1 Peter3:8-18

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 18, 2001

Being a Witness


Peter has been talking about how important our relationships are with other people.

(1 Pet 2:12 KJV)  Having your conversation (manner of life) honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

When people see you living your life correctly, and especially your relationships with others, they may come to know Jesus and be glad when Jesus comes back for them.

Then Peter talked about our various relationships.

We ought to submit ourselves to those in authority over us. (2:13-16)

We ought to honor all people (2:17).

Employees ought to submit to their employers, even suffering if necessary (2:18-25).

The wives are to learn to submit to their husbands, even if their husband is a jerk (3:1). This is all about learning to trust God and do things His way.

The husbands are to learn to understand their wives (3:7), to treat them as precious, fine-china, and to give them honor as an equal. If they don’t, God won’t listen to their prayers.

Speaking of keeping your “conversation honest”, here’s an example of how it can go wrong –


A couple was going out for the evening. They’d gotten ready, all dolled up, cat put out, etc. The taxi arrives, and as the couple walked out of the house, the cat shoots back in. They don’t want the cat shut in the house, so the wife goes out to the taxi while the husband goes upstairs to chase the cat out. The wife, not wanting it known that the house will be empty, explains to the taxi driver “He’s just going upstairs to say good bye to my mother.” A few minutes later, the husband gets into the cab. “Sorry I took so long,” he says, “Stupid old thing was hiding under the bed and I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out!”

:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

finally – Peter isn’t finishing his letter here, he’s finishing his list of relationship ideas.

one mindhomophron (“same” + “mind”) – of one mind; harmonious; live in harmony

This is all about unity.  The people in the world need to see unity among Christians.  Paul wrote about this:

(Phil 2:1-4 NKJV)  Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, {2} fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. {3} Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. {4} Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

having compassion one of anothersumpathes (“with” + “suffer”, “sympathetic”) – suffering or feeling with another, sympathetic

It’s interesting to get people together who have been through similar circumstances.  Something lights up inside of people when they are aware that the other person knows what they’ve been through.

Jesus knows what we’re going through –
(Heb 2:18 NLT)  Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.

But we ought to learn to feel what others are feeling even if we haven’t gone through their circumstances.

I think the closer people are to us, sometimes the more we don’t pay attention to their needs anymore.

Do you know what your spouse is going through?

love as brethrenphiladelphos – loving brother or sister; in a broader sense, loving one like a brother, loving one’s fellow countrymen

(1 John 4:20-21 NLT)  If someone says, "I love God," but hates another Christian, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? {21} And God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.

Our love for one another is a big part of our witness to others.  Jesus said,

(John 13:34-35 KJV)  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {35} By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

be pitifuleusplagchnos (“well” + “bowels”) – having strong bowels; compassionate, tender hearted

William Barclay writes,

“We can, for instance read of the thousands of casualties on the roads with no reaction at all within our hearts, forgetting that each one of them means a broken body and a broken heart for someone… Pity is the very essence of God; comnpassion is of the very being of Jesus Christ; a pity so great that God sent His only Son to die for men, a compassion so intense that it took Christ to the Cross.”

be courteousphilophron (“love” + “mind”) – friendly, kind.  The modern translations have “humble in spirit” (another Greek word) here.

:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing

renderingapodidomi – to deliver, to pay off, we might say, “pay back”.

evilkakos – of a bad nature; not such as it ought to be; wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, destructive

railingloidoria – railing, reviling; saying unkind things; insult


Getting Even

We learn this at a very young age…
Age 11 -- I've learned that if you want to get even with someone at camp, you rub their underwear in poison ivy.
We do this in our arguing with each other.  We play “Tit for Tat”.  If you say something hurtful to me, I will have to respond with something just as hurtful, perhaps even worse.

:9 but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

blessingeulogeo – to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; to ask God’s blessing on a thing


Learn to return a blessing

When I counsel with couples, I usually try to end all my counseling with asking the couple to pray for each other.  I try to encourage them to pray “good things” for the other person …
Olga and Sven and been fighting all their married life until Olga one day said, "Sven, we been fightin' and fightin' these many years I think we should pray about this together." When they knelt down to pray, Olga interupted Sven before he had three words spoken. "Dear Got, Sven and I have been fightin' and fightin' these many years. It is time that one of us should go to Heaven. Then I can go live with my mother."
That’s NOT the way to bless the other person!

:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

refrainpauo – to make to cease or desist; to restrain a thing or person from something; to cease, to leave off; have got release from sin; no longer stirred by its incitements and seductions

guiledolos – craft, deceit, guile

Peter is quoting the Old Testament, Psalm 34:12-16


Correct words lead to blessing

Choose wisely the words you will use.  You will have a good life if you learn to respond correctly.

(Psa 34:12-16 KJV) What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? {13} Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. {14} Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. {15} The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. {16} The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

Peter has already quoted from Psalm 34.
(Psa 34:8 KJV) O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

He quoted this back in 1Peter 2:2.

:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

eschew   turn away from ekklino – to turn aside, to turn away from

ensue – pursue dioko – to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after; to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal

:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

God wants His people to be “do-gooders”.


God listens to “do-gooders”.

Peter had just told the husbands that they had better learn how to get along with their wives or their prayers would be hindered.

:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

harmkakoo – to oppress, afflict, harm, maltreat; to embitter, render evil affected

followersmimetes (“mimic”) – an imitator

:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye:

sufferpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

:14-15 and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:

You really need to break up the verses like this (vs.14b-15a) because they are a single quote from the Old Testament.

troubledtarasso – to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro); to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; to disquiet, make restless; to stir up; to trouble; to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread; to render anxious or distressed; to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts

sanctifyhagiazo – to render or acknowledge, to set aside as holy

Peter is quoting from Isaiah 8:12-13 –

(Isa 8:11-14 KJV) For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, {12} Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. {13} Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. {14} And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

In the circumstances of Isaiah 8, the southern kingdom of Judah, and it’s king, Ahaz, were under threat by two enemies: the northern kingdom of Israel, and the kingdom of Syria.

Both Ahaz and the people had this great idea, that they would use their money to hire a big bully to help them, the kingdom of Assyria. But God tells Isaiah, “Don’t be thinking like the people”. God says, “Don’t give so much respect to the Assyrians, you need to be giving Me respect”. The people ought to be fearing and respecting only One person, the Lord God.

Jesus said,
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

God goes on to promise to Isaiah that He will be a “sanctuary … a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence …”

Peter has already quoted this part of Isaiah 8 (back in 1Peter 2:8). This makes me think that Peter must have recently been studying Isaiah 8, or maybe even had it open on his desk as he was writing.
For those who make God their fear, He becomes a place of safety for them. For those who reject Him, He becomes something they’ll trip over to their own hurt. He’s either your biggest asset or your worst nightmare.


Be motivated by the right things

Fear the right person.
Sometimes things aren’t exactly as they seem.
A Tale of Faulty Inferences
The train rushes across the Hungarian countryside. In a compartment sit a mother with her attractive daughter, a Nazi officer, and a Hungarian official. When the train passes through a tunnel, the compartment is engulfed in darkness. Suddenly there is the sound of a loud kiss followed by a shattering slap. When the train emerges from the tunnel, no one says a word, but the Nazi officer’s face bears the unmistakable signs of having been slapped. The mother looks at her daughter and thinks, “What a good daughter I have. She certainly showed that Nazi he can’t fool with her.” The daughter looks at her mother and thinks, “Mother sure is brave to take on a Nazi officer over one stolen kiss.” The Nazi officer stares at the Hungarian official and thinks, “That Hungarian is clever. He steals a kiss and gets me slapped, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” The Hungarian official stares blankly as he thinks, “Not bad. I kiss my hand and get away with slapping a Nazi.”

I think that sometimes in life we have it all figured out just what’s up.  We think we know who is really important, who we really want to impress.  I wonder how often we’ve got it wrong.

On Friday we started the book of Revelation in our daily Bible reading. The book starts with John having a vision of Jesus:
(Rev 1:14-18 KJV) His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; {15} And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. {16} And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. {17} And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: {18} I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

This isn’t just some symbolic bunch of nonsensical words. Jesus is real. He is in heaven. If we saw Him with our eyes, we too would fall on our faces.

