Bible Studies for Life
1 Peter 3:8-17
What kind of atmosphere exists in your home, your workplace, or the places where you go? What influence do you have in each? Are you a peacemaker or a troublemaker?
This passage’s simple virtues highlight the nature of being Christian. Jesus laid the foundation in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-42). The early church, including Peter and Paul, wrestled with these high moral standards. In this passage, Peter parallels – perhaps echoes – Paul’s thought (1 Thess. 5:15; Rom. 12:14; 1 Cor, 4:12)).
Called to love and bless those who intend evil
1 Peter 3:8-12
Having listed the characteristics of a Christian home (1 Peter 3:1-7), the Apostle begins outlining healthy relationships between Christians, all of you – male/female, young/old, free/slave, Jew/Greek.
Being of one mind requires no conformist/robotic attitude. Christians have their diverse perspectives and distinct spiritual gifts. One mind underscores a humble, agreeable, and tender-hearted way of being.
Too often, contemporary churches and Christian organizations operate from cut-throat Darwinist rules of business with programs mirroring the amoral Broadway stage. Jesus rejected the harsh world of Rome, reminding his discipleship that servanthood was at the heart of following him. Moreover, he used the word “hypocrite” from the Greek stage, revealing what we should not be or become! Worldly power, greed, and lust do not pave the road to Jesus’ heart!
The first step in winning others to Christ is by our love for one another. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Peter addresses Lex talionis, the law of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21:26, 27). This ancient rule provided fair recompense for a loss regardless of whether the offender or the injured party were rich or poor. It was a leap forward in its day.
Jesus, however, rejected Lex talionis, calling for the injured Christian to act in a way that shows unexpected grace (Matthew 5:38-48). Christians should follow Jesus: “Do not repay evil for evil, insult for insult.” Getting even is not the Lord’s way.
Christians are called to be a blessing, even to wicked people. God promises that as Christians bless others, they will be unexpectantly blessed (Eccl. 11:3).
Quoting Psalm 34:12-16, Peter defines the good life (vv. 10-12). Whoever loves lifemust refrain from evil in speech and in deed, and then pursue passionately peace. God promises to watch over and hear the righteous, while the wicked are under his judgment.
Our hope in Christ carries us
1 Peter 3:13-14
In Peter’s day, Christians were targeted by Jewish and Roman authorities. In today’slist (from Open Doors) of 50 nations with high or severe persecution, 25 percent of the world’s Christians live there, including 40 percent of Asian Christians.
Peter instructs the persecuted Christian. First, suffering for righteousness’ sake may happen. Second, be not overcome by fear or worry. Our hope in Christ who sustains us.
Faithfulness in suffering is an opportunity
1 Peter 3:15-17
Third, cultivate a sense of reverence toward Christ. Fourth, defend the hope that we have in Christ. The Holy Spirit will help (Mark 13:11). Fifth, keep a clear conscience, living crime-free.
While touring the biblical lands, my wife and I witnessed the place where Jesus was tortured by Roman soldiers in Fortress Antonio (Jerusalem), and later the torture wheel used by Roman soldiers on early Christians in the fortress Babylon (Cairo, Egypt). The blood of the martyrs was the seeds of the church (Tertullian).
In our world today, eight Christians are killed daily, 182 church buildings attacked weekly, and 309 Christians imprisoned monthly (Open Doors).
Jesus said, “I am not praying that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:16, 18)
Do you face temptation and evil in your daily life?
Do you suffer as a Christian in your home or workplace?