The enemy’s flaming darts and God’s great commission make spiritual warfare unavoidable, and spiritual pacifism suicidal. In this lab, Pastor John tells us how to arm ourselves for combat.
Principle for Bible Reading
Searching in Concentric Circles
When seeking for answers concerning how a biblical author uses a word or phrase in a particular verse, it is often helpful to start by seeking answers in the immediate context and then moving outward. When wrestling with a text, good Bible reading, like a stone dropped in a pond, starts at the word or phrase in question and ripples out to other places in the Bible to get help for understanding. Starting your search in the immediate verse and moving outward is often called searching in concentric circles.
After searching in the immediate verse, it is key to look for the author’s meaning in:
- The paragraph which contains the verse
- Then the chapter
- Then its book as a whole
- Then other books written by the same author
- Then the same Testament (New or Old)
- Then the whole Bible
In This Lab
Peter tells us to arm ourselves with the same way of thinking as Christ. But how did Christ think when confronted with suffering? And furthermore, how do we arm ourselves with his thoughts? To answer these questions, Pastor John searches throughout 1 Peter.
He answers the first question by identifying five ways Christ thought from 1 Peter 2:21–24. He answers the second by finding places in 1 Peter where he references using the mind to arm ourselves: 1 Peter 1:13; 2:11; 4:3–4; 5:8–10.
If you were wondering what it means to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7), you might begin by looking for clues in:
- The immediate verse: 1 John 1:7
- Then the paragraph which contains the verse: 1 John 1:5–10.
- Then the chapter: 1 John 1.
- Then the book of the Bible: 1 John.
- Then other books of the Bible written by the same author: John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation.
- Then the New Testament.
- Then the rest of the Bible.
- Do you consider yourself in a spiritual battle? If so, describe it.
- In 1 Peter 4:1, Peter calls us to arm ourselves with the same way of thinking as Christ. What do you think this means? Who are we armed against?
- What can you practically do to arm yourself this week with Christ’s way of thinking?