Bags of Bran


A Minor Life-Lesson from Preaching Philippians
November 13, 2014, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Bible, Bibliophilia

I recently finished preaching through the book of Philippians. What a wonderful place to start my preaching career! It’s a book full of light and warmth, with a sobriety with respect to Christian suffering that I very much appreciated.

Probably my favorite insight from Philippians was the candid observations that Paul makes on the reality of proper judgments about things. There really is such thing as being right or wrong about aesthetic matters, and a normative Christian way of thinking. Paul’s prayer (1:9-11) that his Philippian friends would “approve the things that are excellent” is a petition that they would make right judgments with respect to the objects of their meditation. The Philippians, not furnished with a list, needed to determine what objects were actually “excellent.”

Paul elsewhere instructs (4:8-9) the Philippians about their mental furnishings: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” He is not saying “think about whatever you want to think about,” nor “ask around; take a survey to find out what you ought to think about.” Some things actually are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and so forth. These are subjective appraisals of realities!

Is Paul among the Platonists?!

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