Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
observant of the rule of right — equal. The original signification of the term was custom — order — social rule, in opposition to the unmannered life of wild tribes, who are swayed by inclination, passion, caprice. There is a Divine order in this world, amid all our confusions. He who walks in that order walks in the way of the Lord. That is right, just. "There is none righteous." Christ is the "Just One." There is His righteousness; we must be clothed with it. "Looking unto Jesus" is the loving study of God's laws perfectly fulfilled in Him for us. Thus we are taught to repent of our deviations, i.e., sin, missing the mark, going out of the way. This leads us to acknowledge our weakness, and to cry mightily to God to bring us to Christ, "the Way." The brief description of Christianity in apostolic times was "that way," or "the way of the Lord," "the way of life." It is God's way of working, saving, ruling, pardoning, that we want to walk in — the way of righteousness. Think on the things in society that are conformed to this rule of order and right. There is the way of the righteous King. He walks there. There He takes delight. In the family, in the Church, in the State; whatever is upright, observant of right, and struggles against wrong-doing, fraud, injustice, is the finger of God. Consciously or unconsciously it is doing His work; the vindication of human rights against oppression, ignorance, superstition, the devil, is working for and with Christ. Take a large and ample range over society, discover the right, the lawful, the just, making head against the wrong, the false, the licentious; think of these things; pray for them, and see God's hand and way in them. Think on them; they are; God does not leave Himself without a witness; there are more signs of righteous government in the world than many of us suspect. They are about our path if we will but open our eyes, and observe, and desire to see them. There are flowers, and palms, and pools in the desert. "Think on these things."
Whatsoever things are pure, unsullied, akin to holy. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself," etc. "Ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." "Some preach Christ...not sincerely." "Lay hands suddenly on no man...keep thyself pure." Thus the word has reference to what may and does defile; influences in the Church and the world which tend to stain our consciences; connivance at sin, excusing evil, insincere statements; having a bad motive underlying right conduct; preaching such a gospel as Paul rejoiced to know was preached, and yet not with cleanness of conscience. Timothy is to let the candidates for the ministry consider their motives; he is to study their conduct for a while, lest love of money, or of applause, of vulgar fame, or eccleciastical power and influence, should prove the determining influences, and thus he would be a partaker of other men's sins. This suggests the need of "the blood of sprinkling," that our actions, motives, powers, prayers, may be cleansed of all vile, base admixtures. A true Christian will bemoan nothing more feelingly than the constant detection of impure, low motive in his spiritual life. The apostle exhorts us to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." In the intercourse of the world one is in constant danger of a certain miasma, the pollution of low, selfish, interested motive; it is drawn in naturally as the pure air; and unless we think of "whatsoever things are pure," and do like the Italian peasant, when the night comes on, get out of the low ground on to a hill above the reach of the miasma, we are in danger of losing the freshness and vigour of our spiritual life. When the day is over we should get us up to the mountains, and converse with our Lord concerning the conduct of the day, and ask Him to see "if there is any wicked way in us, and to wash us, not our feet only, but also our hands and our head." "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
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.