1 Peter – Chapter Three XXIII

by Ed Urzi

“but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15 ASV).

“Meekness” is a characteristic that is closely associated with “…a humble opinion of one’s self, a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness, modesty, lowliness of mind.” (1) Although meekness is commonly (and mistakenly) equated with weakness, it is more accurately defined as “power under control.” Thus, it describes those who willingly defer to others instead of asserting their preferences.

Another source defines this attribute as, “…that temper of spirit in which we accept [God’s] dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word… humility…” (2) So, the positive qualities of graciousness, courtesy, and restraint serve to distinguish someone who exhibits this characteristic.

Not surprisingly, Jesus was someone who personified this quality, for He, “…being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death- even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-9 NIV).

Therefore, this passage encourages us to communicate Biblical truths to others in the same way we would like them to interact with us. As another source observes, “There are many people who state their beliefs with a kind of arrogant belligerence. Their attitude is that anyone who does not agree with them is either a fool or a knave and they seek to ram their beliefs down other people’s throats. The case for Christianity must be presented with winsomeness and with love…” (3)

However, the following author reminds us that others may not respond in a similar manner…

“This gives us a glimpse into the context wherein apologetics takes place. We should not expect those at enmity with God to be friendly toward his apologists. Jesus made this clear when he warned, ‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you’ (John 15:18). Paul later confirms the veracity of the Lord’s words, both in his own experience and in the conclusion drawn therefrom: ‘Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Tim. 3:12). Yet Paul’s admonition, like Peter’s, is that we ‘bless those who persecute [us]; bless and do not curse them’ (Rom. 12:14).” (4)

(1) Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

(2) G4240 prautes Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. See https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4240/kjv/tr/0-1/

(3) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Christian Argument For Christ (1Pe_3:15 b-16)”

(4) Baucham, V., Jr. (2015). Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Page 19.