine the human nature; and, without a command, their goodness is a strong obligation to observe them.

Note, 2. That christianity doth adopt morality, or precepts of good life and manners, into its frame and constitution, and it is indeed an integral part of the christian religion; not that any moral precepts, though never so good, can raise a soul from the death of sin to a life of holiness, without faith in Christ, and assistance from his Spirit; but the morality which the scriptures teach us, is founded not barely upon principles of reason, but divine revelation, and obliges us to the practice of moral duties, in obedience to Christ's command, in conformity to his example, in the strength of his assistance, and with an eye to his glory.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] τὸ λοιπόν resumes again his intention of closing the Epistle with which he had begun ch. 3., but from which he had been diverted by incidental subjects. It is unnatural to attribute to the Apostle so formal a design as De W. does, of now speaking of man’s part, as he had hitherto of God’s part:—Chrys. has it rightly,— τί ἐστι τὸ λοιπόν: ἀντὶ τοῦ, πάντα ἡμῖν εἴρηται. ἐπειγομένου τὸ ῥῆμά ἐστι, καὶ οὐδὲν κοινὸν ἔχοντος πρὸς τὰ παρόντα.

This beautiful sentence, full of the Apostle’s fervour and eloquence, derives much force from the frequent repetition of ὅσα, and then of εἴ τις.

ἀληθῆ] subjective, truthful: not, true in matter of fact. The whole regards ethical qualities. ταῦτα γὰρ ὄντως ἀληθῆ, ἡ ἀρετή, ψεῦδος δὲ ἡ κακία. κ. γὰρ ἡ ἡδονὴ αὐτῆς ψεῦδος. κ. ἡ δόξα αὐτῆς ψεῦδος, κ. πάντα τὰ τοῦ κόσμου ψεῦδος. Chrys.

σεμνά] τὸ σεμνὸν ὄνομα, τὸ καλόν τε κἀγαθόν, Xen. Œc. vi. 14. It is difficult to give it in any one English word: ‘honest’ and ‘honourable’ are too weak: ‘reverend’ and ‘venerable,’ ‘grave’ are seldom applied to things: Nor do I know any other more eligible.

δίκαια] not ‘just,’ in respect of others, merely—but right, in that wider sense in which δικαιοσύνη is used—before God and man: see this sense Acts 10:22; Romans 5:7.

ἁγνά] not merely ‘chaste’ in the ordinary confined acceptation: but pure generally: “castimoniam denotat in omnibus vitæ partibus.” Calv.

προσφιλῆ] lovely, in the most general sense: no subjects need be supplied, as τοῖς πιστοῖς, or τῷ θεῷ (Chrys.): for the exhortation is markedly and designedly as general as possible.

εὔφημα] again, general, and with reference to general fame—of good report, as E. V. The meaning ‘sermones qui bene aliis precantur,’ adopted by Storr and Flatt, though philologically justified, is evidently not general enough for our context.

εἴ τις ἀρετὴ] sums up all which have gone before and generalizes still further. The E. V. ‘if there be any virtue,’ &c. is objectionable, not for the reason alleged by Scholefield, Hints, &c. p. 85, as ‘expressing a doubt of the existence of the thing in the abstract,’ which it does not,—but as carrying the appearance of an adjuration, ‘by the existence of,’ &c. which conveys a wrong impression of the sense—whatever virtue there is (not ‘there be,’ as Scholef.) &c.

ἀρετή] virtue, in the most general ethical sense: ἔπαινος, praise, not ‘pro eo quod est laudabile,’ as Calv., al., but as Erasm., ‘laus, virtutis comes.’ The disciplinœ, which follows ‘laus’ in the Vulg. &c., is a pure interpolation, and beside the meaning: see various readings.

ταῦτα—viz., all the foregoing—the ἀληθῆ &c.,—the ἀρετή, and the ἔπαινοςthese things meditate: let them be your νοήματα.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https: 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Philippians 4:8. 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 if there be any praise, think on these things.

THE scope and tendency of Christianity is to ennoble the mind of man, and to restore him to his primitive dignity. If we could frame to ourselves a just idea of what Adam was, when he came out of his Maker’s hands, we should see exactly the spirit and conduct to which we are to be reduced by the Gospel. The doctrines of our holy religion, excellent as they are, are of no value any further than they produce this blessed effect. They point out the way in which this change is to be wrought, and supply the only motives that can operate upon us with sufficient weight. In this view they are invariably proposed by the inspired writers, who, having stated them in their epistles, always call our attention to the practical improvement of them.

In the exhortation before us we may notice,

I. The extent of a Christian’s duty—

We are at no loss to arrange the particular duties that are here enjoined, since the Apostle himself distributes them into classes:

1. Things “virtuous”—

[Among these “truth” is the first in nature and importance; since, without it, all the bands of society would be dissolved: there would be no such thing as confidence between man and man. Of such consequence is this esteemed in the world, that no virtues, however eminent, can supply the want of it, or render a man respectable, that is regardless of it. And so necessary is it in the eyes of God, that he will banish from him with abhorrence all who wilfully violate its dictates [Note: Proverbs 6:16-17. Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15.], and admit those only to his presence whose adherence to it is strict and uniform [Note: Psalms 15:2.]. This therefore is in the first place to be rigidly adhered to, especially by those who are members of Christ’s mystical body [Note: Ephesians 4:25.]. It is not indeed necessary, nor would it be proper, on every occasion, to declare all we know: but we must on no account affirm, or insinuate, what is contrary to truth, either with a view to set off or to exculpate ourselves, or for the purpose of criminating or exalting another. Every species and degree of falsehood should be scrupulously avoided; and every word we utter should bear the stamp of simplicity and godly sincerity.

Next to this, and inseparably connected with it, is “justice” A Christian is to know but one rule of conduct: he is, in all his intercourse with men, to do as he would be done unto; that is, to act towards others, as he, in a change of circumstances, would think it right for them to act towards him. To be guilty of fraud in a way of traffic, or in withholding just debts, or in evading taxes, or putting off base coin, or in any other way whatever, is as inconsistent with the Christian character as adultery or murder. Whatever specious pretexts an ungodly world have invented for the justifying of fraud, no one of us approves of it when it is exercised towards himself; nor will God ever approve of it, however men may extenuate or excuse it: his word to every one of us is, “That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live [Note: Deuteronomy 16:20.].” And “he knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished [Note: 2 Peter 2:9].”

Besides these virtues which have respect to our words and actions, there is one that extends to our very thoughts, and that is no less necessary to be cultivated by us than either of the foregoing, namely, “purity” None are so ignorant as not to know, that they ought to restrain their passions, and have them in subjection. But it is not sufficient for a Christian to refrain from open acts of uncleanness; he must learn to mortify his inward desires: he is to “keep his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lusts of concupiscence, like those who know not God [Note: 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5.].” He is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and is therefore bound to harbour no thought that may defile that temple, no desire that may grieve his Divine inhabitants [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19.]. In all his words, and looks, and thoughts, he should “be pure as God is pure, and holy as God is holy [Note: 1 John 3:3 and 1 Peter 1:14-16.].”]

