Notes on 1 Peter 3:8-11

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

1 Peter 3:8, KJV 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.

In these two verses, Peter relays a set of commands to believers. Being of one mind could refer to the 10 days of prayer before Pentecost or could also refer to the very early days of the Church when people were of one mind and helped one another. The various donations of proceeds from sales of houses, lands, and the like all helped needy believers during those days. “Love as brethren” is self-explanatory: after all, Peter’s own brother was Andrew who brought Peter to Jesus (John 1:42)!

Again Peter reminds believers, in verse 9, to not render evil for evil or railing for railing. Paul had already written to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:15) not to render evil for evil. The Holy Spirit uses different men to relay the same message to different groups of people who may not have been acquainted with each other and the handful of New Testament writings available at the time.

“Railing” probably means “reviling” or “speaking evil of someone”. The word is used of Jesus, when He was on the cross: Mark 15:29 refers to the people who walked by the Cross and Luke 23:39 quotes one of the “malefactors” or criminals crucified with Jesus. He—the Lord—said nothing to either party. Then Peter goes on to say that we—all believers—were called into a life of suffering now, so that we might “inherit a blessing” sometime in the future. Even he may not have known then all about this blessing.

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:

Had Peter already read the Epistle by James, where James mentioned the misuse of the tongue? This verse is perhaps a paraphrase of Psalm 64:13: “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile”. He might have also recalled Psalm 141:3: “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

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

“Eschew” means to stay away from or perhaps to hate. The word is used of Job as a man who “eschewed” evil. The first part of this verse could be a paraphrase of Amos 5:15, “Hate the evil, and love the good. . . .” Another verse he may have had in mind is Psalm 34:14, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)

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