Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Read 1 Peter 4
Questions to Consider
1. Review lessons 4 and 5 (links above) (1 Peter 2:19-25 and 3:8-22) and read all of 1 Peter 4. What theme do these passages have in common? Compare the ideas and instructions about suffering in these three passages. What are some ideas or instructions that Peter repeats for emphasis? How does Peter placard Jesus as our perfect example of suffering well in these passages?
2. Read verses 1-6 in light of these passages. Do verses 1-2 mean that anyone who has ever been ill or wounded (“suffered in the flesh”) will never sin again? What do these verses actually mean on a spiritual, rather than tangible, level? How do 1-6 describe the transformation of the behavior of someone who has become a new creature in Christ, who has put off the old self and put on the new self? What do all of these passages indicate about the spiritual state of someone who lives in the flesh and makes a practice of sinning versus someone who lives in the spirit and makes a practice of obeying God’s Word from the heart? Take some time to honestly, objectively, and prayerfully evaluate your heart against what these passages teach.
3. How do verses 7-11 describe living in the spirit? Peter gives something of a “bullet point” list in these verses. What are the instructions in each verse? Verses 7,8,11 give an instruction and a reason for the instruction (do this, because…). What are those reasons? How does living out these instructions benefit the individual Christian and the church? How does living out each of these instructions fit with the theme of this epistle: “living lives of holiness under persecution, and before a watching world”?
4. Examine verses 12-19.
Compare 12 to 2 Timothy 3:12. What does this teach us about the ubiquity of suffering and persecution for the Christian?
Find the words and phrases in 13, 14, 16, that describe the positive perspective on suffering Christians are to have. Why are we to have a joyful outlook on suffering?
Look at verses 1 and 13 together. What does it mean to share in Christ’s sufferings? How did He suffer? Why did He suffer? At whose hands did He suffer?
What’s the difference between sharing in Christ’s sufferings/suffering for the sake of Christ/suffering as a Christian and suffering as verse 15 describes? Why is the former to be gloried in and rejoiced over and the latter is to be avoided? What does God’s judgment (17-18) have to do with each kind of suffering? Why does God’s judgment begin with Christians ? (17-18)
Tie verse 19 (“while doing good”) back to 7-11. Does suffering give us an excuse to sin or walk away from the church? Why not, according to 19, 7-11?
Compare and contrast four different types of suffering:
a) Suffering as a result of someone else’s sin (ex: a drunk driver crashes into your car and kills your child)
b) Suffering as a result of living in a fallen world (ex: disease, disability, natural disaster)
c) Suffering as a result of your own sin (ex: you cheat on your husband and he leaves you)
d) Suffering for the sake of Christ (persecution)
Which of these types of suffering is today’s passage mainly dealing with? What are the similarities and differences among these types of suffering? What are some good things God can bring out of each of these types of suffering?
You may wish to read some of my articles on suffering:
True or False: Is Your Theology of Suffering Biblical?
God’s Good Purposes in Suffering
Six Reasons to Rejoice that Christ is Enough in Our Suffering
Suggested Memory Verse