1 Peter Lesson Ten

1 Peter 4:7-19 Lesson Ten – End Times and Suffering

Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. 13 Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation  of His glory. 14 If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit  of glory and of God rests on you. 15 None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. 16 But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? 

18 And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty, 

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

19 So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator. (HCSB)

As we look at this passage, it is split into two parts. The first part contains verses 7-11 and deals with the end times. The second part contains verses 12-19 and deals with suffering.

Part One – verses 7-11

Verse 7

First, we need to define the concept “end of all things is near.” The birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus have ushered in the “last days.” Although we don’t have any idea when Jesus will return, and even He said only the Father knows, we do know His resurrection begins the last period before His second coming.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 
  • 1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist  is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour.
  • Romans 13:11-12 Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you  to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
  • James 5:7-8 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Peter’s exhortations in this paragraph all revolve around the idea of the return of Jesus. Because He is coming back, and we don’t know when believers should live in a spirit of obedient expectancy.

Another point to remember about New Testament eschatology is that there are no passages that encourage the setting of dates or any charts that predict the future. Instead, eschatology is used to encourage believers to live in a godly way. Nor does Scripture encourage believers to withdraw because the end is near and look to the sky for Jesus’ second coming.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 About the times and the seasons: Brothers, you do not need anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in the dark, for this day to overtake you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness. So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, we must be serious and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet of the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord  Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. 

The truth that the end could happen at any moment has led some believers to act foolishly. Instead, we should focus on God and think about how short our physical life is compared to eternity. We should spend our time in prayer, realizing that at any moment, Jesus could return. Prayer also demonstrates our dependence on God and that any good that happens in the world is due to God’s grace.

Verse 8

Peter encourages the reader to maintain a spirit of love with each other, especially as the “end of all things is near.” Jesus also warned the disciples about this. Matthew 24:12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.

Verse 9

The theme of love continues here in the form of hospitality without grumbling. Hospitality was, and still should be, a central characteristic of Christians.

  • Romans 12:13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
  • Titus 1:8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled,
  • Hebrews 13:2 Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.

Hospitality was also a requirement for the early church as it often met in homes.

  • Romans 16:3-5 Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in  Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. Not only do I thank them, but so do all the Gentile churches. Greet also the church that meets in their home.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia  greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, along with the church that meets in their home.

Those who open their homes may become tired after a period of time. Therefore, Peter encourages hospitality “without complaining” to encourage continued hospitality.

Verse 10

Here Peter switches to a discussion on spiritual gifts. These gifts are bestowed by Holy Spirit through the grace of God to enable believers to contribute to the work of ministry. The verse also implies that every believer receives at least one spiritual gift after placing their faith in Jesus. These gifts should not be viewed as a privilege. Instead, we should view it as a responsibility on our part to utilize the gift(s) that we are given to build up the church and edify others. They are not to used to build up our self-esteem or make ourselves look good. Neither should we look at gifts in a hierarchal mentality, with certain gifts being viewed as better than others. Each of us should be thankful for the gift(s) that we are given and use them for God’s glory.

Verse 11

Peter continues his discussion on spiritual gifts. Here he breaks them down into two categories.

  • Speaking (Romans 12:6-7, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-30, Ephesians 4:11)
    • Apostleship.
    • Prophecy.
    • Teaching.
    • Tongues.
    • Exhortation.
  • Serving (Romans 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:9-10, 28-30)
    • Giving.
    • Leading.
    • Mercy.
    • Helps.
    • Healing.
    • Miracles.

All of us must utilize our gifts through the power of God and not in our own strength.

Peter then adds a doxology, which has led some to believe the letter actually ended here. However, there are other New Testament letters that have a doxology before the ending of the letter:

  • Romans 11:36
  • Galatians 1:5
  • Ephesians 3:21
  • Philippians 4:20

It makes more sense to view the doxology as the end of a major section of this letter, 2:11-4:11.

Part Two – verses 12-19

The theme of suffering is central to this section. Peter uses “suffering” or “suffer” four times in this section. The term “fiery ordeal” is vague and could be interpreted in a couple of ways.

Verse 12

  • God uses trials to shape and mold believers for further service. This idea would follow Old Testament theology.
    • Proverbs 27:21 A crucible for silver, and a smelter for gold, and a man for the words of his praise.
    • Psalm 66:10 For You, God, tested us; You refined us as silver is refined.
    • Zechariah 13:9 I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: Yahweh is our God.”
    • Malachi 3:1-4 “See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by. 
  • It could also be referencing the persecution that began under Nero. In Rome, Christians were being pulled from their houses, dipped in tar, and then lit on fire to provide light in Nero’s gardens. 

