The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
January 23, 2011


1) 1 Peter 3:8-14 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes


1 Peter 3:8-14
by Tom Edwards

After showing how the wife is to be toward her husband (who is disobedient to God's word) and the way the husband is to be toward his wife, Peter next gives the following exhortation in 1 Peter 3:8, "To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind-hearted, and humble in spirit."   What better people we each become when we strive to incorporate these godly qualities, which the Lord wants us to have and fully develop in our lives.

The Greek word for "harmonious" (homophron) is actually a two-word compound of "homos" (the same) and "phren" (the mind) and, therefore, also translated as "one mind" (KJV), "likeminded" (ASV), and "in agreement" (Bible in Basic English). Though this is the only place in the New Testament where this particular Greek word is used, its principle is also seen elsewhere.  For example, Romans 12:16, "Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation."  Paul shows one of the reasons for this likemindedness in Romans 15:5,6: "...be of the same mind with one another according to Jesus Christ, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

We can infer from Philippians 2:2,3 that this "same mind" God wants us to have is found in those who are "maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose"; and who are also unselfish, humble, and regard others as being more important than self.  In addition, in Philippians 1:27, Paul shows that the Christians are to be "with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."

In being of that one mind, the Christian is also to be "sympathetic" (1 Peter 3:8), or as the King James Version renders it, as "having compassion one of another."  According to Vincent's Word Studies, the Greek word for "sympathetic," in this verse, means more than having compassion toward those in sorrow.  For he shows it to mean an "Interchange of fellow-feeling in joy or sorrow.  Our popular usage errs in limiting sympathy to sorrow."  Going along with this is what Paul writes in Romans 12:15, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."  

In striving to be harmonious and sympathetic, the Christian is to also strive to be "brotherly" (1 Peter 3:8).  The Greek word for "brotherly" is actually a compound word of "love" and "brother" -- "philadelphos" -- and, therefore, defined by Strong as "loving one's brother" and translated in the KJV as "love as brethren."  The Greek word, with a slightly different form, that we are more familiar with for this type of love, is "philadelphia."  It is used in several places of the New Testament.  For instance, in Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."  The entire phrase "love of the brethren" in 1 Peter 1:22 is from the Greek word "philadelphia,"  as well as in Hebrews 13:1, where the Hebrew writer also encourages the Christians to "Let love of the brethren continue."  The importance of love for the brethren can be seen in the following verses:  1 John 3:14, "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love [agapao] the brethren. He who does not love [agapao] abides in death."  When Peter speaks of the virtues that one needs to add to one's faith, he states in 2 Peter 1:7, "and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love."  While "brotherly kindness" is from "philadelphia," the love that is to be added to that is the "agape" love -- the highest form of love.  It is the love that God had for the world in giving His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16) and the love we are to have for even our enemies (Matt. 5:44).  Brotherly love among Christians would be a sign to the world that we are truly disciples of Christ (Jn. 13:34,35).  

In addition to being harmonious, sympathetic, and brotherly is the need to be "kind-hearted."  The KJV renders it as "be pitiful."  Thayer shows one of the meanings of the Greek word to be "compassionate, tender-hearted"; and it is rendered as "tender- hearted" in Ephesians 4:32 (the only other verse we find it in the NT): "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."   The New International Version translates it in 1 Peter 3:8 as "be compassionate."

The last thing that Peter mentions in 1 Peter 3:8 of how the brethren are to be is "humble in spirit."  The KJV translates it as "be courteous."  Some other versions render it as "without pride," "friendly."  The importance of humility is seen in both the Old and New Testaments: For instance, Proverbs 29:23, "A man's pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor."  Also, 1 Peter 5:5, "You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."

Peter next goes on to say in 1 Peter 3:9, "not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing."  In not returning like for like, we saw recently the example of Jesus in 1 Peter 2:23 who, "while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats...."  In other words, Jesus did not retaliate; and now we see that the same must be true of us as well.  The apostle Paul also taught the same thing in Romans 12:17, "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone..."  Paul not only taught that, but he also lived according to that principle, as seen in 1 Corinthians 4:12, "...when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure."   Also to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote, "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people" (1 Thess. 5:15).  

Peter shows that when a Christian is treated with evil or insult, rather than retaliating, he should give a blessing instead.  Bullinger points out that one of the definitions for "bless," when concerning men to men, is "to invoke God's blessing upon," which would involve calling upon God through prayer.  So isn't that the way we should bless those who have done us wrong?  To pray for them?  This is exactly what Jesus teaches in Luke 6:28, "bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."  Going along with this, Paul instructs in Romans 12:14, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."  For just as Peter shows in 1 Peter 3:9 that we have been called for the purpose of inheriting a blessing (which we could never earn or deserve, we might add), we need to also be willing to bless those who have done us wrong (even though they certainly do not deserve that blessing.  Yet, we need to pray that God will help them become better people).  For as we also saw in 1 Peter 2:21, we have been called for the purpose of following in the footsteps of Jesus -- and even if it leads through difficulties and sufferings.  