2. Things “praise-worthy”—

[The fore-mentioned duties are so essential to the Christian character, that any considerable and habitual violation of them is utterly inconsistent with it. There are other duties equally necessary to be observed, but which, from the weakness of our nature, and the imperfection of our attainments, admit of greater deviations without impeaching our sincerity before God.

Amongst these, the things which are “honest,” that is, grave, venerable, decorous, first demand our attention. A Christian should consider what becomes his age and station as a man, and his character as a disciple of Christ. It is disgusting, when people professing godliness, whether men or women, are vying with an ungodly world in dress, and show, and vain parade; in a levity of conduct; in a fondness for vain amusements. There is a gravity that befits the “man of God,” who has engaged to walk in his Redeemer’s steps. Not that he need to banish mirth, if it be innocent in its nature, and moderate in its degree: nor need the person of opulence to accommodate himself to the habits of a peasant in his style of living: but there is a moderation that he should carefully observe, a limit suited to his character, a bound which he should in no wise transgress [Note: Compare Ephesians 5:4. 1 Timothy 2:9-10. 1 Peter 3:2-4.].

Whatever things are “lovely,” are also highly deserving the Christian’s regard. There is a courtesy, a meekness, a gentleness, an affability, a modesty, in a word, an urbanity of manners, which is exceeding amiable, and which conciliates the esteem of all who behold it; this, in opposition to rudeness, and an inattention to the feelings of others, should be cultivated by all. A readiness also to sympathise with others in their distress, and to condescend to the meanest offices for their comfort and relief, and a delight in performing all the offices of love, how lovely does this appear, how worthy the pursuit of all that would honour God! To this also may be added a candour in judging, a patience in enduring, a tenderness in forgiving, a liberality in bestowing; an assemblage of such graces as these is the brightest ornament of a child of God; and, as we all admire them when exemplified in others, we should make it our daily study to illustrate them in our own conduct.

Further still, there are many things that are “of good report,” in which also it should be our ambition to excel. A noble disinterestedness of mind, that rises superior to all selfish considerations, and consults the public good, is an attainment which the heathens themselves accounted most truly honourable. With this we may rank a nobleness in the ends which we seek to accomplish, a wisdom in the means whereby we labour to effect our purpose, a discretion in the manner of employing those means, a due consideration of all circumstances of time and place, a willingness to yield in things indifferent, and a firmness in maintaining what we consider to be right and necessary; a happy combination of these will not fail to exalt a character in the eyes of men, and to procure us respect from those who know how to appreciate such rare endowments. These therefore, with whatever else ensures to men a reputation for magnanimity, or goodness of heart, (provided it be good and proper in itself) we should pursue with ardour, and practise with constancy.]

Passing over many other excellencies, such as diligence, contentment, friendship, gratitude, with numberless others to which the Christian’s duty extends, let us proceed to notice,

II. The importance of it—

The manner in which the Apostle inculcates these things, very strongly marks his sense, at least, of their importance. His distinct enumeration of so many things, his comprehending of them all a second time under the extensive description of things virtuous and laudable; and lastly, the energetic manner in which he recommends them to our attention and regard, all prove, that he was extremely solicitous to impress our minds with a sense of our duty, and to secure to his exhortation the attention it deserves.

Let us then consider how important the observance of our duty in these respects is,

1. To ourselves—

[We have no better test of our sincerity before God than this. Our having embraced new tenets, however just those tenets may be, will not prove that our hearts are right with God: nor will an outward reformation of our conduct suffice to establish our pretensions to true conversion; there must be an uniformity and consistency in our endeavours to serve God: there must be no virtues so small, as to seem unworthy of our attention, or so great, as to discourage us in the pursuit of them. We must never think we have attained any thing, as long as there remains any thing which we have not attained [Note: Philippians 3:12-15.].

There is nothing that can more conduce to our present happiness than this. Self-government, next to the immediate enjoyment of the Divine presence, is the sublimest source of happiness in this world. Let any thing that comes under the description before mentioned, be considered in all its bearings and effects, and it will be found highly conducive to the comfort of our own minds, and to the happiness of all around us. Abstracted from the consideration of any future recompence, “the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of rightousness is quietness and assurance for ever [Note: Isaiah 32:17.].”

Moreover it tends to increase in our souls a meetness for heaven. By virtuous actions we attain virtuous habits; and by virtuous habits a conformity to God’s image: and our conformity to God in holiness is that which alone constitutes our meetness for glory. Should we not therefore be endeavouring daily to get every lineament of the Divine image engraven on our souls? Should not the hope of growing up into Christ’s likeness be an incentive to continual and increased exertions in the way of duty? Need we, or can we have, any greater stimulus than this?]

2. To the Church—

[By this alone can we silence the objections of her adversaries. In every age the adversaries have vented their calumnies against the Church, as though all her members were hypocrites, and their seeming piety were a cloak, for some hidden abominations. They have also represented her doctrines as visionary and enthusiastic, yea, as calculated to subvert the foundations of morality, and to open the floodgates of licentiousness. But when they see a holy and consistent conduct, the joint effect of piety and wisdom, they are constrained to shut their mouths, and to confess that God is with us of a truth [Note: 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:15; 1 Peter 3:16.].

By this also do all her members contribute greatly to their mutual edification and endearment. It is with Christ’s mystical body as it is with our natural bodies: when every member performs its proper office, and supplies its proper nutriment, all the parts are kept in activity and vigour, and the whole is confirmed and strengthened [Note: Ephesians 4:11-13; Ephesians 4:15-16; Ephesians 4:29.]. Let any of the graces before mentioned be neglected, and disunion will proportionably ensue. Moreover, those members that are most defective in their duty, will most discover a consequent languor and decay. Whereas, the members that are indefatigable in the exercise of these graces, will “make their profiting to appear,” and be enabled to withstand the assaults of all their enemies [Note: 2 Peter 1:5-11.]. The former will be a source of trouble and disquietude to the Church; the latter, of harmony and peace.]

3. To the world around us—

[There is nothing else so likely to fix conviction on the minds of sinners. The ungodly world will not learn religion from the Bible; nor will listen to it as enforced in the discourses of God’s faithful ministers. But they cannot shut their eyes against the light of a holy life. St. Paul’s epistles are known and read of few: but godly men are “the epistles of Christ, known and read of all men [Note: 2 Corinthians 3:2-3.]:” and many who would not regard the written word, have been won by their godly conversation [Note: 1 Peter 3:1-2.].

