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1Peter 3:8-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 22, 2019


How many of you are using our app?  Open up your phone and load the app.  Do you see the things mentioned on the first page?  It’s the same as what’s in a paper bulletin, including the flyers.

We’d like to be migrating away from paper, and going electronic.

If you’d like to be a part of that, then when you come in on a Sunday, let the greeter know that you don’t need a paper bulletin because you’ve got the app.

As some of you are aware, Wednesday is Christmas…

Video:  SkitGuys – Missing Jesus


From Rome, the apostle Peter writes this letter to the Jew and Gentile believers that are living throughout the province known as Asia Minor, or, modern Turkey.

It is AD 64. Caesar Nero is beginning to unleash his persecution of Christians back in Rome, where Peter is.

The believers in Rome faced torture, being burned alive, and death by animals in the Coliseum.

Video: Paul, Apostle of Christ – Games Tomorrow

Video: Quo Vadis – Nero kills Christians

The main themes that we will see woven through this tapestry of difficulty are:

Suffering -

Submission – an unusual response to suffering, learning to “yield” to God rather than “fight” the problem.

Relational Evangelism – the way we go through our difficulties and yet still cling to God can be a light to those who are going through dark times of their own.

3:8-12 The Blessing

:8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

:8 finally …

Some of us preachers like to say “finally…” about 20 minutes before we end a sermon. It’s a trick of ours to make you think we’re about to end. We probably can blame it on Peter who says “finally” in the middle of his letter.

A congregation was having trouble with the preacher preaching far too long. They had a business meeting about the matter and it was decided that they would buy a gavel and after one hour, someone would tap on the pew to signal that time was up. The preacher agreed to this tap arrangement. The first night a young boy wanted the honors of keeping time and tapping on the back of the pew in front of him. After one hour, the boy was too embarrassed to make the noise of tapping on the pew. The preacher continued to preach on and on, and all the eyes of the congregation became focused on the boy. They all began to mouth the words to the boy, “Go on, go on.” He became angry and tried to hit the pew with a loud knock; however, as he came down with the gavel, he hit the person on the head sitting in front of him. The wounded member as he was falling over in his seat said, “Hit me again, I can still hear him!”

finallyτελος telos end; the aim, purpose

Peter isn’t finishing his letter here; he’s finishing his ideas about submission (though he’ll have one last comment in 5:5).

He’s talked about submission to:
Government (2:13-17)
Masters (bosses) (2:18-25)
Husbands (3:1-6)
Now we get the summary of what all this “submission” is about.
What’s the “aim” or “purpose” in submitting to others?

If you don’t understand what verses 8-9 are about, then you are not going to understand “submission”.

These are the “ingredients” to what a person’s life looks like when they are trying to learn “submission”.

:8 be of one mind



one mindὁμόφρων  homophron (“same” + “mind”) – of one mind; harmonious; live in harmony
It’s not that we are all supposed to become robots who think and act exactly the same.
It’s about unity that comes humility – from putting others before yourself.

(Philippians 2:2–4 NLT) —2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

In the Lord of the Rings, all the heroes are gathered to talk about how to take the “ring” to Mordor.  They start arguing about how impossible it will be…
Video:  LOTR – Council of Elrond – Fellowship of the Ring
Unity doesn’t mean that we’re all the same.
Some might be hobitses, dwarves, elves, or men.
We are all different people with different strengths and weaknesses.
We may argue sometimes.
But we are united in one thing, one fellowship.

We are all different parts of the Body of Christ, but we all follow the same King.

:8 having compassion for one another



having compassion one of anotherσυμπαθής  sumpathes (“with” + “suffer”) – suffering or feeling with another, sympathetic
It’s interesting to get people together who have been through similar circumstances.

When I hear people’s stories and the things they have been through or are still suffering with, I like to point them to someone and say, “Hey, you should talk with so-and-so, they’ve been through something just like that.

Something lights up inside of people when they are aware that the other person knows what they’ve been through.

Ultimately Jesus is the best with this.  He knows what we’re going through –

(Hebrews 2:18 NLT) Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

We ought to learn to feel what others are feeling even if we haven’t gone through their circumstances.
Sometimes we can make the mistake of having “compassion” with everyone else around us, but not with those who are the closest to us.
Do you know what your spouse is going through?  How about your boss? Or your parents?

:8 love as brothers


Good brothers

love as brethrenφιλάδελφος  philadelphos –loving one like a brother
For some folks I know, loving someone like your brother doesn’t sound too good.  Siblings aren’t always nice to each other.
Video:  Sibling Rivalry
But in most healthy families, there is usually one person you can count on … your brother (or sister).
John tells us that loving God and loving your fellow believer (your “brother”) go hand in hand.

(1 John 4:20–21 NKJV) —20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

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

(John 13:34–35 NLT) —34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

:8 be tenderhearted


Have a heart

tenderheartedεὔσπλαγχνος  eusplagchnos (“well” + “bowels”) – having strong bowels; compassionate, tender hearted
While our modern culture likes to think that our emotions come from our “heart”, the ancients used to think that strong emotions came from the “gut”, from your “bowels”.

We still use the phrase, “I have a gut feeling about this…”

I think this insight into Christian love shows us that healthy relationships in the church ought to involve feelings.

Sometimes we get to thinking that Christian “Love” is all in the brain and has nothing to do with the heart.

eusplagchnos is all about the “heart”

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; compassion 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.”

Paul links something important with being “tenderhearted” …

(Ephesians 4:32 NLT) Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

The words translated “forgive” are the words for “grace”.  Forgiveness shouldn’t be something that someone “earns” for you to give it. 

