Explore the Bible Study: Be Holy

4:20 PM

I am sure you have heard Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra's famous quote “baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.” We would all acknowledge that anything in life that is accomplished will require a great deal of mental energy. Perhaps that is why the apostle Peter challenges his readers to "get your minds ready" when it comes to living a holy life. In this week's Explore the Bible Study: Be Holy, we will be challenged to consider how we should respond to Peters challenge to live a holy life and commit to move forward with a determination that can’t be swayed by circumstances.

Peter was writing to people who were witnessing tragedies and changes in culture as we have been over these past years. Nero, who was the ruling Caesar at that time, began to persecute Christians after Rome burned in A.D. 64. This persecution would continue and intensify for centuries. The recipients of Peter's letter were experiencing the beginnings of this persecution that would only become worse. He knew they had to be mentally prepared to face these difficulties. They needed to maintain their standards of holiness, even if it put them at odds with those who threatened them.

Here are some ideas that can help you as you teach 1 Peter 1:13-25.

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.

  • Display: “15” on markerboard.
  • Ask: Does anyone know what this number represents?
  • State: This is how long it has been since the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
  • Discuss: How has your life changed since 9-11? How has our country changed since 9-11? Would you say that Christianity is stronger or weaker in our country since 9-11? Why or why not? Would you say it is easier to live your faith today than it was before 9-11? What has changed? Would you say we are mentally prepared to face difficulties as believers? Why or why not?
Video Option (Use a part of the Introduction)

LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Peter 1:13-16
  • Explain: "Therefore" points back to what Peter has previously stated. He is basically stating that, because of what he previously said, this is the next step, the next action – “You should do this because of what I just explained to you.”
  • Review: What was Peter's message in those first verses? (Hope in and because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hope in a future inheritance because of salvation through Christ.)
  • State: Peter states that, because of your faith in the resurrected Christ, you should get your mind ready for action.
  • Explain: The phrase Peter uses literally means "gird up the loins of your mind." It was used when describing an athlete preparing for running or physical exertion. He would tuck his outer robe into his belt.
  • Discuss: Why didn’t Peter talk about their hearts instead of their minds? Why the mind? Is it enough for an athlete to have a passion for his/her sport? What else do they need to do?
  • Illustrate: Even modern sports recognizes the importance of mental preparation. Yogi Berra, one of baseball’s Hall of Famers, once stated that “baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”
  • State: While the heart was important, that was a given. The recipients of Peter’s letter were believers. But they had to have their minds ready as well.
Identify: How were they to get their minds ready for action?
  • Be serious – What does being serious communicate to you?  Have you asked someone, "Are you taking this seriously?" What did you mean? Note: Other translations state it this way: keep sober in spirit (NASB); be sober (NKJV and KJV); be self-controlled (NIV); being sober-minded (ESV)
  • Set your hope completely on Jesus Christ – What are the results of a divided focus in a believer’s life? What other things could we be tempted to place our hope in? Was this a command or just more encouragement?
  • Do not be conformed to your life before Christ – What choices in your past, as a believer or before you became a believer, continue to haunt your mind or tempt you? How can you avoid being conformed to these things again?
  • Be holy in all your conduct – How can we be holy? What does Peter mean? Can we pick and choose when to be holy? Explain: Holy means “set apart.” We are set apart from sin and set apart to God. Therefore, believers’ holiness is not a once-a-week event or Sunday-only thing, but involves all your conduct.
Emphasize: Peter reminded these Christians again of God’s initiative in salvation. The Father had called them to Himself, and they had responded in faith. In calling them and in making them part of His family, God was declaring His intention to make His children like Him in moral character. Peter was making it plain that we are to be intentional in the pursuit of personal holiness. It’s not that we grudgingly avoid outward sins; rather, we seek God’s power and presence so that we delight in Him, and we long for holiness from the inside out.

Ask: Whose character did Peter say we are to use in order to judge whether or not we are holy? (God’s character.)

Emphasize: God’s moral standard for His people is based on His own character. Determining whether something is morally right or wrong is not determined by cultural norms or personal choice; God’s character is the measure for holy living.

