“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8
How we think determines how we respond to the circumstances in our lives. And God gives us a formula for right, biblical thinking in Philippians 4:8. There are 8 words that characterize God’s desire for how we think and approach our lives. Jamie Rasmussen unpacks these 8 words in a fresh way, showing how each one leads to a joyful and purposeful life for the glory of God.
Chapter 1 dives into the repeated word “whatever,” stating that it refers to a “limitless volume and extent.” He opens our eyes to all of the possibilities that are open to us as we think on these specific things. The body of the book spends a chapter on each of the 8 words that we ought to think on…whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. The last chapter expounds Philippians 4:9, which is the result of putting 4:8 into practice, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9. Not that peace will be with us, but that the God of peace will be with us. The peace of the personal presence of God is the result of following these God-given guidelines for our thought-life.
Rasmussen does a great job handling each of these words, and adding a fresh perspective that is not easily discovered with a cursory glance at the verse. He often explains the Greek meaning and the background of how the original readers would have read and interpreted it. For example, while digging into the word “honorable,” Rasmussen states that:
“When we consider the fullness of the historical and biblical data behind this word, we finally unveil a description of a steady person who is known for thoughtful reflection and well-reasoned, grace-filled responses to life’s difficult situations.” (p. 57)
Speaking on the word “pure,” Rasmussen says that “the call to think about ‘whatever is pure’ means that we are to be good and relate well…it means patterning our lives after the relational interactions of Jesus presented in the Gospels.” (p. 92-93)
These are just a couple of short examples of how Rasmussen expands on this verse. It is so easy to simply read through this one verse quickly without truly thinking about what each of these means and how they ought to change our lives. Have you ever memorized Philippians 4:8, studied it, written it down, but never applied it to your life? We are all guilty of it! But this book has helped me to get a better grasp on this portion of God’s Word and I believe it will help you to do so as well.
What we think about matters! What occupies our mind has a profound effect on how we act and live in the world. Paul exhorts us to think about these wonderful things and see how it will change how we view our lives, how we view others, and how we experience the peace of the presence of God.
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