Philippians 4:8 - Thinking Things That Are of a Good Report

Dr. Steve Viars March 23, 1996 Philippians 4:8

- this morning, we're looking at that sixth phrase, and talking about
   "Whatever Things Are Of Good Report".

I. the Kind of Thinking This Word Emphasizes

- you've noticed that some of the words Paul has used in this list have
   been very common, others are used less frequently in the Scriptures.

- this particular word that is translated "of good report" in the KJV,
   "of good repute" in the NASB, and "admirable" in the NIV is only used
   here in the entire NT (in this form).
- there is a related use (cognate noun) in II Cor. 6:8 -- and there it is
   translated exactly the same.

- so we can't learn anything from other uses in the Scripture, but we
  can learn some very important things from the way the word breaks down.

- its the word "euphema"
    - eu - good
    - phema - report or news.

- a good definition would be -- "thinking that searches for the good
   rather than the bad in another."

- now I think you can see, just from that, why we would want to spend
   some time studying this.
- we're going to divide our time out over these ideas:

II. The Opposite of This kind of Thinking

III. The Balance

      - we can't take this to the extreme of "warm-fuzzyism" - or
        ignoring issues that need to be addressed.

IV. How Do You Put This Kind of Thinking On?
      - we want to come up with as many creative ideas as we can to grow
        in this area.

V. The Relationship Between Thoughts and Actions

    - How does a person who thinks this way act?
    - How does a person who doesn't think this way act?

VI. How This Kind of Thinking Affects Relationships

- so let's move into:

II. The Opposite of This Kind of Thinking (and Resulting Actions)

    - there are a couple of major ways where you or I could violate this

   A. Pessimism

       - some folks, upon hearing any idea, always look at it through the
          worst possible light.
       - and while we of course have to evaluate ideas properly, some
          folks automatically dismiss new ideas out of hand because they
          search EXCLUSIVELY for the bad.
       - history is filled with examples: (taken from Wall Street
          Journal, March 8, 1996)

       1) Lord Kelvin (scientist in England - 1824-1907) said:

           - "Radio has no future."

           - "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible."

           - "X-Rays will prove to be a hoax."

       2) Sir Richard Van Der Wooley - wrote in "The Astronomer Royal" in

           - "Space travel is utter bilge."

       3) Harry M. Warner (Founder of Warner Brothers Studios) said in

           - "Who (expletives deleted) wants to hear actors talk?"

       4) Dionysius Lardner (scientist in England - 1793-1859) said:

           - "Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because
              passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."

       5) Lee Forest (inventor in America - 1873-1961) said:

           - "While theoretically and technically television may be
              feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an

- John Vandergriff tells of a Munich schoolmaster who told his ten year
   old student, "You'll never amount to much."
- the student?  Albert Einstein.

- the point is that pessimism would surely be the opposite of the word
   we're studying this morning.

    B. Evaluation/Appraisal that is overly negative, or purposely
       negative, or exclusively negative.

       - there's surely nothing wrong with helping someone else see ways
          he needs to change, and we'll mention that under the next
          point, but some folks violate this characteristic in Phil. 4:8
          by being overly negative, or exclusively negative.
       - so when they think about another person, instead of having a
          balanced opinion of them...its a very unbalanced (and unfair)

       - John Vandergriff has some interesting charts in his chapter on
           this word that help explain why this dynamic might be taking

             - on white board, discuss the charts on page 147 and 149.

- a third way this principle could be violated might be labeled:

    C. Purposely digging up the dirt.

        - there's an interesting biblical example of this in the book of
        - Daniel 6:1-5 - READ and discuss.

        - what we've read about is not far from the world in which we
        - National Enquirer, People Magazine, the TV shows that follow
            that format are as popular as they are for a reason.

        - unfortunately, that negativism, and cynicism, and hyper-
          critical spirit can even characterize a person who calls
          himself a believer.

- so Paul's point is -- in our thinking, and our resultant actions, we
   are focus our attention on "whatsoever things are of good report."

- now, let's be sure we add some balance to this:

III. Keeping This Principle In Balance

    INPUT - How do we know that Paul is not just talking about going
            around giving each other "warm-fuzzies" all the time without
            dealing with issues where a person needs to repent and

            (various answers)

       - having said that -- many of us would have to say that we're
           probably not anywhere near that ditch anyway.

IV. How Do You Put This Kind of Thinking On?

    - I'd like us to take a few minutes and work on developing as many
      creative ideas as possible for how we can work at developing
      thinking that meets this biblical requirement.
    - INPUT?

V. The Relationship Between Thinking and Actions

    - another step in this discussion is realizing the relationship
        between the way we think, and the way we act.

    - this characteristic makes it easy to see that contrast.

    - INPUT - Behavior that results from obeying this principle?

    - INPUT - Behavior that results from disobeying this principle?

VI. How This Impacts Relationships

    - let's conclude our time by thinking about how obeying this
      principle affects the relationships with those the Lord has placed
      around us, and how disobeying it affects them.

    1) Marriage?

    2) Child-rearing?

    3) Extended family?

    4) Work?

    5) Church?

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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