Suffering for Doing Good – Part 1 – (3:13-17)
Welcome to Week 6 of your 1 Peter Bible Study. This is the first of two parts on suffering in 1 Peter.
In some sense, all of Peter’s epistle is meant to encourage God’s people in the midst of the trials they are experiencing. However, starting with 1 Peter 3:13, the topic becomes particularly acute.
As we mentioned in our orientation to our Bible Study on 1 Peter, much of the “suffering” spoken of in the letter has to do with Christians living as outsiders in a mainstream secular society. In other words, the way they live today.
Thus, instead of speaking about persecution by the state (being thrown to the lions), the kind of suffering mentioned in 1 Peter has to do more with social marginalization, mockery, slander, and a pressure to conform to the Gentile standards of the day. This is important to keep in mind so that we do not look at the “suffering” portrayed in 1 Peter as that which comes about through illness, loss of life, physical abuse, etc.
Read 1 Peter 3:13-17
Questions to reflect on the passage
- In 3:14, what does it mean to “suffer for the sake of righteousness”? Compare to 3:17. What is the reward for doing that?
- Why would Peter warn against being intimidated or being troubled in 3:14?
- What does it mean to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts?
- About what should you be ready to defend yourself? Why does Peter request that your defense be done in a certain way?
- What does it mean to “keep a good conscience” and why is that important?
- What is God’s involvement in suffering according to 3:17?
Questions to reflect on your life
- Do you consider yourself “blessed” when you suffer for doing good?
- How do you respond to the fact that suffering is sometimes part of God’s will? (see 3:17.)
- What would you say to someone who asked you to give an account of the hope that is within you?
- Have you ever been slandered or have you ever been reviled for the way you behave? Explain. What was your response?.
- Are you intimidated or afraid of people because of your Christian faith? Explain.
- Are you afraid to share or speak out on certain issues because of what others might think? Explain.