Though worded slightly differently in the Old Testament, this passage appears to be a quote from Psalm 34:12-16.  To get the most out of this life, and to be able to inherit the eternal life to come, there are conditions that must be met.  This was so in the Old Testament times, as well as in our time.  This passage, therefore, is certainly applicable in principle of whether we are talking about a good life on earth or the eternal life to come.  Not only must we be concerned with what we do, but also with what we say.  For, as Peter shows, the one who comes to God must put off evil and deceitful speech -- as well as wrong actions -- and seek peace, and do good.  As Christians, we can enjoy the blessings of the abundant life that Jesus came to give (Jn. 10:10).   Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  Through the Scriptures, we have "everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3); and Paul shows in 1 Timothy 4:8 that "...godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."  To disregard godliness, however, is to disregard the Lord; and that is a very unwise thing to do: "For the  eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Pet. 3:12).  This might remind you of some passages in the Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 16:9, "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars." Psalm 66:18,  "If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear."  Proverbs 28:9, "He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination."  It is truly the one who strives to obey the Lord who will find great favor with God (cf. Psa. 24:3-5).   Therefore, "...do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Heb. 13:16).  

Let us notice what Peter next says in 1 Peter 3:13,14: "Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED."

Does the beginning of this passage sound familiar?  "Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?"  Consider, for instance, Romans 8:31,32: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" "Who will separate us from the love of God? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (v. 35).  "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.   For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (vv. 37-39).

Peter says, "But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED" (1 Pet. 3:14).  The main purpose for the book of Revelation was to give comfort to the early Christians who were being persecuted for the cause of Christ.  Many of these would even become martyrs for the Lord's sake.  But the assurance is that they would be the ones who would ultimately triumph over their tormentors.  In preparing His people for times, such as that, the Lord states in Matthew 10:28, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."  In his first epistle, Peter also writes some assuring words and good instructions for those who would undergo persecution.  For instance: Do not be surprised or think of your fiery trials as a "strange thing" (1 Pet. 4:12).  "If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed..." (v. 14).  It is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.  For one need not be ashamed, but can glorify the Lord when suffering for righteousness' sake (vv. 15,16).  Those who suffer for righteousness' sake can entrust their souls to God who will always do right! (v. 19).  And here in 1 Peter 3:14, Peter declares "if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed" -- reminding us of the similar words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:10,11.

So here in just these few verses of 1 Peter 3:8-14, how much better we will be for truly taking heed to God's instruction to "be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind-hearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead"; to refrain from evil and deceitful speech; to "turn away from evil and do good"; to "seek peace and pursue it";  to be zealous in doing good; and to know that even if we must suffer for the Lord's sake, we are blessed; and to also know that God wants His people not to be fearful over the intimidation of the wicked or to be troubled.  For the Lord ever watches over the righteous and attends to their prayers.  May we, therefore, ever strive to better develop these godly qualities in our lives that we, too, will always have God's help and blessings. 


News & Notes

On September 14, 2008, we (the Myrtle Street church of Christ who had formerly met at 1022 Myrtle Street in Denham Springs, Louisiana) began assembling in the meeting room of the Hampton Inn (at 201 Rushing Road in Denham Springs), after losing our building to Hurricane Gustav; but it has now been decided to disband after the last Sunday of this month.  Some of us, therefore, will be placing membership at the Southside church of Christ in Gonzales, while others will be doing so with the Park Forest church of Christ in Baton Rouge.

We of the Myrtle Street church of Christ are glad for all who have been members with us, over the years, and also for all those who have visited with us during that time.  May God continue to help each of us in our striving to serve Him; and, as a result, keep us in His good care, bless us throughout our lives, and help us to each make it to that eternal home in heaven. 

This February, I will begin preaching full-time for the Park Forest church of Christ, which meets at 9923 Sunny Cline Drive, Baton Rouge, LA  70814.  (225) 275-4684.   If you ever happen to be in the area, feel free to stop in and visit with us.  We would love to have you.  Our services are on Sunday at 9 AM for Bible classes, 10 AM & 6 PM for worship, and on Tuesday at 7 PM for Bible classes.

Let those of us who are Christians be praying for the following people:

* Agnes Shuff, while she remains on hospice care. 

* Sue Stutzman of the Southside congregation in Gonzales, who is recovering from a recent heart attack and stint procedure for two arteries, back in December.  She was again hospitalized recently, due to some complications that developed; but is now back home doing better.

* Lee Mayfield who will have surgery September 24 for a carotid artery, which will soon be followed with surgery on the other as well.

* Jean Calloway who remains on oxygen and is being treated for some health issues.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726
Sunday services: 9:15 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 4 PM (worship)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/audioser.html (audio sermons)


Take the Denham Springs exit (exit 10) off of I-12.  At the end of the exit ramp, turn north.  Go about a stone's throw to Rushing Road.  (You'll see a Starbucks, Circle K, and two other gas stations; with each on each corner.)  Turn left on Rushing Road, and go a little less than 0.3 of a mile.  Hampton Inn will be on the right.  We assemble in its "Meeting Room," which is very close to the reception counter.  Just walk pass the check-in counter; turn right at the hall.  The first and second doors on the left lead to where we meet.