Then Jesus dictates a series of letters to some churches through John, in which He says things like,
(Rev 2:7 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
(Rev 2:11 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
(Rev 2:16-17 KJV) Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. {17} He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Are these things real or not? They are VERY real. There will be a day when we see Jesus. There will be a day when we stand before His awesome, mighty presence.
There will be a day when we will either say to ourselves, “It was all worth it, I’m so glad I did what I was supposed to”, or we will say, “I sure wish I had paid attention back there on earth”. Which will it be?  Who do you want to impress?

:15 and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

be ready hetoimos –ready prepared; to do something

always aei – perpetually, incessantly; invariably, at any and every time: when according to the circumstances something is or ought to be done again

give an answer apologia (“apologetics”) – verbal defence, speech in defence; a reasoned statement or argument.

Dave Ritner is teaching a class this afternoon about sharing your faith. He’ll give you some of the answers you need.

that asketh aiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require

It’s one thing to know how to talk to someone about the gospel who isn’t asking any questions, but Peter is saying that we all ought to be ready to talk to someone who is asking questions.

a reasonlogos – of speech; a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea; discourse; doctrine, teaching; account, i.e. reckoning, score; reason, cause, ground

hopeelpis – expectation of good, hope; in the Christian sense; joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation

meekness prautes – mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit. Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time. Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will.

fear phobos – fear, dread, terror. NAS – “reverence”; NIV – “respect”.

The NAS and NIV make it sound as if the “fear” is directed as respect to the person you are talking to. I wonder though if in the context it is talking about our fear of God, since we are not to “be afraid of their terror”, but instead to only fear God.


Reasons to Share

If we’re walking with the Lord, we’re going to have three reasons to share our faith:

As a Christian, I ought to be expecting that I’m going to go to heaven one day. I ought to be expecting that Jesus is working in my life and that He loves me. And as a Christian, this hope ought to be so strong that people will see it and ask me why I have it.


If I have true meekness, then I see God’s hand in the things around me. I don’t question why God has put a person in front of me asking about Jesus, I accept it and I gently respond.


If I have the proper fear of God, if I realize that one day I’ll know that it was worth all the difficulty, then I’ll be bold and courageous in sharing my faith.


Tell them why

Are you ready to tell people about your relationship with Jesus?
I don’t think you have to be a scholar to be able to talk about your hope.
You have hope because Jesus died on the cross and God no longer holds your sins against you. We have hope because Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead. We too will rise from the dead. We know that one day Jesus will rule and reign on this earth, and we will rule with Him.
“God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.”

-- George Whitefield. Christian History, Issue 38.

:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

consciencesuneidesis – the consciousness of anything; the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other ; the conscience

goodagathos – of good constitution or nature; useful, salutary; good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy; excellent, distinguished; upright, honourable

they speak evilkatalaleo – to speak against one, to criminate, traduce

evildoerskakopoios – an evil doer, malefactor

they may be ashamed kataischuno – to dishonour, disgrace; to put to shame; blush with shame.

They will be ashamed because when they expect us to have wasted our lives, they will find out that they were wrong.

falsely accuseepereazo – to insult; to treat abusively, use despitefully; to revile; in a forensic sense, to accuse falsely; to threaten

conversation anastrophe – manner of life, conduct, behaviour, deportment

:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

better kreitton – more useful, more serviceable, more advantageous; more excellent

well doingagathopoieo – to do good, do something which profits others; to be a good help to someone; to do someone a favour; to benefit; to do well, do right

be sothelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

the willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ; of what God wishes to be done by us; commands, precepts; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

suffer pascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

evil doingkakopoieo – to do harm; to do evil, do wrong

If you are to suffer, God wants you to be suffering for having done the right thing, not the wrong thing.

:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

oncehapax – once, one time; once for all

This is very similar to the language used in Hebrews, where the writer clearly taught that Jesus only had to die once to pay for the sins of the entire world for all time:

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].
Heb 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

sufferedpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

put to deaththanatoo – to put to death; metaph.; to make to die i.e. destroy, render extinct; by death to be liberated from the bond of anything, literally to be made dead in relation to (something)

quickenedzoopoieo (“live” + “to make”) – to produce alive, begat or bear living young; to cause to live, make alive, give life; by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate; to restore to life

It is better if we suffer for doing good. Jesus is our example. He suffered for doing good.

He might bringprosago – to lead, to bring; to open a way of access, for one to God; to render one acceptable to God


The Gospel

Jesus died in our place.  He died in order to open up the way to God.
The question remains, will you respond and follow Him?