Lectionary Year A
May 5, 2002
1 Peter 3:13-22

Composition/Immediate Context


The first 12 verses of chapter 3 tell wives to accept their husband's authority and how to dress properly. They tell husbands to honor their wives. Then they tell all people to unite in sympathy, love, tenderness & humility. Psalm 34:12-16 is quoted to reinforce the edict for kindness.
Chapter 4 continues the discussion of suffering as did Christ. It explains the reason the Gospel was proclaimed to the dead, that judgement in the flesh leads to living in the spirit as God does. Liberation is a large part of chapter 4's theme. Service, speaking up and out and shouting for joy suggested to lead to rejoicing, even in the continuity of inevitable suffering, especially for righteousness.


Honorable domestic relationships exemplify recommended relationships beyond the home. Proper relationships get expressed in service to others, which, as 1 Peter has noted frequently and previously, can also precipitate suffering at the hands of those yet to behave as advised. Here, evidently, 1 Peter addresses persecutions Christians suffer at the hands of unbelievers.


The author(s) espouse(s) righteous living after the expressed grace of God Christ shows in suffering and death and God demonstrates in the resurrection of Christ. These issues are paramount in most New Testament books. In this text, the author(s) details more specifically both errors in acceptable behavior & merit for engaging in acceptable behavior. The Apostle Peter seems never to attend to such details. The farther into the Common Era we go, the more details need to be described. This text appears to come from the hands of late first century or even second century writer(s).

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