1. Take a moment to pray.  Praise God for His Word and ask Him to teach you its truth, just as the psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:12-16, “Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.  I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.  I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word.”
  2. Read 1 Peter 3:18-22
  3. In 1 Peter 3:18-22, Peter returns to the example of Jesus as the rationale for why (and how) we can respond to trials and persecution with blessing and hope.  How is Jesus the perfect example of One who experienced persecution while doing good?
  4. In 1 Peter 3:18, Jesus is clearly the “righteous.”  Who is the “unrighteous” and what has Jesus done for them?
  5. Are you trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and trusting in Him alone to “bring you to God” and make you “alive in the spirit”?  If so, when did you first trust in Christ?  If not, what is keeping you from trusting Him today?
  6. STUDY NOTE:  1 Peter 3:19-20 are some of the hardest verses to comprehend in the entire New Testament, and the hardest to grasp in the book of 1 Peter.  While scholars differ in their understanding of these verses, my best understanding is that Peter wanted to encourage Christians that though many around them will not believe, God will certainly make good on His promises and save those who trust Him when judgment eventually comes.  The days of Noah become a great example of this.  In Noah’s day, while he was building the ark, Noah preached a message of repentance and salvation (“God is going to judge the earth, so get in the ark!”)  that most did not obey.  Only 8 believed and survived.  The picture of these verses is that it was the spirit of Jesus who preached this message of repentance through Noah in Noah’s day.  In a similar way, God has promised that judgement is coming on the earth today (1 Peter 3:10-12).  Christians today give a reason for their hope in the midst of this coming judgment and encourage people to trust in Christ as their rescuer from sin and judgement.  Like in the days of Noah, Jesus is preaching through His followers today to lost people “imprisoned” in their sin.  Christians should see the salvation that came to Noah and his family as a pattern for the certainty of the salvation that awaits them.
  7. In 1 Peter 3:21, Peter talks about baptism.  Christian baptism is a special symbol where someone who has placed their faith and trust in Christ is submerged in water as a symbol of their full identification with Christ.  Have you ever seen a Christian baptism before?  What stands out to you about this symbol?
  8. Peter here says that baptism “now saves you.”  While some have seen this as a literal declaration that water baptism is necessary for salvation, that is not what the rest of the New Testament declares.  The big idea seems to be that baptism is a public declaration of the salvation that has come to the Christian.  It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the “soul cleansing” His death in our place accomplishes that saves a person.  Have you ever been water baptized since trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?  Why or why not?
  9. 1 Peter 3:22 reveals Jesus at the right hand of God, ruling in glory.  Though Jesus suffered on this earth, He is rewarded now.  In what way does the example of Jesus glorified in this verse encourage you to persist in following Christ when you experience various trials or persecution?

 

To access the entire “True Grace” study of 1 Peter, click here.

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