Whatever is Lovely

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 lovely which is προσφιλής (prosphilḗs).

The root, phíléō, is the word for ‘friendship.’ Go another step back to phílos and you have one of the four Greek words for the English word ‘love’. The general overview is quite simple, it means “acceptable or pleasing” (Zodhiates, 2000). Interestingly this particular form of phíléō, prosphilḗs, only appears once in the New Testament, right here in Phil. 4:8.

There have been and will be many studies on phíléō and phílos. Digging a little deeper on the words of phíléō and phílos, may be worth the adventure to get a better understanding of what Paul is talking about with prosphilḗs. The idea is “beloved” (Zodhiates, 2000), a “companion” (Vine, 1996), “dear/found friend” (Strong, 2009), a “kind friend (Thomas, 1998)” or “one who practices what is good” (Zodhiates, 2000).

How do we live that out? Think lovely thoughts. Have a mind that is innocent. Dwell on lovely thoughts. Dwell on the Word of God. Dwell on Christian fellowship and friendship. Have a Christian social support, small group of friends, etc. Live out love.  Paul is saying that we need to love people. We need to befriend people. Be winsome, be pleasant, be kind, be loving! We should make an effort to be amiable and lovable (Loh & Nida, 1995).

                                                                      References:

Loh, I., & Nida, E. A. (1995). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. UBS Handbook Series (134). New York: United Bible Societies

Strong, J. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (76). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : Updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (256). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.

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



Whatever is Pure

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 pure which is ἁγνός (hagnós).
The general overview is quite simple, most commentaries and doctrinaires offer a straight-forward answer this word means “pure.” Digging into this particular context in Philippians, we can find some specifiers that are useful in understanding this Greek word in this verse.

First let us see what does “pure” mean exactly? Purity is “freedom from defilement or impurity.” I am certainly not a gemologist, but I understand enough about precious stones to know that purity and rareness of a gemstone determines how expensive it should be. The more pure and natural the stone, the better quality and higher price for that stone. This is not a bad analogy for our lives as Christians. We should also strive to have freedom from defilement and impurity (sin!).  Christ already paid the highest price for this freedom. Let’s live it out!

Diving deeper into “living pure,” we see that the words “Innocent”, “pure” and “blameless” (2 Cor. 7:11; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 5:22) come into play (Zodhiates, 2000). This is not a coincidence, but the theme from all of the previous Greek Word Paul has chose in this passage continues again with hagnós. We are to live righteous, honest, with dignity and now again today holy. All of these words center around this idea of living upright and blameless. It is not an easy calling but one that we are free to choice with the power of the Holy Spirit guiding us and the blood of Jesus Chris saving us and the Father wooing us. 
Think pure thoughts. Dwell on thoughts that are pure. Find a mentor that is pure and can hold you accountable for personal purity and growth. Live pure. Let’s strive to be clean, innocent, modest, chaste as close to perfect as possible in this human form (Strong, 2009). The kind of purity “awakens awe” (Kittel, Friedrich & Bromiley, 1985). Ponder that one.
                                                            References:
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (19). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
Strong, J. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (7). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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

Whatever is Right

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 right which is δίκαιος (díkaios).

Díkaios comes from díkē which means “right” or “just”. Díkaios specifically means “doing what is right” or “doing what is just.” Another way of saying this is being “conformable to righteousness.” (Zodhiates, 2000). This word appears 79 times in the New Testament, notably 17 times in Matthew, where it is used to describe both individuals and groups of people who live righteous. The Septuagint translation is צַדִּיק which means blameless, upright and righteous. It describes Noah, Abraham, David, Job and God. It also describes groups of people as well.

There continues a theme from the first two posts, the words “True,” “Honorable” both include an idea of upright living, a moral standard of being ‘above reproach.’ The word for “Right” continues this theme for living upright (Newman, 1993). As Christians we are called to be “innocent, holy, just and righteous” (Strong, 2009). This is not an easy calling. It is a calling to be in accordance with God’s standards (Swanson, 1997).

The How-to live δίκαιος out is worth a lot of time and further study. There are a lot of great resources about righteousness and righteous living. To get a full understanding of application of this word, much more study should be done on it. Case studies on the righteous men of the Old and New Testament is great place to start this study. Think about justice. Dwell on justice. Reflect on it. More so, live it out. When someone is in need, help them. When someone does something wrong, seek God’s wisdom in finding the proper just action that may need to be taken.

 
                                                                        References:
Newman, B. M., Jr. (1993). A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. (46). Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies.
Strong, J. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (23). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
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.

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).

References:

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.

Whatever is True

Yesterday, I introduced a blog series on Phil. 4:8. We will be examining the Greek word for each of the English nouns after the famous “Whatever is” statements in Phil. 4:8.

The first “whatever is” statement is: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true,…”

The Greek word for the English word “true” is ἀληθής (alēthḗs). This means to be ‘without a lie’ (Zodhiates, 2000).

The word appears in the New Testament 26 times, 21 of which the word simply means ‘true.’

3 Times it occurs as ‘truthful.’ It also occurs once as ‘truly’ in (Jn. 4:18) and once as ‘real’ in Acts 12:9, describing that what the Angles had done was real and not a vision or something fake.

Here are some of the definitions for this Greek word in context of Phil 4:8 via some of the popular and established Bible Dictionaries:

True in conduct, sincere, upright, honest and just (Zodhiates, 2000).

Not concealing, instead truthful (Strong, 2009).

Honest, truthful, having integrity (Mt 22:16) (Swanson, 1997).

Consistently “upright,” (Kittel, 1964).

There are two themes that catch my eye. First, is the idea of merely living honest and truthful. The second is living ‘upright.’ Living true is not just about living honestly, even many atheists attempt to live honest and truthfully. What is interesting is that to be ‘true’ according to his passage is also to live true to a moral standard, to live ‘upright.’ I believe Paul had this in mind when he chose this Greek word but we will be looking more at the other Greek words in this verse as the series continues and I believe that the moral upright standard will continue to be a theme. As with all of Paul’s theology, righteousness is so important. Living upright is one of the facets to righteousness.

How do we live this way?

Think truthfully. Dwell on things that are true. Live honestly. I get the strong sense from my studies that we are to live as valid Christians (Beasley-Murray, 2002, p. 129). By this we are to actually be real about every aspect of our lives. We are to be honest and truthful in all things. We are to honor Christ with our words, actions, thoughts and behaviors. In every way we are to be upright and authentic. We are to be true saints, true followers of Christ, true scholars of the Word and true in every step we take. We need Christ to help us as we walk honestly at every step of the way.

Resources:

Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). Vol. 36: John. Word Biblical Commentary (129). Dallas: Word,

                   Incorporated.

Vol. 1: Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G.
                    Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (248). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Strong, J. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The
                    Hebrew Bible (9–10). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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.

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. (Php 4:8, NASB)

This verse has had a lot of impact on me in my life. For the next few weeks, I will looking at each of the Greek words Paul uses in this passage:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true (αληθη), whatever is honorable (σεμνα), whatever is right (δικαια), 

  whatever is pure (αγνα), whatever is lovely (προσφιλη),
whatever is of good repute(ευφημα), if there is any excellence (αρετη)
and if anything worthy of praise (επαινος), dwell on these things. 

Newberry, T., & Berry, G. R. (2004). The interlinear literal translation of the Greek New Testament (Php 4:8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
I’ll be looking closely at these Greek Words and explaining how we are to be living with this information.