The aim of this devotional study is to prepared your mind to give an answer for the hope you have in Christ.
1 Peter 3:8-20
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
Observation and reflection
Context: at the end of his first letter to a persecuted church Peter exhorts the readers in Rome AD 63 to not be fearful or ashamed at their suffering but to suffer find comfort within their loving community and endure in the way in which Christ did during his suffering. We will only focus on verses 15 and 16 in this devotional study.
- In your own words explain what you understand Peter appeals of the suffering believers in verses 15 and 16:
- “always be prepared”
- “make a defense”
- “to anyone who asks”
- “for a reason”
- “for the hope in that is in you”
- “do it with gentleness”
- “do it with respect”
- “having a good conscience”
- In around 701 BC Isaiah encouraged the Jews in Jerusalem to not fear the invading Assyrian army but said “The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy. Let Him be your fear….” (Isaiah 8:13) – in other words “He is the Mighty One! Don’t fear the Assyrians!” Peter starts his appeal here by rephrasing these comforting words as “the Lord Christ is the one you are to regard as holy”.
- What was the obvious similarities between the besieged Jews in 701 BC and the persecuted believers in Rome AD 63?
- Why would this phrase bring them comfort?
Personal reflection and Prayer
- Are you anxious or fearful if people ask you questions about your faith? Why?
- Ask the Lord for courage to answer any question truthfully when it comes.
- What is the hope you have in Christ? In other words, what do you hope to gain (in this life and the next) by trusting and obeying Jesus Christ?
- The readers of 1 Peter were suffering under Roman persecution when they received this letter. During prolonged hard times, what certain hope will give you reason to keep believing and obeying Jesus your Lord?
- If someone asks you today “for a reason for the hope that is in you” – what will you tell them? Why do you have this hope (confident expectation)?
- Pray Paul’s prayer “that you may know the hope to which you were called, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”
- How does one answer someone with gentleness and respect?
- Whom have you answered rudely or with disrespect recently? As for forgiveness for not representing Christ well, then send that person a message to apologize, asking if you can talk about it. (Do it now!)
- Consider you conscience with regard to your interaction with non-believers; is there any shame or regret in terms for how you represent Jesus to them? Ask the Lord for forgiveness and for grace to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him” today (Colossians 1:10).