Whatever is Praise-Worthy

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 “worthy of praise” which is ἔπαινος (épainos).


This word has two definitions. The first is a noun for “the object of praise” and the second definition is “something praiseworthy” (Zodhiates, 2000). Another word for it is ‘commendation’ (Swanson, 1997).

ἔπαινος appears 11 (once as ‘fame’ and 10 times as ‘praise’) times in the NASB:
Romans 2:29 –
But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
1 Corinthians 4:5 –
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
2 Corinthians 8:18-
We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches;
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.
Romans 13:3-
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
Ephesians 1:6-
to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:12-
to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:14-
who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Philippians 1:11-
having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
1 Peter 1:7-
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 2:14-
or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

Paul and Peter are the only authors who used this word in the New Testament. As you can read there is an interesting variety for how the word is used it can be praise given by men to other men (1 Pt. 2:14).  It can be praise to men from God (Rom. 2:29). It can be praise given to God by men (Eph. 1:6).
Then in an altogether different meaning or definition it is used in our verse (Phil 4:8) meaning ‘a thing worthy praise’ (Arndt, 2000).

                                                                 References:

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (357). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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