We know we are supposed to love our enemies, to bless those who curse or revile us, but how do we do that? Where does that kind of heart and response come from? In this lab, John Piper looks a whole paragraph in 1 Peter 3 to answer that question, pulling apart the individual verses and lines, and determining the relationships between lines.
1 Peter 3:8–9 Series
Principle for Bible Reading
As you work through paragraphs or chapters of the Bible, ask questions about relationships between lines or propositions. This will help you identify a main point, as well as how all the other points support that main point. John Piper uses a tool called arcing to do this. You can learn more about arcing at biblearc.com.
- Do your best to divide 1 Peter 3:8–9 into individual lines or propositions (look for unique complete thoughts). We will be looking at the relationships between the individual lines in order to identify the main point.
- Look at the first half of 1 Peter 2:9. Try and explain the relationship between the first line (“Do not repay . . .”) and the second line (“. . . but on the contrary”).
- Now try and explain the relationship between those two lines (the first half of 1 Peter 3:9) and the next line (“for to this you were called”). How does what comes after the “for” relate to what comes before?
- Now relate all of that to the last line (“that you may obtain a blessing”). How does what comes after the “that” explain what comes before?
- Based on all the work you have done, what would you say is Peter’s main point in these two verses?
The Whole Unit (02:12–08:09)
- John divides 1 Peter 3:8–9 into five lines.
- In the remainder of the lab, he works to try and identify the relationships between each line, looking for key transition words. John uses a tool called “arcing” to demonstrate this. Learn more about arcing at biblearc.com.
- In the first half of 1 Peter 3:9, Peter tells them not (negatively) to repay evil, and instead (positively) to bless. “Do not do __, but do __.”
- In 1 Peter 3:8, Peter calls believers to cultivate inner-man realities that will result in their behavior outwardly toward others (the purpose of developing our inward character).
- In the second half of 1 Peter 3:9, Peter grounds the commands to feel and to behave toward others in their calling (“for to this you were called”).
- And finally, at the end of 1 Peter 3:9, he gives them a purpose to obey these commands: “that (or, “in order that”) you may inherit a blessing.”
Main Point (08:09–10:27)
- The main point of this paragraph (based on the relationships outlined above) is the command to bless those who revile us (1 Peter 3:9).
- The means for obeying that command are cultivating our inner character, especially toward others (1 Peter 3:8).
- The ground for our effort in obeying those commands (inwardly and outwardly) is God’s calling on our lives (1 Peter 3:9).
- And our motivation (or purpose) for that effort is the promise of blessing (1 Peter 3:9).