Think These Things – Whatever is Praiseworthy
We have come to the end of our 3Ts – Think These Things series. Today we will process praiseworthy things.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Phil.4:8 NIV
WHAT EVER IS PRAISEWORTHY???
Logos Bible Software offers a Bible Sense Lexicon which provides all the words which convey a single sense or meaning. I was first intrigued by this resource with a blog post entitled How to Find Every Bird Mentioned in the Bible.
I love God’s amazing creativity evidenced in birds, and was delighted at the prospect of finding every bird mentioned in the Bible! The Bible Sense Lexicon notes that the primary heading is “animal” which branches to a long list including “winged animals” such as “bat, bird, hen, and wild bird.” Then the “bird” category branches more specifically to “peacock, ostrich, rooster, quail, pigeon, seagull, swallow…”
Lest I digress, Logos’ Bible Sense Lexicon notes a primary heading of “entity” that branches to “thing (unknown)” and then falls into categories such as “bad thing, foolish thing, new thing, weak thing, precious thing, and praiseworthy thing.” [I counted 24 categories listed under “thing (unknown).”] All that to say, the basic sense of praiseworthy in Philippians 4:8 is “something worthy of high commendation.”
IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME!
The Greek word translated praiseworthy and worthy of praise in Philippians 4:8 looks like this:
ἔπαινος [epainos /ep·ahee·nos/]. The idea is
[praise, approval] the recognition that the community gives the righteous, but especially God’s approval. . . . Only God’s approval counts, not public acclaim. The idea is that of vindication rather than reward. épainos is God’s saving sentence at the manifestation of Christ.1Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
What is truly worthy of praise is not the result of what any person can accomplish, but is based on what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. If we possess anything worthy of praise it is because of our identity in Christ.
On a practical level, what ever is praiseworthy? The first image that pops into my head is something that makes dancers whirl and swirl, like a traditional Mexican dancer. Sometimes it is something that makes me cry. (I think that’s a girl thing!) Sometimes it makes me want to clap and add clapping emojis to text messages. Sometimes it makes me shout AND clap, “Yay, God!”
What does praiseworthy look like? It may be a small bug. It may be a majestic mountain. It may look like an amazing sunset. It may be a newborn grandchild. Whatever it is, it is awe-inspiring.
Hmmm… maybe I am describing things that make me want to worship. Consider this thought: If it (whatever) is worthy of praise but does not stir me to worship God, it indicates I don’t walk with God in truth (1 John 1:6). Lack of brokenness keeps us living self-sufficient, joyless lives when we continue seeking what makes us feel good instead of seeking what glorifies God.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,Ps. 89:15 NLT
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
WORTHY OF PRAISE
Ephesians 1:3–14 reminds us of our reasons to praise.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.Eph. 1:3–14 ESV
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
27 Let those who delight in my righteousnessPs. 35:27–28 ESV
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
28 Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.
9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Phil. 1:9–11 ESV
What is there in your life that is so awe-inspiring that you come to a realization of overwhelming gratitude with an inability to adequately express your praise? If you know of nothing, then you cannot think about whatever is praiseworthy. Neither circumstances, people, nor possessions are praiseworthy if they are not blessings of God. Only with a vibrant, connected relationship with Christ can you think whatever is worthy of praise.
This blog post is part of a series on Philippians 4:8 – Think These Things: Whatever is True , Whatever is Honorable, Whatever is Right, Whatever is Pure, Whatever is Lovely, Whatever is Admirable, Whatever is Excellent, and Whatever is Praiseworthy.
1Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 242.
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