PHBC April 12, 1998

Series: First Peter, Ser. #47


 TEXT: 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.

 INTRO: The principle Greek word from which the word pitiful" comes is the word from which we get our word spleen. It means bowels, intestines, (the heart, lungs, liver, etc.). The bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion. We use the word heart instead of bowels to refer to tender mercies, affections, etc. It means a heart in which mercy resides. The Greek word in our text means having strong bowels, compassionate, tender hearted.

Peter uses the term to refer to the depth of concern or compassion we should have toward others. In the message on sympathy we saw that that means to identify with others in their sufferings, etc. This word we are looking at this time refers more to our sincere emotional response to the suffering, trials, and tribulations of other.


A.       The Psalmist comforted himself with this blessed characteristic of God. Psalm 103:11-14 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

B.       Isaiah prayed that God would reveal this aspect of his nature in dealing with sinful Israel. Isaiah 63:15-16 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?  16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

C.       In spite of his sinfulness, God showed this kindheartedness to Ephraim. Jeremiah 31:20 Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.

D.       Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, used the same word as in our text to describe the kindheartedness of God in sending the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.

E.       James uses the same word with a prefix which means very to describe the tenderness of God toward his people. James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.


A.       Pharaoh's daughter exhibited kindheartedness toward the baby Moses. Exodus 2:6-10 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. 7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. 

B.       Rahab the harlot showed this kind of pity to the spies whom she hid and then asked them to do the same for her and her family. Joshua 2:6-16 But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. 7 And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. 8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9 And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.  10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.  12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: 13 And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. 14 And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.  15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way.

C.       David showed this kindheartedness to Mephibosheth for Jonathan's sake. 2 Samuel 9:1-13 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? 2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. 3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. 4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar. 5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. 6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!  7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. 8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? 9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. 10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons. 12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. 13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

D.       The king of Babylon was kindhearted to Jeremiah when he learned of his sufferings in the dungeon. Jeremiah 39:11-12 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,  12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.

E.       Onesiphorus was kind to Paul. 2 Timothy 1:16-18 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.



A.       Paul uses the same word that Peter uses in our text in his admonitions to the congregation at Ephesus. Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

B.       Paul calls on the Colossians to be kind and tenderhearted in their associations with one another. Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

C.       John cautions against failure to exercise this grace of kindheartedness. 1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

D.       Paul admonished the Philippians to follow the example of Christ in being kindhearted. Philippians 2:1-2 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

 CONC: I pray that God may increase the operation of this grace in our hearts for it is another grace that will greatly enhance the unity of this body of Christ.

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