photo by Maria Silén, MamaArtPhotos

by Tammy Phillips
November 30, 2021

 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7 KJV)

When we think of the word sober, our minds usually conjure one meaning. Don’t get drunk.  Why do “we”get drunk?  “To lose our minds” from the bombardment of the day and to kill the pain.  However, pain has its purpose and can be numbed in a better way, sober prayer.

In the original Greek “sober” appears twice in 1 Peter 4:7. Each word has a little different meaning.  Translated 1 Peter 4:7 could read, “Be sober(1) and sober(2)  unto prayer.”  A double encouragement to be sober.

  1. The first sober we see in the verse is the Greek word sophroneo.  It means be of sound mind; self-controlled; without excess of any kind;  moderate and discreet.
  2.  The second sober in the 1 Peter 4:7 is the Greek word nepho.  It originally had a physical meaning, opposed to drunkenness and to be free from the influence of intoxicants. It is a derivative of the Greek word sophron (see above) meaning, of sound mind, sane, in one’s senses, curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate, calm, impassionate, exercise of cool reasoning.  The root words of sophron are sozo, meaning, saved, whole, healed  and phren meaning mind or understanding.  Hence, we can deduce being sober is having a saved mind, a whole mind, and a healed mind.

“Ellicott, on 1Ti 3:2,11, distinguishes between the two words by regarding sophron as pointing to the outward exhibition of the inward virtue implied in nepho.”– H. E. Jacobs

Excess clouds the mind.  Excess divides the mind and our attention.  Excess distracts and diverts our focus.

What does 1 Peter 4:7 mean to me?  I hear:

Be self-controlled.
Don’t lose you mind.
Save your mind.
Don’t get drunk.
Don’t get drunk on alcohol.
Don’t get drunk on drugs.
Don’t get drunk on sex.
Don’t get drunk on food.
Don’t get drunk on power.
Don’t get drunk on money.
Don’t get drunk on fame.
Stay calm, cool, and collected.
Save the mind. Don’t get drunk.
BE SOBER in the place of prayer.

I enCOURAGE you (and me) to be sober.  We are blessed. It is so easy to step or slip into excess and “lose our minds.”  We are called to be sound minded and self- controlled in all things. 

1 Peter 4:1 tells us to arm ourselves with the same mind as Christ.   This is not possible if we are drunk with the things of the world.

“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.  For we [have spent] enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” (1 Peter 4:3 NKJV)

Remember, as followers of Jesus,“We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV). We don’t want to lose it!  Be sober.

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