I think it is okay that we hold off a little on “trusting” someone until they’ve shown themselves trustworthy, but forgiveness can be a grace.  Forgiveness doesn’t have to be earned.

Jesus was motivated by His “gut”. He was motivated by compassion.

(Matthew 9:36–38 NKJV) —36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

:8 be courteous


Good manners

courteousphilophron (“love” + “mind”) – friendly, kind.
It’s not a bad thing to learn good manners.
Here’s a video for teenagers on good manners from 1954:
Video:  Good manners for Teenagers
But sometimes our manners tend to be a little more like…
Video:  Animal House – Food Fight
Some of the modern translations talk about “humility” here.
The modern translations have “humble in spirit” (another Greek word, tapeinosphrones) here.
I think there’s a bit of a connection between “humility” and being courteous.

When you cultivate humility, you learn to think about others before yourself.

:9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

:9 not returning evil … reviling …

The word for “returning” carries the idea of “payback”

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

present active participle
When someone does something evil to you, you don’t play “tit for tat” and do something evil in return.
When someone hurls insults at you, you don’t reply with an insult.


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.”

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

revilingloidoria – railing, reviling; saying unkind things; insult

:9 but on the contrary blessing

on the contrarytounantion – on the contrary, contrariwise

blessingeulogia praise, laudation; an invocation of blessing, benediction


Blessing others

Some of us aren’t quite sure what a “blessing” is.
During the holidays, families often get together, and someone is asked to “say the blessing” over the meal.
Video:  National Lampoon Christmas Prayer

Does that look like your family?

blessingεὐλογέω eulogeo – to praise, to ask God’s blessing on a thing
present active participle
Peter says that when someone causes us trouble, we ought to “bless” them.
This goes against our nature. 
When someone does something bad to us, or says something hurtful to us, we have a built-in reflex that wants to give back what someone gave to us.

Video:  Three Stooges – slaps, eye pokes, head conks

The disciples struggled with this.  When Jesus passed through a village of Samaritans, the Samaritans didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus …
(Luke 9:54–56 NKJV) —54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

Jesus didn’t come to kill people, He came to save them.

When Judas showed up with troops in the Garden of Gethsemane to have Jesus arrested,
(John 18:10–11 NKJV) —10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

Jesus wouldn’t let Peter take vengeance on His behalf.

Jesus said,
(Matthew 5:43–44 NKJV) —43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

Blessing others not only involves our prayers that bring God’s blessing on others, but doing good to them as well.

:9 that you may inherit a blessing

God’s desire is that we be a “blessed” people.

Peter is going to share with us where he learned these principles.
Verses 10-12 are a direct quote from Psalm 34:12-16.
(Psalm 34:12–16 NKJV) —12 Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good?

(or, wants God’s blessing?)

13 Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

:10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.

:10 He who would love life

Are you a person who wants to love life and see good days?

Then be careful how you speak.
If you are “reviled” (v.9), then don’t revile back.  Don’t try to deceive people.

wouldthelo – 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

present active participle

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

aorist active imperative

speakinglaleo – to speak

aorist active infinitive

deceitdolos – craft, deceit, guile

:11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.

If you are a person who wants to love life and see good days…

Then do good, like some of the things we’ve been talking about.

Seek peace with others.

Paul wrote,
(Romans 12:18 NKJV) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Of course we all know that this is not always possible.

But we should give peace a chance.

turn away ekklino – to turn aside, deviate (from the right way and course); to turn (one’s self) away, to turn away from, keep aloof from one’s society; to shun one

aorist active imperative

dopoieo – to do, to make

aorist active imperative

seekzeteo – to seek in order to find

aorist active imperative

pursuedioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; 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; metaph., to pursue; to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire

aorist active imperative

:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

:12 the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

This is how we “inherit” a blessing.  We learn to do these kinds of things.


The Blessed Life

This is what’s in our “inheritance” (v.9) from the Lord.
It’s written in His “will”.
When we read that His eyes are on the righteous, we might want to fall back on our “righteousness” coming from trusting in Jesus … and there is truth to this.
But Peter is quoting David, who gives us five commands (imperatives) in vs. 10-11.  These are things we are to “do” that leads to the inheritance of “blessing”:
Refrain your mouth from spouting out evil or deceit.
Turn away from evil
Do good
Seek peace
Pursue it

These same commands are fleshed out back in verses 8-9 when Peter tells us to learn unity, compassion, love, etc.

Please don’t misunderstand me – our salvation comes from the grace of God when we place our trust in Jesus.
But there are additional blessings that come when we learn to walk that path of obedience, when we learn to respond to the Spirit of God working in our life.
When I read about the “eyes”, “ears”, and “face” of the Lord, I think about the blessing that Aaron spoke over the people.
(Numbers 6:24–26 NKJV) —24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’

We may pray these words for ourselves and for others, but let’s learn to add a multiplier into the equation.

Learn to put David’s spin on it and learn to grow in this life of obedience that’s connected to blessing.

I want to play a clip for you that might seem awfully close to how some of your family gatherings might go this year.
In case you’re not familiar with the Avengers movies, Thor and Hulk are friends.  They unexpectedly find themselves fighting against each other. This clip is from “Thor Ragnarok”.

Video:  Thor Ragnarok – Main Event Fight Scene.

Ok.  So Christmas is in a couple of days.  Some of you are going to be spending time with family and friends.
You may not be quite sure what it’s going to be like.
Is it going to be a dinner among friends? 
Is it going to turn into an epic battle?
How will you respond if things turn difficult?

Maybe take some time to meditate and think on the things we’ve covered today.

Be a light to your family.

Be the one who brings the blessing.