Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
The clause is an emphatic and earnest summation. The term ἀρετή is only here used by St. Paul. In the philosophical writings of Greece it signifies all virtue, and not any special forms of it, as it does in Homer and others. The apostle nowhere else uses it — it had been too much debased and soiled in some of the schools, and ideas were often attached to it very different from that moral excellence which with him was virtue. It is therefore here employed in its widest and highest sense of moral excellence — virtus, that which becomes a man redeemed by the blood of Christ and tenanted by the Holy Spirit. From its connection with the Sanscrit vri — to be strong — Latin vir-vires-virtus; or with Αρης ἀριστος it seems to signify what best becomes a man — manhood, strength, or valour; in early times. But the signification has been modified by national character and temperament. The warlike Romans placed their virtue in military courage; while their successors, the modern degenerate Italians, often apply it to a knowledge of antiquities or fine arts. The remains of other and nobler times are articles of virtu, and he who has most acquaintance with them is a virtuoso, or man of virtue. In common English, a woman's virtue is simply and alone her chastity, as being first and indispensable; and with the Scotch formerly it was thrift or industry. An old act commands schools or houses of "vertue," in which might be manufactured "cloth and sergis," to be erected in every shire. Amid such national variations, and the unsettled metaphysical disquisitions as to what forms virtue and what is its basis, it needed that He who created man for Himself should tell him what best became him — what he was made for and what he should aspire to.
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.