1 Peter – Chapter One XLIX

by Ed Urzi

“who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:21-22).

In our earlier look at 1 Peter 1:9, we noted that this reference to the “soul” is derived from the word “psuche” in the original language of this passage. In this context, the soul refers to the human being as an individual personality. We can thus associate the soul with the “you” inside your body.

Here in 1 Peter 1:22, we have an intriguing reference to those who have purified their souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren. This thought-provoking idea is one that can benefit from a deeper analysis.

For instance, let’s consider this reference to purification. The word “purified” is linked to the act of “cleansing from defilement” in a moral or ceremonial sense. (1) That cleansing is actualized as we obey the truth through the Spirit. As we act in accord with the truth of God’s Word through the internal prompting of the Holy Spirit, we experience greater purity in thought, word, and deed.

A sincere love for other men and women of God subsequently reflects that growth in inner purity. Such love is “genuine” (CEB), “unfeigned” (KJV), and “real” (TLB). If we prayerfully seek to purify our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, we will naturally put the following behaviors into practice…

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT).

“Be humble and gentle in every way. Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other. Through the peace that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives” (Ephesians 4:2-3 GW).

“Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 Phillips).

In addition, we will also follow the Biblical directive from Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV). Taken together, this should prompt us to love one another fervently, as we’re told here in 1 Peter 1:22. We will explore what “fervently” means (and what it doesn’t mean) next.

(1) G48 hagnizo Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers