Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of I Peter Chapter 3
Metaphysically Interpreting I Peter 3:1-7
3:1In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your won husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 3:2beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. 3:3Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 3:4but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.3:5For after this manner aforetime the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: 3:6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose children ye now are, if ye do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.
3:7Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered.
Metaphysically Interpreting I Peter 3:8-22
3:8Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humbleminded: 3:9not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 3:10For,
He that would love life,
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips that they speak no guile:
3:11And let him turn away from evil, and do good;
Let him seek peace, and pursue it.
3:12For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
And his ears unto their supplication:
But the face of the Lord is upon them that do evil.
3:13And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good? 3:14But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; 3:15but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear: 3:16having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. 3:17For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.
3:18Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 3:19in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 3:20that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: 3:21which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; 3:22who is one the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
March 24, 1935: I Peter 3:8-18
Martin Luther was struck by the thought that the just shall live by faith, and put it to the proof with results that are well-known. Great men in every age have discerned this truth. When Emerson said, “We pass for what we are. Character teaches above our wins,” he may well have had in mind the substantial nature of faith. Faith is the substance not only of things hoped for now, but of things hoped in the past and now realized and built into the life as garnered experience. Faith builds the groundwork, the foundation, and man through his I AM power raises on that foundation the structure of his imagination and desire. He perfects faith by his works.
To be effective, faith must work in conformity with divine law. The faith that is inactive or latent, buried deep in the subconsciousness, is of no use to its possessor. To every practical purpose it is as dead as a body that is separated from the animating spirit.
To work in accord with divine law is to express consciously the one Mind. “Be ye all likeminded.” This is possible only to those who enter into the consciousness of the universal Spirit and know oneness of thought and purpose. Man can know such oneness in his inner life, and he can express it in his outer life also. Through active trust in the Christ consciousness he learns the meaning of divine sympathy and becomes compassionate, sending out his love and good will to others in utter forgetfulness of self. To be always tender-hearted and humble-minded, he must set his faith to work through love. These two qualities supplement each other in perfect equilibrium. Quietly holding the thought “I trust the love of God to find its perfect expression and fulfillment in and through me” aids one to express faith in the Christ power.
The personal man reacts directly, echoing good for good, evil for evil. Even sinners, as Jesus pointed out, love those who love them. Therefore love is not enough to round out the perfect work of man. Faith too is necessary, for faith shows us that we are not to return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but are to bless both the good and the evil impartially as a matter of principle. Evil, when it is blessed, sometimes disappears suddenly, leaving only the good in evidence, as when Zacchaeus, moved by the compassion of Jesus, restored fourfold what he had gained by robbery and extortion.
Before we can inherit a blessing we must refine our nature sufficiently to be able to recognize a blessing, when it comes to us. Many people do not acknowledge their blessings, and remain totally unconscious of them. They are like an unlettered herdsman on the Western plains who, if he unexpectedly came into an earldom in another country, would find himself unable to discharge the responsibilities of his new rank and station in life. Man is called to enter into a spiritual estate, to become a king in his own right, but until he understands noblesse oblige and becomes great enough of mind and heart to express it, he cannot able over his kingdom. To be sensible of goodness, when it is shown, a person must first know good impulses and do good to others impersonally, because he loves the good, not because others have first done good to him, or because he hopes to inspire in them a desire to make him such a return. Only through holding his faith steadfast to the unvarying law of good can he inherit the blessing.
That our zest for life and the satisfaction we have in it come direct from our own contribution to it and our own interpretation of its meaning, may be a new thought to some. Nevertheless, it is true that we cannot get the most out of life without first giving it our best. To love life we must see it constructively and speak of it as a gift worthy of our entire devotion. We are not to see or speak evil, nor are we to lend ourselves to deception. Emerson's affirmation “I am what I profess to be. About me there is no make-believe” is a good one for everyone to make for himself in order to keep his thought processes and his actions line with Truth. The chief criticism made against metaphysicians by the non-metaphysical is that the former live in a world of make-believe, claiming to be well, when they are in fact ill; prosperous when they are poor, wise when they are not only unwise but self-deceived. Those who put their trust in the Christ principle of innate good, however, know that they are making themselves believe only what is true, even though it may be below the surface of consciousness at present. By so believing they know that they open the way for the Truth to become manifest to the conscious mind.
To be zealous in behalf of that which is good is to put ourselves in the way of finding what we seek. The pot of gold is at the end not of every rainbow of changing hope, but of every willed, planned, and God-directed effort. To he zealous in behalf of good is to build a sure defense against the negative side, evil. But even if some adverse thought habit remains undispelled and crystallizes in present circumstance so that we suffer, we need not fear or be disturbed. Our part is to continue to keep our thought and the love of our heart stayed on the Lord Christ at the center of our being, and we shall be able to stand fast, as the house built upon solid rock meets wind and flood without a tremor. “Sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord” and thus set in motion a cause greater than any adverse thought habit, and you will do away with suffering. The Christ's testimony is “In the world ye have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Those who consider reason foreign to religion need go no further than the 15th verse of today's lesson text to learn that it is inseparable from practical Christian living. True faith is more than blind groping; it is wise confidence and assurance based on the observed working of the law of good. He who believes in God seeks to understand God and learns to recognize His law at work in act, thought, and circumstance.
