It’s not where you are that’s holding you back; It’s an unsettled mind that refuses to act
You can go anywhere from where you are; The key is attitude that’s hitched to a star
So dare and take that first step today; And success and happiness will come your way (Turner 10-11)
(Turner, J.J. Attitude Power: Keys to Personal Attitude Adjustment. McDonough: Solutions Publishing, 2008. Print.)
After reading the first couple chapters to this book and this poem, I decided to do a brief word study on the word “attitude” as it is used in Scripture. From this I have found some interesting facts. First of all, wherever the New American Standard contains the English word “attitude” in the New Testament, these have come from one of two Greek words.
The first is in root word form. It has one of three definitions. It is pronounced fro-neh-oh (Bauer 1065-1066):
- To have an opinion with regard to something, think, form/hold an opinion, judge
- To give careful consideration to something, set one’s mind on, be intent on
- To develop an attitude based on careful thought, be minded/disposed
The second is a derivative of the root. It has one of two definitions. It is pronounced fro-neh-sis (Bauer 1066):
- The faculty of thoughtful planning, way of thinking, (frame of) mind
- The ability to understand, understanding, insight, intelligence
Second of all, the English word “attitude” only appears four times in the New American Standard version.
- Luke 1:17
- Philippians 2:5
- Philippians 3:15 (Here, attitude is found twice)
Are you interested to know the three major conclusions?
One, the passage in Luke uses the second (derivative) word, fro-neh-sis, and its first definition. Here, Luke is describing the faculty of thoughtful planning, way of thinking, or frame of mind. What a cool thought: Attitude is a thoughtful plan, a way of thinking, a frame of mind.
Two, the passages in Philippians 2:5 and 3:15 use the first (root) word, fro-neh-oh, and its first definition. Here, Paul is describing attitude in the sense of thinking, making logical judgment, forming solid opinion. What a cool thought: Considering Philippians 2:1-11, attitude is making up the mind to be like Jesus, who took the form of a servant and became obedient to the point of death on the cross. Considering Philippians 3:14, Paul is calling for Christians to make up their minds to “press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Three, there are about 28-29 derivatives of this root word, fro-neh-oh (Logos Bible Software. The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Logos Bible Software, 2011). After conducting a search of all of these derivatives in the New Testament (Logos Bible Software), the list below is a gathering of all the English words that have been used by the New American Standard translators in the place of each Greek derivative. What a cool thought that “attitude,” through the Greek language, has a close association with the following English words:
- Shrewd / Shrewdly
- Foolishness / Foolish / Fool
- Glad / Gladness
- Rejoicing / Rejoice
- Think / Thinking
- “wise in your own estimation” (Personal favorite: Romans 11:25; 12:16)
- “be haughty in mind”
- “to be of the same mind”
- “to live in harmony”
- Madness (II Peter 2:16)
Consider a simple switch in attitude. Whether you are a Christian, or not a Christian, make the choice to be like Christ and share His attitude. Why not have a better attitude?