The Recipe for Happy Soup - Bible Study

by Tom Bulick and Stephanie Thomas on

Bible Studies 1 document
1 Peter 3:8–12

  • The Recipe for Happy Soup | The Scrolls | April 14, 2024

    Copyright Central Bible Church

The Scrolls is a weekly Bible study written by pastors and other leaders at Central Bible Church, based on that week’s sermon topic. Use The Scrolls as a personal Bible study tool, for family devotions, and for small group discussions. You can read part of it below. The downloadable PDF also includes discussion questions, more in-depth commentary, end notes, and a kids’ page designed for families to study the topic together. This lesson goes with the sermon "The Recipe for Happy Soup."

Doing good—what good is it? It goes without saying that doing good is better than doing evil. No one in his right mind would argue with that. It turns out that doing good is good for the one doing it as well as the one receiving it. In the first place, it makes for a life worth living, and in the second, it benefits others.

Christians are encouraged to do good in scores of New Testament passages. Here are just a few of the more relevant ones: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers“ (Gal 6:10); “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10); “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good (2Th 3:13); “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives” (Tit 3:14); “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:16); and finally, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (Jas 4:17).

The apostle Peter, in particular, makes doing good a major theme of his first epistle. Eight times in his short epistle he alludes to the need for believers to do good to those either inside or outside of the Christian community (2:12, 15, 20; 3:11, 13, 17; 4:19). Consider what he writes in 2:12 and 2:15. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us,” and “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.”

In 1 Peter 3:10, the apostle quotes Psalm 34:12-16 to explain why his readers should do the kind of good he commends in verses 8-9. In a nutshell, he demonstrates from scripture that God’s people receive a blessing by being a blessing. Put more specifically, doing good in this life leads to a life worth living, a life filled with good days (v. 10; cf. Ps 34:12). That’s what the Psalmist says—a thought echoed in the book of Proverbs. In fact, verse 11, “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” makes the psalm’s connection to biblical wisdom obvious (cf. Pr 1:7). One commentator explains: “Almost every word in the opening verse is in the style of the wisdom instructor, as in Proverbs 1-9, with his fatherly tone and his stress on the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom. This continues with the teaching that the good you enjoy (12) goes hand in hand with the good you do (14)” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, TOTC, 158).

Doing what is wise and good is personified throughout the first nine chapters of Proverbs. Wisdom is portrayed as a virtuous woman, who offers blessings to those who obey her. Solomon writes: “Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed” (Pr 3:16-18). The “tree of life” metaphor implies that wisdom offers its pupil longevity. Peter is linking the blessings of wisdom, namely, a long life filled with good days, with doing good. The good he has in mind is itemized in verses 8-9, that is, being “likeminded,” being “sympathetic,” loving one another, being “compassionate” and “humble,” and repaying “evil with blessing.” Note the close parallel between 1 Peter 3:8-9 and Romans 12:9-17. “Live in harmony with one another” (v. 16); “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (v. 15); “Love must be sincere . . . Be devoted to one another in love” (vv. 9-10); “Do not be proud” (v. 16); “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (v. 17). “Bless those who persecute you” (v. 14).    

Central Message of the Text: 

Believers who do good by treating insiders virtuously and outsiders with blessing will inherit a good life and enjoy God’s presence.

Family Talk:

When all my kids were in elementary school and I was a stay-at-home mom, I used to count down the minutes until they came home. (I know. I’m that mom.) I couldn’t wait to hear about their day—who they sat with at lunch; how they did on that hard test they were so worried about; what good things happened to make them laugh. Most of the time re-entry into the family went fairly well and the only fight was who got first dibs to share about their day. But some days a simple question from me would unleash the beast within one of my kids. They would let loose all their pent-up feelings and frustrations and leave a path of destruction as wide as a Texas tornado, leaving me wondering what just happened. But learning to live in a family is practice for learning to live in the community at large. In our passage this week, Peter reminds believers the proper way to treat one another. Imagine if all families, especially those professing faith in Christ, worked toward a common goal of being like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble. Imagine we all worked toward taming our tongue, turning from evil and repaying insult with blessing. What would your house look and feel like if that were a family goal? This week, put some action steps in place to change your family dynamic with this goal in mind. Help your kids understand the blessing they can be to each other and the ripple effect they can have in the community as a result. We’re praying for you!