VERSE OF THE DAY
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. To answer about the love you’ve seen in all purity. 1 Peter 3:15
Scripture tells us that we must always be ready to tell others the good news. We must be prepared as Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word. Be ready to do it whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Correct, confront, and encourage with patience and instruction” (CEB).Jul 15, 2017
What does 1 Peter 3:15 mean?
In the previous verse, Peter instructs Christians not to fear those who cause them to suffer for the sake of Christ. In this verse, he reveals how believers should choose to respond, instead.
First, we should set aside our hearts as the place where Christ is fully honored as the Lord. Peter is writing to people who are already believers. His audience already understands Jesus to be the Lord of all. Still, he instructs Christians to focus intently on Christ’s role as our master, living as if that were absolutely true in all cases, even in suffering. Peter calls us to full submission to Christ.
When we set apart Christ as Lord, it will change us. Peter says those who observe us will notice the difference. That difference is hope. Even in the midst of our suffering, our hopefulness should be apparent. So, Peter instructs us to be ready to answer the question our life should inspire: “How can you be so hopeful in such difficult circumstances?”
Peter anticipates people will become curious. Hopefulness and joy are starkly different from the normal human response to suffering. So much so that people will be eager to understand it. What will we say when they ask? We must be prepared to give our defense, to make the case for faith in Christ. We need to reject the cultural pressure to keep our beliefs to ourselves. Instead, believers should openly share the good news of redemption through faith in Christ.
The Greek word translated as “make a defense,” or “give an answer” is apologian, from the root word apologia. This is not related to the English word “apology,” where one expresses regret or remorse. Rather, the term means a justification, or an “answer back,” or a reason. This is the source of the terms “apologetics” and “apologist,” which refer to a rational defense of the Christian faith.
Finally, it matters how we make that case for Christ. We must present it with gentleness and respect. Christians are not called on to condemn those who are curious about our hopefulness. Nor are we to be vindictive, vengeful, or insulting to those who disagree. Rather, we should explain our faith without harshness or dismissiveness.
1 Peter 3:8–22 addresses all believers, commanding Christians to be unified and to refuse to seek revenge when wronged. Peter quotes from both David and Isaiah to show that God’s people have always been called to reject evil and to do good. This is true even when we are suffering. In fact, it may be God’s will for His people to suffer, in part, to demonstrate His power. Our good example can convict others into repentance. Christ, too, suffered, died, was resurrected, and ascended to power and authority in heaven.
Peter continues teaching about Christian submission to human authorities, now addressing Christian wives. Believing wives must be subject to their own husbands, even if the husband is not a follower of Christ. By doing so, they might win them to Christ through the example of their own changed lives and hearts. Christian husbands must honor their wives. All believers must live in unity together and refuse to seek revenge. In part, God means to use our hopeful response to suffering to provoke the world to see His power in us. Christ, too, suffered and then died, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven