|Volume 23 Number 5 May 2021
What Makes “Yoo-fay-mos”?
Robert C. Lupo
“Yoo-fay-mos” is the English phonetic spelling of the two-part Greek word, “euphemos.” The first part of the word, “eu” (yoo) means “good,” while the second part, “phemos” (fay-mos), basically means “fame” or “reputation.” The question is, “What makes ‘good fame?’”
We are known by what we say and do. Our fame is whatever our widespread reputation is – for what we are known – good or bad. The Greek word “euphemos” occurs only once in Scripture. It is variously translated, “good report” (KJV, ASV, NKJV) and “commendable” (ESV). Weymouth’s New Testament has “good repute.” The Douay-Rheims Bible translates it as “good fame.”
Things That Make Good Fame
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report [euphemos], if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV). In this text, Paul wrote about the things that Christians ought to think. This is not simply suggested subject matter for Christian meditation, but the things that an apostle of Jesus Christ said, we must think on and do.
The fame that we as Christians are to have is good fame – behavior in speech and actions that are well spoken of by others. We are to strive to have a good reputation among all men, irrespective of whether they are Christians. Notice the various things on which Paul wrote that Christians should concentrate and do:
Philippians 4:9 reads, “The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” There is a blessed thought here! If we obey God, we have God (Matthew 7:24-27; James 4:13-17; 2 John 9-11). There is a haunting thought as well. What good is it to know these things if we do not do them? The terrible thought of this passage is that if we fail to think on and do proper things, God will not be with us.
While the word “euphemos” only appears once in Scripture, once is sufficiently authoritative. The principle, however, is taught throughout the New Testament.
There are many more such passages in the New Testament that speak of the example that we are to live before all men.
What Makes You and Me Famous?
What makes you and me famous really depends upon what you and I meditate upon and what we practice in life. The things you and I think about help to determine the kind of reputation that we have both before God and men. If we dwell on evil things, it should not surprise us if our speech and actions follow suit. If we think on good things, we should do good things. It really is as simple as that. “The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things,” said Jesus in Matthew 12:35.
Some things, introduced to the mind only once, make such an impression that they stay with us for a lifetime. This is true whether they are good or evil. Certainly, if one is so inclined, there is a mountain of garbage on which one can focus his mind today. However, the good news is that there is a far better way. In obedience to Christ, we can think on holy, righteous and spiritual things. The only way to protect the mind is to expose it to only the best!
While we may not be able to remove completely from our minds what we have introduced into it, we can certainly transform (change) and renew (renovate) our minds by changing on what we dwell. We should test what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2) before it ever goes into our minds. This involves a deliberate act. Once we prove what is good (God’s Word being the standard), we should never let it go (1 Thessalonians 5:21). “The things which ye both learned and received [taken, accepted] and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
By thinking on good things and by doing these good things, we might even change the minds of some with whom we have previously had a bad or an un-Christian-like reputation. This should be our goal as we bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. See Matthew 3:8 and Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11. More importantly, we may change the way God views us.
Does it matter what kind of reputation we have before God and men? Of course, it does! Obviously, if we are more concerned about what God thinks of us – if we do what is pleasing to Him – the rest will take care of itself. The result will be that God is pleased and we will set a good example for others to follow. God will be with us.