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Monday, May 27, 2013

The New Testament use of the word, "think."

There are a number of occurrences of the word, think, in the New Testament. Most of those occurrences are in the form "What do you think about xxx?" or something similar. In other words, they are about someone's opinion. We often use the word in the same way.

I'm ignoring those cases, as important as they are, to consider the few passages where the reader, or listener, seems to be asked to think, to consider, some topic. An opinion can be arrived at without much independent thought. Here are those passages, using the World English Bible, which is public domain:

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.

In this case, Paul is asking his readers to renew their minds, and to consider their own positions, carefully, in the light of God's grace. 

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts. Some versions use the idea of "don't think about providing for the flesh," See here for several versions of that verse. The idea seems to be that of considering one's position.

Philippians 4:8 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. 

Paul seems clearly to be directing the church at Philippi to consider, perhaps even to meditate, on positive, beautiful, good things.

Hebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best plunder.

The author is urging the reader to consider. Some versions use "think" in that verse. What is to be thought about? The position of Christ, who is here being identified with Melchizedek.

Thanks for reading. Think on good, pure, and lovely things, on Christ, and about your own position, under grace.


FancyHorse said...

Very good post. Food for thought! ;-)
I love that verse from Philippians.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, FancyHorse.

I love it, too.