The practice of thinking about good things, as we are directed to in Philippians 4:8, is a physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy endeavor. The greatest benefit, in my opinion, is to be certain that each of the given things is understood correctly. The second item in the list of six is one that deserves some investigation. If we misunderstand the thing about which we are to focus our thinking, then our thoughts may run in a totally unintended path.
Our word today is most often translated either “noble” or “honorable.” If we can ponder what things are noble and honorable, we will probably be thinking in the right and profitable direction. However, the King James Version translates this word “honest” and produces totally different thoughts. “honest” things are good but will probably take us down the same path as “true” which was our first thing in Philippians 4:8. It is also not a good translation of the Greek word.
I also want to differentiate here between “honorable” and “praise-worthy.” Later in verse 8, we are instructed to include anything praise-worthy. Honorable and noble are different. When men and women are given awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscar), it is because they have done something deemed worthy of praise. When a woman or man receives a Purple Heart or other metal during military service to our nation, it is to recognize actions that are noble and honorable. When a contestant on American Idol sings with power, beauty, and skill, they may be worthy of praise, but they have done nothing that is deserving of honor. When a fireman abandons all fear and forces her way through a burning home to rescue a small child, she has committed a noble and honorable act. When a pastor stands and delivers a beautiful Sunday sermon, he may be worthy of praise. But, when a believer refuses to deny her faith in Jesus Christ while threatened with certain death, and with her dying words gives a witness of Jesus’ love to her accuser, she is a noble and honorable disciple.
What things are noble? What things are honorable? Think! What actions are noble? What character is honorable? At this point you may be tempted to think about things you see that are dishonorable. There are people around you who can not be described as noble. Stop! Don’t go there. It does not contribute to your health or to any worthy conversation. Think about noble and honorable moments, people, actions, attitudes, words, ideas, ideals, and practices. Let your thinking about noble and honorable things be thoughts that are themselves noble and honorable.