The Conduct of the Redeemed

January/February, 2012
Volume 47, Number 1

Some commentaries are Easy-to-Read Bible Study Tools. Brethren Revival Fellowship has published a series of simple, down-to-earth study tools on each book of the New Testament, all written from a solid evangelical, Anabaptist, and Pietist perspective.

There is nothing more important for nurturing and encouraging spiritual growth in the life of individual Christians, than to carefully read the Word of God—and not only to read, but to study the Scriptures. Many believers read a variety of novels, the common news magazines, and local newspapers. Others spend too much time watching television and scarcely read any thought provoking materials at all.

One can understand that most Christians will not make an effort to try and digest large ten or fifteen volume commentaries on the Bible, which often have difficult words and sometimes the writers use hard-to-understand theological terms. Sets of commentaries like the MacArthur series, the Communicator’s series, or the Expositor’s series—are excellent tools for highly disciplined Bible scholars—but the average lay person (and many Sunday School teachers) will generally never even look into such books. Those commentary sets have as many as 10,000 good sized pages of comments on the New Testament. Even the older Matthew Henry commentaries are long and wordy.

Furthermore, there are no sets of commentaries that take seriously the passages that are especially important for those who hold to the Anabaptist and Pietist values—dealing seriously with passages like Luke 14—counting the cost, John 13—the feet washing service, John 18:36—the two kingdoms, Romans 12:1-2—nonconformity to the world, Matthew 5— non swearing and nonresistance, and 1 Corinthians 11—the covered head and the feast of charity.

The new Brethren New Testament Commentary (BNTC) series is designed to have a readable verse by verse explanation of the entire New Testament text. The eighteen hard-covered volumes are intended to encourage people to more carefully study the New Testament Scriptures by taking the Bible in hand and checking the commentary for explanations and practical applications of the text.

The new commentaries published by BRF are not the kinds of books that you will read from cover to cover in a few weeks. The Brethren New Testament Commentaries (BNTC) are more concentrated than reading a novel or one of the Jeanette Oke romance stories. The most helpful way to read the study tools called BNTC Commentaries—is to read a section of the Bible text (included in the book in boldface type)—and then read the explanations that follow for exposition and application. Each of the books can easily become a source for one’s daily devotional reading.

1. A description of the books that are available:

The BNTC series has now completed volumes on every New Testament book. We have available for distribution an order sheet which lists all of the eighteen volumes, and the amount of suggested donation for each. Those interested in getting the entire set will get a ten percent discount and free delivery.

2. An explanation about how the books can be received:

The books are all made available on a donation basis, and can be ordered by writing to Brethren Revival Fellowship, P.O. Box 543, Ephrata, PA 17522. An order form is located at the center of this issue of the BRF Witness. Checks can be made payable simply to BRF and sent along with your order. You can also send your order to [email protected] and it will be processed and sent via mail. If you order more than five books, they will be sent postage free.

3. An example explaining how the books can be wisely used:

These commentaries are designed for the average reader who wants to tudy the Bible systematically, and also for Sunday School teachers and pastors, who are looking for an additional source of exposition.

One of the biggest mistakes we can make in reading the Bible, is to read paragraphs in isolation from one another. Certain devotional books, by selecting daily readings from all over the Bible, unfortunately encourage the practice of jumping from place to place in the Bible—to find their daily readings. But the biblical authors meant their books (or their letters) to be read as units. This is not quite true in the Old Testament book of Proverbs—but basically, we can get the full meaning from any text of Scripture much better if we approach it the way the author intended—reading the entire book in the context of its setting.

One of the best ways to benefit from the BNTC commentaries, is to read the Scripture portion on a given page (printed in boldface type)—and then read the comments on that portion of the text. Sometimes the explanation will cover only one verse; sometimes it may cover as many as twelve or fifteen verses; For example, some of the parables found in the Gospels will be explained by referring to a block of verses. For many of the New Testament epistles, one or two verses will be rich with meaning and will constitute the day’s devotional reading.

