Peter has been addressing how our public faith gives God glory. Looking back at 1 Peter 2:11-12, Peter makes the statement that how we live among those who do not know and follow Jesus sets an example of God’s character and some will see it and respond to the gospel because of it. Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at how this is lived out in different arenas Peter focuses on: our life as citizens in a government, harsh work environments and marriage. Peter turns his focus from those specific situations to how we all live in a more general sense. He starts off in verse 8… “finally, all of you” and then addresses our Christian character as we live out our lives under the “eyes of the Lord” (3:12).
1. Read the passage a few times and list out 7-8 observations you see from the text like who is the audience, what character themes is he highlighting, does he quote from any specific Old Testament passages, etc.
2. Peter uses 5 statements to discuss how relationships among believers should look: unity, sympathy, brotherly love, tender heart (compassion), humility.
- Write down a quick definition for each of these words. Do you notice any similarities and does one seem to stand out more than the others?
- how would living out these 5 statements lead to deeper relationships within the local church?
- “Brotherly love” is the Greek word “Philadelphoi”. This type of love seems to be rooted in relationship and family. What are some things we can do to deepen brotherly love in the church?
3. There is some debate about whether verse 9 refers to our relationship with people who follow Jesus or those who do not. Seeking to harm someone and to “revile” or insult them is out of character with following Jesus, yet we all likely have stories or experiences of when that has happened in the church.
- Suppose Peter is speaking to our relationship with other Christians, how would putting into practice verse 9 help build up unity?
- If Peter is talking about how we respond to being mistreated by those who do not follow Jesus, which is a theme of 1 Peter, how would living out verse 9 point to Jesus? Are there any specific things about the life of Jesus where he lived out verse 9?
4. 1 Peter 3:10-12 is a quote from Psalm 34, which is a favorite of Peter’s to quote. He’s already done so in 1 Peter 2:3, 2:17 and now here. Psalm 34 focuses on suffering and God’s deliverance, which is one of Peter’s main themes. Peter believes that those who have received new life live out a transformed life as evidence of the change that God has worked in their hearts. These verses emphasize how followers of Jesus ought to live and seem to indicate that our actions affect the length and “goodness” of our lives (kind of like what Proverbs does in the Old Testament).
- What practical steps help us live “good days” from these verses?
- How does God respond to “the righteous”? (Remember back to 1 Peter 3:7, one of the consequences of disobedience as a Christian husband was “hindered prayers”)
- What do these verses say about God’s providential care for his people?
5. Spend some time in prayer and responding to this passage.
- Are there any people you need to seek forgiveness from based on not living out verses 8-9?
- Can you name 3-4 people at church that you’re connected to beyond a surface level? If not, what are 1-2 ways you can grow in “brotherly love” in the local church? Spend some time talking to God about this need.