Introduction: How many of the regrets in your life have to do with
fractured relationships? How much of the joy in your life comes from
good relationships? This week we learn that having good relationships
with others comes from spiritual growth. As we grow spiritually, we
should make fewer mistakes in our relationships with others. Let’s
plunge into our study!

  1. Building Up to Relationships

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:1-2. Peter wishes grace and peace to those
      to whom he writes. What do you think he means by grace and
      peace? (Adam Clarke’s Commentary tells us that “grace” is
      God’s favor and “peace” is the result of God’s favor
      manifest in our life by spiritual and physical blessings.)

      1. What effect does our relationship with others have on
        our peace?

    2. Read 2 Peter 1:3. How does Peter say that divine power
      comes to us? (“Through our knowledge of Him.”)

      1. How important is faithful Bible study? (Peter seems
        to say that studying the Bible, which helps us to
        understand God better, is the conduit by which divine
        power comes into our life.)

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:4. “Through these,” Peter says, we can
      “participate in the divine nature and escape the
      corruption of the world.” What are the “these” to which
      Peter refers? (Look at 2 Peter 1:3 again. He is referring
      to God’s “own glory and goodness.”)

      1. How will God’s glory and goodness help our behavior?
        ( 2 Peter 1:3 teaches us that God’s glory and goodness
        “called us.” By learning of God’s glory and goodness
        we are drawn to a better way of life. This what
        brings us to the point where we ( 2 Peter 1:4)
        participate in God’s divine nature and escape the
        corruption that is around us.)

    4. Read 2 Peter 1:5. So far, Peter has sounded rather
      abstract in what he has been teaching us. What specifics
      does he give us in this verse? (He says you believe in
      Jesus? You want to escape the corruption of the world?
      Good. Try to do good things and learn more about God’s

    5. Read 2 Peter 1:6. If you go into a gym to do muscle
      training, they will take you to the various exercise
      machines and tell you to use each to benefit a certain
      part of your body or aspect of your health. Does Peter
      have a similar approach? (It sure seems that way.)

      1. Can our Christian life be improved by focusing on
        certain aspects of our character – and doing a little
        “character muscle training?”

        1. How is this compatible with righteousness by
          faith? (Notice that Peter started his list (2
          Peter 1:5) with faith. In building up to this
          point, Peter told us that knowledge gave us
          “divine power.” ( 2 Peter 1:3). We start with
          righteousness by faith, but then by knowing God
          better, we understand the areas of our life
          which need a “work-out.”)

      2. Okay. You go first to your spiritual exercise machine
        that develops self-control, then the machine for
        perseverance and then the machine for godliness. How
        would you do this, as a practical matter? (If we
        review 2 Peter 1:3-5 Peter stresses knowledge of God
        and the promises of God which will help us to
        “participate in the divine nature.” Bible study and
        the Holy Spirit alert us to the problems in our lives
        in the areas of self-control, perseverance and
        godliness. We then rely on the promises of God to
        help us “add” these qualities to our life.)

    6. Read 2 Peter 1:7. What are the last things to be added to
      our Christian life? (Brotherly kindness and love.)

      1. What impact do brotherly kindness and love have on
        good relationships? (They should be the key to good

      2. Our lesson this week is about making God the Lord of
        our relationships. Is Peter saying that it a long
        road to having the right Christian relationship with
        others? Some important character traits are required?
        (Yes, I think so.)

        1. If we understand Peter correctly, why are proper
          relationships (“brotherly kindness” and “love)
          at the end of this list? (For example, self-control is critical to having a proper
          relationship with others. Just looking and
          working on these various aspects of our
          character should make us more tolerant and
          loving towards those who have not yet “seen the
          light” on self-control, perseverance and

    7. Read 2 Peter 1:8. Are you despairing? Will we be able to
      have proper relationships with others only when we are
      mature Christians? (It is a long road, but we should not
      say, “I cannot have proper relationships because I’m not
      yet a mature Christian.” Although Peter tells us to “add”
      ( 2 Peter 1:5) each of these qualities to the one before
      it, 2 Peter 1:8 refers to possessing each of these
      qualities “in increasing measure.” We should not only
      partner with the Holy Spirit to add the character traits
      we lack, but we should also strive to build all of these
      traits at once. Brotherly kindness and love should be a
      goal from day one. In our spiritual gym, we should be
      working on all of these “spiritual muscle groups.”)

  2. Marriage Relationships

    1. Read Genesis 2:24. What does it mean for a “man to leave
      his father and mother?”

      1. Does this only apply to the man? Should the woman
        leave her father and mother too? (The result is “one
        flesh,” therefore logically, she should leave too.)

      2. Would “leaving,” refer to geography, relationships or
        both? (Marriage is not like foot-ball or “tag-team”
        wrestling. It is not a team sport. The newly-wed man
        and woman should live by themselves and reconcile
        their differences without the “assistance” of members
        of the family “team.” If the problems are faced by
        the couple “one on one,” then they are both motivated
        to compromise. But, if “mom” or “dad” join the
        dispute on the side of their “child,” the child will
        have no reason to compromise and the other spouse
        (now outnumbered) will become bitter. Love your
        parents, but toss them out of your disputes.)

    2. Read Ephesians 5:28. Is this just advice for men? Is this
      just advice for marriage? (“He who loves his wife loves
      himself” is one of the most important divine insights in
      the Bible. This is the kind of knowledge which Peter told
      us gives us divine power. Showing kindness and love should
      begin with your spouse, continue with the family and
      extend to those around you. If you are harsh and selfish
      with your spouse, you will get that back. If you are kind
      and loving to your spouse, you will get that back.)

  3. Family Relationships

    1. Read Ephesians 6:1-3. Is this an instruction to obey all
      parents? (“Parents” has an important modifier: “in the
      Lord.” This assumes the possibility of ungodly parents
      and godly children. In that situation, if the parent is
      giving commands which contradict God’s commands, obedience
      is not required.)

      1. Why would obedient children live longer and have
        better lives than disobedient children? (The parents
        described here have two important advantages in life.
        First, they have an understanding of God’s will.
        Second, they have the benefit of experience. Since
        godly parents love their children, they will give
        them directions that are intended to make their
        children’s lives better.)

        1. Have you seen the truth of this text played out
          in the lives of others? (I see this all the
          time. The obedient child has a better, less
          stressful life.)

    2. Read Ephesians 6:4. What obligation is placed upon
      parents? (To teach and model God’s will.)

      1. How could godly parents exasperate their children?
        (By going beyond the will of God. Deuteronomy 4:2 is
        one example where God tells His followers not to add
        or subtract from God’s commands. Parents need to
        teach all of God’s instructions to their children,
        but should not try to represent their own preferences
        as God’s requirements.)

  4. Community Relationships

    1. Read Deuteronomy 5:21 and Deuteronomy 23:25. What do these
      texts teach us about private property rights within the

    2. Read Acts 2:41-45. How did the early Christians treat
      private property?

    1. Is there a common thread that can be traced between the
      texts in Deuteronomy and the actions recorded in Acts?
      (The poor have no personal claim on the goods of the rich.
      However, a converted heart holds goods “lightly.”)

    2. Friend, we have learned that if you want to improve your
      relationships with others, you have to improve your
      knowledge and relationship with God. Will you commit to
      daily study of God’s word?

  1. Next week: Lord of Our Resources.