Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure…
Think on these things and you will become —
I. BETTER. What a man thinks most about grows upon him. A youth may care very little about business; but presently he becomes interested in it, and it grows upon him until before middle age is reached he can scarcely think of anything else. It is so with the artist, with the pleasure seeker, and with the Christian. Let him think on "whatsoever things are true," etc., and the more attractive they will become; the larger place will they occupy in his heart, and the mightier will be their influence on his life. Beholding these things with an open face, he will be naturally, insensibly, gradually changed into the same image.
II. MORE CHARITABLE. One of our most common tendencies is to look at the weaknesses and shortcomings of our brethren — to let the thought of these things exclude the thought of their good qualities. Hence harsh judgments, suspicion, distrust. If, however, we would lay aside this tendency and "take account of" (R.V. marg.) whatsoever things are true, etc., in our neighbours — look upon their good instead of on their faulty side, we should think more kindly of them, our thoughts would influence our conduct, and we should be drawn towards them by a three-fold cord of love. And this is possible. There is much that is praiseworthy even in brethren who have been overtaken in a fault. Much of our unity, success, comfort as communities, depend on our cultivating this habit.
III. MORE HELPFUL. A man's power to help does not so much depend on his intentions as on his character and disposition. The presence of a good man — a man who has "thought on these things" until they have become part of himself, always acts like a tonic on weaker souls. It reproves their slowness, quickens their desires, and stimulates their efforts. Such a man is a means of grace.
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.