1. 1 Peter 2:13-17 discusses the relationship between the Christian and their government leaders. What does this passage seem to be saying about how we should relate/respond to our governing authorities? What reasons does this passage give for why we should act in this way toward our governing authorities?
2. It is interesting to note that the leader of the Roman world at the time Peter wrote this letter was Nero (Rome was the governing authority over the original recipients of this letter). Nero was a bad ruler who did terrible things. Taxes paid to Rome would have (in part) funded his wicked agenda. Nero was organizing intense persecution against Christians. In spite of this, Peter gives these strong comments to Christians. Knowing this context is extremely important in our world today. As Americans, we live in a country that is increasingly polarized by our politics. 2 years ago some were calling President George W. Bush a devil. Today, others are calling President Barack Obama the same. You may have even engaged in some coarse talk concerning one of these two men (or other elected officials). As Americans, our freedom allows us to talk this way. As Americans, our media encourages us to talk this way. As Christians, what should we do as we attempt to vote, discuss, and listen to government leaders while still applying the truth of 1 Peter 2?
3. NOTE: In 2:18, Peter transitions to talking about slaves relationships with their masters. It is estimated that at the time Peter wrote this letter, 40% of the Romans Empire were slaves (a whopping 18 million people). Given these statistics, it is probable to assume that many (if not all) of the people receiving this letter were slaves. One factor that argues in favor of this view is that Peter addresses how slaves should treat their masters, but does not discuss how masters should treat their slaves (something Paul does in a similar set of admonitions to the Ephesians church.) The believers who received this letter were second caste slaves who were persecuted by their government (and probably their masters) because of their faith in Christ.
4. While it is not a perfect comparison, some similarities can be seen between the master/slave relationship of the first century and the employer/employee relationship of today. What does this passage instruct employees/slaves to do? What does that look like for you in your work environment today?
5. 2:19-21 talks about the value of suffering for doing right. What are some examples today when people suffer for following Christ? In what ways is it a blessing to suffer for following Christ?
6. What can you learn from Jesus example when you are experiencing opposition because of your faith in Christ? (2:21-25)