1 Peter – Chapter One VI

by Ed Urzi

Although it doesn’t serve as a popular topic of discussion, the Biblical book of 1 Peter repeatedly directs our attention the proper way to handle the sufferings, difficulties, persecutions, and negative circumstances we encounter in life. In fact, every chapter of this brief epistle dedicates at least one portion of its content to a discussion of that subject. For instance…

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV).

“…maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears” (1 Peter 2:12 NET).

“Can anyone really harm you for being eager to do good deeds? Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do” (1 Peter 3:13-14 CEV).

“Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13 CSB).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV).

These passages remind us that God’s Word does not deny the existence of genuine suffering. Instead, the Scriptures acknowledge the fact that we may endure conditions that are unethical, discriminatory, inequitable, wrong, and/or unfair. However, we face a choice when confronting those circumstances. We can allow them to generate a negative response, or we can view them as opportunities to exercise the kind of faith that is pleasing to God.

One commentary addresses these challenges in an honest and forthright assessment of this epistle…

“Returning good for evil sounds noble, and Christians agree that it is the right thing to do; however, in the midst of trials and persecutions, showing kindness to our persecutors can be extremely difficult. The Christians of Asia Minor who received this letter from Peter had discovered this. They had found that a life lived for God is often a life of many difficulties. Some of their troubles came from their neighbors, while some came from government authorities. Peter wrote to these Christians to encourage them, to explain to them why suffering occurs, and to remind them of their eternal reward at the end of this earthly life.” (1),

(1) Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 1674.