On the other hand, there is nothing that hardens sinners so much as an inconsistent conduct in the professors of religion. If a saint fall through temptation, or a hypocrite discover his hypocrisy; instantly the world cry out, “There, there, so would we have it [Note: Psalms 35:19; Psalms 35:25.].” Nor are they satisfied with condemning the individual offenders; they immediately reflect on the whole body of Christians, as hypocrites alike: yea, and blaspheme that adorable Saviour whose religion they profess [Note: 2 Peter 2:2. Romans 2:24. 1 Timothy 6:1.]. Thus do they confirm their prejudices against the truth, and justify themselves in their rejection of the Gospel. If then the rescuing of our fellow-creatures from perdition, or the contributing to involve them in it, be so connected with our conduct, of what importance must it be so to demean ourselves, that we may adorn our holy profession, and recommend the Gospel to their favourable acceptance!]


[“Think then upon these things.” Think of their nature, that you may be apprised of their extent: think of their obligation, that you may be aware of their importance: think of their difficulty, that you may obtain help from your God: think of their excellency, that you may be stirred up to abound in them: and think of their complicated effects on the world around you, that you may make your light to shine before men, and that others, beholding it, may glorify your Father that is in heaven [Note: Matthew 5:16.].] [Note: Instead of this application, the following may be profitably used:—

1. For the humbling of your souls—2. For the endearing of the Gospel to you—3. And for the regulating of your whole spirit and conduct.

1. For the humbling of your souls—

[Whence is it that there is so little humiliation and contrition amongst us? it is because we do not try ourselves by a just standard. We look only to more flagrant transgressions; and therefore even the worst of us only view ourselves like the sky in a cloudy night, when only a few stars are seen and at great intervals; but if we would take the text for the ground of our estimate, the very best of us would see ourselves like the sky in the clearest night studded with stars innumerable, our whole lives being, as it were, one continuous mass of transgression and sin — — — If we would habituate ourselves to such reviews of our conduct from day to day, we should find no difficulty in acknowledging ourselves “less than the least of all saints,” yea, and “the very chief of sinners.”]

2. For the endearing of the Gospel to you—

[O how precious would the Saviour be to you, if you saw yourselves in your true colours! And with what delight would you plunge into “the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness!” But the same false estimate of ourselves which keeps us from humiliation, keeps us also from valuing the Gospel of Christ. If we would love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, we should get a deeper sense of our need of him, and of the love he has shewn us in giving himself to die for us.

It is in this way also that we must learn to prize the influences of the Holy Spirit. When we see what a holy and refined character that of the true Christian is, we shall necessarily say, “Who is sufficient for these things?” And, feeling our need of Divine help, we shall implore of God to “strengthen us with might by his Spirit in the inner man,” and to “perfect his own strength in our weakness” — — —]

3. For the regulating of your whole spirit and conduct—

[Whilst you see what a lovely character the Christian is, and how bright it shone in our blessed Lord, you will strive to follow his steps, and to “walk as he walked.” Let there then be in you nothing but what is virtuous and praise-worthy. And, if you profess to have been “called with an holy calling,” see that you “walk worthy of your high calling,” or rather, walk worthy of him that hath called you; that so God may be glorified in you, and you be rendered meet for his heavenly inheritance — — —]]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Philippians 4:8 f. A summary closing summons to a Christian mode of thought and (Philippians 4:9) action, compressing everything closely and succinctly into a few pregnant words, introduced by τὸ λοιπόν, with which Paul had already, at Philippians 3:1, wished to pass on to the conclusion. See on Philippians 3:1. This τὸ λοιπόν is not, however, resumptive (Matthies, Ewald, following the old expositors), or concluding the exhortation begun in Philippians 3:1 (Hofmann), for in that passage it introduced quite a different summons; but, without any reference to Philippians 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, Philippians 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. Philippians 2:1, Philippians 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: ἀρετή· ψεῦδος δὲ 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 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; James 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 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 Sirach 4:8; Sirach 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, Psalms 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, Wisdom of Solomon 4:1; Wisdom of Solomon 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 Philippians 4:9) to determine your conduct accordingly. “Meditatio praecedit, deinde sequitur opus,” Calvin. On λογίζεσθαι, comp. Psalms 52:2; Jeremiah 26:3; Nahum 1:9; Psalms 35:4; Psalms 36:4; 3 Maccabees 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.

Philippians 4:9. The Christian morality, which Paul in Philippians 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. 1 Corinthians 15:1; John 1:11; Polyb. xxxiii. 16. 9. The interpretation: “have received” (Vulgate, Erasmus, Luther, Beza, and most expositors, including Rheinwald, Rilliet, Hoelemann, de Wette, Weiss, Hofmann), which makes it denote the instruction communicated (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:23; Galatians 1:9; Galatians 1:12; Colossians 2:6; comp. Plat. Theaet. p. 198 B: παραλαμβάνοντα δὲ μανθάνειν), would yield a twofold designation for the one element,(186) and on the other hand would omit the point of the assensus, which is so important as a motive; moreover, from a logical point of view, we should necessarily expect to find the position of the two words reversed (comp. Galatians 1:12).

ἠκούσατε] does not refer to the proper preaching and teaching of the apostle (Erasmus, Calvin, Elsner, Rheinwald, Matthies), which is already fully embraced in the two previous points; nor does it denote: “audistis de me absente” (Estius and others, including Hoelemann, Rilliet, Hofmann), for all the other points refer to the time of the apostle’s presence, and consequently not merely the “de me,” but also the “absente” would be purely imported. No, by the words ἠκούσατε and εἴδετε, to both of which ἐν ἐμοί belongs, he represents to his readers his own example of Christian morality, which he had given them when he was present, in its two portions, in so far as they had perceived it in him ( ἐν ἑμοί, comp. Philippians 1:30) partly by hearing, in his whole oral behaviour and intercourse with them, partly by seeing, in his manner of action among them; or, in other words, his example both in word and deed.

ταῦτα πράσσετε] these things do, is not related to ταῦτα λογίζεσθε, Philippians 4:8, as excluding it, in such a way that for what is said in Philippians 4:8 the λογίζεσθαι merely would be required, and for what is indicated in Philippians 4:9 the πράσσειν; on the contrary, the two operations, which in substance belong jointly to the contents of both verses, are formally separated in accordance with the mode of expression of the parallelism. Comp. on Philippians 2:8 and Romans 10:10.

καὶ θεός κ. τ. λ.] in substance the same promise as was given in Philippians 4:7. God, who works peace (that holy peace of soul, Philippians 4:7), will be with you, whereby is meant the help given through the Holy Spirit; and His special agency, which Paul here has in view, is unmistakeably indicated by the very predicate τῆς εἰρήνης.


