What happens when someone is mistreated for doing good? In this lab, John Piper teaches us how to respond to and endure injustice. He takes Peter’s words about slavery to call all of us to fear God and to persevere in loving and serving others for His sake, even when it brings hardship.
Principle for Bible Reading
When you come to a question or stumbling block in a particular verse, it is often helpful to read the verse or verses immediately before and/or after the one you’re currently studying. Reading the verse in context might help clarify the author’s meaning or purpose.
- Read through 1 Peter 2:18–20. How many principles do you see that make a slave’s life, in subjection to someone else, distinctly or manifestly Christian?
- Peter says that slaves should subject themselves to their masters “with all respect.” Respect could also be translated “fear.” Do you think Peter is speaking here of respecting or fearing the master or God? Why?
- If this slave is submitting or complying (1 Peter 2:18), why are they suffering (1 Peter 2:20)? What does that say about the relationship between the call to submit and the call to do good?
Live and Serve with Fear
- Slaves, be subject to your masters “with all respect (or fear).” (1 Peter 2:18)
- Is this respect for the master or for God? Is the fear of the master or of God?
- Peter exhorts his readers to fear God in the previous verse. (1 Peter 2:17)
- A verse later, he encourages them to be mindful of God. (1 Peter 2:19)
- This is not a cowering or slavish fear, but a fear of treating God has though he were not worthy to trusted as a loving Father (1 Peter 1:17). This is a positive fear.
Suffer for Doing Good
- Why does this slave/servant suffer (1 Peter 2:20) if he’s submissive and complying (1 Peter 2:18)?
- Maybe someone lied about him or her? No, because Peter says he or she is suffering for doing good. (1 Peter 2:20)
- The master rejected the good deed and punished the slave for it. (1 Peter 2:20)
- Therefore, subjection is not the highest priority here. Doing good is the highest priority. (1 Peter 2:18)