1 Peter 3:13-17
Focused Text: 1 Peter 3:15
Most of us who have been around the church for any length of time have heard this verse quoted on numerous occasions, often without explanation or context. We treat it as a catchall for any and every situation in which we find ourselves sharing the faith with others.
However, the immediate context of the passage makes something certain—Peter is giving believers instructions for responding to those who vehemently oppose the faith. Read through the entire paragraph and observe the characteristics of those mentioned (13-17). They are people who seek to “harm” believers, but believers should not fear them (14). They “slander” and “revile” God’s people, bringing pressure upon them for their commitment to live out the faith (17). They are the type of people who are repulsed by the thought of someone else not instantly conforming to their own worldview.
So, how do we respond? Rather than hitting back in the same vain, beating them over the head with Bible verse and the invocation of God’s wrath, we put our opponents to shame by living out the faith in working for the good of those around us. When we are not shaken by our opponents, those who are observant will begin to question why, and we are to be prepared to respond. This is the context in which Peter calls us to respond gently, making a defense for the faith.
Take some time to think or talk through the following questions with a view to applying the passage in your own life.
- How have I historically responded to opposition to my faith? Do I become flustered and combative? Or do I respond with a view to God’s sovereignty and mercy?
- What are some ways that I can prepare myself to consistently respond to opposition in a Christ-honoring manner? (i.e. confidently & gently articulating my testimony?)
At our Crossing Campus in Pleasanton, our church family is going through a Sunday sermon series 1 Peter: The Sojourner’s Hope. (Audio sermons available online.)
We sincerely believe that the more we interact with and apply God’s Word, the greater impact it will have on our hearts and in our lives. Therefore, we encourage you to make use of these devotionals in your personal or family devotion times as well as small groups.
You can download the full devotional (16 weeks) on our church homepage or pick one up at our Information Desk on Sundays.