It is to be noticed that the predicates in Philippians 4:8, ἀληθῆεὔφημα, do not denote different individual virtues, but that each represents the Christian moral character generally, so that in reality the same thing is described, but according to the various aspects which commended it. Comp. Diog. Laert. ii. 106: ἒν τὸ ἀγαθὸν πολλοῖς ὀνόμασι καλούμενον. Cic. de fin. iii. 4. 14: “una virtus unum, istud, quod honestum appellas, rectum, laudabile, decorum.” That it is Christian morality which Paul has in view, is clearly evident from Philippians 4:9 and from the whole preceding context. Hence the passage cannot avail for placing the morality of the moral law of nature (Romans 2:14 f.) on an equality with the gospel field of duty, which has its specific definition and consecration—as also, for the reconciled whom it embraces, the assurance of the divine keeping (Philippians 4:7; Philippians 4:9)—in the revealed word (Philippians 4:9), and in the enlightening and ethically transforming power of the Spirit (comp. Romans 12:2).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Philippians 4:8. τὸ) The summing up. In ch. Philippians 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, Philippians 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, Sirach 4:7.— σοφὸς ἐν λόγῳ ἑαυτὸν προσφιλῆ ποιήσει, the wise man will make himself a person to be loved in what he says, Sirach 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. Philippians 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 Philippians 4:8] does not differ from the other [those in Philippians 4:9].

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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, Psalms 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, Psalms 119:1, from the pollution of sin, 1 John 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.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture



Philippians 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.’

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https:

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Honest; honorable and worthy of being respected.

Any virtue-praise; any thing truly virtuous or praiseworthy.

Think on these things; attend to and practise them. Professors of religion should be careful never to falsify their word, or be mean or dishonorable, unjust, impure, or unamiable; but conscientiously and habitually to practise whatever deserves to be respected and is praiseworthy.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

8. Τὸ λοιπόν. See above, on Philippians 3:1. Once more he gathers up the thought towards a close.—Are their “hearts and thoughts” thus “sentinelled,” in Christ, by the peace of God? Then let them, in their safe Castle, “in the Secret of the Presence,” not sleep, but give their minds all possible pure material to work upon, with a view to holy practice. Let them reckon up, think over, estimate aright (λογίζεσθε), all things true and good; perhaps specially in contrast to the subtle “reckonings” of the teachers denounced above (Philippians 3:18-19), who would divorce the “spiritual” and the moral.

ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ. “All things which are true.” Truthfulness of word and act, sincerity of character, is utterly indispensable to the holiness of the Gospel.

σεμνά. “Honourable,” R.V.; almost, “dignified”; like the old English use of “solemn.”—Vulg., pudica.—Cp. 1 Timothy 3:8, where the children of the ἐπίσκοπος are to be ruled μετὰ πάσης σεμνότητος: 11, where the γυναῖκες of the διάκονοι are to be σεμυναί: Titus 2:2, πρεσβύταςεἶναι σεμνούς. The word points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct.

δίκαια. As between man and man. The Christian will be a model of dutifulness.

ἁγνά. Probably in the special respect of true bodily chastity, in thought and act. “Ἁγνός and καθαρός differ from ἅγιος in that they admit the thought or the fact of temptation or pollution; while ἅγιος describes that which is holy absolutely, either in itself or in idea” (Westcott, on 1 John 3:3). See also Trench, Syn. II., xxxviii.

προσφιλῆ. “Pleasing,” “amiable.” The Christian must remember manner. Grace must make him gracious; he is to “adorn (κοσμεῖν) the doctrine of God his Saviour” (Titus 2:10).

εὔφημα. “Sweet spoken”; προσφιλῆ in a special respect. “Not ‘well-spoken of, well-reputed,’ for the word seems never to have this passive meaning; but with its usual active sense, ‘fair-speaking,’ and so ‘winning, attractive’ ” (Lightfoot). In the classics a frequent meaning is “auspicious,” the opposite of δύσφημος: so εὔφημον ἦμαρ, æsch. Ag. 636; and it thus glides into the meaning “silent,” with the silence which precludes δυσφημία. But such aspects of the word can hardly be supposed present here. Ellicott explains, “fair-sounding,” “high-toned.” R.V. (with A.V.) renders, “of good report”; margin, “or, gracious.”

εἴ τις ἀρετὴ. “Whatever virtue there is.” “St Paul seems studiously to avoid this common heathen term for moral excellence.… [It is not] found elsewhere in the N.T. except in 1 Peter 2:9 [τὰς ἀρετάς, “the excellencies,” of God], 2 Peter 1:3 [τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς ἰδίᾳἀρετῇ], 5 [ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἐν τῇ πίστει ὑμῶν τὴν ἀ.], in all which passages it seems to have some special sense. In the O.T. it always signifies ‘glory, praise’ … In the Apocrypha it has its ordinary classical sense. Some [e.g. Alford] treat εἴ τις ἀ., εἴ τις ἔπαινος, as comprehensive expressions, recapitulating the previous subjects under two general heads, the intrinsic character and the subjective estimation. The strangeness of the word, however, 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. Thus Beza’s remark on ἀρετή seems to be just; ‘Verbum nimis humile, si cum donis Spiritus Sancti comparetur’ ” (Lightfoot). By origin and usage ἀρετή is connected with thoughts of manhood and self-reliance. In the Gospel, the basis of goodness is self-renunciation, in order to the reception of χάρις, the undeserved gift of God.

ἔπαινος. It is not right to do good for the selfish pleasure of praise. But to praise good deeds is right, and so may give the recipient of the praise a pure moral pleasure. St Paul appeals to the fact of such desert of praise, and uses it to attract thought in right directions. “Make right praise an index of the things on which you should spend thought.”

λογίζεσθε. “Reckon up,” “calculate.” To illustrate negatively, ἀγαπὴ οὐ λογίζεται τὸ κακόν (1 Corinthians 13:5), “does not reckon up the evil” done against her; does not dwell on it, brooding over it, counting up the elements of the grievance.

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John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

(Philippians 4:8.) The apostle brings this section to a conclusion by the common formula- τὸ λοιπόν—“in fine.” In a composition like this letter, where compactness is not to be expected, it would be finical to refer this τὸ λοιπόν to that occurring in Philippians 3:1. There it introduces, here it terminates a section. The apostle winds up the sundry counsels contained in the preceding verse. We admit a connection, and therefore deny van Hengel's notion-ad rem alius argumenti transgreditur, ut ostendit formula τὸ λοιπόν. But we cannot wholly acquiesce in De Wette's idea, that the connection is of this kind-verse seventh showing what God does, and verse eighth what remains for man to do. Perhaps the previous verses suggested this summing up to the apostle, which is still in the spirit of the precept, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and they intimate that while there is freedom from solicitude through prayer, there should be a reaching after perfection; and that in order to preserve this peace unbroken within them, they should sedulously cultivate those elements of Christian morality which are next enumerated with singular fervour and succinctness.