I believe the correct interpretation is to view the “fiery ordeal” as any trials that God allows us to experience in order to refine us for further/future service. Especially when we view the passage from Malachi 3:1-4 where God comes to purify His house (temple/church). When viewed in this light, the suffering should not be viewed as an absence of God but His purifying presence.

Verse 13

Peter is encouraging the readers to rejoice in present suffering so that later they will be able to rejoice when Christ returns. Acts 5:41 Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name. 

Peter is also implying that those who groan and complain now don’t truly belong to Jesus.

Verse 14

This verse builds on the previous. We are called to rejoice in suffering, but we are actually blessed by God when we are insulted by people for being a follower of Jesus. Peter is echoing Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:11-12 You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We are blessed because we have God’s favor through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 15

Not all suffering qualifies for a blessing. The first three sins listed here are easy to understand. Murder, theft, and doing evil are clearly sins. The fourth one listed, “meddler,” presents an interpretive challenge. The original Greek word used doesn’t appear anywhere else in the New Testament, the Septuagint, or any Greek literature written before 1 Peter. The most likely interpretation of “meddler” would be words like “agitator,” “disrupter,” or “troublemaker.” Those who act in this manner disrupt peace and harmony in the church and the community. Suffering for being a “meddler” in the business of others is not righteous suffering.

Verse 16

Peter has an implied charge in this verse. Those who would act in a shameful manner are actually denying Christ before unbelievers. Peter viewed this action as apostasy.

  • Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful  generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
  • 2 Timothy 1:8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner.  Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.

Verse 17

The reference to “God’s household” is an Old Testament reference to the temple. However, under the New Covenant, there is no temple; each believer is the temple. God’s judgment will begin with His people to purify those who truly belong to God. There is also an unstated implication in this point. If believers, who fall under the grace of God, face suffering and trials before we receive our glorified bodies in the new age, how much worse will unbelievers suffer for all eternity as they face judgment and eternal separation from God? Unbelief leads to disobedience. Hence, those who disobey the Gospel display unbelief in the truth of the Gospel.

Verse 18

The “difficulty” Peter refers to here is not that the believer was saved at the last moment or that they barely escaped judgment. What he means is that believers must undergo trials and suffering to be purified. The salvation referred to here is an eschatological salvation. Just as in the previous verse, if the life of a believer is difficult due to suffering, how much worse will the eternal torment of those who disobeyed the Gospel be?

Verse 19

Peter states that the suffering we undergo in the refining and shaping process is all part of God’s will for our eternal benefit. Because God is the creator of everything, He is sovereign over it. We can take solace that God will not allow us to suffer beyond our limit and that He will provide the strength we need to get through it. We show our trust in God by continuing to do “what is good.”

This passage provides nine principles for us to follow.

  • We should not be surprised when we suffer shame because of our faith.
  • Suffering shame for Jesus should be viewed as a test in preparation for God’s final judgment.
  • We should welcome the opportunity to share in the sufferings of Jesus.
  • We should focus on the eternal rather than the temporal. Whatever we suffer through here is short in comparison to eternity.
  • Regardless of our trials, we should be thankful for the Holy Spirit, who guides us through this life.
  • When we suffer, we need to continue in our good behavior and not deny Jesus.
  • We should focus on God’s glory and not our shame as we face persecution.
  • Because we will be judged, we must strengthen our resolve to be obedient regardless of the suffering.
  • When suffering in the name of Jesus, we must continue to do good works as an expression of trust.


  • Do you live as if Jesus could return at any moment? Our lives should be covered in prayer, obedience to what is contained in Scripture (which means we read and now it), and loving others. 
  • Do you know what your spiritual gift(s) is/are? If not, you need to determine what they are. 
  • Do you use your spiritual gift(s) in serving others and glorifying God? If not, you need to start.
  • Do you stand firm in the face of persecution? This includes both physical and verbal. We will never truly know how we will react when it comes, but if you prepare yourself, you will be much better equipped to face the trials. Spend time each day reading Scripture, praying, and serving each other.
  • Do you trust God regardless of your circumstances? Although it can be challenging, we are called to trust God no matter how severe the trials we go through.

