Setting

Peter has been urging the believers to conduct themselves in holiness, fear of God, and love. Now he addresses specific groups of believers regarding their specific social roles. In each situation, he shows us how we should glorify and honor God by living blamelessly among our fellow human beings.

Key Verse

(2:12)

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Outline

  • Conduct as Sojourners and Pilgrims
    (2:11-12)
  • Conduct of Citizens
    (2:13-17)
  • Conduct of Servants
    (2:18-25)
  • Conduct of Wives
    (3:1-6)
  • Conduct of Husbands
    (3:7)
  • Conduct towards One Another
    (3:8-12)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    In each of the paragraphs of this passage, Peter gives the purpose or goal of submission. Identify and record them.

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    2:12: “…that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
    2:15: “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
    2:21: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”
    3:1: “…that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.”
    3:7: “…that your prayers may not be hindered.”
    3:10, 12: “…He who would love life And see good days…For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers.”

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Segment Analysis

  • 2:11-12

    1a.

    Compare “fleshly lusts” and “soul.” Why are they incompatible?

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    Fleshly lusts lead to sin, which results in the death of the soul (Rom 8:13; Jas 1:14-15).

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  • 1b.

    Why should sojourners and pilgrims choose the soul over the flesh?

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    As sojourners and pilgrims, we are not here to stay forever. Our flesh will soon fail, but our soul will live on. Therefore, we should care for our souls and abstain from fleshly lusts.

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  • 2.

    What form of persecution does Peter speak of here?

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    Slander (12).

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  • 3a.

    Who will glorify God in the day of visitation?

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    The Gentiles.

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  • 3b.

    What is the day of visitation?

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    The two common explanations for “the day of visitation” are the return of Christ and the day when unbelievers are converted. The second explanation is more likely for two reasons. First, the word “visit” is used in Lk 1:68 to refer to God’s redemption of His people. Second, it is the good works of the believers in the present rather than the judgment of Christ when He returns that moves these Gentiles to glorify God.

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  • 2:13-17

    4.

    In what sense is our submission to every ordinance of man “for the Lord’s sake”?

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    If we submit to governing authorities, others will see our good deeds and give glory to God.

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  • 5a.

    According to 15, what is God’s will for Christians?

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    God’s will is that by doing good we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

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  • 5b.

    What is the “ignorance of foolish men”?

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    The slanders of unbelievers against the faith (cf. 12).

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  • 6.

    How can we be free but also be bondservants of God? Isn’t there a contradiction?

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    Through the atoning death of Christ we have been set free from sin and have become the slave of righteousness and of God (Rom 6:11-23). God has redeemed us, and we rightfully belong to Him. But being a slave of God does not suggest bondage, but an obligation to live holy lives that result in eternal life. While unbelievers mistakenly think that obedience to God is lack of freedom, being a bondservant of God is actually true freedom because we are no longer bound by sin.

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  • 2:18-25

    7a.

    According to Peter, what kind of endurance is commendable?

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    Suffering for doing good is commendable before God.

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  • 7b.

    What must we maintain in our hearts when we suffer?

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    In our suffering, we must have a clear conscience toward God (19). In other words, we need to be sure that our suffering should not be the result of doing evil.

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  • 7c.

    Have you had an unreasonable employer or manager? What can you learn from the exhortation here?

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  • 8.

    What is the purpose of our calling, according to 21?

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    We have been called to imitate Christ.

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  • 9a.

    What example has Christ set for us? What lessons can we learn from Him?

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    The example of Christ is His suffering for righteousness’ sake. Just as Christ did not retaliate or threaten His enemies, but committed Himself to the righteous Judge, we should also endure suffering patiently while waiting for God’s just judgment and not take vengeance into our own hands.

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  • 9b.

    What purpose did Christ’s suffering accomplish?

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    He bore our sins and healed our stripes that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness (24). By His death, Christ has delivered us from sin and enabled us to live righteous lives. Thus, through the power of Christ, we should endure suffering for righteousness’ sake.

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  • 10.

    Why is Christ called the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls?

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    Like a shepherd, the Lord nourishes us, heals our wounds, brings us back to the path of righteousness, and laid down His own life to save us from death (Ps 23; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:11-16; Jn 10:10-11). He is the Guardian of our souls, keeping us from the harm of the evil one (1Pet 1:5).

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  • 3:1-6

    11.

    How can wives win over their unbelieving husbands?

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    They can win over their husbands who do not obey the word, not with eloquent preaching, but with their chaste conduct (1-2).

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  • 12a.

    According to Peter, what is true beauty for women?

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    True beauty is found in the inner person, with an incorruptible gentleness and quiet spirit. In other words, the beauty of a woman resides in her submission, which is not a helpless subjection to force but a voluntary choice to yield to her husband’s leadership.

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  • 12b.

    Why do you think these characteristics are beautiful? What positive influence can such beauty bring to the household?

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    Gentleness and quiet spirit give beauty to a woman because these traits are the very qualities that God intended for women, whom He created to be helpers for men (Gen 2:18-24). If a woman respects her God-given role, acknowledges her husband as the head of the house, and loves him with tenderness and respect, she will bring warmth, harmony, and joy to the family. Unlike physical beauty that fades, this “incorruptible beauty” (4) remains permanently attractive.

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  • 12c.

    Which do you pay more attention to or spend more time on? Outward adornment? Inward beauty?

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  • 13.

    Contrast the fear in verses 2 and 6.

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    While verse 2 speaks of the fear of God, verse 6 is a reference to the fear of men. A woman should fear God by exhibiting chaste conduct without fearing that her submission to her husband would encourage him to treat her harshly.

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  • 3:7

    14.

    Explain what it means for the husband to dwell with his wife with understanding.

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    The word “understanding” may mean “knowledge” or “consideration” The husband ought to be considerate of the needs of his wife and know how to love her as Christ loves the church.

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  • 15.

    How should the husband act towards his wife, knowing that she is the weaker vessel and coheir of the grace of life?

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    He must give honor to his wife (7). Since she is the weaker vessel, he should all the more respect and esteem her, knowing that they are one body (cf. 1Cor 12:21-26). Not only so, the wife is a joint heir with her husband of the grace of life. She is also a member of Christ’s body whom Christ has bought with His blood; she too is the temple of the Holy Spirit; and she is also a child of the King who will inherit God’s Kingdom together with her husband. Thus, the husband must honor his wife because she is also precious in the eyes of God.

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  • 3:8-12

    16.

    What is the main point of this passage?

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    Let Christian love govern how we deal with one another, bearing in mind that the Lord loves those who obey Him.

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  • 17a.

    How does this paragraph sum up the entire passage?

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    The word “finally” indicates that this paragraph is a conclusion to the preceding paragraphs. “All of you” suggests that while the exhortations thus far were for specific groups of believers, what follows applies to all believers. The principle of unity, compassion, love, tenderness, and courtesy underlies any harmonious relationship. Non-retaliation and patience enable us to submit even when we are suffering unjustly.

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  • 17b.

    What is the ultimate motivation for love and submission?

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    The righteous, who practice love and submission, are pleasing to God (12). Aiming to please God, therefore, motivates us to obey His will.

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