Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]
The phrase “be sober” occurs eight times in the New Testament. In a previous blog entry dealing one of these usages, I mention that the expression generally conveys the idea this idea: “do not be drunk” or “don’t get intoxicated.” His graceoasis.com points out that “the word does not mean to abstain from the use of alcohol but rather to refrain from the abuse of it which leads to intoxication.”
Translated from the Greek word nepso, the verb means “to be sober-minded, watchful, and circumspect.” Variations of the verb include ananephō, translated to become sober; eknephō, meaning “to return to one’s sense from drunkenness, become sober” and nēphálios: sober.
One translation of the Greek word renders the term: “to be sober, calm and collected, to have good sense, good judgment, wisdom, and level-headed in times of stress.”
This passage gives the reason for being sober: . . . because our adversary, our “opponent in the court of justice” (Zechariah 3:1), the accuser of the brethren, our arch enemy, who only seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, walks about as roaring lion, that attempts to instill fear and startle its prey before pouncing on the petrified victim. As believers, we are to resist, to stand firm in our faith—rooted, established, immovable. We are consoled in knowing that our brothers and sisters throughout the world encounter similar situations and stand strong. We are not alone.
Matt Weeks offers a scripture memory song of 1 Peter 5:8-9 in the NIV: