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Whatever Is Admirable – Think About These Things

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Whatever Is Admirable – Think About These Things

The fear of the Lord is related to thinking about whatever is admirable, as Philippians 4:8 directs us. Keep reading to see the parallels!

But first, let me ask you this: Are you ever concerned about saying the right thing at the right time? When you are in the presence of certain people does your heart beat faster, your palms start getting sweaty, and nervous tension takes over? Does the company of people with high status often evoke such a response? Why?

The reasons for this type of fearfulness may include the following:

  • Reverence
  • Respect
  • Awe
  • Awareness of magnificence
  • Fear of social ramifications
  • Dread
  • Threat of punishment
  • Threat of judgment

Philippians 4:8 in the New Living Translation advises us to

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippinas 4:8 NLT

It’s All Greek to Me!

The Greek word εὔφημος [euphemos /yoo·fay·mos/] is translated admirable in the NLT, and NIV is also translated good repute (NASB), commendable (ESV, NET), good report (KJV, NKJV), and worthy of respect (NIrV).

This Greek word is only used in Philippians 4:8.

The basic idea of this word is: ‘pertaining to what is being said with cautious reserve’ (in deference to the transcendent or out of respect for those of high status, words ought to be carefully chosen, for one might utter something that is unlucky.1 It also carries the idea of uttering sounds of good omen, or abstaining from inauspicious words, i.e., religiously silent.2

Considering admirable thoughts leads us to ponder the fear of the Lord. While we often have difficulty grasping the concept of fearing the Lord, the parallels with euphemos can aid our understanding. What we understand about one concept may help us with what is nebulous about the other.

Both euphemos and the fear of the Lord carry the ideas of

  • Reverence
  • Respect
  • Awe
  • Awareness of magnificence
  • Fear of social ramifications
  • Dread
  • Threat of punishment
  • Threat of judgment

While Philippians 4:8 deals with our thoughts, our actions (i.e., fear of the Lord) originate with our thoughts. So if we are thinking careful thoughts with respect (euphemos), we will display a careful life demonstrating such reverence. Our speech reveals our hearts.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:34 ESV

Admirable Thoughts and Words

Consider the following passages for additional insight concerning the concept of careful (admirable) thoughts and words revealing a “fear of the Lord.”

Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 NASB

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 21:23 ESV

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV

I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 ESV

He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:3 ESV

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 ESV

Admirable Worship

Psalm 111 demonstrates admirable worship because of the “fear of the Lord.”

Praise the Lord!
I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
He gives food to those who fear him;
he always remembers his covenant.
He has shown his great power to his people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!

Psalm 111 NLT

This blog post is part of a series on Philippians 4:8. Dig into each description to determine how to think about these things from God’s perspective.

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1 William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 414.

2 H.G. Liddell, A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996), 335.

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