The syntax is peculiar. Six ethical terms are employed, and each has ὅσα prefixed, and in token of emphasis the whole is prefaced by ἀδελφοί. The rhythm and repetition are impressive. We do not think, with Wiesinger, that the apostle means to designate the entire compass of Christian morality. We rather think that the virtues referred to are such as not only specially adorn “the doctrine of God our Saviour,” but also such as may have been needed in Philippi. In each case, the apostle does not use abstract terms, but says- “Whatever things,” that is, what things come under the category of each designation—“these things meditate,” the ὅσα giving to each the notion of universality, and of course that of conformity to the verb λογίζεσθε. And first-

ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ—“whatsoever things are true.” It is too vague, on the part of OEcumenius, to explain ἀληθῆ by τὰ ἐνάρετα—“the excellent.” The adjective does not signify what is credible in opposition to what is fictitious, or what is substantial in contrast with what is shadowy. Nor should we, with Robinson, Meyer, and De Wette, confine the epithet to the gospel and its truth; nor with Theodoret, Bengel, and Bisping, to language; nor with others, to the absence of dissimulation. We take it to mean generally—“morally truthful,” whether specially referred to and illustrated in the gospel or not. For truth exists independently of the gospel, though the gospel has shed special light on its nature and obligation. They are to think on “the true” in everything of which it can be predicated-both in reference to God and man, the church and the world, themselves and others-the true in its spiritual and secular relations, in thought, speech, and position. See under Ephesians 4:25.

ὅσα σεμνά—“whatsoever things are grave,” or “decorous.” The adjective characterizes persons in 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:11, and Titus 2:2, in which places it stands opposed to a double tongue, to intemperance and avarice, to slander and unfaithfulness, and may denote becomingness or gravity of conduct. In classic Greek it has the sense of revered or venerated, from its connection with σέβομαι. Benfey, Wurzellex. i. p. 407. As applied to things, it may denote what in itself commands respect-what is noble or honourable-magnifica, as in Ambrosiaster. The pudica of the Vulgate is too limited. Our translators have used the epithet “honest” in its Latin or old English sense, signifying, but in fuller form, what is now termed “honourable.” Thus, in the Bible of 1551—“and upon those members of the body which we thynke lest honest, put we moste honestie on.” “Goodness,” says Sir William Temple, in his Essay on Government, “in our language, goes rather by the name of honesty.” Or in Ben Jonson—“You have honested my lodgings with your presence.” Richardson's Dictionary, sub voce. To illustrate this restricted sense of the term, one may recall the lines of Burns about the Scottish Muse-

“Her eye, even turned on empty space,

Beamed keen with honour.”

But σεμνά has a wider reach of meaning. We find it associated with such epithets as ἅγιον, μέτριον, καλὸν κἀγαθόν, and μεγαλοπρεπές, and it may point out the things which in dignity and honour, in gravity and nobleness, befit the position, character, and destiny of a believer. It is opposed to what is mean, frivolous, indecorous, and unworthy. Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum. Horace, Ep. lib. Philippians 1:1.

ὅσα δίκαια—“whatsoever things are right”-whatsoever things are in accordance with eternal and unchanging rectitude. We would not with many restrict it to equity or justice as springing out of mutual relations. Thus Calvin-ne quem laedamus, ne quem fraudemus, which is only one province of the right. The last epithet appeals more to sentiment, but this to principle. The right does not depend on legislation, but is everlasting and immutable. It is but a fallacious word-worship on the part of Horne Tooke to assert that right is simply what is ordered, rectum-(regitum), but quite in accordance with the theory of Hobbes. Dugald Stewart's Philosophical Essays, Essay 5.2nd ed.; Edin. 1816.

ὅσα ἁγνά—“whatsoever things are pure.” The Vulgate renders sancta, as if the Greek epithet had been ἅγια. Tittmann's Syn. i. p. 22. This term is used specially of chastity or modesty- 2 Corinthians 11:2; Titus 2:5 -and several critics, as Grotius and Estius, take such to be its meaning here. We take it in the broader sense in which it is found in 2 Corinthians 6:6; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 Timothy 5:22; James 3:17. “Whatever things are pure”-which are neither tainted nor corrupt-free from all debasing elements, clear in nature, transparent in purpose, leaving no blot on the conscience and no stain on the character. In Pindar it is the epithet of Apollo or the Sun- καὶ ἁγνὸν ᾿απόλλωνα, Pyth. 9.112. Chrysostom's distinction between this and the preceding epithet is, τὸ σεμνὸν τῆς ἔξω ἐστὶ δυνάμεως, τὸ δὲ ἁγνὸν τῆς ψυχῆς.

ὅσα προσφιλῆ —“whatsoever things are lovely.” This term occurs only here in the New Testament. It is, however, not uncommon with classical writers, and signifies what is dear to any one, or has in it such a quality as engages affection -lovely as exciting love. Sirach 4:7; Sirach 20:13. The meaning is too much diluted by the Greek expositors and others who follow them in giving the term a relation τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ τῷ θεῷ. Grotius and Erasmus hold another view, which is not warranted by the context. According to them, it may denote “benignant,” or “kindly disposed.” But special virtues, as Meyer says, are not here enumerated. “Whatsoever things are lovely”-whatever modes of action tend to endear him that does them, to give him with others not simply the approval of their judgment, but to open for him a place in their hearts- whatever things breathe the spirit of that religion which is love, and the doing of which should be homage to Him who is Love—“these things think on.”

ὅσα εὔφημα—“whatsoever things are of good report.” This word, like the former, is found only here in the New Testament, though the noun occurs in 2 Corinthians 6:8. Its composition tells its force—“what is well spoken of.” It had a peculiar meaning in Pagan usage-that which is of good omen, and a similar meaning Meyer would find here -was einen glücklichen Laut hat. But the result is not different in the more ordinary acceptation. Hesychius gives it the meaning of ἐπαινετά. Storr, without ground, prefers another sense, which makes the verb mean bene precari-to express good wishes for others, and he renders the adjective by benedictum. Whatever things on being seen lead all who behold them to exclaim—“Well-done!”-or indicate on the part of the actor such elements of character as are usually admired and well spoken of; deeds that sound well on being named, whether they consist of chivalrous generosity or meek condescension-a great feat or a good one-noble in idea or happy in execution. An action as right is vindicated by the judgment, as good it is approved by the heart, but as indicating generosity or nobleness of soul it is applauded. The apostle subjoins in his earnestness-

