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‘Think About Such Things’: Quick Thoughts on Philippians 4:8

9 October, 2009

corcpicsmallI think probably anyone reading Philippians 4:8 slowly and sympathetically would be able to see the deep riches there to be mined, refined, and pored over:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Here are some brief and hopefully helpful thoughts on this amazing verse.

Philippians 4:8 is a call to theology

This is ‘theology’ in the proper sense of the word: the knowledge of God, his character, will, and works, and all things in relation to him. There is no one and nothing more worthy or fitting to be described with Paul’s lofty language than God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • God the Father is the one from whom grace and peace flow to us through the Lord Jesus Christ (1:3), to whose glory the exalted Christ has accomplished all our redemption (2:11; 4:20).
  • God the Son is the one in whom we are saints together, through whom the fruit of righteousness comes (1:1, 11). For us to live is Christ (1:21). He has made us his own (3:12). His humility and exaltation are the accomplishment of and the pattern for our walking after him in faith and fruitfulness (2:1-16)
  • God the Spirit is the one in whom we have paticipation with one another in love, affection, and sympathy (2:1-2). He is the one by whom we worship as the true circumcision (3:3).

Paul is calling us to think theologically. This doesn’t mean we all need to get a degree in Theology, although some of us might. What it does mean is that as Christians, knowing God and his ways, understanding ourselves and the world and our purpose in light of what God has said in his word — that’s what we’re called to think about. And we’re not called to ‘think about such things’ in a purely intellectual manner, as if interesting but not actually real. Paul’s exhortation, in all its depth and richness, is rooted in a call to think about our good, holy, righteous, gracious God and his wise and wonderful ways.

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3 Comments
  1. 12 October, 2009 12:52 am

    Great article! I particularly liked your central statement: “Philippians 4:8 is a call to theology”.

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