1 Peter Lesson Nine

1 Peter 4:1-6 Lesson Nine – Following Christ

Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve —because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin — in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. For there has already been enough time spent in doing what the pagans choose to do: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry. So they are surprised that you don’t plunge with them into the same flood of wild living—and they slander you. They will give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was also preached to those who are now dead, so that, although they might be judged by men in the fleshly realm, they might live by God in the spiritual realm. (HCSB)

The majority of this passage is relatively straightforward and easy to understand. It is only the last verse that presents a challenge, but more on that later. By starting this passage with the word “therefore” Peter is tying this section into what was discussed in 3:18–22, that Christ’s suffering was the road to victory. Since Jesus suffered in the flesh, believers should prepare themselves to suffer as this indicates that they are no longer letting sin have control over them. 

Verse 1

Peter’s point is for believers to prepare themselves for suffering. The term “equip yourselves” is related to military preparation and its use in other passages compares the life of a believer to the life of a warrior.

  • Romans 6:13b – But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.
  • Romans 13:12b – So let us discard the deeds of darkness  and put on the armor of light.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:8 – But since we belong to the day, we must be serious  and put the armor  of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet  of the hope of salvation.

The military language implies that discipline and perseverance are needed to live as a Christian, with an attitude that suffering will come at some point. Just like soldiers prepare and train for battle, Christians must prepare for suffering.

The challenging part of this verse is the reference to “finished with sin.” The logical question is who this is referring to. There are three possible interpretations.

  • Jesus – The most apparent reason to reject this interpretation is that Jesus never sinned. Those who support this interpretation do so on the grounds that Jesus took on the sins of the world as He went to the cross. Still, this interpretation should be rejected.
  • Christians – Any believer who has died is freed from sin. Romans 6 says that believers have died with Jesus, via baptism, to the power of sin. However, this interpretation should also be rejected.
  • Christians who accept and embrace their suffering – These believers have finished with sin because they cease to participate in those activities and they endure the persecution that accompanies that decision. This commitment reveals a passion for a new way of life that is not yet perfect but is still different from the unbelievers around them. This is the correct interpretation.

Verse 2

Believers prepare themselves to suffer so that the remainder of their lives are a reflection of pursuing God’s will and not the desires of their flesh. However long they live, believers are to live with passion pursuing God. Pursuing God invests the remainder of our life in activity that is lasting and satisfying. However, following the world leads us to waste the remainder of life and face regret when we stand before Jesus.

Verse 3

For the person who has submitted to the lordship of Jesus, they’ve already spent enough time chasing the desires of the flesh. They are not to participate in those activities anymore. Peter gives a list of actions to be avoided.

  • Unrestrained behavior – Behavior completely lacking in moral restraint, often pertaining promiscuous sexual behavior.
  • Evil desires – To strongly desire what belongs to someone else, to covet or lust after the possessions of others.
  • Drunkenness – Means what it says, to be drunk.
  • Orgies – Out of control drinking parties with associated immoral behavior.
  • Carousing – Also describes out of control social drinking parties.
  • Lawless idolatry – Unholy and profane lifestyles.

The activities in this list were uncommon in religiously devout Jews, but were common place in the practice of Gentiles.

Verse 4

Because of the difference in behavior between the pagans and the Christians, they are now facing persecution for their faith. However, the persecution at this point is from individuals and not from any government or groups. The activities listed under verse three were normal and expected in the Greco-Roman culture and when people choose not to participate it was seen as going against societal norms. In the culture at the time of this letter public festivals, where the “gods” were celebrated was considered a civic duty of citizens, as well as worship of the emperor. Those who chose not to participate would be viewed as social outcasts. It is easy to envision that believers would be discriminated against and the object of abuse. 

Verse 5

As he does throughout this letter, Peter focuses the readers on the last days and judgment. At the present time for the recipients of this letter the pagans may have enjoyed the upper hand in society, with the perks of advancement and recognition. However, that was a temporal state that would be turned on its head on the day of judgment. Whatever advantages the pagans enjoyed at the moment was not to be desired by believers. By holding fast to the faith and pursuing the will of God they would be vindicated at the time of judgment. No matter how difficult the circumstances they must not fall back into old practices.

Verse 6

We now get to what I referenced in the introduction as the most difficult verse in the passage.

The first thing to note is that the word “for” links this verse to the preceding verses. At the same time “for this reason” points ahead to the purpose “so that.” But before moving on we need to determine what Peter meant by “the gospel was preached to those who are now dead.” Here are some possibilities.