εἴ τις ἀρετὴ, καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος—“whatever virtue there is, and whatever praise there is.” Some MSS., as D1, E1, F, G, add ἐπιστήμης; Vulgate, disciplinoe. In the phrase εἴ τις there is no expression of doubt, on the one hand; nor, on the other hand, is the meaning that assigned by De Wette, van Hengel, Rheinwald, and others-if there be any other virtue, or any other object of praise, that is, other than those already mentioned, but not formally expressed. The clause is an emphatic and earnest summation. See under Philippians 2:1. The term ἀρετή is only here used by Paul. In the philosophical writings of Greece it signified all virtue, and not any special form of it, as it does in Homer and others. The apostle nowhere else uses it-it had been too much debased and soiled in some of the schools, and ideas were oftentimes attached to it very different from that moral excellence which with him was virtue. It is therefore here employed in its widest and highest sense of moral excellence-virtus, that which becomes a man redeemed by the blood of Christ and tenanted by the Holy Spirit. It is spoken of God in 1 Peter 2:9. From its connection with the Sanscrit vri-to be strong-Latin, vir-vires-virtus; or with ῎αρης- ἄριστος, it seems to signify what best becomes a man-manhood, strength or valour, in early times. Benfey, Wurzellex. i. p. 315. But the signification has been modified by national character and temperament. The warlike Romans placed their virtue in military courage; while their successors, the modern degenerate Italians, often apply it to a knowledge of antiquities or fine arts. The remains of other and nobler times are articles of virtu, and he who has most acquaintance with them is a virtuoso or man of virtue. In our common English, a woman's virtue is simply and alone her chastity, as being first and indispensable; and with our Scottish ancestors virtue was thrift or industry. Amidst such national variations, and the unsettled metaphysical disquisitions as to what forms virtue or what is its basis, it needed that He who created man for Himself should tell him what best became him-what he was made for and what he should aspire to. The noun ἔπαινος is praise in itself, and not res laudabilis, a thing to be praised, though many, including the lexicographers Robinson, Wahl, and Bretschneider, take such a view. It is not therefore anything to be praised, but any praise to be bestowed-laus comes virtutis, as Erasmus writes; or as Cicero-consentiens laus bonorum incorrupta vox bene judicantium de excellente virtute. Meyer gives as an example the thirteenth chapter of 1 Cor. -the praise of charity. And the apostle concludes with the expressive charge-

ταῦτα λογίζεσθε—“these things think upon.” They were to ponder on these things, not as matters of mere speculation, but of highest ethical moment, and of immediate practical utility.

The apostle does not mean to exhibit every element of a perfect character, but only some of its phases. Cicero says, De Fin. 3.4, 14-Quonam modo, inquam, si una virtus, unum istud, quod honestum appellas, rectum, laudabile, decorum -erit enim notius quale sit pluribus notatum vocabulis idem declarantibus. These ethical terms are closely united, nay, they blend together; the true, the decorous, the right, and the pure, are but different aspects or exemplifications of one great principle, leaves on the same stem. The first four terms seem to be gathered together into ἀρετή; the two last- “lovely and of good report”-into ἔπαινος. The true, the becoming, the right, and the pure are elements of virtue or moral excellence in themselves; but when exhibited in the living pursuit and practice of them, they assume the form of the lovely and well-reported, and then they merit and command praise. In still closer connection, the apostle enjoins-

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Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Finally, brothers, whatever things are true , whatever things are honourable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are winsome (of good report); if there be any excellence, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’

And all this will be maintained continually as they set their minds on what is good, righteous, true and pure. The true Christian does not allow his mind and heart to wander after what is unsuitable and displeasing to God. He rather concentrates his thoughts on what is true (genuine through and through - Proverbs 22:21 LXX John 7:18), and honourable (highly thought of morally - Proverbs 15:26 LXX), and just (right according to God’s Law - as often in Proverbs; a word regularly used by Jesus of ‘the righteous’), and pure (chaste, innocent and morally upright - Proverbs 15:26; Proverbs 20:9; Proverbs 21:8 LXX James 3:17), and lovely (delightful and spiritually desirable, spiritually and morally attractive, especially in speech - Sirach 4:7 a; Sirach 20:13) and winsome (the winsomeness that results from ‘speaking well of others’ i.e. is ‘well speaking, a giver of good report about others’, consider Proverbs 15:26; Proverbs 16:24 for the idea), all this rather like the teacher of wisdom in Proverbs who sought to turn men’s minds from what was base, but above all, like Jesus Christ Himself. While Paul may well have called on the ideas of current ethical wisdom for some of the terminology, for much of it was current at the time, the whole concept is transformed for Paul on the basis of the finest teaching of the Old Testament and Jewish tradition, and of the teaching of Jesus. He has in mind the walk of the truly righteous man, ‘the way of holiness’ (Isaiah 35:8). He is not urging that they follow the path of the moral philosopher, but rather urging that they walk in accordance with Old Testament precepts, and that they walk as Jesus walked, Who was the perfect exemplar of all such ideas.

Similarly today, whatever the Christian reads, whatever he watches on TV, whatever he talks about, should all be determined by what he knows will please his Father. He should not be doing anything that he would not want to be caught doing if the Lord comes unexpectedly at such a time as he does not expect. Indeed if there is anything that is ‘morally excellent’ (Isaiah 43:21 LXX 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:5), or if there is anything that is ‘worthy of praise’, he is to think on these things. For he is to be a light shining among men as one who is blameless, and who causes no harm (Philippians 2:15). Thus he does not ask, ‘how can I find enjoyment or benefit for myself?’ He rather asks, ‘what can I do that will please the Lord?’, often in terms of ‘what would Jesus do in my place?’, and ‘how can I encourage my brothers and sister in Christ’. His whole concern is for others.

The idea behind ‘continually thinking’ is that the Christian continually sets his mind on such good things and continually keeps good things and good thoughts in view. Such an attitude almost becomes second nature to him as he prays and reads God’s word, and seeks first God’s Kingly Rule (Matthew 6:33). But he must never become complacemt. Anything that will mar the picture, or that he would not want Jesus to catch him doing, he must deliberately turn his back on. His one aim must be to please the Master.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https: 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8. Finally—Certain things on man’s part are important to this manifestation of God’s peace.

True—Morally truthful.

Honest—The old English for our honourable, decorous, becoming.

Just—In accordance with eternal right.

Pure—Untainted and unstained.

Lovely—Calculated to win the heart as well as the judgment.

Good report—Spoken well of among thoughtful and good men. These are so many elements of practical Christian morality. The first four go to make up virtue, or moral excellence; exhibited in actual life, they appear as the lovely and well spoken of, and are worthy of praise.

Think—Ponder them well.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

This "Finally" signals the last of the three imperatives that explain how to stand firm ( Philippians 4:1; cf. Philippians 4:2; Philippians 4:4). It also introduces Paul"s next to the last exhortation in this list that deals with what the believer should spend his or her time thinking about. This subject obviously relates to prayer since both activities involve mental concentration.

