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1 Peter 3 - Be Of One Mind

INTRODUCTION: Peter has already written instruction about behavior suitable for all saints, including being subject to civil authority. Now he comes to the family as the basic unit of interpersonal relationship; and his message is consistent, with some repetition, in a context that has impact on every person.

1 Peter 3:1-6, 1769 KJV

"1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."

COMMENTS: Within the family unit, wives are to be under their husband's authority, even when the husband is not a believer in Christ. This is the same attitude all Christians are to have to authority over them. The wife, without words may influence an unbelieving husband to consider faith in Jesus because of her pure conduct in submission to God. In verse three, the Greek word kosmos is translated as adorning, for the solitary time in the New Testament. The over one hundred-eighty other times it is used, it is translated as world. Because of the context here, it might be construed that any attempt by women to adorn their physical appearance by clothing or other enhancements would be identifying with the world, but it is more likely that Peter wants to emphasize how important behavior is over appearance, for spiritual impact; without disallowing some attention to appearance. The prophet provides a verse that places the most important spiritual aspect first, while using the physical aspect of adorning for an acceptable comparison.
Isaiah "61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels."
A meek (not weak) and quiet (not smothered) spirit can be indicative of inner strength, and of confident trust that God is in control of events and circumstances. This is the same type of behavior a saintly man should exhibit (or be adorned with) while under authority. Saintly women of the Old Testament preferred inward adorning as they submitted to the authority of their husbands, and Peter says that saintly women of today should do likewise as long as they can do so without being afraid to the point of terror. The Greek term "ptoesis" translated here in verse six as amazement constitutes the only use in the New Testament, and it carries the meaning of being afraid to the point of terror. This may have been an indication by Peter that women are not expected to submit to marital authority with well doing under unreasonable danger, any more than the submission required of saints under other forms of authority. Peter had previously commended all saints to "well doing" in chapter two.
1 Peter "2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:"
The foolish men could be organizational superiors or they could be husbands, in either case, they would be foolishly ignoring God.
1 Peter "2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."

1 Peter 3:7-9, 1769 KJV.

"7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."

COMMENTS: In similar manner to the controlled conduct of the wife, the Christian husband under the control of the Holy Spirit, is to show his wife deference or courteous respect for her opinions and judgment in the day-to-day process of living together. Male and female saints are joint heirs to the grace of life everlasting, and living as such will allow their prayers to be unhindered. All saints in whatever circumstance need to be of one mind to have compassion toward one another as brothers and sisters, showing empathy and courtesy as suits the occasion. Do not repay evil deeds with evil, and do not give a harsh reply to harsh remarks, but dispense blessings to others, knowing that blessing will come to you. The apostles Paul and John made statements similar to this one by Peter.
Romans "12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men."
1 Thessalonians "5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."
3 John "1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."

1 Peter 3:10-12, 1769 KJV

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

COMMENTS: Peter here seems to want to teach his readers the fear of the Lord, and the benefit thereof, by taking verses from a psalm of David, and for this study we will start one verse earlier than did Peter. Psalms "34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 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." As the psalm continues, we can draw additional comfort from the scriptures, and look at more context beyond Peter's reference. The Lord will surely deliver the righteous from all trouble: those who have a broken and contrite spirit before the Lord. "17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Our true reward is not in this life, but as trusting pilgrims, we travel toward the life to come, while those who refuse to trust will be justly separated from God. "21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. 22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."

1 Peter 3:13-16, 1769 KJV

"13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: 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: 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."

COMMENTS: Who will harm you if you are doing that which is good? This question proposes a general condition of not being harmed, but if you are in fact harm, while you have your righteousness in Christ, it is possible to see that as a reason for joy instead of terror, because you are living clearly enough as a believer to be identified with your Lord and be targeted for persecution. The apostles were beaten and released, with this reaction. Acts "5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." Paul has this to say about suffering now, that will be turned to rest in time. 2 Thessalonians "1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels," So, make a special place in your heart reserved for the Lord, and be always prepared to voice your defense to anyone who asks you of a reason for your faith (or hope in the Lord). Here in 1 Peter 3:15, the Greek word "elpis" was translated as hope, which is the KJV English word choice for 53 of 54 times it occurs. The one time "elpis" is translated as faith is in Hebrews. Hebrews "10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" Our confidence is in the Lord for our faith (which is our secure hope), so our answer to others should come in a gentle but unwavering manner, and with the proper fear of the Lord. A clear conscience can allow you to hear evil comments spoken of you, knowing that it will be to their shame that they falsely accuse your good behavior in Christ. And Peter reinforces this thought in the next chapter of this same letter. 1 Peter "4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

1 Peter 3:17, 1769 KJV

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

COMMENTS: If it is the will of God for you to suffer even though you are doing good deeds, that is much better than if you suffer justly for things you should not be doing. Peter returns to this principle again, perhaps because he knew the Lord Jesus wanted us to keep it in mind. Matthew "5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." And in the next verse, Peter will take us directly to the example of our Savior and his suffering.