If we are serious about progressing in the Christian life, we must seek every day to feed our minds with spiritual food. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are bi-natured persons. The old “sin nature” has been dealt a deathblow at the time of our conversion. But the old nature still exists; it is no longer governing our actions, because we also possess a new nature, sometimes referred to as “the new man”—under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Progress in the Christian life comes as the individual uses spiritual disciplines to stimulate the growth of the new nature, and to depress the pull of the old nature. One who is transformed by the grace of God is expected to begin a lifelong process of daily walking with the Lord Jesus.

Too easily—our “quiet times” can degenerate into a few routine exercises in which the mind is scarcely involved. We read the Bible, but we don’t really seek to engage it by asking what it really means, and how it might apply to us.

If you are willing to take ten or fifteen minutes a day, reading portions of the Bible text (NKJV), printed in boldface type in each of the books, followed by an honest attempt to study the text that was just read—you can gain an invaluable knowledge of the Scriptures over a period of time. At the end of each day’s reading mark the location and begin at that point on the next day.

The books will make excellent Birthday (and/or graduation) gifts for those who should be learning more about God’s Word. Instead of giving your children, grandchildren, or friends—gifts are are only material trinkets—why not give something that will help individuals ornament their souls with wholesome and worthy values?

—Harold S. Martin

The Conduct of the Redeemed

1 Peter 2:18-25
By Eric Brubaker

Editor’s Note: The following article is a portion of the BNTC Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter written by Eric Brubaker. The material is taken from the BNTC Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter. It includes the section of exposition from pages 56 to 64 of the commentary. The portion of the commentary printed here has been slightly edited so that it will fit the space allotted in this issue of the BRF Witness. Eric introduces chapter 2 of the book by saying that “since Christians have been redeemed (1:18) and purified (1:22) and born again (1:23)—they have become part of a great spiritual house (2:5)—and they must conduct themselves accordingly. Believers must maintain a good witness by submitting to rulers and masters (2:13-25), and showing submission and honor in the marriage relationship (3:1-7).

b. Submission to earthly masters (2:18-20)

(2:18) Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle. but also to the harsh.

The reference here is to household slaves and their masters. Although slavery is not commonly practiced today, there are principles that can still apply to us.

Christians are to be submissive to those who have authority over them, including earthly masters (the employers for whom they work) in our setting today. The manner of submission should be with all “fear” (Greek, phobos), meaning that the servant is to treat the master with the utmost respect. The principle of submission applies both to the “good and gentle” master as well as the “harsh” master.
Jesus instructed us “not to resist an evil person” (Matthew 5:39), but rather to turn the cheek. This means that there should be no back talk or rebellious actions toward earthly masters, but rather reverence and humility and submission.

(2:19) For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.

God is pleased when we suffer wrongfully and do not strike back in retaliation. If when we are mistreated we refrain from retaliation and endure the suffering, God takes note and is pleased. The word “commendable” (Greek, karis) is actually the word for “grace.” Therefore it is a “grace” for us to endure unjust suffering.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says “Blessed are you when they revile.. .and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). When the Christian seeks to maintain a clear “conscience” before God (Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:19), and thereby endures unjust suffering—it is a “commendable” thing and is noticed by God. There is a long history of God’s people, especially the Old Testament prophets, enduring unjust suffering for the sake of faithfulness to God.

(2:20) For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

If we are punished because we did something wrong, we have no reason to retaliate. But if we suffer unjustly and accept it without reaction, this finds favor with God. To be “patient” means “to bear pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” The ultimate example of this is Christ, also when they hurled their insults at Him—He did not make threats and retaliate against them.

Peter is not talking about those times when we made mistakes and deserved punishment; he is talking about those times when we meant well and did well—and still we were abused and ridiculed. Peter goes on to say that this is exactly what happened to Jesus.

The tee-shirt imprinted with the words “I don’t get mad; I just get even”—describes the way of the world, not the behavior expected of God’s people.

c. The example and work of Christ (2:21-25)

(2:21) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.