"True" (alethe) means valid, honest, and reliable (cf. Romans 3:4).

"Honorable" or "noble" (semna) means worthy of respect (cf. Proverbs 8:6; 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2).

"Right" (dikaia) refers to what is just and upright.

"Pure" (hagna) denotes cleanness and connotes moral purity.

"Lovely" (prosphile) means what is amiable, agreeable, or pleasing.

"In common parlance, this word could refer to a Beethoven symphony, as well as to the work of Mother Teresa among the poor of Calcutta; the former is lovely and enjoyable, the latter is admirable as well as moral." [Note: Fee, Paul"s Letter . . ., p418.]

"Of good repute" or "admirable" (euphema) refers to what is praiseworthy because it measures up to the highest standards.

Paul listed these virtues like contemporary moral philosophers of his day taught, namely, by reciting catalogues of virtues and vices. [Note: Hawthorne, p187.]

The conditional clause structure at the end of this sentence is a rhetorical device. It places the responsibility on the reader to make his or her own decision regarding what is excellent and praiseworthy. [Note: Kent, p152.]

". . . Paul seems to be drawing upon the cultural background of the Philippians and is saying to them: "If there is such a thing as moral excellence, and you believe there is. If there is a kind of behavior that elicits universal approval, and you believe there Isaiah ," then continue to strive for this goodness and to attain to this level of behavior that will command the praise of men and of God." [Note: Hawthorne, p186.]

"We are responsible for our thoughts and can hold them to high and holy ideals." [Note: Robertson, 4:460.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren. He lingers in the conclusion as though the writing of his letter in some degree soothed his longing for them.

whatsoever things are true. Not merely in words only, but in thoughts and actions.

whatsoever things are honourable. Such as make men esteemed and revered by those with whom they live.

whatsoever things are just. Actions upright in all respects, whether concerning ourselves or others.

whatsoever things are pure. Unspotted chasteness in the whole behaviour.

whatsoever things are lovely. Which win favour from those among whom they are done; which gather men friends.

whatsoever things are of good report. Well spoken of among men, and so bringing a good name.

if there be any virtue. He adds this, that he may leave nothing out of his enumeration, ‘whatever virtue there be.’

and if there be any praise. The praise is a consequence of the virtue. He does not intend that the Philippians should follow after all that the carnal world might praise, but only what is praised because it is virtuous.

think on these things. The word is not, as will be seen from the notes, the common word for ‘think,’ but indicates the making up of a reckoning. He has been giving them a long list of virtues as constituents of the Christian character, and the employment of this word may have been suggested by the thought that they must add virtue after virtue, and so try to make the reckoning as complete as they could. Count up these things, he would say, for yourselves, and as you do so, try to cultivate the whole.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Philippians 4:8. The thought of this paragraph (Philippians 4:8-9) is closely connected with that of the preceding by the resumption of the phrase εἰρήνη τ. θ. (Philippians 4:7) in a new form θ. τῆς εἰρήνης (Philippians 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. Philippians 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 Sirach 4:7, προσφιλῆ συναγωγῇ σεαυτὸν ποιεῖ; Sirach 20:13, 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.).

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, &c. Here the apostle enumerates general precepts of morality, which they ought to practise. --- Whatsoever things are true. In words, in promises, in lawful oaths, &c. he commands rectitude of mind and sincerity of heart. --- Whatsoever things are modest. By these words he prescribes gravity in manners, modesty in dress, and decency in conversation. --- Whatsoever things are just. That is, in dealing with others, in buying or selling, in trade or business, to be fair and honest. Whatsoever things are holy. By these words may be understood, that those who are in a religious state professed, or in holy orders, should lead a life of sanctity and chastity, according to the vows they make; but these words being applied to those in the world, indicate the virtuous life they are bound by the divine commandments to follow. --- Whatsoever things are amiable. That is to practise those good offices in society that procure us the esteem and good will of our neighbours. --- Whatsoever things are of good repute. That is, that by our conduct and behaviour we should edify our neighbours, and give them good example by our actions. --- If there be any virtue, if there be any praise of discipline: that those in error, by seeing the morality and good discipline of the true religion, may be converted. And finally, the apostle commands not only the Philippians, but all Christians, to think on these things: that is, to make it their study and concern, that the peace of God might be with them. (Challoner)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, 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”

“Finally”: “Paul lists a number of traits, which, if incorporated into one"s thinking processes, would truly contribute to tranquility of life” (Jackson p. 81). This verse also contains practical information that will help any Christian "stand fast" in the Lord (). The "peace" mentioned in 4:7 demands some human cooperation, and it does not just happen. “The readers must do their part by controlling their minds and thoughts” (Erdman p. 142). Yet, this verse admits that we can realistically control our mental attitude and what we think about. Standing fast in the Lord, involves standing firm in our convictions, beliefs, and thoughts. The Christian does not have the right to think or personally believe anything they want (Matthew 5:28). Everyone allows their mind to dwell on something, “The human mind will always set itself on something” (Barclay p. 79). Hence, since I am going to expend mental energy thinking about something, the wise man says, “I should at least profit from such mental activity”. Many have noted that thoughts produce habits, habits lead to actions, actions determine character, and character determines our eternal destiny. Barclay reminds us, “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” (p. 79).

“Whatsoever things are”: Whatever would fit into the following categories. “True”: This infers that many things are also false. “Many things in this world are deceptive and illusory, promising what they can never perform, offering a specious peace and happiness which they can never supply. A man should always set his thoughts on the things which will not let him down” (Barclay p. 79). The Christian cannot afford to live in an illusionary fantasy world. “It is not a true thing that God does not care what we believe and how we act in consequence” (Lenski p. 882). This means that the Christian does not have the right to believe a false concept, even though they might not practice it. God does not want Christians to be gullible. “The term denotes that which is ‘true to fact’. Truth is grounded in the very nature of God (Romans ; 8:32; 17:17)” (Jackson pp. 81-82).

“Honorable”: “Dignified” (Rhm). “Whatever is worthy of reverence” (Mon). “Is a quality that is characterized by soberness, as opposed to a flippant attitude that lacks ‘intellectual seriousness’” (Jackson p. 82). “That which wins respect or commands reverence, or is esteemed. It refers to lofty things, majestic things, things that lift the mind from the cheap and tawdry to that which is noble and good and of moral worth” (Hawthorne p. 188). “There are things in this world which are flippant and cheap and attractive to the light-minded” (Barclay p. 79). Christians need to take the time to reflect about the serious things of life (1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 2:2; Titus 2:7; Titus 3:8). “There lies in it the idea of a dignity or majesty which is yet inviting and attractive, and which inspires reverence” (Vincent p. 458). The things above would fit into this category, Colossians 3:1-2.

