1 Peter – Chapter Three XVII

by Ed Urzi

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled'” (1 Peter 3:14).

While no one is likely to hurt us if we bless others and do not return “evil for evil or reviling for reviling” (1 Peter 3:9), that does not represent an absolute guarantee. Unfortunately, human life often seems filled with such ironies, as mentioned earlier. For instance, those who give their best effort may go unrewarded. Those who act honorably are sometimes mocked for it. A person who attempts to do what is right may see his or her efforts go horribly wrong.

To be fair,  such results may occur if we fail to pray and seek God’s direction in advance. On other occasions, we may have attempted to pursue a work that fell beyond the scope of God’s plan for our lives. Nevertheless, we should account for the possibility we are simply called to “…suffer for doing what is right” (NET) in certain instances. That has been the experience of many prominent men and women of God within the Scriptures and throughout history.

Our text from 1 Peter 3:14 assures us that we are blessed in such instances. However, Jesus also reminded us of an opposing truth as well: “Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets” (Luke 6:26 CSB). A modern paraphrase of this verse accentuates that contrast for contemporary audiences: “…what sadness is ahead for those praised by the crowds—for false prophets have always been praised” (TLB).

1 Peter 3:14 then continues with an image drawn from the book of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah: “…do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” A closer look at that reference from Isaiah demonstrates its value in a modern-day world marked by conspiracy theorists of every sort…

“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread” (Isaiah 8:12-13 NIV).

One source illuminates the background of this passage from Isaiah and its application to Peter’s argument…

“In context, Isaiah was encouraging the Jews in light of an impending invasion by the Assyrian armies, along with a hostile confederacy uniting Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel against Judah. Peter appropriated God’s promise as applying also to the Christians of any period who might be facing persecution.” (1)

(1) Institute for Creation Research, New Defender’s Study Bible Notes, 1 Peter 3:14 https://www.icr.org/bible/1Peter/3/14/