John Piper has presented an excellent work titled “Think,” in which he argues for the believer’s instruction to engage their mind in this amazing faith known as Christianity. Piper is not the author of this instruction. Nor is Peter, but he agrees with the Holy Spirit when he forcefully encourages his readers to “gird up the loins of your mind (another translation of the quoted verse above).”
Men and women alike, during the time of the writing of this letter, adorned themselves with long, flowing robes. When going into battle, or service of any kind, this robe would hinder movement and agility. Therefore, they would tie up their robes, making the movement of their legs possible. Peter’s readers are being encouraged to prepare their minds for deeper thinking.
R. C. Sproul claims “we are living in a period of church history that may be classified as mindless. It is an anti-intellectual period of Christian history — not anti-scientific, or anti-technological, or even anti-educational, but anti-mind.”
Listen to the response of many when in a discussion of Scripture. You will hear statements, such as “I feel that..,” rather than a firm “the Bible says…” Many have succumbed to an emotional response to the Bible, and, as Sproul continues, “left their minds in the parking lot.”
Piper concludes in his book, “we cannot have a right passion for that which we know nothing about.” As genuine believers, the truth we grasp in our minds leads to our hearts being changed, and that inevitably will affect our actions and emotions.
Peter calls his hearers to keep their minds free from the intoxicating effects of whatever may negatively influence their ability to grasp truth. This definitely included the sin of being drunk with alcohol, but Peter is probably teaching more along the lines of Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (5:18), where he instructed the believers to avoid being drunk with wine. Instead, he instructed them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul wanted his readers to visualize the effects of alcohol on the body. The speech, ability, and activity is controlled by the intoxication of alcohol. Paul wanted them to be controlled in this manner by the Spirit.
In a similar manner, Peter uses the term sober in an effort to ward off whatever may detrimentally influence his hearer’s ability to come to an intellectual understanding of the gospel’s truth and “rest their hope fully upon the grace of God.”
Peter often (as now) employs a “now, but not yet” understanding of his theology. He states that believers can fully have hope in the present because the reality will be made manifest at the “revelation of Jesus Christ.”
R. C. says of this, “Let your mind’s activity rest upon the confidence of that future promise.”