Lord, I come to You in reverence, declaring Christ my Lord.
Read 1 Peter 3:8–22
Suffering for Doing Good
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[d] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
a 1 Peter 3:12 Psalm 34:12-16
b 1 Peter 3:14 Or fear what they fear
c 1 Peter 3:14 Isaiah 8:12
d 1 Peter 3:19 Or but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also
e 1 Peter 3:21 Or but an appeal to God for a clear conscience
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do you think Peter means when he encourages them to be prepared to give the reason for the hope they have “with gentleness and respect”?
Peter’s passion that people should come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord and then live lives that reflect that relationship is core to this letter. In what ways do the behaviors Peter encourages in verses 8 and 9 illustrate “seek peace and pursue it” in the quote from Psalm 34? Peter longs that his fellow believers know God’s blessing as they reflect his character.
If you have ever been on an evangelism training course, you will probably have heard verses 15 and 16 quoted. Peter builds a picture of Christians living such good lives that people are prompted to ask questions. Does that ever happen to you? Following one of the attacks on a church in Egypt, the widow of a man who was killed spoke on TV of how she forgave his killers. The anchor man of the show was dumbfounded and asked, “What is it about these Christians? They are made of different stuff!” He is right. Our Egyptian sister was certainly revering Christ as Lord in her heart.
Verses 18 to 21 seem strange to us. Peter’s thrust seems to be that we need not fear threats whether they come from the seen or the unseen world. Jesus has declared his authority over all the spiritual powers in the world and we are safe with him. Hallelujah!
How actively do you pursue peace in all your relationships? When is it really difficult?
Lord, I pray that You will use my life to draw others to faith in Christ.