Saturday, November 23, 2013

Have You Unpacked?


Sometimes I think we can get bogged down in our Bible study because trying to study all the Bible has to say about a particular topic can be intimidating so we get discouraged and just read an article in the Good News or download a sermon off the internet instead. Just thinking about trying to learn all the Bible has to say about “hope” for example, can be overwhelming. But we know that if we are to draw nearer to God we need to spend time with Him in His word reading it and studying it; being diligent to present ourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth as it tells us in 2Tim 2:15 and letting the Holy Spirit lead us and teach us as it says in John 14:26.

So today, I hope to show you how we can take a single verse and dig into it in such a way that it provides us with a meaningful lesson in God’s word.

(1Pet 3:15 KJV)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

As so many verses in the Bible are, this verse is packed with meaning and wisdom that we might miss if we just read through it without studying some of the elements in order to more fully comprehend it. So today I hope to ‘unpack’ this verse so that we can get a taste of the full flavor of it. I won’t have time to do it completely but hopefully we can get into it enough to understand the process and to get a deeper appreciation for it.

Multiple translations –

(1Pet 3:15 ESV)  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

(1Pet 3:15 NASB)  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

One thing we learn from this, for example, is that ‘meekness and fear’ can also be translated ‘gentleness and respect’, or with ‘gentleness and reverence’. Another thing is that ‘sanctify the Lord God in your hearts’ can also mean to ‘sanctify or honor Christ as Lord in your hearts’.

Context –

Context can mean the overall context of who is speaking, to whom it is addressed and what the circumstances were at the time. Those things certainly add to the overall meaning but for the sake of time, we will just look at the simple context today. Let’s read a few verses that come before it and after it.

1Pet 3:8-17 NKJV  Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;  (9)  not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.  (10)  For "HE WHO WOULD LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, LET HIM REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL, AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.  (11)  LET HIM TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; LET HIM SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.  (12)  FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE ON THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO THEIR PRAYERS; BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL."  (13)  And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?  (14)  But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "AND DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED."  (15)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;  (16)  having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  (17)  For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

So, this speaks of loving one another and having compassion for others, despite how they may treat you. It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

And even if someone were to do us harm don’t be afraid or upset about it, but when asked be ready to calmly and with reverence for God, defend the reason why you are hopeful despite the circumstances, heaping coals of fire on his head, killing him with kindness so to speak. (Prov 25:21-22; Rom 12:20-21)

There’s much more to this than we have time for but we have the general context of verse 15 now.

Reference Lookup - Concordances, Commentaries & Dictionaries

Strong’s Concordance
The word “hope” used here is Strong’s number G1680

Thayer’s Greek Definitions

elpis (el-pece')
Thayer Definition:
1) expectation of evil, fear
2) expectation of good, hope
2a) in the Christian sense
2a1) joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation
3) on hope, in hope, having hope
3a) the author of hope, or he who is its foundation
3b) the thing hoped for
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a primary elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure)
Citing in TDNT: 2:517, 229

Marginal References –

Look over in the margin of your Bible and you probably have a cross-reference verse there that was put there by the publisher or maybe one you wrote in yourself that refers to the part of the verse that says, “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts”. If it’s not there you might go ahead and add it now.

Isa 8:13 KJV  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

To “sanctify”, to consecrate, to set apart as holy or sacred

Isa 8:13 AMP  The Lord of hosts--regard Him as holy and honor His holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety], and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread [lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him].

So this part of 1Pet 3:15,  “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” can mean to set God apart in your heart and to regard Him as holy or sacred and to honor His holy name, to reverence him lest you offend him by fearing what man can do to you and not trusting Him.

Simple word search –

If you have the Bible on your computer, such as e-Sword (e-Sword is a FREE program you can download off the internet and is quite good) you can perform simple word searches to see where else the word is used. For example, a simple word search for “sanctify” would turn up Eze 36:23 and following our context rule we will back up a few verses and start in verse 19 –

Eze 36:19-28 KJV  And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.  (20)  And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land.  (21)  But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.  (22)  Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.  (23)  And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.  (24)  For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.  (25)  Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  (26)  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  (27)  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.  (28)  And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

So how do we sanctify God in our hearts and honor His holy name? We walk in His statutes and keep His judgments and do them! Otherwise, we can profane His holy name by claiming to be his people but living no differently than the rest of the world does.


Why would they even ask us such a question – “what is the reason for the hope in you?” If we appear to be no different than they are, if they hear nothing from us but groaning and complaining and whining about how bad things are and how much worse they’re likely to get, why on earth anyone would come to us to ask such a question in the first place? It would be silly. It would be ludicrous to ask someone who does not appear to have hope what is the reason for it. This leads to a whole ‘nuther study on what manner of persons we ought to be. (2Pet 3:9-14)

I saved one last Reference lookup to close with –

In 1 Pet 3:15 when it states to be ready to give a “reason” for the hope that is in you. The Greek for used there for “reason”, Strongs G3056, the reason for the hope that is in you is the Greek word, “logos”. Yes, that “logos” the very same word used in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God.” The “logos”, Jesus Christ, the Word of God in you is the reason for the hope that lies within. Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)

The reason for the hope that lies within each of us is Jesus Christ, the Word of God and as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12) That glory being when we become like Christ. When our bodies are transformed to be like His glorious body. (Php 3:20-21)

So I hope we learned something from this one verse today. And each of us is ready now to open up our Bibles when we get home and do some unpacking!

e-Sword -
Strong's Concordance -
Thayer's Greek Definitions -
Bible Gateway -;AMP;NASB;ESV;NKJV


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I strive to be as the Bereans spoken of in Acts 17:10-11 receiving the word with all readiness of mind, and searching the scriptures daily, whether those things are so. Check up on me in your own bible. Should you find me in error please let me know immediately. We must prove all things (1Thes 5:21) and rightly divide the word of truth (2Tim 2:15) together lest we be deceived. (Matt 24:24)

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Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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