BY JANA HENRY|CONTRIBUTOR
Fellow memory partners, it’s time to start up our memory program again! With all the festivities and activities of the past few months, you may have found it difficult (I know I did) to solidify or catch up on our memorization of 1st Peter. But, I hope you found some time here and there to work on it. The Christmas season, as bright and full of hope as it is, can also be a stressful time for many of us and God’s Word resounding over and over in our head throughout the day can have a calming, or perhaps better put – a re-orienting effect on our day. Whatever the case may have been for you these past several weeks, I pray you are ready to dive back in with a renewed effort at hiding God’s precious Word in our hearts. Before moving on to a synopsis of this week’s passage along with some memory aids, I have included a link to an article to encourage you if your resolve to memorize waned during our break.
I Peter 3:13-17
By now you should realize that Peter is writing to Christians who have, or are beginning to, experience persecution. Several passages back, after using quite a bit of ink to build up his recipient’s in the knowledge of who they are in Christ, he launches into instructions for how to conduct themselves in the societal relationships of their day. The main gist in every circumstance is to “do good”. Now, in this chunk of scripture Peter continues to flesh out what “doing good” looks like in the face of unjust suffering.
(13) Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
The word zealous sticks out in my mind because it is not an oft-used word in my vocabulary. And how can I forget that “good” is what we are to be zealous for? Peter’s go-to word again.
(14) But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
The best way to get this one under your belt is to keep the context in your mind. Get the first three words down and the rest should flow if you are keeping context in mind. Going forward, keep in mind that this is the beginning of a long sentence/train of thought that continues to the end of verse 16.
(15) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, (3h’s)
always being prepared to make a defense
to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;
yet do it with gentleness and respect, (g comes before r)
This is best chopped up into 4 lines. Lines two and three are a mouthful! On line three, I focused on getting the word order straight of this clause first before I attempted putting it together with the rest of it.
(16) having a good conscience,
when you are slandered,
those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Coming to the end of this long sentence, good conscience goes with gentleness and respect before he writes why. Think of verse 15 beginning this long instruction on how to be, continuing through the first of verse 16, and then Peter writes “so that”. As you’re reciting from memory out loud, developing a cadence for this long sentence will help you greatly. Use “so that” like a pause and a turning point in the sentence. Now – “so that” what? When you are slandered, those ………. may be put to shame. Who are those? People who are causing you to suffer (vs14) by reviling your good behavior in Christ. By now, surely you anticipate the descriptive word is going to be “good”.
(17) For it is better to suffer for doing good,
if that should be God’s will,
than it is for doing evil.
There are three parts to this last sentence. Suffering for doing good is contrasted with suffering for doing evil, with a BIG “if” in the middle.
Finally, the word “good” is repeated 4 times in these 5 verses. The overall thought in this whole passage is – Good is how we should be all the time, even when others are not good to us.