The Christian has been called to follow the example of Christ’s suffering. Just as Christ suffered “for us,” we now are to suffer for Him. Suffering is part of the Christian life. It is to what we have been called.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:3 the Apostle Paul says that “no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.” When Saul fell down on the road to Damascus, Jesus said, “I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). And when Paul and Barnabas were on their first missionary journey they told the churches in Pisidia, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The word “example” means a “model or pattern to be copied in writing or drawing.” Christ is the pattern for us to copy. We are to follow His steps.

When Jesus was on the cross, He looked down at the raging mob, and when He saw their blood- splattered hands, He said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). He calmly bore it all. We are to show the same spirit of patient endurance that Jesus displayed toward His persecutors.

(2:22) “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

This is a quote from Isaiah 53:9. Jesus was blameless. He had done nothing wrong in word or deed. In Acts 3:14 He is described as “the Just.” Second Corinthians 5:21 says that He “knew no sin” and Hebrews 4:15 says that He was “without sin.” First John 3:5 says that “in Him there is no sin.” Scripture clearly attests to the sinless perfection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2:23) who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, he did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

The natural response when we are abused verbally is to lash back with harsh words. Jesus did not do that. He did not retaliate with abrasive words when He was mistreated.

The Old Testament taught “The Law of Retaliation,” which meant that a person was paid back whatever he had inflicted (Exodus 21:24; Deuteronomy 19:21). But it also taught not to take vengeance, but to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Jesus suppressed the natural tendency to retaliate and make verbal threats. Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” Jesus refused to lash out against what He knew to be the will
, of His Father, but rather endured it submissively. He committed Himself and the situation to the Father who “judges righteously.” God knows our situation and will “judge righteously” in His own time and in His own way.

(2:24) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.

Christ’s suffering was much more than an example for us. Christ died as a substitute for humanity and atoned for our sins. The sins of the world were on Him as He hung on the cross. The word “tree” (Greek, xulon) can also mean “wood,” or “objects made of wood.” He did not die for His sins, He died for our sins. Our sins were upon Him when He died; God looks upon us as therefore having died to sin. This has freed us now to live for righteousness since we no longer are controlled by sin. Peter again alludes to Isaiah 53 which says in verse 5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Through the suffering and death of Christ on the cross, those who embrace Him are healed from the eternal consequences of sin.

When Jesus suffered on Calvary, He was providing an example of how we should bear injustice without retaliating against those who mistreat us— but He was doing much more than that! Jesus was the sinless Son of God who was taking upon Himself the sin and guilt of the world.

(2:25) For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Unregenerate men and women are here compared to sheep wandering aimlessly. In Luke 15 God is pictured as One who leaves the flock to go out and look for lost sheep. Here in 1 Peter salvation is described as returning to the “Shepherd” of our souls. As a Shepherd, the Lord feeds and protects His sheep. In John 10:11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.” David says in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd,” and Isaiah 40:11 promises that “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” As the shepherd watches over every sheep in his flock, so Jesus watches over every member of the body of Christ, His church.

In the last part of verse 25 Peter describes Christ as our “Overseer.” The original Greek word (episkopos) means “bishop, superintendent, or guardian” Christ is the One who oversees and guards our souls, being concerned about our earthly and eternal well-being. Later, in 1 Peter 5:4, Jesus is called the Chief Shepherd. Surely it is a joy for believers to love Him supremely who first loved us (1 John 4:19).

3. Show Submission and Honor in Marriage (3:1-7)

Just as there is to be submission to earthly masters (2:18-20), so there is to be submission in the
home (3:1-7). The Christian wife is to let her behavior be her witness (3:1-2), and to focus on her internal beauty (3:3-4), and to recall ancient examples of godly women (3:5-6). The Christian husband is to be attentive to the needs of his wife and show her much honor and respect (3:7).

