8 Things to Think About

As 2022 approaches, a lot can be on our mind. We can be overwhelmed with expenses, diets, studies, work, etc. Why not think about 8 things that will bring joy and peace in our lives as Christians. In Philippians 4:8, Paul gives us a beautiful picture of the Christian mindset that seeks joy and peace. Paul wants us to think, ponder, consider, and engage the cognitive process of analyzing these 8 things. [1] Many of these words are seen in the example of Christ who had the best example we can observe in his thought life and attitude (Phil. 2:1-8). Thankfully, Paul does not speak arbitrarily or aimlessly, but gives us 8 things to think about which we could see in his own example and life.”[2]

"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... 9 and the God of peace will be with you." – Phil. 4:8-9
  1. Think on whatever is true (ἀληθῆ)

    As Christians, we possess mountain loads of absolute truth to fill our minds. All which is in opposition to the relative truth in our current culture which leads people to stand for nothing and fall for anything. As Christians we are to think about a sense of uprightness, that which is in accordance with the facts of God and His Word.[3] The source of our truth is Scripture (Jn 17:17) and Scripture is sufficient for all truth (2 Tim. 3:16). We must think about what is true, realizing that the truth allows us to walk in the light (John 8:12-20; 1 John 5:1-10).

  2. Think on whatever is honorable (σεμνά)

    When we think on whatever is honorable, we value what is worthy of respect, what is noble, dignified, serious and make it our effort to have moderate and seemly thoughts and conduct.[4] Paul is making a very general statement and was not looking for society to tell him what was honorable (often revealing a tainted view), but the conduct that God would see in the lives of Christians to make an impression on the world around us.[5] We are to be salt and light in the earth, and not to expect honor to be shown by the world (Mt. 5:13-16). A great example we have is the quality of honor in deacons as men of dignity and women dignified (1 Tim. 3:8-11). We also learn that our love should be expressed in a way that behaves honorably, not dishonorably (1 Cor. 13:5). Paul considered it honorable to believe when it’s going well, but also when suffering comes (Phil. 1:29-30).

  3. Think on Whatever is right (δίκαιa)

    To think about whatever is right is to think in accordance with the will of God.[6] You must know what is upright in conduct by studying the Word of God and knowing his standards for life. For example, by studying Eph. 6:1 you will know it is ‘right’ for children to obey parents.  It is also ‘right’ for Christians to dwell on other Christians who partner in prayer and Gospel ministry (Phil. 1:3-7). In the secular world it may be right to treat others fairly, let the elderly sit first, open the door for loved ones, but how much more would it be right in the eyes of God to do what is in accordance with his highest standards or right and wrong.[7]

  4. Think on Whatever is pure (ἁγνa)

    The idea is morally blameless, pure, and sincere. This would have been used when a Greek soldier was blamelessly discharged from duty; which reminds the Christian that their goal is to be blamelessly discharged from serving Christ.[8] We are pure when we think about wisdom from above (James 3.17), or when we have a clear conscience about the decisions we make in life, or when we are pure in our attitude towards members in the church (2 Cor. 7:11).”[9] A pure thought life will lead to a pure Christian practice. We can start being pure in our Gospel message (Phil. 1:16) and in our example to other Christians (1 Tim. 4:12).

  5. Think on Whatever is lovely (προσφιλῆ)

    There is no other use of this word in the entire NT. However, the root, philos, is the idea we see in the NT of friendly love. We are to think about whatever would provoke our Christian friends to love, pleasant thoughts, agreeableness, or even to delight.”[10] As we pursue whatever is lovely in our thoughts, we give satisfaction and love to our fellow Brethren as we live the Christian life. Paul had this idea in mind when he told the Philippians to make it their goal in life to ‘do all things without grumbling or disputing’ for the sake of joy in the Church (Phil. 2:14).

  6. Think on Whatever is of good repute [or worthy of praise] (εὔφημα)

    The root of this word comes from the idea of what is said or spread. The basic idea is that your thought life reflects a ‘cautious reserve’ from your view of God and allows others to view you worthy of praise. Your speech indicates what you think about and whether or not it is praise worthy and commendable from others.[11] Do you deserve the approval of those around you and have a good reputation? We must think about our speech and what others say about us so that we are ‘of good repute.’ Prov. 10:19-21 sums this up well in saying that our speech reflects our heart: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. 20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.”

  7. Think on any excellence (ἀρετὴ)

    This term signifies the Christian “concept of virtue in a distinctive way” and occurs only once in Philippians (4:8).”[12] The concept would have been consistent with a soldier who was found excellent in their duty.[13] Our duty as followers of Christ is to follow in excellence. Paul is saying that amidst a perverse generation we need to be excellent examples for God. After all, God’s very own excellence has given us the ability to pursue all excellence in our thought life (2 Pet. 1:3-5).

  8. Think on anything worthy of praise (ἔπαινος)

    This expression, ‘worthy of praise’, is one word in the Greek, which means something worthy of praise [by other people]. The sense is “If there is a kind of behavior of which people will approve.”[14] The Christian community thinks about what will be pleasing and praiseworthy for the sake of God’s glory in the Church. Very much like Paul’s thoughts, Christians must conduct their thoughts to be worthy of the praises of the Brethren, because our conduct brings God Glory, “to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11).

I pray that we begin the year thinking before we speak and act. In order to do that we must dwell on these things. Amen!

David J. Lupinetti is the Associate Pastor at San Tan Bible Church in Arizona. He has a passion for Expository Preaching, Biblical Counseling, Discipleship, and Evangelism.


[1] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., pp. 597–598). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [2] Heidland, H. W. (1964–). λογίζομαι, λογισμός. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 4, p. 289). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. [3] Quell, G., Kittel, G., & Bultmann, R. (1964–). ἀλήθεια, ἀληθής, ἀληθινός, ἀληθεύω. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 1, p. 248). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. [4] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 919). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [5] Foerster, W. (1964–). σέβομαι, σεβάζομαι, σέβασμα, Σεβαστός, εὐσεβής, εὐσέβεια, εὐσεβέω, ἀσεβής, ἀσέβεια, ἀσεβέω, σεμνός, σεμνότης. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 7, pp. 194–195). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. [6] Schrenk, G. (1964–). δίκη, δίκαιος, δικαιοσύνη, δικαιόω, δικαίωμα, δικαίωσις, δικαιοκρισία. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 2, pp. 187–188). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. [7] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., pp. 246–247). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [8] Hauck, F. (1964–). ἁγνός, ἁγνίζω, ἁγνεία, ἁγνότης, ἁγνισμός. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 1, p. 122). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. [9] Dunnett, W. M. (1996). Purity. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., pp. 660–661). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. [10] Moulton, J. H., & Milligan, G. (1930). The vocabulary of the Greek Testament (p. 552). London: Hodder and Stoughton.[11] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 414). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.[12] Bauernfeind, O. (1964–). ἀρετή. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 1, pp. 460–461). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. [13] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 743). New York: United Bible Societies. [14] Omanson, R. L., & Metzger, B. M. (2006). A Textual Guide to the Greek New Testament: an adaptation of Bruce M. Metzger’s Textual commentary for the needs of translators (p. 408). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.