Summary: Peter in this letter tells us that suffering is real and it is varied. There is suffering in general and suffering for doing what is right. But suffering is also full of purpose because God is sovereign. And, suffering is short because God is eternal. We are not to fear because God uses it for great good, even perfecting our hope in Him. That calm stability in Christ which He develops through our submission, we must be prepared to gently explain to others with all respect.
1. A. Before we get into our main text, suffering is a theme all through this letter from the Apostle Peter. What was his perspective? 1 Peter 1:6-7, 2:11-12, 2:18-20, 3:8-9, 3:18, 4:12-5:1, 5:6-11
B. Many people blame God for sin and suffering in this world. But what does the Bible confirm, and what might Peter have been taught, regarding the first cause of sin and suffering? Genesis 3:8-19, Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:13-16, Romans 5:12
C. The fallen angel Satan is the first and original cause of all evil and hence all suffering. Mankind has been in rebellion against God since his first temptation. So we see that we have pain, suffering and tragedy because of the curse of sin in this world. Since God in Himself is good, should we not embrace Him and seek Him in times of trouble? Psalm 37:1-6, 37:39-40, 103:8-14
2. A. What kind of suffering does Peter address in 1 Peter 3:13-14, and what does he say not to do?
B. What is the setting and the significance of the quotation contained in verse 14? What does this demonstrate regarding the sovereignty of God? Psalm 103:19, Isaiah 8:1-14, 46:8-10
C. Suffering is purposeful because God is sovereign. Everyone thinks they are in charge, but only God really is! This should melt away our fears, building hope and reverence for God in our hearts, should it not? Isaiah 33:6, 41:10
3. A. Why is the follower of Jesus Christ supposed to accept suffering for doing what is right? 1 Peter 2:21, 3:15-17
B. Would you allow your soul to be bonded with His soul, in the fellowship of His sufferings? Matthew 27:41-46, Philippians 3:8-10
C. In what fashion would you give an account for such hope that is in you, as it becomes evident to others?