Pain, suffering, trials and tribulations are all part of the normal Christian life. We walk through a broken world where we sin and are sinned against, looking forward to the day when we will live in a new heaven and earth where sin, sorrow, suffering and shame are banished. But until that day, we are on a journey through dangerous territory, filled with many dangers and stumbling blocks.
1 Peter provides many encouragements both for how we navigate the trials we experience today and how we prepare for the trials that will surely come our way. 1 Peter 4:12-19 is focused on a very specific type of trial, that which comes because we belong to Jesus. In the context of 1 Peter, these trials were manifesting in terms of Jesus followers be rejected, reviled and ridiculed. This is not unanticipated as Jesus tells us that all who belong to Him will experience these particular types of trials (John15:18–20).
1. Read 1 Peter 4:1-19 and John 15:18-20. What do the trials that Jesus and Peter are talking about look like in real life? What did they look like at the time this was being written? What do they look like today? Be sure to think in both terms of extreme persecution as well as the more mundane “every day” form that persecution and rejection takes.
2. This section specifically focuses on trials that happen to us because we follow Jesus. What are some practical ways you have experienced these types of trials in your own life? What are some sinful ways you have responded? What are some God honoring ways you have responded?
3. Peter is very practical in what he tells us to do as we prepare to be mistreated because we belong to Jesus. What are some things that Peter tells us to seek to do? Why are these things important to preparing us for mistreatment by others?

4. Not all of our suffering comes because we belong to Jesus. Some of our suffering comes because of our own sinful actions. What does Peter say about this type of suffering? Why is this important to this discussion of being mistreated because we are Christians? What are some examples of people — or yourself — being confused about being mistreated because of bad actions as opposed to being mistreated because of honoring Christ?

5. The judgement of God is a significant theme in this passage. How does this relate to helping Christians prepare to be mistreated because they belong to Christ? How does it help us understand the actual state of those who don’t now Jesus?
6. Keeping in mind the “big picture” of what God’s ultimate plan is — a new heaven and earth without sin, sorrow and shame — is very helpful in enduring suffering. How might v. 17-19 help a Christian who is in the midst of a trial because of their faith? How might this reality help a Christian live a more holy and God honoring life regardless of if they are currently experiencing this type of suffering?
%d bloggers like this: