Whatever is Honorable

This post is a continuation of my series examining the Greek words associated with the “Whatever is” statements in Phil 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.”

Today I examine the Greek word for honorable which is σεμνός (semnós). 
σεμνός – with a broad stroke, the definition simply is “dignified” (Zodhiates, 2000). That is “worthy of respect, honor and/or dignity” (Arndt, Danker & Bauer, 2000). Another way of putting it is “honorable” (Louw & Nida, 1996).

This specific Greek word only appears four times in the New Testament, all from the Apostle Paul. The first being the Phil. 4:8 passage and then three more times (all NASB):

1 Tim. 3:8-9 – Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
1 Tim. 3:11 -Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
Titus 2:2- Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 

We see that this is used to describe both men and women who serve God. Continuing the theme from the last post about “True,” “Honorable” also includes this sort of upright moral standard of being ‘above reproach’ (Arndt, Danker & Bauer, 2000).

While the Apostle Paul demands a lot of things (no gossiping, patient temperament, faithfulness, sensibility, sound faith, not hypocritical, not addicted to wine, a clear conscience, etc) these are things that can be obtained by all believers. We should strive to attain these things. We, as saints, have a higher citizenship, a heavenly one. These characteristics are majestic and awe–inspiring qualities which  invites and attracts others towards us, towards Christ (Zodhiates, 2000). Amen!

Think honorably. Dwell on thoughts that are noble. Get a mentor who is dignified and can help you focus on dignity in your own thoughts and behaviors. 

If you love Greek Word study, for homework look up the root and related words:

sébomai [reverence, worship], sebázomai [to worship], sébasma [object of worship], Sebastós [His Majesty], eusebḗs [pious], eusébeia [piety], eusebéō [to be pious], asebḗs [impious], asébeia [impiety], asebéō [to get impiously], semnós [worthy of respect], semnótēs [reverence]
(Kittel, Friedrich & Bromiley, 1985).


Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (919). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (1010). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 2: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (221). New York: United Bible Societies.

Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

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