When Thinking about Others

There were several problems in the Christian congregation at Philippi. There were two types of Christians Paul describes in Philippians 1:15-17 -

15 However, in contrast, some proclaim Christ with envy and strife, while others, surely, because of good intentions. 16 These later ones do so out of loving concern, knowing I have been appointed to defend the Good News. 17 But, the former proclaim the Christ out of contentiousness, not with a pure motive, supposing they will stir up oppression in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way - whether in pretense or truthfully - Christ is proclaimed. [NCMM]

A few chapters later, Paul actually names two sisters who evidently had some conflict between them. It is possible they had also polarized the congregation around this so that various brothers and sisters took sides, harming the unity of the church. [Philippians 4:2]

Just after saying this Paul lists eight things to consider when thinking or talking about concerning others. The modern member of the Nazarene community does well to prayerful meditate on these same characteristics, for they reflect the Christ-mind perfectly.

1. True

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider these things: everything true.” [21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures - NCMM]

Paul lists eight things or characteristics the disciple of the Nazarene ought to consider, think on, take into account, or meditate on. For a week we will consider each one of these daily. If one examines these in the light of difficulties between the two Christian women mentioned above -- as well as the two different attitudes in Philippians 1:15-17 - it can be seen that some of these things are the way we ought to think of others. In other words when Paul first lists “everything true” he means “everything true” about another person. The opposite would be to think negatively or judgmentally. Paul wants us to think positively and honestly about others. Pay no attention to what is untruthful about another. Ignore slander and gossip, particularly if you know it is untrue. [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

2. Serious

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … everything serious.” [NCMM]

The second thing to consider about others are those matters that are “serious.” That is those things that are honest, honorable, dignified. Some people make big issues over matters of no consequence. They make mountains out of molehills, particularly when they wish to exalt themselves and belittle another. Do not chase after silly matters of no consequence. Rather, cultivate a high degree of Christian seriousness about those matters that involve worship and Christian character. Both men and women are counseled to be “serious.” [1 Timothy 3:8, 11; Titus 2:2] [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

3. Righteous

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … everything righteous.” [NCMM]

The third thing to consider is “everything righteous” about another. That is, just. Do not meditate on unrighteous matters concerning others. Nor, those things that are not fair and just. Learn God’s righteous standards and walk in these virtues and principles. When thinking of others, and particularly talking about them, make sure your speech is right or correct, otherwise what you say may be slanderous. Compare Philippians 1:11 where Paul earlier encouraged, “brimming over with the fruitage of righteousness by means of Jesus Christ.” [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

4. Chaste

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … everything chaste.” [NCMM]

The fourth thing Paul lists as a subject to consider about others is “everything chaste.” That is pure and virtuous. Do not listen to things about others that are impure. Do not speak about others in an unchaste or impure manner. When the mind and heart drift to matters unchaste, learn to mentally say “No!” and change the thinking to godly matters. [2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 4:12; 5:2; 1 Peter 3:2] The “genuine disciple” is characterized by chastity in all its forms. [From notes Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

5. Affectionate

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … everything affectionate.” [NCMM]

The fifth thing Paul lists to consider about others is “everything affectionate.” That is, lovely, endearing, amiable, lovable. Do not harbor hateful, unloving thoughts. Such come from pride and jealousy. Learn, not only to love others, but to “like” them. Paul said in his introduction, “I have a deep hunger for you with those tender affections of Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 1:8] Search for their better qualities and ignore those that irritate. [Romans 12:10] [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

6. Reputable

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … everything reputable.” [NCMM]

Paul now lists a sixth thing to concern oneself with when thinking of others, “everything reputable.” That is, of good report, kindly spoken, gracious, well spoken of. Pay no attention, and give no consideration to, speech that destroys reputation and character. Say nothing that will taint your own reputation or that of others. When people think of you, or hear your name, they know, or are sure, that here is a reputable person who would never harm another. Elders particularly must have a good report from worldly persons. [1 Timothy 3:7] [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

7. Virtuous

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … anything virtuous.” [NCMM]

The seventh matter Paul lists as an object for consideration or meditation regarding others is “anything virtuous.” That is whatever is morally excellent. Pay not attention to that which is not virtuous in thought and action. If it is suspect to public decency, run for your lives. The Latin word VIRTUS means strength of moral character, manliness, value. Cultivate those virtues humans generally praise. Think no thought about another that is not virtuous. Compare notes on 2 Peter 1:5. [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

8. Praise-worthy

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, continue to consider … anything praise-worthy.” [NCMM]

The last in Paul’s list of things to think about when considering others is “anything praise-worthy.” That is, honorable. If you hear something not praise-worthy of another suspect the motives. If you easily believe the worst of people, examine your own heart in prayer, for pride and jealousy may have you in their grip. The engine that moves slander is always prideful jealousy of another - egotism. Think and behave in a manner that others will praise for your kindness, good manners, thoughtfulness, forgiving nature, and godly example. [From notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000©]

The “genuine disciple” sincerely interested in “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” [2 Corinthians 7:1] should look within and consider or think upon whether the following attributes reflect the Christ residing within:

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Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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