In this week’s Bible Study we are talking about why Christians need to stay together, and live at peace with everyone.
Read 1 Peter 2:13 – 4:11
Reflect on this passage (1 Peter 3:8-12)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
After reading this passage in context, jot down some of your initial thoughts.
Peter moves away from talking about the submission of slaves, wives and husbands to talking about Christians in general.
Question: Keeping the previous sections about submission in mind, how does Peter expand that idea from slaves and married couples to all Christians?
Something to keep in mind, when reading this section, is that at this time Christians were being persecuted. Peter is writing a general ethical principle that he deems to be a requirement for all Christians to have in their life, even though the world is opposing both their lifestyle and existence.
Inside the Church
Peter calls for all Christians to have five things within in the Church. He calls for the Church to have (1) unity of mind, (2) sympathy, (3) brotherly love, (4) a tender heart, and (5) a humble mind. This is not an individual church or denomination, this is the worldwide Christian community. It is not a call for harmony only within a certain doctrine, but harmony in the entirety of the Gospel. Does this mean we drop denominational barriers? No, but it means that we don’t make denominations a barrier in order for someone to be saved. I can live with harmony over communion differences, but I cannot live in harmony over someone who does not acknowledge the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one God. I can pray for them, but I cannot consider them brothers or sisters.
Outside the Church
Peter than talks about how Christians are to act outside the church. He calls for us not to retaliate with evil. Christians are not only known for their love, but also for their peacefulness. Instead of gossiping, or speaking ill of someone, we should have words of blessings and praises.
Question: Why is it important for us to live both within and outside the church in this way?
Peter tells us that our God is watching over us every moment of every day. Although evil people may be around and they may find temporary success in their plots and schemes, their ultimate demise will happen. It might not happen in this world, but God does not forget and the unrighteous will be judged for their wrongdoings.
Now living for Christ is easy to say, but difficult to do. It is hard to live in harmony with other believers. It is hard not to retaliate against those that say bad things about us. So what? Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you don’t try to live God’s way every day.
Question: How can you live in harmony with other Christians and with blessings for non-Christians?
This is an important lesson not just for adults but also for our children. Because of their immaturity, they will be burdened by Christians and non-Christians.
Faithful believers may yell at them for misbehaving. They may get an evil eye from their leaders.
In school, their peers may insult them for personal matters. They might be questioned for their faith if they can’t stay the over night on Saturday because of church Sunday morning.
Those are just a few examples of things that might happen and those things might leave a sour taste in your child’s mouth about the Church and God.
Question: How can you teach and model 1 Peter 3:8-9 with your children?