  • Peter is referring to the spiritually dead. 
    • Avoids an interpretive problem of the Gospel being preached to those who are physically dead and agrees with Paul’s position that unbelievers are spiritually dead.
    • However Peter never used the word “dead” (nekros) to talk about spiritual death. Plus, the word “dead” in the previous verse is clearly talking about physical death.
    • Context doesn’t support this possibility.
  • Peter is talking about the physically dead.
    • Those who support this possibility often refer to 1 Peter 3:19. However, if you remember from the last lesson this verse talks about Jesus proclaiming His victory over sin and death, and not a proclamation of the Gospel message.
    • The verb “was also preached” talks about the preaching of Christ, not the preaching by Christ. This preaching was done by believers.
    • This view implies that the Gospel was preached to all the dead after their physical death. This would suggest a second chance for everyone. However, Scripture is clear that there is no second chance. Hebrews 9:27a And just as it is appointed for people to die once–and after this, judgment. 
  • Peter is talking about believers who have experienced physical death.
    • Unbelievers viewed the physical death of believers as proof that there was no advantage to being a Christian, as everyone dies.
    • However, the unbeliever’s viewpoint misses the understanding of the Gospel. A believer experiences physical death but receives eternal spiritual life in heaven. 
    • Physical death is not the last word. Rather, it is a new and eternal beginning.
    • We should embrace this interpretation as the correct understanding of the verse.


  • Prepare yourself daily to live as a follower of Jesus. Every day the world slips further into depravity and sinful behavior. As a believer, we must spend time reading Scripture, praying, gathering with other believers, and sharing the Gospel with the lost. This won’t happen by itself, it takes preparation and dedication on our part.
  • Turn away from sinful desires and practices. Find an accountability partner or group to meet with and share your struggles. Don’t wait to ask for help as you might find yourself mired in sinful practices before you realize it. Challenge fellow believers if you see them participating in or even condoning sinful behavior.
  • We must never lose sight of the fact that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Will we stand in assurance of salvation, or despair in eternal separation from God? Will we be rewarded for living fruitful lives, or will be ashamed of all the wasted opportunities? Regardless of what you’ve done before you can make a decision right now to living fruitful life, glorifying God in the process and resting in the full assurance of your salvation. 

1 Peter Lesson Eight

1 Peter 3:13-22 – Undeserved Suffering

13 And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, 15 but honor the Messiah  as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused,  those who denounce your Christian life will 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 for sins once for all, 

the righteous for the unrighteous, 

that He might bring you to God, 

after being put to death in the fleshly realm

but made alive in the spiritual realm. 

19 In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits  in prison 20 who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared. In it a few—that is, eight people—were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him.

This passage breaks down into two parts. The first is verses 13-17, and the second is 18-22. The first is relatively straightforward to interpret, while the second part is quite challenging, with theologians having dozens of interpretations of the meaning. 

Before we break down the individual verses, let’s summarize the first section. The promise of eternal fellowship with God overrides the trials and distress of the present life. When contrasted against eternity, the span of our lives is a mere blip on the timeline. That doesn’t mean that our struggles are easy, but when viewed through the lens of comparison, we should weigh future glory as priceless compared to the short-termed pleasure of ease of life.

Verse 13

Peter is presenting a rhetorical question. No one is able to harm believers on the day of judgment as God will reward them for their faithfulness. Yahweh will look favorably on the righteous but is against those who practice evil. A believer should never fear what the world can do to them for being obedient to God. Romans 8:31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

God will vindicate believers on the day of judgment.

Verse 14

The word “but” at the beginning of the verse provides further clarification and could be understood to mean “indeed.” Peter’s underlying point here is that regardless of what happens to our physical bodies or the trials we suffer through in this life, we are still blessed because of our future destination. There are two implications to Peter’s point.

  • Since believers are blessed (eternal implication) by God, they shouldn’t fear what unbelievers can do to them.
  • They should fear (respect) God and be obedient. True fear of Yahweh removes the fear of anything else.

Verse 15

A reminder from 1 Peter 1:22 and 3:4 is that the heart is the origin of our human behavior, and character and everything we do flows from our heart. Because of this, if Jesus occupies our heart, our behavior will reflect His character as we live out our faith regardless of our circumstances. Every believer should be able to explain why they have joy and hope regardless of their trials or struggles. We should be able to explain the basics of our faith. Our response to difficulties will be noticeable to unbelievers and demonstrate that our hope is in God and not anything of this world.

