Summary of How to Live as a Christian

Text: I Peter 3:8-12

Study Questions:

  1. Does being of one mind mean being in complete agreement?
  2. For what purpose were we called?
  3. Who does the Lord notice?

How to Live with Brethren (I Peter 3:8)

Harmonious - homophrones  “Of one mind”

This is a compound word of “together” with “heart, mind, understanding.” Thus, this is meaning to be united in heart and affections [The Complete Biblical Library]. This doesn’t mean that we will have exactly the same thought on every subject. Rather, Peter is talking about their thoughts about each other (Romans 12:16; 15:5-6). In other words, they should be in fellowship, having one heart and one mind (Acts 2:42; 4:32; Philippians 1:27; 2:1-2; 3:16; I Peter 3:8). It is the oneness that Jesus prayed for his disciples (John 17:21-23). Some differences are bound to exist, but our view of each other allows us to work together despite the differences.

Sympathetic - sumpatheis  “affected by like feelings”

We are to be sympathetic with those around us (I Corinthians 12:26; II Corinthians 11:29). We share each other's feelings (Romans 12:15).

Brotherly - philadelphia  “loving the brothers”

This is a compound word of “to love” and “brother or near kinsman.” Love is how we are to treat our fellow Christians (John 13:35; I John 3:10-14; 4:20-21).

Kindhearted - euspianchnoi  “tenderhearted, compassionate”

Also found in Ephesians 4:32. We need to have hearts that are touched by the aches and sorrows of others; hearts that share and feel the pain of others and reach out to help. Tender hearts are not just soft, they are strong enough to bear the burdens of others (Galatians 6:1-2). Tender hearts are not just gentle, but they are capable of handling the tasks before them. Tender hearts are not just caring, but courageous in doing what needs to be done. Tender hearts are pleasing to God and helpful to men.

Humble in spirit - tapeinophrones  “humble minded”

Some texts in the Byzantine family have philophrones “friendly, kindly disposed” instead and it is translated as "be courteous." The ending of either word (phrones) refers to a mindset and thus indicates a deliberate attitude taken on. While the meanings of the two alternatives are different, they are related in effect. The person who lacks courtesy is self-centered and arrogant. The Christian is to be lowly-minded and willing to deal with others of whatever circumstances (Romans 12:16). We are taught to consider others better than ourselves, not looking merely at our own affairs but dealing first with the affairs of others (Philippians 2:3-4). There is no way that we can be discourteous while we are concentrating on serving others.

“Humble-minded” tends to be preferred in newer translations because it serves as a lead-in to the next verse. The humble would not seek to retaliate when wronged.

How to Live with Others (I Peter 3:9)

Our lives are not limited to just dealing with brethren. We also must deal with worldly people who may not treat us kindly. When someone strikes at us, the natural response is to strike back. Others may use words to wound us (I Timothy 6:4-5). But Peter urges us to instead give a blessing to those who may persecute us (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:17-21; I Thessalonians 5:15).

Since we are expecting to inherit an eternal blessing and we have blessings in this life (I Timothy 4:8), we must be ready to spread blessings around us. Our expectation of heaven should give us a peaceful mind, even when dealing with the ungodly (Psalms 37:11).

To obtain (I Peter 3:10-11)

In order to gain these blessings, Peter quotes Psalms 34:12-16 where David taught his readers how to fear the Lord.

  1. We generally realize that you have to want something in order to achieve it. Thus, there must be a desire for life, a desire to love, and a desire to see good days (Psalms 27:13). Life is a blessing to us from God.
  2. Desire alone is not enough. We must also control our tongue (James 1:26). We cannot improve our life by talking of evil or speaking lies (Psalms 55:21).
  3. It also must be more than just words, we have to change how we behave. We cannot improve our life by doing evil. We must, instead, do good (Galatians 6:10).
  4. Finally, we must have worthy goals to aim for, such as seeking for peace, that we put effort into to obtain (Romans 12:18).

God supports the righteous (I Peter 3:12)

God watches over the righteous. Implied is that He gives protection to His people. He listens to their prayers and by implication, He answers them (I John 4:14-15). But the wicked get no help from God – not even an encouraging look (Psalms 68:1-2; Habakkuk 1:13).

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