Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Thinking on What is Honorable
12/16/2006 - James White"Whatever is honorable...dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8). Honorable, worthy of respect, dignified, serious, above reproach, even holy. These are terms used to translate the single Greek term Paul uses here. We see here the value of interpretation in context, because the use of this term in conjunction with others helps us to identify Paul's intention (to use technical terminology, which area of the term's semantic domain is identified by the flow of the text). True...honorable...right/just/righteous...pure/holy. This is not what is respected by the world, it is that which is respectable, honorable, and worthy, in God's eyes. It will be in accord with truth and justice, and its honor will be unfading.
How completely unlike the objects of adoration in our world. Let's be honest. How often do we slip into the crowd in admiring the arrogant athlete with the super-sized mouth, the starlet with her perfect body (but utter lack of common sense and decency), the movie star whose world-view and ethics should make us cry out in righteous indignation? Do we admire them, even imitate them? We surely should not.
Finding that which is honorable, worthy of respect, dignified, and serious, may be a task these days. Our world revels in the debauched, the trivial, the undignified. Think about it. Amusement comes from a + muse (to think). Amuse = to stop thinking! Consider the films produced by Hollywood. If they make you think, they are almost always ungodly in their promotion of an anti-Christian worldview. If they don't, they engage in every kind of debased humor, profanity, and basic human degradation. So, the Christian mind, seeking what is honorable, will have to look first and foremost into history, both Scriptural and ecclesiastical, as well as within the body of Christ today. We have great examples of men and women who lived godly, dignified, honorable lives in the Bible and in sacred history. And we have many examples of things that are honorable as well, such as marriage, the church and her offices, the preaching of the Word, etc.
But once again, the point of the text brings us to the need to exercise discipline in our thinking, focusing upon what is true, what is honorable, and resisting dwelling upon falsehood, and upon that which, from the eternal perspective, is without honor.