Verse 16

Will the previous verse explained what we should; this verse explains how to do it, why you do it, and the result of right behavior.

  • Always interact with others in a spirit of gentleness and respect.
    • We should never be arrogant.
    • We should never argue.
    • We aren’t prosecuting attorneys or a judge. There is only one judge, and none of us are qualified to sit on that throne.
    • The point isn’t to win an argument; it is to bring the lost to Jesus.
  • Believers do this because the Spirit of God lives within us, and we are to reflect the character of God in our lives.
  • When believers live in a righteous, not self-righteous, manner, those who abuse them will be ashamed. 
  • There are two viewpoints on what “shame” means in this verse.
    • It could be the shame of realizing that believers are acting in a righteous manner and the unbeliever is not.
    • It could be the shame and humiliation that unbelievers will experience on the day of judgment.

Verse 17

The correct understanding of this verse is that it is better to suffer in this life for doing good than to suffer on the day of judgment, and for all eternity, for doing evil.

Verse 18

Peter’s intention here is not that believers should focus on imitating Christ in their suffering, although we may suffer for being a follower of Jesus. Instead, Peter is calling on the reader to focus on Christ’s victory over suffering and death. 

  • We can never suffer to the extent that Jesus did as He bore the sins of the world.
  • Suffering is a prelude to future glory for each believer.
  • Emphasizing Jesus’ victory reminds us that our troubles are of a temporary nature, but our future glory is permanent.
  • Though Jesus suffered death, the Spirit raised Him. In the same manner, we will suffer a physical death but will share in Jesus’ resurrection.

Verse 19-22 The second portion of the passage is quite challenging, with many different interpretations. 

Verse 19 – The three main views are:

  • Descent into hell.
  • Preexistent Christ.
  • Triumphal proclamation over the spirit-world.

The third view is the most widely accepted, and a proper understanding of the text would lead one to agree. It also fits the overall context of vindication presented in the passage. 

In the New Testament, the word “spirit” is used to describe angels or demons, not humans. Peter also used the term “people” in verse 20, so to use a different term to refer to humans in both cases doesn’t make sense.

The point of verse 19 is that Jesus proclaimed His victory over evil.

Verse 20

The reason the spirits were imprisoned is that they were disobedient. The act of disobedience is not crystal clear, but some explanation is provided in Jude 6-7 and He has kept, with eternal chains in darkness for the judgment of the great day, the angels who did not keep their own position but deserted their proper dwelling. In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as angels did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. 

It also ties into Genesis 6:1-4, indicating that angels had sexual relations with women. In this context, it is possible to view what occurred in Genesis 6 as the climax of sin, prompting Yahweh to release His judgment on the world. In the same way that the water killed almost everything on the earth, the water saved Noah and his family by separating them from the evil in the world. Once the waters receded, they entered a new life.

Verse 21

An important to bring up at the very beginning of the discussion on this verse is that baptism by itself does not lead to eternal life. Peter is using an illustration here. The flood serves as an illustration of baptism in the New Covenant and for the church. New Testament baptism should be understood and being immersed in water. Anyone who goes completely underwater will eventually die. The illustration is that baptism represents death to the old life, and once lifted from the water, the new life begins. Baptism doesn’t remove our sin (filth of the flesh), but it is an outward expression of an inward change (good conscience toward God). Placing our faith in Jesus and repenting of our sin is the only way to eternal life. Although baptism is something that every believer should do after placing their faith in Jesus, it is not a requirement for eternal life. The narrative in Luke 23 with the two thieves is proof of that. Jesus told the one that he would be with Jesus in paradise, but there was no chance for the thief to receive baptism.

Verse 22

The culmination of this passage, Jesus’ victory over His enemies. There is a reference to Psalm 110:1 This is the declaration of the LORD to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The conclusion to draw is that even in the suffering that believers experience, Jesus reigns and rules. By His death and resurrection, Jesus has triumphed over all the forces of evil, and His followers will reign with Him together for all eternity. The theme here is vindication. Jesus occupies a position of royal dignity and authority beside God the Father. Jesus has broken the power of evil. He has authority over good and bad spirits (good and bad angels), as well as authorities and powers in the spiritual realm. All of creation is subject to the lordship of Jesus.