1 Peter 3:18, 1769 KJV

"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:"

COMMENTS: What a marvelous and incomprehensible thought this should be to us, that the God-man, totally without sin, would suffer in our place to give us life! Only the righteousness of God can provide for us his great gift of resurrection to life. Psalms "71:19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! 20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth." Jesus stated that he and the Father are equal in this quickening (making alive). John "5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." Jesus came so that we might believe and live! John "6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." Our physical bodies and anything we can accomplish while in them, is not the way to true life. John "6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." As Paul says, we need God's Spirit within us for the sure hope of eternal life. Romans "8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." And in another passage the purpose of Christ, being "once offered" is explained. Hebrews "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."

1 Peter 3:19-20, 1769 KJV

"19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

COMMENTS: Although all people are captive to sin and need to be released or saved, this concept of preaching to prisoners as Peter states here, is not easily grasp in totality. Part of the content of his statement may be explained from Isaiah's prophecy and the comment Jesus made about it after reading from the scroll in a synagogue in Nazareth. Both passages are presented herein for comparison. Isaiah "61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2(a) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD," Luke "4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." So, it seems that Jesus is telling us that he has come to set the captives free, among other prophetic word pictures relating to the release from sin. Peter then uses the time of Noah as an example of how God delayed judgment while the ark was being prepared for the salvation of only eight chosen people, who would be saved by rising above the water, while all others perished beneath that same water. And Hebrews tells us the eternal significance of Noah's physical actions in preparing the ark because Noah believed God. Hebrews "11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." So, the critical factor is faith, and Jesus came to set prisoners of sin free: all who will receive the Holy Spirit by faith.

1 Peter 3:21, 1769 KJV

"21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

COMMENTS: Similar to the greater significance that was outwardly symbolized by the building of the ark, for us baptism is more than the outward act that may appear as a physical washing by being immersed in water. By being baptized, we gain no personal merit and can claim no accomplishment of our own. If we undergo water baptism by faith in God as Noah built the ark by faith in God, we symbolize our complete trust in what God has accomplished for us. John the Baptist knew the true work was performed only by Christ Jesus. Mark "1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." The resurrected Christ spoke to the apostles, and later Peter remembered and understood that salvation is available to all men through something more significant than water baptism. Acts "11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." Paul makes this comment, 1 Corinthians "12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." And Paul also said this, Titus "3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

1 Peter 3:22, 1769 KJV

"22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

COMMENTS: The gospel of Mark gives us words about this "sitting on the right hand" directly from Jesus during his trial. . Mark "14:61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Mark's gospel gives us another statement after the resurrection to confirm that Jesus sits at God's right hand. Mark "16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." Peter had, not long after the resurrection, boldly declared that Jesus is at the Father's right hand. Acts "2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." We should have the same confidence as Peter, and be comforted by the fact, that Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father with complete authority over all things.

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Lord, help me to understand and apply the principles of submission and respect that Peter wrote about concerning the marriage relationship so I will fulfill my obligation to do your will, and to assure that my prayers will not be hindered. By your Spirit Lord, may I, in whatever circumstance, be of one mind to have compassion toward my brothers and sisters in the Lord. May I show empathy and courtesy as suits the occasion, not repaying evil deeds with evil, and not giving a harsh reply to harsh remarks. Help me Lord to act in belief that dispensing blessings to others will result in blessing coming to me. Instill in me the proper fear of the Lord, knowing you will eternally cut off all those who persist in doing evil. May I demonstrate my desire to see life by keeping deceitful and distasteful communication from my mouth, and pursuing peace with others to the extent that is within my control.

Lord, if difficulties or overt persecution comes to me, keep my mind stayed on the truth that it is better to suffer for good than for evil; and by such suffering I can identify with the ultimate unjust treatment that you endured. May I always be prepared to voice my defense to anyone who asks me of a reason for my faith in Christ. Your death in my place is more wonderful than I can comprehend, but I believe Lord that you have quickened my soul with your Spirit, and that you will raise me to new life with you when you come back for your redeemed ones. Thank you Lord for the baptism of the Holy Spirit that is available to all who will receive that gift from you. I believe that you are now at the right hand of God the Father, and that all authority is subject to your will. Bring these truths back into my mind whenever my faith falters, whether in good times or bad. Amen and amen!

Published 29 October 2005