“Wisdom hath builded her house;
She hath hewn out her seven pillars.”
He who believes seeks to justify his faith to himself, and when his understanding overtakes his faith he is able also to justify himself to others, not in a spirit of bravado but in the assured certainty and calm conviction of Truth.
– UNITY magazine.
March 24, 1935: I Peter 3:8-18
Why should the just live by faith? One of the meanings of “just” given by Webster is “right.” It is right that we should live by faith in the invisible realm because the life so lived is the life abundant, filled with lasting satisfaction.
How is faith perfected? By works. “The invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made” (Rom. 1:20). Things are made by works.
Name some of the works of faith. Faith works in accordance with divine law and in so doing expresses the One Mind. Like-mindedness, compassion, brotherly love, tenderness, and humility, all are works of faith.
How do we set to work to express these divine attributes? By affirming the love of God to be active in our consciousness, we are enabled to begin these works of God.
What is the sign of the personal man? The personal man reacts directly, returning good for good, evil for evil.
Is love all that we need in order to do good work perfectly? No, we need faith as well, for this adds to our staying power.
What arouses in us the desire to return good for evil? Nothing except an understanding of principle and a love of divine rightness can arouse such a desire in us.
What is the most successful way of dealing with evil? Blessing evil is more successful than fighting it. Jesus proved this to be true by befriending publicans and sinners, and converting them to right living.
Why should we acknowledge our blessings? Unless we acknowledge blessings, we remain unconscious of them, and miss the joy they are capable of affording us.
We are told always to put our “best foot” foremost. Justify this saying. We cannot get the most out of life without giving it our best. We must see life constructively and devote ourselves to it as to a priceless gift, if we would make it rich in meaning.
March 19, 1939: I Peter 3:8-18
What is the meaning of the injunction “Be ye all likeminded”? To be like-minded is to be of one disposition in matters of faith and hope, and charitable toward one another in respect to matters on which opinions differ. When the mind that was in Christ Jesus is in us, we are like-minded without effort.
What is the purpose of the teaching that we should be like-minded and return good for “evil”? To analyze the mind that was in Christ Jesus so that the follower in the way may know how to give that mind expression is the purpose of this teaching.
How does one “inherit a blessing”? By blessing others regardless of their attitude one sets in motion the causes that bring blessings into one's own life. In accordance with the law that we reap as we have sown, we “inherit” the blessing that we bestow on others.
What connection subsists between good words and actions and a long life of good days? The connection is that between cause and effect. “By my words thou shalt be justified.” Doing good brings good to the doer in a mind at ease, a good conscience, and an untroubled outlook on life. These things all tend toward long life.
What are the eyes, ears, and face of the Lord? The “Lord” is the omnipotent I AM. The “eyes of the Lord” and “his ears” are the perceptive powers of the I AM, which take cognizance of right motives, thoughts, and acts. The “face of the Lord” is the awareness of the I AM principle, which embraces the divine both within man and in his environment. According to this principle the reaction of evil is negative, whereas that of good is positive.
What is the important thing to remember, when passing through adverse experiences or persecution “for righteousness sake”? The main thing to remember in such a case is to keep the mind and soul serene and untroubled by fear or worry.
How is Christ sanctified in the heart as Lord? Christ is the I AM within man. Man “sanctifies” this principle by recognizing it as his guide in all things, and following its guidance faithfully.
Of what inner advantage is a good conscience? The conscience determines the reaction of good or evil thoughts and conduct on the life. Therefore a good conscience and confident outlook on life are important to the individual’s future.
June 6, 1943: I Peter 3:13-17
Is zeal for the good a sufficient safeguard against evildoers? No, understanding is necessary. Our zeal for All-Good must be “according to knowledge,” so that we may see the Christ in all men everywhere. Then no one will harm us.
What constructive attitude counteracts the harmful effects of being made to suffer for doing what is right? The habit of counting our blessings and of being thankful that we are quickened to perceive right from wrong.
How do we sanctify Christ as Lord in our heart? By knowing that we mold the divine substance of life through our use of the I AM or Christ principle, and by keeping the knowledge uppermost in consciousness and using the principle to express Truth instead of error.
Why is it important to be able to give an answer, concerning the hope that is in us? Because faith gains in power in proportion as it is enlightened by understanding. Articulate faith is better than blind faith and can be used to better advantage.
“It is better ... that ye suffer for welldoing than for evil-doing” What underlies this statement? The recognition that well-doing is its own reward and that suffering cannot reduce or destroy it, whereas evil inflicts its own penalty, so that, when one suffers for evil-doing, one is in fact doubly punished.
“Fear not their fear.” Whose fear is here referred to? The fear felt by the personal man. We are warned not to entertain it, but to put our trust in God.
What is one of the chief compensations of the Christ-filled life? A good conscience, because it creates constructive effects in the life, instead of accumulating negations to be overcome.
August 26, 1951: 1 Peter 3:13-16How clear should our faith be to us? It should be so clear that we could explain it to others, should the need arise, for we should be able to give account of ourselves in the realm of spiritual values and to be at home there.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-25-2013