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Whatever Is Pure – Think About These Things

DDC: Think These Things - Whatever is Pure

Whatever Is Pure – Think About These Things

Yesterday I struggled to set my focus on thinking “whatever things are pure” but it just wasn’t happening.

I got stuck in my stinkin’ thinkin’. Interactions that made my heart ache played over and over and over and over again in my brain. What did I do to cause such distance between my relationships? How could I have handled the situation differently so that this hurt would not be festering in my soul? If only…

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.

Philippians 4:8 ESV

What Does It Mean to Think What Is Pure?

As morning dawned I once again endeavored to think about things that are pure. What exactly does that mean? How would I know if I was thinking pure thoughts? I could redirect my attention with an intensive word study. That would certainly help me switch my focus at least!

The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon notes that the word Paul uses that is translated pure in various translations derives from the Greek word ἁγνός [hagnos /hag·nos/] meaning 1 exciting reverence, venerable, sacred. 2 pure. 2a pure from carnality, chaste, modest. 2b pure from every fault, immaculate. 2c clean.

The word hagnos is translated pure and innocent in the English Standard Version of the New Testament. There are 75 times that the word pure appears in the ESV translation of the Bible, however, only 8 times does it derive from the Greek word hagnos in the New Testament.

Where Else Is “hagnos” Used?

Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

1 Timothy 5:22 ESV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

James 3:17 NASB

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

Titus 2:4–5 NLT

For as long as I can remember I have wondered how I could know which Hebrew Old Testament words are equivalent to Greek New Testament words. I wanted to take a Greek class in college in hopes of learning that, but I knew I couldn’t memorize all those little cards the guys always carried around. But still, those were foreign Greek words and Hebrew words; I wanted to know which ones were equivalent to each other!

The Logos Bible Software Blog pointed me in the right direction with the article entitled “When and How to Use the Septuagint in Your Bible Study.”

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It was what Greek-speaking Jews like Jesus and Paul read (if they had access to it) and quoted and debated and obeyed—unless they also knew Hebrew, of course. It was also “the Bible of the apostolic church—the writers of the New Testament quote from it extensively.”

Lexham Bible Dictionary

Whatever is Pure in the Old Testament

The Logos Bible Software enabled me to discover that the Septuagint used the same Greek word hagnos in these Old Testament passages:

The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

Psalm 12:6 ESV

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.

Psalm 19:7–9 ESV

The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
but gracious words are pure.

Proverbs 15:26 ESV

Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
I am clean from my sin”?

Proverbs 20:9 ESV

The way of the guilty is crooked,
but the conduct of the pure is upright.

Proverbs 21:8 ESV

Redirect Your Focus

There are a few more places the word hagnos is used, but these verses certainly gave me a much clearer perspective on thinking whatever is pure! “The words of the Lord are pure words…” “…the commandment of the Lord is pure…” “…gracious words are pure.” How can my heart be pure? What does pure conduct look like?

The discovery was exciting. Hmmm… exciting reverence, venerable, sacred – that is Strong’s definition of pure! With a clearer perspective of God and His Word, I long to know more, to be more awestruck by His wisdom, to saturate my soul with more of His character, to investigate and appropriate the sacred. I long to think whatever is pure. Thank you, Lord, for helping me to focus on whatever is pure!

Prayer Pattern to Focus on Whatever Is Pure

Lord God, You keep me in perfect peace when I trust in You! When I fix my thoughts on you I enjoy Your perfect peace! I Trust in You always, for You are the eternal Rock. . . .

based on Isaiah 26:3–4

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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