A summary of the passage includes the following principles:

  • Jesus, as Messiah, has fulfilled the hope of Israel by defeating all the evil spiritual powers of the world.
  • All the wickedness and corruption from the beginning of time are overthrown.
  • Regardless of our struggles or persecution, we should never lose sight of the victory we share with Jesus. 
  • We need to be a witness of our hope and the truth of the Gospel regardless of our circumstances.


  • Are you committed to pursuing goodness and righteousness regardless of the cost or consequences? If you falter in this area, you may have a faith problem. Pray for your faith to be strengthened.
  • Are you bold in sharing your faith? Are you proactive in finding those opportunities, or are you reactive, only sharing when confronted or asked? We are called to be proactive in our witness and do it with a humble spirit and gentleness.
  • Do you have complete confidence and trust in the victory of Jesus? If not, pray that you would completely trust in Him. 
  • Your behavior should demonstrate a spirit of joy, victory, and humility to the world around you. Jesus doesn’t need arrogant or self-righteous victors. He wants victors who bask and are filled with love and joy at the victory He secured by going to the cross, paying our debt, and redeeming us from all unrighteousness.

1 Peter Lesson Seven

1 Peter 3:8-12 Lesson Seven Do No Evil

Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers,  z and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing. 

10 For the one who wants to love life 

and to see good days 

must keep his tongue from evil 

and his lips from speaking deceit, 

11 and he must turn away from evil 

and do what is good. 

He must seek peace and pursue it, 

12 because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous 

and His ears are open to their request. 

But the face of the Lord is against 

those who do what is evil. (HCSB)

This passage represents the summary or conclusion of 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 and contains the following concepts:

  • Relationships in the community.
  • Response to evil.
  • Controlling the tongue is necessary.
  • Seek peace and turn from evil.
  • Yahweh’s favor rests on the righteous.

Verses 8-9

These verses address relationships between believers (verse 8) and unbelievers (verse 9), although verse nine could also be talking about believers who were acting in an improper manner.

Verse 8 – Ethics for General Relations in the Church.

Verse eight is in presented as a chiasm, an A B C B’ A’ pattern. This verse is directed at how believers should interact with each other.

A Harmony

    B Sympathy

        C Brotherly love

    B’ Compassion

A’ Humility

Harmony and humility are grouped together as the primary way that harmony is disrupted is by prideful action and self-assertion, the opposite of humility. Sympathy and compassion are almost synonyms and are hard to distinguish from each other. Brotherly love is the middle term, indicating it is the most important of the five virtues, and the other four are embraced by the call to love one another as a family.

A short look at the term “like-minded.”

  • Describes a unity of attitude.
  • Division within the body of Christ should be unthinkable.
  • It doesn’t mean that the members of a church, or different churches, won’t have different opinions due to the very nature of each believer possessing different spiritual gifts.
    • The key is how the differences are handled.
    • Not handled properly, they’ll divide the church.
    • Handled properly, they’ll enrich the church.
    • Each believer should primarily pursue serving God and loving others.

Verse 9 – Ethics for Relations to a Hostile Society.

Verse nine is mainly directed in how believers interact and respond to unbelievers but can also refer to the response to a believer who is not acting in a Christ-like manner.

  • Don’t respond to insults or evil actions in the same manner, even if it is tempting to do so.
  • This is rooted in Jesus’ teaching. Luke 6:28-29 Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  29 If anyone hits you on the cheek,  offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.
  • We are called to bless others, even when our flesh wants to retaliate.
  • As Christians, we are expected to respond in this manner.
  • Supporting passages for what Peter is saying here.
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:15 – See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 
    • Romans 12:17 – Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.
    • Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you, love your enemies  and pray for those who  persecute you.
    • Ephesians 4:32 – And be kind  and compassionate  to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

10-12 – Foundation for Ethics: God is Watching.

Here Peter is citing Psalm 34:12-16. Peter altered the Psalm by switching from the second person singular to the third person singular. It is also critical to note that Psalm 34 focuses on suffering, and those who suffer will be delivered by the Lord. There are several essential points in why Peter picked this Psalm at this point in his discourse.

  • The Lord rescues His people when they suffer.
  • The Lord will judge the wicked.
  • The righteous display trust and hope in the Lord by renouncing evil and pursuing good.
  • The first word in verse 10, “for,” links verses 10-12 to verse 9.
  • Peter didn’t promise an easy life since trouble and persecution are to be expected.
  • Peter was giving a motivation for believers to bless their persecutors and live in a manner that promotes peace.
    • They are to refrain from speaking evil to obtain eternal life.
    • However, this doesn’t imply a works-based salvation or compromise salvation by grace.
    • Peter believed that the transformed life of a believer would provide evidence that they had been converted.

