Should We Want to Shame Unbelievers?

1 Peter 3:15–16

When the world mocks and despises us for our faith, we often want to lash back. God has a better way of shaming those who abuse his followers. In this lab, John Piper discusses whether the Christian has a role to play in shaming the unbeliever.

Principle for Bible Reading


Authors often call us to do specific actions and then give their readers reasons for why they should do those actions. To do this, they will often use connecting words (conjunctions) such as so that, in order that, or simply that to introduce the purpose statement for a given action.

For more on action/purpose.

For Example

The parent tells their child to eat their broccoli (action) so that they can receive dessert later (purpose). The commercial tells us to buy this shirt (action) so that we can be more attractive (purpose). “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God [action] so that, at the proper time, he may exalt you [purpose].”

In this Lab

Pastor John focuses on the “so that” in 1 Peter 3:16. Peter tells his readers to give a defense (action) with gentleness and fear of God so that those who revile and slander them might be put to shame (purpose).

Study Questions

  1. What are possible reasons that Peter would want despisers of the church to be put to shame? Can you think of a personal example of this happening to you or to someone you know?
  2. How does 1 Peter 2:12 clarify the reason for why we desire that those who despise or slander would be put to shame?
  3. Think of someone in your life who might despise or slander you because of your faith. Imagine an actual scenario in which they say something mean or demeaning to you. What might a patient and gentle response actually look like?