As Paul concludes the letter to the Philippians he exhorts them to “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” (Phi. 4:4). In order to do that, an individual must first set his mind so as to have the proper outlook, allowing one to rejoice in any situation. Because of that, Paul will give these brethren a list of things they need to think on (Phi. 4:8).
The word translated “think” comes from a word which means “to reckon, weigh the reasons, deliberate,” (Thayer). Therefore, Paul calls upon the Philippians to reckon on and weigh the following things.
Whatsoever things are true. These are things which are proven to be true. They are not assumptions, suppositions, or wishes; instead, they are facts based upon evidence. More problems and sins have entered the body of Christ because people have stopped contemplating truth and instead followed their own suppositions than from any other cause. If we are to continue to be able to rejoice in the Lord we must continue to think on things of truth.
Whatsoever things are honest. More literally Paul is emphasizing the need to think on the things that are honorable. There are people who seem to spend all of their time focusing on people and actions that are disreputable instead of those things which are honorable. We should not be concerned with all the celebrity gossip and worrying about all the bad things that others are doing, but instead should be focused on those things which are right and honorable in the sight of God.
Whatsoever things are just. Christians have an obligation to be constantly concerned with what is right and just. It requires time and effort to find the answers to problems and situations which arise, but the Christian must be willing to search God’s Word to find the just response.
Whatsoever things are pure. This point goes hand in hand with that of being honorable. Those things that are pure are the things without flaw or blemish. We are not to be those who have the attitude of seeking to see how close to the line we can get without crossing over. Instead, the Christian must continue to look at things from the perspective of purity.
Whatsoever things are lovely. This term literally means those things which are “acceptable, pleasing,” (Thayer). Therefore, we are to think on those things which are acceptable and pleasing. Some might try to contort this to say if it feels good, do it. However, if one’s mindset is already placed upon the previous four statements, it will be readily understood that those things which are acceptable and pleasing will come from God’s Word.
Whatsoever things are of good report. These are things which sound good, are well reported, and attractive. It is often the case that people will do things with one group of people, or by themselves, that they would not do with another group because it would be perceived as wrong or unwise. Our endeavors should be to think, talk, and act upon things that are above reproach. If we are doing things before others we would not do before Christians, we need to begin thinking on things of good report.
If we are to be people who are found virtuous before God and ones who praise Him both in word and deed, these things must be the focus of our lives. If we “think on these things” we will be able to lead lives that are above reproach. Such a life will be rich in spiritual blessings and fulfilling in our work both toward God and man. It is taking thought of these things that will finally and truly allow us to “rejoice in the Lord always.”