Verse 11

For Peter, the Christian life is not a life of passivity. It is through God’s grace that eternal life is granted to those who believe in Jesus. However, the primary place of grace in the salvation process is not an excuse to be idle. A life of righteousness doesn’t happen in a vacuum of seeking solitude in meditation away from others.

  • Believers must make a conscious effort to turn from evil.
  • Believers must devote themselves to doing good.
  • Believers must seek and pursue peace.
    • Peace is understood as an agreement between people.
    • “Pursue it” is a hunting term that denotes intensity, determination, and persistence. 
  • Believers must extend forgiveness to those who hurt them.

Verse 12

Peter explains why good behavior is important. He already touched on this in verse nine and the relationship between verse nine and verses ten to eleven.

  • The Lord’s favor is on those who live a righteous way.
    • They will be blessed with the inheritance promised in verses seven, nine, and eternal life noted in verse ten.
    • Their prayers will be heard if they truly are Yahweh’s people.
    • The Lord will turn away from those who practice evil.
    • The Lord will give eternal punishment to those who are disobedient.

Peter is not saying that believers will live a perfect life, nor that perfection is a requirement for salvation. He is saying that a transformed life is necessary as proof of salvation. 


  • Make a decision to “love life.” We control how we view our lives. Do we display faith in God and see the best in every circumstance, or do we have a pessimistic attitude? We can choose to endure life, and it will be a burden. We can choose to escape life through alcohol, drugs, or other destructive pursuits. What we should do is enjoy life, secure in the knowledge that God is in control.
  • Do you have control over your tongue, or does your tongue control you? How often have you said the wrong thing at the wrong time?It happens to the best of us from time to time. Meditate on Psalm 141:3 – LORD, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.
  • Do you shun evil? That is much stronger than just avoidance. We must shun evil because we hate it, just like Yahweh hates sin. At the same time, we should actively seek out and do what is good. Do you pursue good and righteousness in your life?
  • It’s easy to find trouble. We read or see about it all the time in the news. As a believer, we should be seeking out and promoting peace. However, it is not peace at any price but rather peace based on righteousness. We should never compromise biblical truth in the pursuit of peace. At the same time, when we are challenged with situations that are in conflict with Scripture, it doesn’t mean we can protest in an angry or violent manner. We must seek dialogue and change through peaceful methods.

1 Peter Lesson Six

1 Peter 3:1-7 Husbands and Wives

In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives. Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and are not frightened by anything alarming.

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (HCSB)

Let me start by saying this passage challenges us and rubs some people the wrong way. However, a correct interpretation and understanding should eliminate any concerns the reader may have. This passage is split into two parts. The first, covering verses 1–6, pertaining to the wife. The second part, verse 7, relates to the husband.

Verses 1-6

Verse 1

Let’s note some key points in the first verse.

  • By starting with, “In the same way,” does not mean that Peter is comparing the husband/wife relationship in identical terms with the master/slave relationship. Not only is that a wrong interpretation, but it also perverts the idea of a man and woman becoming “one flesh” in the marriage covenant. Wives submitting to their husbands doesn’t mean inequality before God.
    • Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no ‘male and female’; you are all one in the Messiah, Jesus. I must make one note regarding this passage as it’s been hijacked by the LGBTQ community to justify same-sex marriage and to include anything that is not male/female. This passage doesn’t support more than two sexes or more than two sexualities.
      • Genesis 5:2a  He created them male and female.
      • God never changes, and His Word never changes. There are men and women…period.
    • Ephesians 5:22-33.
    • Colossians 3:18  Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    • Titus 2:4-5 so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.
    • Just as wives submit to their husbands, Christ submitted to the Father 1 Corinthians 15:28 And when everything is subject to Christ, then the Son  Himself will also be subject to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.
  • The word “submit” does not mean that wives blindly follow their husbands. If their husband wants them to do anything contrary to Scripture, the wife has an obligation not to obey in those circumstances. Each Christian has an obligation first to God’s commands and then to earthly commands. If those two sets of commands don’t agree, follow Scripture.
  • Not all of the wives being addressed here have Christian husbands. Regardless of whether their husband was a believer or not, wives are expected to submit to their husband, except in the circumstances listed above.

Verse 2

This verse explains how unbelieving husbands are won to the faith. This is a short verse, but there are a couple of essential points.

