September 20, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In the last blog we looked at Philippians 4:8…
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are
lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if
there is anything praiseworthy, meditate [or think] on these things.
…and the conclusion drawn from that verse in the last blog… “What St. Paul is saying in this scripture is if these qualities are in something, then allow it into your life! If not, don’t let it in!!!”
How do I accomplish that? Specifically, what do I do? We dealt with that a bit in the blog written on July 24 called Indoctrinated! We will deal with it more fully here.
First, what passes the test – that has all these eight qualities listed in Philippians 4:8 – that we can think about or allow into our life? And is it just one thing we allow in? Because life is very complicated, and it looks like we have to consider a lot of different things as they apply to different parts of our life.
Consider the Word of God, the Bible. Does it have these eight qualities spelled out in Philippians 4:8?
• Is it true? It is the record of God’s work in the world through His Son Jesus Christ. And Christ said plainly in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
• Is it noble? The word the King James Version uses here is honest. In I Peter 2:22 it is written of Christ, “…Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth.” Guile means falsehood, the opposite of honesty.
• Is it just? In John 5:30 (KJV), Jesus said, “…my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
• Is it pure? Peter writes this in I Peter 2:2, “…desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby….”
• Is it lovely? This Greek word for lovely is a combination of two words meaning friendly towards. Jesus, in John 15:14, told his disciples, “You are My friends [same root word] if you do whatever I command you.” In verse 20, the Lord implies that the one who is friendly towards God is the one who keeps His Word. So the Word builds friendship towards God.
• Is it of good report? Paul, in Acts 20:24, calls the work of redemption Jesus accomplished, “…the gospel of the grace of God.” Gospel means good news! So the Bible – being the record of God’s redemptive work – is certainly of good report!
• Is it virtuous? The word means excellence. But it is translated only once, in I Peter 2:9, as praises. “…you are…His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” And the only way to know about the praises of Him is by the Word of God.
• Is it praiseworthy? This is a different Greek word, and it means laudation. Paul quotes Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11: “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” Where would they learn such laudation? From the record – the Word – the Bible!
So the Bible fits all the qualities spelled out in Philippians 4:8. But does it apply to all the different areas of our life? I have found – through over 40 years of reading, study, preaching and counseling – that there is nothing that life can throw at you – nothing! – about which the Bible does not speak! Sometimes it addresses the issue through direct teaching, sometimes through positive as well as negative examples, sometimes through parables, sometimes through principles that can be applied to many things other than which they are apparently dealing. Sometimes you have to dig out several passages that might apply to the situation you are facing, and put them all together to find your answer.
And I didn’t even get to Psalm 1:1 through 3 yet! I guess that will have to be explored in Monday’s blog!