(3:1) Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,

The teaching of wives submitting to husbands is found elsewhere in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5). The word “submissive” means “to place or to arrange under.” Peter teaches that the example of a submissive godly wife is so powerful that it can win an unbelieving husband to the Lord. Although 2 Corinthians 6:14 teaches that Christians are not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” there are times when Christians find themselves with an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). And some husbands are indifferent to the truth, and sometimes even hostile to it. Peter teaches that it is not the words of a wife that will win an unbelieving husband, but rather her conduct.

(3:2) when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

Husbands are greatly influenced by the actions, attitudes, and purity of their wives. As husbands observe the conduct of their wives, Peter says that wives should strive for two things. First, a wife should seek “chaste conduct.” To be “chaste” means to be “innocent, pure in thought and act, modest, and severely simple in design or execution.” This means that a husband, even an unbelieving one, can detect a lack of purity and modesty in his wife. This will drive him away from (and not attract him to) obedience to the word. A Christian wife should also accompany her conduct with “fear” (Greek, phobos) —not a cowering fear hiding in a corner, but rather a fear of God and of the headship of her husband.

(3:3) Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—

Peter contrasts outward adornment with inward adornment. The prophet Isaiah had warned the women of Israel about the danger of outward adornment without inward character. They had become “haughty” because of all their expensive clothes and were walking around with their heads held high (Isaiah 3:16-23). Peter explains that “adornment” (Greek, kosmos) must not simply be outward. To “adorn” means to “add something” for the purpose of making something else more attractive.

A wife’s adornment is not to be simply external. Much emphasis is often placed on external appearance. But godly character is much more beautiful than physical charm. Proverbs 11:22 says, “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” Peter lists three methods of outward adornment that are ineffective toward real beauty–fashionable hair, gold jewelry, and fine clothes. Paul speaks about “costly clothing” in 1 Timothy 2:9. All three—the hair, the jewelry, the fine clothes—are often used to try and enhance physical appearance, but they cannot enhance inner beauty.

(3:4) rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Real beauty is internal, hidden, and not visible to the eye. Just as our giving is to be “hidden” (Matthew 6:4), and our prayers are to be “hidden” (Matthew 6:6)—even so the beauty of a godly woman is to be “hidden” (Greek, kruptos). This means that it is to be something on the inside and not paraded on the outside. It is also to be of the “heart” (Greek, kardia), meaning that it is rooted at the core of one’s person. While the external body ages and becomes less attractive, the internal nature of a woman can grow more beautiful. A woman’s godly beauty is “incorruptible,” meaning that it is not subject to decay or dissolution.

The Christian woman is not to be loud and boisterous, but is to manifest a gentle and quiet spirit. A “gentle” person is one who is “free from harshness, sternness, or violence.” A “quiet” person is one who does not use excessive words, and seeks to restrain speech. These two qualities are “precious” in the sight of God and also compelling to husbands.

Gentleness and quietness are tremendous charms that cannot be bought at the beauty shop; they cannot be hung around the neck; they grow up within the individual like a lovely flower. They are precious because they are rare.

Eric Brubaker serves on the ministry team in the Middle Creek Church of the Brethren (Atlantic Northeast District) and is the BRF secretary, and the Witness editor’s assistant. He and his wife Linda are the parents of four children.

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Captivity… Dreams… Rulers… Fire… Lions… Prayers… Kingdoms. From a dedicated youth to a faithful sage, Daniel’s life stands as an example to follow.  Yet beyond his personal life, God gifted Daniel with a message of future events.  Though difficult to grasp, these events would shape the world for the coming Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ as King.


Luke presents a warmly personal and historically accurate account of Jesus as “the Son of Man.” This course will survey the Third Gospel, with emphasis on the unique events, miracles, and parables of Jesus found in it.


This class will provide a broad overview of general church history. We will then focus on the Anabaptist and Pietist movements, especially as they relate to the formation and development of the Brethren groups. This is a two-part class. Plan to take both parts.


This course is intended to lay down a measure in a world where truth is slippery and often subject to interpretation. Where “Christian Values” become a political slogan, and “good people” are our allies despite their faulty core beliefs. Where Facebook “friends” post memes about the power of God, despite a lifestyle that is anything but Godly. In the process we often fight among ourselves, doing Satan’s work for him. The purpose of this course is to lay the measure of Jesus Christ against the cults, religions, and worship in our contemporary world.


