I started to write my blog post yesterday on 1 Peter 3: 8-12, and as I began to write on Peter telling Christians to be like minded, I realized that there was a whole post just on this topic! So here we go!
Peter moves on in his instruction now for practical principles for all Christians. And the first thing he says is that we are to be like-minded. In the CSB translation, that phrase is used one other time. In Philippians, Paul writes about Timothy, and how he hopes to send him to the church at Philippi. He says, “For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interest: all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (2:20-21).
So as Christians, we are to have unity, but that unity is to be centered on Jesus Christ. And how do we know what Jesus wants us to do? What his interests are? By reading his Word. Jesus placed a high value on Scripture. It is estimated that 1-10th of Jesus’ recorded words were taken from Old Testament writings. Some examples are when he refers to the creation of Adam and Eve, the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and the burning bush, and Jonah and the fish. He quoted Scripture to Satan when he was tempted in the desert. These are just a few of the examples. The way that we are to learn about Jesus is to read our Bible. This is how we learn about what he wants us to do and how we are to have unity.
There is a caveat to this, however. We are to unify as Christians over Jesus and his teachings. What this does not mean is that we are to unify over false teachings. There are many false doctrines in Christianity today and when we call them out, there is a cry that we need to be unified. No! Natasha Crane, in a post from her author page on Facebook from July 7, 2022, states it succinctly. She had been studying 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus and she writes, “One of the things that stood out to me the most is that Paul’s exhortations to avoid ‘quarrels’ and divisions in the church are always directed at dealing with those in doctrinal ERROR: those holding to sound doctrine and those deviating from it are NEVER assumed to be on the same footing with respect to the call for unity.” Paul wasn’t even afraid to call out Peter (Cephas) by name in his letter to Galatia for sympathizing with the Judaizers! So to clarify, we are to unify over sound doctrine, that which Jesus taught and what we learn from New Testament scriptures, not unify just for the sake of unity.
Another thing I want to bring up, which I have already covered, but I want to emphasize, is that the Jesus we unify over is the Jesus of the Bible. Let me explain. Too many of us have made Jesus in our own image. Mike Winger, who has the Bible Thinker YouTube channel, puts it this way in talking about how people do this. He writes, “…they use the idea of Jesus as a tool for affirming beliefs they seem to have chosen some other way.” We see it in so many religions and cults. They want to claim Jesus, but it is not the Jesus of the Bible. Let me say it again. The only way we can know him is to read our Bible and study it.
Other versions of the Bible use words and phrases like ‘harmonious’, ‘united of mind’, and ‘be of one mind’. I’m going to end this post with some verses that describe how we are to live together as Christians now that I have set the groundwork.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Romans 12:16
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. 1 Corinthians 1:10
If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Philippians 2:1-2
Grace be with you!