Introduction: Last week Peter told us how we should relate to the government, our employers and our spouse. This week he continues to give us advice in our other relationships. When I say, “relationships” I’m not just talking about interacting with others. Peter gives us advice on how to best promote God’s Kingdom. Do you feel that your relationships with others could improve? Could your service improve? If so, let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn to improve our lives and our service!

  1. Harmony

    1. Read 1 Peter 3:8-9. Who is the audience here? Is this
      addressed to church members in their dealings with other church members? (I think so because Peter says, “love as brothers.”)

      1. What is the result of responding to abuse with
        blessings? (We are blessed.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 3:10-12. What are the specific rewards for
      being honest and avoiding evil? (You will be able to love
      life. You will see “good days.” Because God is your ally,
      you will enjoy life more, while God will resist those who
      do evil.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 3:13. In the United States it is illegal to
      discriminate against employees based on their religious
      beliefs. What does this teach followers of God that goes
      far beyond mere legal protections? (If you are a great
      employee, employers will want to keep you. The best
      protection in life is not the law, but rather the reaction
      of those who see Jesus reflected in you.)

  2. The Right Attitude

    1. Read 1 Peter 3:14. Is it always true that if you are eager
      to do good, others will have your best interests in mind?
      (Look what happened to Jesus. There is evil in the world,
      and evil wants to harm good. Thus, there are exceptions to
      the general rule.)

    2. Look again at 1 Peter 3:14. Why does Peter add “do not
      fear what they fear?” (Because, if we are doing good, God
      will look out for us.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 3:15-17. We discussed what kind of attitude
      we should have towards fellow church members. What kind of
      attitude should we have toward pagans? (We should be
      prepared to deal with them. We should have an answer for
      our belief in Jesus. We should present our arguments with
      “gentleness and respect.”)

      1. Is gentleness and respect easy? (This is a sin that I
        confess. Outside of these Bible studies, I’ve written
        articles making fun of those who harshly attack my
        faith. Humor is a powerful weapon, and I have skill
        in this area, but I doubt that I ever convinced
        someone of my views by making fun of that person.
        Peter says “Don’t do it.”)

    4. On what does Peter based his argument that we should do
      good and show respect and gentleness to those who do evil?
      (Read 1 Peter 3:18. The attitude of self-sacrifice is how
      Jesus saved us. It is the focus of the gospel – Jesus died
      for those who are evil, and that includes you and me.
      Using humor against pagans says, “I’m smarter than you and
      I will embarrass you because of your poor arguments. It is
      self-serving, not selfless.)

    5. Read 1 Peter 3:19-21. Did Jesus go to purgatory or hell to
      preach to those who didn’t listen to Noah?

      1. If so, why just preach to those who ignored Noah? Is
        there a special place in hell for those who ignored
        Noah? (Just asking these questions shows Peter’s
        remarks are not limited to Noah’s audience. Peter is
        simply saying that when Jesus died for the
        unrighteous, He died for the unrighteous of all times
        – including those who lived and died before Jesus
        rose from the grave.)

      2. Why mention the Noah audience specifically? (Read
        Genesis 6:3. This explains that the Holy Spirit had
        been contending with humans during the 120 years that
        Noah was preaching and building the ark.)

      3. Why mention the waters of the flood? (Peter uses Noah
        as an example of two things. First, that the Holy
        Spirit has been working on human hearts before Jesus
        came to live with us. Second, the flood is an example
        of the washing away of sin. The flood washed away
        sinful people. Baptism washes away your old, sinful
        life. Through the resurrection of Jesus, you are born
        again into life eternal.)

    6. Read 1 Peter 3:22. What is the result of Jesus’ submissive
      attitude while here on earth? (He is now at the right hand
      of God and all submit to Him.)

      1. Will that be true here? If you submit to God and to
        authority, you will be given authority?

    7. Read 1 Peter 4:1-2. Would you like to be “done with sin?”
      How do these verses suggest that we can be done with sin?
      (Christ suffered because of our sins. We suffer because of
      our sins. If we pay attention to the connection between
      suffering and sin, we will know that evil human desires
      are the path to trouble, but pursuing the will of God is
      the path to good days and loving life.)

    8. Read 1 Peter 4:3-4. If this describes your past life, can
      you affirm that your old friends wonder why you left their
      lifestyle? Have they harassed you for turning from your
      former life?

    9. Read 1 Peter 4:5-6. What will your friends who have
      rejected God have to face? (The judgment.)

      1. Is the gospel preached to dead people? (Look at 1
        Peter 3:19-20 again. I think Peter is talking about
        the same thing – he is saying that the gospel was
        preached to those who lived before Jesus came to
        earth, people who died long ago. If they accepted
        God, their names are written in the book of life. If
        they did not, they are judged by their deeds. See,
        Revelation 20:11-15.)

  3. The End is Near

    1. Read 1 Peter 4:7. This is the third time that Peter talks
      about clearing the way for our prayers. He previously
      mentioned it in 1 Peter 3:7 and 1 Peter 3:12. Why does
      being “self-controlled” and “clear minded” aid us in
      prayer? (We do not want to be distracted. We want clarity
      of thought. We want to be able to discern what the Holy
      Spirit has to say to us in response to our prayers.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 4:8. Are you someone who tends to make
      mistakes and insult and injure others? What is the best
      approach for those who have a “multitude of sins” to
      cover? (Being loving. Showing love makes up for lots of

    3. Read 1 Peter 4:9-10. What do joyful hospitality and
      service to others have to do with love? (This shows others
      the grace that God has shown to us.)

    4. Read 1 Peter 4:11. One of my jobs is to advise employees
      who have religious objections to supporting labor unions.
      This requires the employee to notify the union of his
      religious beliefs. Over the decades, I’ve had a couple of
      employees who wrote their notice to the union in language
      you would find in the King James version of the Bible. My
      reaction was that these employees were not sincere in
      their religious beliefs. They thought they might sound
      religious by writing this way. Is this what Peter means
      when he tells us that we should be “speaking the very
      words of God?” (If you review the previous texts, Peter is
      telling us about serving others. Peter advises us, “Think
      about how Jesus would address this issue.” The popular
      phrase is, “What would Jesus do?”)

      1. How do you tap into the “strength God provides?” (Ask
        God. The good news is that you do not have to do
        these things in your own strength.)

      2. What is God asking of us? (He is looking for
        excellence, diligence and conscientiousness in our
        gospel work. His unlimited strength is available to

        1. How many times have you seen church work that
          is done in a sloppy and unprofessional way?
          Have you seen church members decide at the last
          minute who should do what in the church
          service? Do you observe pastors spending too
          little time preparing sermons and as a result
          give long, disorganized presentations? (These
          examples violate the rules of excellence,
          diligence and conscientiousness.)

      3. Look at the last part of 1 Peter 4:11. What does
        Peter say is the goal of excellent service? (To bring
        glory to God! Ask yourself if your work brings God

    5. Friend, examine your relationships and your service for
      God. Do they need improvement? Why not ask the Holy Spirit
      to redirect your relationships and improve your service?

  4. Next week: Suffering for Christ.