How fun is God?
So we’re in the midst of exploring Philippians 4:8:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
We’ve tackled true – thinking things that are actually, factually true. We’ve pondered noble – thinking thoughts that are honorable. We’ve explored right – thinking things that are righteous. We just finished pure – keeping our thoughts free of dregs. And now, here we are getting ready to start lovely… and what day is today? Valentine’s Day! How cute is God to work out this timing!
Now why are we exploring these words? Because before we can even talk about how to do conflict well and how to confront someone well, we’ve got to be sure that the thing we want to confront them about – the thing we’re mad about – is even worthy of confronting! Is it really their actions and attitudes that need adjusting… or is it our thoughts?
Yes, it may be some mixture of both, but we start with what God for sure gave us stewardship of – ourselves. We take intentionally His call in His Word to think things ~ including things about others ~ that are true, noble, right, pure, and lovely. We start by being sure we’re in the right place before we begin to even contemplate approaching another!
So today, we begin exploring ‘lovely.’ Now intriguingly, this is the only place that you find the word ‘lovely’ in Scripture. So our study of the word used in context in Scripture is, well, done. Check : )
Now for the word in Greek. It’s presumed stem, ‘love,’ is φιλέω – transliterated, that’s phileo. This is the word from which Philadelphia gets its name, the City of Brotherly Love.
It’s prefix in Greek is πρός, which is translated ‘to,’ ‘towards,’ or ‘to the advantage of.’
Putting these together, we get ‘towards brotherly love.’ It is also described as
- Adapted to excite love, and to endear him who does such things
- Such deeds as spring from love and inspired love in others
- That which calls forth love
- What promotes peace
- That which serves to cultivate and increase love, friendship, and amity among men
- Which things also are grateful to God and lovely in his sight
So it means having thoughts that inspire love and call forth love in others.
We’ll explore more soon… but for today, how fun is it that we get to dwell on thinking ‘lovely’ thoughts on Valentine’s Day? We can strive today (and every day!) to think things that inspire love and call forth love in others!
For our grammophiles: Granted, not all words mean what their morphemes mean. A ‘strawberry,’ for example, doesn’t mean the combination of its components ‘berry’ with ‘straw,’ as in ‘drinking straw’ or ‘stalk of hay.’ While concluding definitions from morphemes can lead one astray, our conclusions here seem consistent with Scripture, consistent with God, consistent with solid scholars, and not too much of a leap.