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“In Praise of Sobriety”

1 Peter 1: 13a, 14: “Gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit ... do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.” St. Peter here reminds us to gird our minds (rather than the usual ‘gird your loins’), then says to keep sober in spirit – except the words ‘in spirit’ were not in the original texts, they were added by the translators. But given the context (prepare your minds, then give up your former sins) wouldn’t normal, literal sobriety – in other words, not being drunk – be more logical? It certainly would harmonize with the rest of the Word of God, which places no premium on drunkenness. Why not just retain Peter’s original thought: “Keep your minds ready, by keeping sober”?

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