While Protestant translations of the Bible contain 66 books, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize additional canonical books as well.  Where did these books, collectively known as the Apocrypha, come from and why aren’t they part of our Bible?  How reliable are they, and what value is there in studying them?


The goal of this class is to acquire a firm grasp of the teachings and themes of these two general epistles. Peter covers topics from salvation and suffering to spiritual deception and the return of Christ. These letters are packed with warnings and encouragements for Christian living.


A detailed study of Jesus Christ and His relationship to the “I Am” metaphors in John’s gospel. Why did Jesus describe himself in these terms? How do they relate to each other? We will look at spiritual and practical applications to further our Christian growth.


Have you ever been visited by someone who said they wanted to study the Bible with you so that you might discover the truth together?  Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have much in common with evangelical Christians, and they seem to be well versed in the scriptures.  But what do they really believe and how can we effectively witness to those who have been ensnared by this false religion?


While we may consider Hosea as one of the minor prophets, his message vividly illustrates the major doctrine in all Scriptures.  The theme of God’s unconditional love is magnified and extended beyond those deserving it.  God expresses tender words towards His erring people inviting them to turn from sin to reconciliation with Him.


This course will look at basic principles and polity of leading the local church. We will examine the balance between upholding a spiritually focused organism of ministry and cultivating proper order for effective organization. Practical applications will be emphasized. This is a two-part class. Plan to take both parts.


The Brethren Bible Institute believes in the discipline of the whole person (spirit, soul, and body). We will aim to train students not only about how to study the Bible in a systematic way (2 Timothy 2:15), but also how to live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12). God calls Christians to the highest of character when He commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15), and holiness requires discipline.

Indulgence in the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, drugs, profanity, and gambling are forbidden at BBI. Objectionable literature will be prohibited. Students are asked not to use the college pool during the Institute. Each student must be thoughtful, and respect the rights of others at all times, especially during study and rest periods.

A friendly social group intermingling of students between class periods, and at general school activities is encouraged. Each student should enjoy the friendship of the entire group. At all times, highest standards of social conduct between men and women must be maintained. This means that all forms of unbecoming behavior and unseemly familiarities will be forbidden.

Personal appearance and grooming tell much about one's character. Students are expected to be dressed in good taste. In an attempt to maintain Scriptural expressions of simplicity, modesty, and nonconformity, the following regulations shall be observed while attending BBI.

MEN should be neatly attired and groomed at all times. Fashion extremes and the wearing of jewelry should be avoided on campus. The hair should not fall over the shirt-collar when standing, nor should it cover the ears.

WOMEN should wear skirts cut full enough and of sufficient length to at least come to the knees when standing and sitting. Form-fitting, transparent, low-neckline, or sleeveless clothing will not be acceptable. Slacks and culottes are permitted only for recreation and then only when worn under a skirt of sufficient length. Wearing jewelry should be avoided on campus. Long hair for women is encouraged and all Church of the Brethren girls (and others with like convictions) shall be veiled on campus.

The Institute reserves the right to dismiss any student whose attitude and behavior is not in harmony with the ideals of the School, or whose presence undermines the general welfare of the School, even if there is no specific breach of conduct.

The Brethren Bible Institute is intended to provide sound Bible teaching and wholesome Christian fellowship for all who desire it. The Bible School Committee worked hard and long at the task of arriving at standards, which will be pleasing to the Lord. It is not always easy to know just where the line should be drawn and we do not claim perfection. No doubt certain standards seem too strict for some and too loose for others. If you are one who does not share all these convictions, we hope you will agree to adjust to them for the School period, for the sake of those who do. We are confident that the blessings received will far outweigh any sacrifice you may have to make. If you have a special problem or question, please write to us about it. To be accepted as a student at BBI, you will need to sign a statement indicating that you will cooperate with the standards of the School.