1 Peter 3:8

Friday, 15 November 2019

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 1 Peter 3:8

Peter’s words, until verse 2:18, were to all who would receive his letter. In verse 2:18, he then wrote to “servants.” He then addressed “wives” in verse 3:1, and then he addressed “husbands” in verse 3:7. Now, he says, “Finally, all of you be of one mind.”

The word “Finally” doesn’t mean he is ending the thoughts of the epistle, but rather he is taking the three categories he just referred to, each directed to a particular emulation of Christ, or for specific Christian conduct, and he is reuniting them as one with these words. These words are particularly for all who are living as sojourners and pilgrims.

Servants, wives, and husbands alike are to be “of one mind.” The word is found only here in the New Testament. It literally says, “like-minded.” It is to share the same perspective which is to emulate the mind of God in Christ, and then acting on that. Peter then defines that with “having compassion for one another.”

Again, Peter uses a word unique in Scripture, sumpathés. One can see the modern word “sympathy” coming forth from this word. It conveys the idea of an “interchange of fellow-feeling in joy or sorrow” (Vincent’s Word Studies).

Peter next says to “love as brothers.” Again, it is a word unique in Scripture, philadelphos. It is an adjective, not a noun, which signifies a state of loving as family members. After this, he then says for each to “be tenderhearted.”

This is a word used only once by Paul, and then one more time here by Peter, eusplagchnos. It speaks of “the visceral organs (‘bowels’) as they exercise positive gut-level sympathy (empathy, compassion) – i.e. ‘living with guts’” (HELPS Word Studies). The word “tenderhearted” gets the point across well.

And, finally, for this verse, Peter admonished his reader to “be courteous.” The word gives the sense of humility, lowliness of mind, or modesty.

Life application: Peter admonishes us with words like, “be of one mind.” Doesn’t that seem to be a huge barrel to fill! He is talking in the general sense. Of course, we all have different hopes, likes, aspirations, etc. What he means is that, in the Christian context, we should all have the same attitude towards our faith or fellowship, and our love for each other. We need to have compassion one to another.

When a brother or sister is experiencing sickness, sadness, or loss, we should show empathy and give comfort. We should love one another without hypocrisy. A notable tenet among Christians is that we don’t necessarily need to like each other, but we do need to love each other. Even though we may not want to be around a particular person because our lives don’t sync well with them, when we are around them we need to give them the same dose of love that we would give our best friends.

Further, from Peter’s words of this verse, we realize that too often we allow our morning mood to carry on throughout the day. Instead, we should endeavor to be warm and affectionate in our dealings with one another. We should also add in a spoonful of respect and submission. These qualities don’t always come easily, but they are given for our benefit. As we endeavor to live them out, we will mature as people and as Christians.

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have not always been the epitome of Christian character. We haven’t been of one mind with our brothers, we have failed to be compassionate, loving, tenderhearted, and courteous. And yet, this is what You expect. Be with us and guide us to be a reflection of You, the fulfillment of all these qualities. To Your glory we pray. Amen.

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