Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
1. The sanctification of men is the true object of redemption (Galatians 1:4; Titus 2:14). For this Christ took our nature, was tempted in all points like as we are, and died. And as His salvation is not a common and earthly good, so the holiness to which He moulds us is not a common and natural perfection, but one singular and supernatural.
2. In these words the apostle opposes his doctrine to that of a false teacher, who insisted upon legal observances, which are much more easy and agreeable than the study of real virtue. He enforces whatsoever things are —
I. TRUE. This comes first, because before all things we shall embrace the Truth as disciples of Him who is "the Truth." Here should be the foundation of all our conduct. We must consider "things true" —
1. Which are not feigned, or invented to please, but which really subsist.
2. Such as are at the foundation firm and solid, not shadows or figures. Falsehoods of whatever kind are prohibited.
3. All vain and deceitful appearances are excluded. Our manner of life must be plain and simple, purged from the love of the world which, as a shadow, passes away.
II. VENERABLE — all that relates to the dignity of the high vocation to which God has called us, renouncing all frivolity and folly.
1. What God commands us to render unto men, whether honour, deference, and obedience to our superiors in the state or the family; the guidance and protection of inferiors; friendship and assistance towards equals, or kindness towards all.
2. The laws and duties of the city and society in which we live, save when they conflict with conscience.
IV. PURE. We should be careful not only to preserve our bodies from pollution, but our hearts, tongues, eyes, dress, cultivating modesty, and avoiding every species of dissoluteness.
V. LOVELY. Although all virtues are excellent in themselves, yet some are more pleasing than others; even as we see amongst the stars, though all are beautiful, yet some shine with a brighter lustre. Among the virtues, sweetness of mind, courtesy, clemency, willingness to oblige, show with peculiar brightness.
VI. GOOD REPORT. Among actions which are good, some are held more specially in repute. St. Paul would have us give ourselves to them with especial care, because those who hold them in high esteem will love us better, and yield more readily to our religious influence. VII. That nothing may be omitted, the apostle adds, if there be ANY VIRTUE OR PRAISE. None of these Divine and beautiful flowers must be wanting. Indeed, it is not possible to have one in any degree of perfection without the others. They are sisters so firmly linked together that they cannot be torn asunder.
Parallel VersesKJV: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
WEB: Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.