1 Peter – Chapter Three XI

by Ed Urzi

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

1 Peter 3:8 leads us into a practical discussion concerning the qualities that help identify a life that honors God. These qualities are relevant to everyone, as indicated by Peter’s opening address to “all of you.” This passage also covers five distinct areas:

  • be of one mind, a phrase that implies the need to work toward a shared result. One such result involves the development of Christ-like character in our relationships with one another. That commitment is manifested in the following qualities…
  • having compassion for one another, a statement that evokes an attitude of kindness and benevolence towards other members of the household of faith.
  • love as brothers, an expression that encourages us to pursue the type of loving relationships that typically exist among close family members.
  • be tenderhearted. This represents a mindset that is 180 degrees removed from the one given to us in the New Testament epistle of James: “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” (James 2:15-16 NLT).
  • be courteous, a behavior that is associated with the characteristics of graciousness and respect.

These five characteristics help set God’s people apart in a world that is often cold and despondent. This doesn’t mean that every Christian will enjoy a harmonious relationship with every other Christian, but we should strive to exhibit these qualities in our relationships with others through God’s empowerment. In the words of one commentary…

“It is not expected that Christians will see eye-to-eye on everything. That would be uniformity, not unity. The best formula is contained in the well-known expression: In fundamentals, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in everything, love.” (1)

In one sense, these instructions build upon our author’s earlier encouragement to “…love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22). Thus, it is helpful to remember that “love” is not necessarily synonymous with the external display of emotional affection. Instead, genuine love is something that originates in the will. If we always felt naturally affectionate towards one another, there would be little need for the instructions we find here in 1 Peter 3:8.

We’ll continue our exploration of this topic with a closer look at this mandate to “love as brothers” next.

(1) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad, Thomas Nelson Publishers [pg. 2361]