How Do We Obey Commands to Feel?

1 Peter 3:8–9, Part 2


We do not have immediate control over our feelings, so how do we obey commands to feel? In this lab, John Piper offers five places to start in pursuing changes in your personality, all from 1 Peter. He begins by looking at a few examples in 1 Peter 3:8–9.

1 Peter 3:8–9 Series

Part 1: Bless Those Who Revile You
Part 2: How Do We Obey Commands to Feel?
Part 3: Those Who Suffer Receive a Blessing

Principle for Bible Reading

Whenever you come to a list in the Bible, it is helpful to stop, define each of the terms or ideas in the list, and then look for relationships between them. Why did the author choose to list the items he did? Is there any rhyme or reason to listing them the way he did? Might there be some significant progression in the list? Often there’s as much meaning built into the list as there is in the sum of the individual terms.

Study Questions

  1. First, define each of the five key terms in 1 Peter 3:8. How would you describe each and distinguish them from one another?
  2. Second, identify any relationships between the five terms in meaning. What significance might this set and their order have? In other words, why would Perter choose these five and order them like he does?
  3. If someone asked you how to do obey commands to feel, what would you say? And where would you turn in the Bible? If you have time, read through 1 Peter looking for help with this question (John finds five practical principles in 1 Peter alone).

Introduction/Prayer/Recap (00:00–01:54)

Understanding the Five Commands (01:54–03:52)

Question #1: How would you define each of the commands in 1 Peter 3:8?

  • “Unity of mind” (1 Peter 3:8) means having the same mindset.
  • “Sympathy” means to feel deep in your heart with someone.
  • “Brotherly love” means having the affection family members have for one another.
  • “Tender heart” means feeling for someone, having a good disposition toward them.
  • “A humble mind” means a lowly mindset.

The Relationships Between Commands (03:52–07:02)

Question #2: Why are these commands or emotions ordered the way that they are?

  • Peter tells believers to have two different mindsets: one of unity and one of humility (1 Peter 3:8). How do the two relate to one another? Perhaps humility is the root of unity (the fruit).
  • He also tells them to feel with others (sympathy), as well as for others (a tender heart).
  • And in the middle of those mindsets and those feelings is brotherly love.
  • Regardless of the relationships between the five commands, we need to see that Peter is dealing with deep aspects of our personality that need to be renovated. (1 Peter 3:8)

How Do You Obey Commands to Feel? (07:02–11:40)

Question #3: We do not have immediate control over our feelings, so how do we obey commands to feel? John read all of 1 Peter looking for help.

  1. Repent (1 Peter 3:10–11)
  2. Resort to Christ (1 Peter 2:4, 24)
  3. Relish (1 Peter 2:2–3)
  4. Request (1 Peter 3:12)
  5. Resolve (1 Peter 3:9)