This may sound strange to some folks, but other preachers understand this. One of the joys of a vacation from the pulpit is listening to other Bible teachers and being spiritually encouraged, edified and energized. Last Sunday was one of those occasions at the Henderson Boulevard Church in Tampa, Florida.
In addition to the Communion Eulogy and a wonderful sermon by Ralph Walker was the Bible class taught by Paul Grieving. The study was from the book of 1st Peter dealing with relationships in chapter 3 with an emphasis on verse 8.
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.“ (NASU)
Peter’s model of Christianity identifies 5 specific, tangible traits.
Our relationships with other brethren should be grounded in unity. This doesn’t mean we will all think exactly alike. But we can be governed by the mind of Christ so that our differences do not divide us, but rather enrich and ennoble us.
This word is translated “sympathetic” in some versions and means to suffer with or share in the feelings of another. The Bible says we should “weep with those that weep; rejoice with those that rejoice (Rom 12:15).
(3) Brotherly Love
The word used here, “philadelphos” means loving as a brother or sister. This is the only place in the Bible where this term is used. It conveys the feelings of family members for one another, or fellow countrymen. Christians are family. We have the same loving Father. And enjoy spiritual kinship in the Household of God.
The old KJV translatd this word “pitiful.” The NASU says kindhearted and the NLT renders it “tender hearts”. C.D. Hamilton points out that word comes from the original meaning “strong bowels.” The Greeks believed the bowels were the seat of the affections. It is a tender feeling that comes from deep within the soul of a person.
This quality is set in contrast to boastfulness, arrogance and pride. Humility is hard to define. The minute we feel good that we have it, then we’ve lost it. Like the preacher who asked what his Sunday sermon was about. “Humility,” he replied. Then unwittingly added, “It’s probably the best sermon I’ve ever preached.”
The Greek word has to do with something lying low. It is used metaphorically of one who has a low opinion of himself. One who deliberately debases himself. The English word is from the same root as “humus” a grass that grows close to the ground. Humility is an attitude that issues itself in the action of blessing others. Brethren who are wronged will not seek to vindicate themselves by irritable behavior in inflicting on others like treatment.
This verse ought to keep us busy the rest of the week. Hmm, you think? How about for a life-time.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman