1 Peter 3:15 (NIV): “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
I find this verse intriguing. One verse with 37 words. I often find it necessary to read a verse or a passage over and over to allow what’s being said to settle in. Like those who drink tea allow the tea “steep time.”
Steep basically means to soak. I found many tea drinkers are very persnickety about their tea preparation and drinking.
Part of my steeping of Scripture is reading and meditating on the verse or passage. Then I take multiple commentaries and other versions and do the same thing, allowing a natural steep time.
On some occasions you’ll find on a tea tin or a box the words that say you can steep the tea up to four times. The idea being you can use a tea ball or an infuser to make more than one cup of tea using the same leaves.
There are two Scriptures that pop forefront into my mind.
Psalm 1:2: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night.”
Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight.”
These are just snippets of those verses simply demonstrating a principle of meditating and searching out God’s meaning.
As I mentioned I consulted a handful of commentaries and Bible versions such as King James, New King James, New International Version, New Living Translation, and New American Standard. I find it interesting that only three out of those five use the word “sanctify.” The other translations use “set apart” or “revere” instead.
My Jewish Study Bible is worded much differently, but definitely adds to framing my understanding.
“But treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.”
This may seem the long way around the track. But I take this extremely personally. I’m prepared to share that hope. Not based on warm fuzzies or what someone told me. I can confidently and simply explain that to sanctify is to set apart.
The Scriptures are giving us instructions to do so with Christ Jesus as our Lord. My goal being to answer a biblical question with clear biblical answers.
If someone is asking me then I’m using my understanding, which I feel must be searched out rather than giving a flippant answer or simply repeating what I had heard someone else say. I’m guided by Philippians 2:12b: “Continue to search out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Why fear and trembling, you might ask?
We’re talking about souls and eternity, not something to take lightly or handle carelessly. After I had confessed Christ as Lord the captain who mentored me said, “Now you need to give your testimony — the sooner the better. Not your war stories of wading through the muck and mire of sin but what God has done for you. Keep it simple and straightforward: what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.”
As I continue to minister to and through others, I don’t see it as my place to tell others how to live. My mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
I can share what God has done for me. I am more than willing to share my understanding of Scripture.
Allow me to share a couple of the Scriptures that are a part of my public testimony:
Jonah 2:2: “In my distress I called out to the Lord and He answered me.”
Also in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2: “As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God‘s grace in vain, for He says in the time of my favor I heard you and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you now is the time of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation.”
Continue with verses 17 and 18: “Therefore come out from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing and will receive you and you will be My sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty.”
Hmmm, sharing our hope, sharing our testimony with gentleness and respect. Sounds familiar.