Illustration Discussion:
  • If you lived on the Gulf Coast and you knew a hurricane was coming, how would you prepare?
  • If you were going to the Olympics to compete, how would you prepare?
  • How do you prepare for tornadoes?
  • When you board an airplane do you look for the exits and determine how you might get out if there is an accident?
  • When you get in a car, what is the first thing you are reminded to do by that annoying alarm or flashing light? (Fasten your seatbelt.)
  • How do you prepare your children for careers or sports?
  • How much do you invest in preparing for other things versus getting your minds “ready for action” related to your faith in Christ?
  • Do you prepare your mind and life the same way spiritually, or do you take a less proactive approach?
  • How are you doing in your mental preparation to face those who oppose your faith? Are your fretting more than preparing?
Summarize: We are to strive to reflect His character in everything we do and say and be ready for whatever life throws at us. Therefore, we must get and keep our minds ready.

1 Peter 1:17

  • Peter adds an additional motive for holy living. He begins with the word IF challenging them to examine their hearts to make sure they are believers.
  • If we are believers, then we know God as Father. As our Father He will judge our works as a perfect, impartial judge – He won’t play favorites as many earthly parents do.
  • If we understand this, then we live out our earthly lives—which Peter called the time of your temporary residence —in fear.
  • By fear Peter meant, not terror or dread, but reverence and respect.
  • Peter wanted to remind his readers that they needed to beware that they could offend God and incur His fatherly displeasure. This should serve as a reminder to us also.
Transition: Peter began this discourse with the word "Therefore," looking back to all the hope we have in Christ. He now reminds them of the immense cost of their redemption beginning with the phrase, "for you know." As this passage is read, consider all that Christ did for you on the cross and how this should be reflected in how you live.

1 Peter 1:17-21
Identify:  While we sometimes think of salvation as removing our guilt and gaining God’s forgiveness, Peter emphasizes another blessing of salvation. What was that blessing? (Redeemed or rescued us from our empty way of life.)

Discuss: Why did Peter emphasize faith and hope in verse 21? Why didn’t he just say faith or hope?
This is a conclusion of Peter’s line of thought regarding God’s call to holiness, the challenge to fear God, and the reminder of God’s costly redemption. He reminds his readers again that they are in relationship to God through faith (trusting Him alone for salvation) which is accompanied by hope (confident trust that God will provide the promised heavenly inheritance beyond earthly life).

Discuss: Describe your feelings based on all Peter shares about the details and the cost of our salvation? How should knowing this affect the way we live our lives?

State:  If we dismiss the command to live a holy life or dismiss the fear of God, then we are, in essence, insulting God’s provision of salvation. We should make sure our minds are set on living lives that reflect all God has done for us.

Transition: Holy living encompasses loving other Christians as well.

1 Peter 1:22-25

  • The first time love is mentioned in these verses, it is used as a noun, referring to affection between family members.
  • The adjective translated "sincere" is literally “non-hypocritical” or “without faking it.”
  • Then Peter uses the command: "love one another earnestly." This time, the word for love is a verb form of a well-known New Testament noun understood as “sacrificial love.”
  • "Earnestly" translates to a term that means "deeply or fervently."
Ask: Why do you need to work hard at loving more sincerely based on these verses?
(Peter gives us the answer in verses 23-25. He reminds us of how much it should mean to us that we are born again, that we have a salvation that is pure and unending. It is based on God’s word which endures forever – God doesn’t lie nor does He break a promise.)

LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.

  • We started off talking about 9-11 and how much our world and country has changed in these 15 years.
  • While we can’t control many of the challenges we face morally, politically, or religiously, we can control how we live as temporary residents in this world.
  • We are to live our Christian faith in such a way that enables all those around us to see Christ and to understand how much His sacrifice for our salvation means to us.
  • This kind of living can’t take place without determination to make our minds ready for action! This kind of readiness isn’t even possible unless we are believers.
  • Review in your mind your walk with Christ. How has your faith grown over the years since you received Christ? Are you stronger, weaker, or about the same? Is your faith even authentic?
  • Can your relationship with Christ survive trials, difficulties, or challenges you might face as a believer, or will you cave at the first hint of trouble?
  • How determined have you been in remaining focused on Christ?
  • How serious do you take living a Christian life that honors the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for you?
Challenge: Consider how you should respond to Peter's challenge to live a holy life and make a commitment to move forward with a determination that can’t be swayed by circumstances.


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  1. Thank you John..I appreciate your insight and commitment to serving the needs of Christian teachers..


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