“Just”: “What is right” (Gspd). The Christian will be miserable, if he or she allows false concepts to remain in their thinking. The Christian is the person who admits that whatever God says and does is "right".

The Christian does not long for the "easy way out", rather, they only want to do what is "right". Instead of thinking selfishly, the Christian says, “What is just?” (Colossians 4:1). “It concerns giving to God and men their due. It involves duty and responsibility. It entails satisfying all obligations” (Hawthorne p. 188).

“Pure”: Innocent, modest, chaste, and clean. “This world is full of things which are sordid and shabby and soiled and smutty. Many a man gets his mind into such a state that it soils everything of which it thinks” (Barclay p. 80). Compare with Titus 1:15. Hendriksen reminds us, “The Philippians, because of their background and surroundings, were being constantly tempted by that which was unchaste” (p. 198). The word "pure" also applies to "pure" motives and actions. The Christian does not have the right to "plot" revenge (Romans 12:19-21). Some people spend their lives dwelling upon all the bad things they would love to see happen to those who wronged them, and such people are usually miserable (Titus 3:3). “Lovely”: “Endearing” (Con). “Lovable” (TCNT). “It is that which calls forth love” (Jackson p. 82). “Winsome--Thus the Christian"s mind is to be set on things that elicit from others not bitterness and hostility, but admiration and affection” (Hawthorne p. 188). “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” (Barclay p. 80).

“Good report”: Well spoken of. Those things that deserve and enjoy a good reputation (1 Corinthians 13:6). “Lit., ‘sounding well’--that which is fit to hear” (Jackson p. 82). The Christian is not interested in "gossip" and the Christian takes no pleasure in hearing the "dirt" that has surfaced concerning another member. The Christian eagerly desires to hear those things that are good, such as the good things that Christians are doing, and the successes they are having. Jackson makes all of us uncomfortable when he says, “It is a truly interesting exercise to listen to the things that most commonly engage the conversations of men--even some who profess to be disciples of the Lord Jesus!” (p. 82). “If there be any”: “If virtue and honor have any meaning” (TCNT). “Whatever moral excellence exists, and whatever praise it deserves” (Erdman p. 143). “Nothing that is really worthwhile for believers to ponder and take into consideration is omitted from this summarizing phrase. Anything at all that is a matter of moral and spiritual excellence, so that it is the proper object of praise, is the right pasture for the Christian mind to graze in” (Hendriksen p. 199). Paul could also be inferring that virtue and praiseworthy behavior cannot be developed without thinking about the right things.

“Think on these things”: "’To take account of. It also suggests that we are to constantly place our minds on these things. Vine notes that it means to ‘make those things the subjects of your thoughtful consideration’” (Jackson p. 81).

We are responsible for our thoughts. Contrary to the thinking of some, man is capable to "holding on" to good thoughts. I can make such things the habitual food for my mind. The Christian can really change, and such change can reach right down to the very essence of one"s attitude. The Christian has too much to ponder to allow his mind to wander. Happiness and contentment () are impossible without practicing Philippians 4:8.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https: 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

true. App-175.

honest = honourable, venerable,

grave. Greek. semnos. Here, 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:11. Titus 2:2.

just. App-191.

pure, Greek. hagnos. See 2 Corinthians 7:11.

lovely. Greek. prosphiles. Only here.

of good report. Gp. euphemos. Only here.

if. App-118., a.

any. A1. Philippians 123:3,

virtue, Greek. arete. Only here, 1 Peter 2:9. 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:5.

think on = take account of. Greek. logizomai, as Romans 4:3, &c.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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 if there be any praise, think on these things.

Summary of exhortations as to relative duties, whether as children or parents, husbands or wives, friends, neighbours, men in the world, etc.

True - sincere, especially in words.

Honest , [ semna (Greek #4586)] - 'seemly' in bearing and action; grave, dignified.

Just - toward others.

Pure - `chaste' [ hagna (Greek #53)] (1 Timothy 5:22), in relation to ourselves.

Lovely , [ prosphilee (Greek #4375)] - loveable (cf. Mark 10:21; Luke 7:4-5).

Of good report - referring to the absent (Philippians 1:27): "lovely," loveable face to face: attracting love.

If there be any virtue - `whatever virtue there is' (Alford). "Virtue," the standing word in pagan ethics, is found once only in Paul's letters, and thrice in Peter's (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:5); and this in uses different from pagan authors' excellence. It is a term earthly and human, as compared with the spiritual graces of Christianity: hence, its rarity in the New Testament. Piety and true morality are inseparable. Despise not anything good; only let it keep its due place.

Praise - whatever is praiseworthy; not that man's praise is to be our aim (cf. John 12:43); but we should live so as to deserve it.

Think on , [ logizesthee (Greek #3049)] - have regard to, so as to "do" these things (Philippians 4:9) whenever occasion arises.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

In conclusion. Philippians 4:6 shows that the Christian must actively reach out to God to receive God's peace. Paul's conclusion further explains this reaching out. Fill your minds. The Christian is constantly faced with choices, and because he is new (2 Corinthians 5:17), he must purposely fill his (or her) mind with those things that are good and deserve praise!!! Most of these are familiar enough to need no further explanation. Noble = of good character, worthy, respectable. Lovely = those things whose grace attracts, things which produce love as a response. Greeks would not view this list of virtues (ethical qualities) as religious, but Paul does - in the context of the last hour situation (Philippians 4:5).

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(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 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 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 2 Peter 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.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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 if there be any praise, think on these things.
Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:22; James 3:17; 2 Peter 1:5-7
are true
Matthew 22:16; John 7:18; Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:8; Ephesians 4:25; 5:9; 6:14; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:18
or, venerable.
Acts 6:3; Romans 12:17; 13:13; 2 Corinthians 8:21; 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:2; 3:4,8,11; Titus 2:2,7; *Gr:; Titus 3:14; *marg:; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 2:12
are just
Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 16:20; 2 Samuel 23:3; Psalms 82:2; Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; 20:7; Isaiah 26:7; Mark 6:20; Luke 2:25; 23:50; Acts 10:22; Titus 1:8
are pure
1 Timothy 4:12; 5:2; Titus 2:14; James 1:27; 3:17; 2 Peter 3:1; 1 John 3:3
are lovely
2 Samuel 1:23; Song of Solomon 5:16; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; 1 Peter 4:8
are of
Acts 6:3; 10:22; 22:12; Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Timothy 3:7; 5:10; Hebrews 11:2
Ruth 3:11; Proverbs 12:4; 31:10,29; 2 Peter 1:3,4
Proverbs 31:31; Romans 2:29; 13:3; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 8:18
Luke 16:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Philippians 4:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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