  • The old adage “actions speak louder than words” applies here. Unbelieving husbands may tune out or ignore wives who witness with words. However, they may be drawn by the Christ-like lives of the wives.
  • The word “reverent” is understood in Greek to be “in fear.” But the fear is not towards the husband; it is towards God. The actions of the wives should be in reverent fear (respect) towards God. Wives submit to their husbands because of their relationship with and trust in God.
  • As in verse 1, this submission should never include doing anything against Scripture.

Verse 3

A few points about this verse.

  • A woman’s inward beauty should always outshine outward beauty. It is the character and love of God that are most important.
  • Peter is not prohibiting styling hair, nice clothes, or wearing jewelry. He is directing them not to spend too much on their outward appearance.
  • In today’s society, clothing can easily be an issue that conflicts with Peter’s instructions.
    • The need for expensive or name-brand clothing, when less expensive clothing, would suffice.
    • The wear of immodest or revealing clothing. I have personally seen some outfits at church that cause me to shake my head in disbelief, wonder what the wife was thinking (or not thinking), and how the husband could allow his wife to wear that particular outfit to church.

Verse 4

As noted in the discussion on verse 3, it is the inner beauty that is most important. Wives should focus on their relationship with God and their identity in Jesus, the inner self. Gentleness and a quiet spirit are characteristics of godly behavior that will draw husbands to faith in Jesus.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees,  for man sees what is visible,  but the Lord sees the heart.”

Verses 5-6

These two verses provide historical examples of women who submitted to their husbands.

  • Sarah
  • Just as Isaac and Jacob were considered patriarchs because of the tie to Abraham, the following women could also be considered matriarchs because of the connection to Sarah.
    • Rebecca
    • Rachel
    • Leah

Verse 5 also explains why they submitted to their husbands.

  • Not because they were inferior intellectually or spiritually.
  • Because they were confident that God would reward those who placed their trust in Him.
  • These women adorned themselves with the virtues of a gentle and quiet spirit and not focusing on the external.

Verse 6 gets more specific, and we should note the following implied characteristics.

  • Wives should submit to the leadership of their husbands. As always, being faithful and obedient to Scripture takes priority over obeying a wayward husband.
    • This could result in persecution from the unbelieving husband towards the believing wife.
    • Peter is encouraging them, in these circumstances, to place their trust and faith in God.
  • Paul also addresses issues of marital responsibility and care between the husband and the wife.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another sexually—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
    • We must be careful not to distort or twist this passage. In no way should marital sexual relations be forced on one of the partners or for them to be encouraged to do anything they aren’t comfortable with. God created sexual relations to be a beautiful and mutually satisfying act between a husband and wife. Anything that would make one of the partners uncomfortable stains the experience.

Verse 7

Husbands are to treat their wives with understanding, according to God’s will.

  • Wives are physically weaker (in most cases).
  • Both are heirs of the grace of eternal life.
  • Both will reside in heaven together.
  • Failure to follow these instructions will result in prayers that are hindered or not answered. God does not bless those in a position of authority who abuse those under them.
  • A husband who lives according to God’s requirement shows respect to his wife.

Before starting the applications, let’s summarize some key points and thoughts regarding this passage.

  • As Christian couples, where do we get our examples and guidance from?
    • From the world.
      • Hollywood examples.
      • Secular advice books.
      • Non-Christian counseling.
    • From the Bible and Jesus.
      • Willing submission.
      • Willing obedience.
      • Desire to serve the other.
  • Historical/cultural setting.
    • The world of the original hearers of this message lived in a male-dominated society.
    • Abuse was not uncommon.
    • Because of this, good behavior would be more effective than engaging in dialogue from the wife to the husband.

Even though the passage is heavily weighted with more instructions towards the wife, the applications will be balanced.


  • Are our clothing and accessories modest and respectful, or is it expensive and extravagant?
  • Do we let our actions speak for our convictions and beliefs, or do we sound like a clanging gong?
  • If you are married or engaged to be married, use the following questions as an evaluation tool.
    • Are you partners or competitors?
    • Are you helping each other become more Christ-like?
    • Do you depend on the externals or the internals, the artificial or the real?
    • Do you understand each other better through time?
    • Are you sensitive to each other’s feelings and ideas, or do you take each other for granted?
    • Are you seeing God answer your prayers?
    • Are you enriched because of your marriage or robbing each other of God’s blessings?
  • Periodically going through these questions will almost certainly enrich and strengthen your relationship.