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Sabbath School Lessons on 1 & 2 Peter
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 4: Social Relationships *
Introduction: How should we relate to the government? How should we
relate to our employer? How should we relate to our spouse? These
are practical questions that vary to some degree with the nature of
the government, your employer and your spouse. Nevertheless, Peter
gives us critical advice on all three of these areas. His direction
runs counter to some current thinking, so prepare to be challenged.
Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!
- Read 1 Peter 2:13-14. Peter makes a distinction between
kings and governors. I've never lived under the authority
of an earthly king, but I've worked with governors. What
point is Peter making when he writes of kings and their
governors? (He tells us to submit both to the king, as the
supreme authority, and to those delegated to wield the
- What is the principal reason why we should submit to
governmental authority? ("For the Lord's sake." This
has to do with God's reputation.)
- What is the secondary reason we should submit
to governmental authority? (It can "punish
those who do wrong and ... commend those who do
- Read 1 Peter 2:15. Peter assumes that when we submit to
the authority of the government that we are "doing good."
Is that true? What about the Roman government of Peter's
time? What about the authority that told the disciples not
to preach and worked to crucify Jesus?
- What does Peter say is the goal of submitting? (To
"silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.")
- If these men are both ignorant and foolish, why
should we care? (This gets back to the
reputation of God.)
- I'm a little troubled by what Peter is saying. Ignorant
and foolish men are going to get things wrong. Is Peter
saying that we should not do good, when it is against the
law, because of ignorant and foolish men?
- Let's explore this a bit more for the United States.
Who is the "king" here? Is it the President or is it
you? (The authority, according to the U.S.
Constitution, resides in the people. It is the people
who decide who will be their president and their
governors. Does that difference mean that "submit" to
"every authority" has a different meaning here?
- Let's talk about authority and "doing good." In the
United States abortion and same sex marriage are
legal. Taking the life of another to benefit you is
what I call the "anti-gospel." Same sex marriage is
not only specifically condemned by the Bible
( Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-28), it is contrary to
the creation plan for marriage. Should we say that we
are the "authority" and we should fight against what
is legal, or should we submit to the government's
- Read 1 Peter 2:16. Notice that Peter writes in 1 Peter
2:15 about "doing good" and here writes about our
"freedom" being "a cover-up for evil."
- What "freedom" does he mean? (Following the law of
- What do these two instructions, to do good and not
evil, tell us with regard to laws which promote evil?
- Peter tells us to "live as servants of God." Does
this suggest another path - not resisting evil laws,
but rather making personal decisions that promote
good? (Some Christians will interpret this to mean
that they should ignore whatever evil the government
might allow, and pay attention only to their own
lives. On the other hand, if you can change the
course of history by your influence, do you have an
obligation to do it?)
- Read 1 Peter 2:17. Do you show respect to those political
and moral views you think are wrong? (We need to show
respect regardless of whether we think the other side is
foolish and depraved.)
- Let me ask Peter, and you can answer for him, are you
showing "respect" by referring to "the ignorant talk
of foolish men" ( 1 Peter 2:15)?
- Read 1 Peter 2:18. Since I'm doubtful that anyone reading
this lesson is an actual slave, how would you apply this
lesson to your employer?
- Would you support a labor union? Do they promote
respect for employers?
- Read 1 Peter 2:19. Have you been treated unjustly at work?
Why does Peter say it is "commendable" to endure unjust
suffering? (It has to do with being "conscious of God.")
- What do you think that means: be conscious of God
when you endure suffering? (Jesus suffered for us,
and He is our Master.)
- What is the principal difference between you and a
slave? (You can change your job.)
- Is that what we should do when we have unjust
employers? (Yes! Peter is writing to people who
cannot make this change. You can. But, until
you make the change you should follow Peter's
advice to slaves.)
- Read 1 Peter 2:20-23. Peter tells us that we deserve no
praise for taking a beating when we deserve it. However,
when we do not deserve it we are following in the
footsteps of Jesus. Where does our hope for justice lie?
(In God. We entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly.)
- Read 1 Peter 2:24-25. Jesus had a reason for His
suffering. What is your reason for suffering? (It has to
be the same - that it will bring glory to God.)
- Before we close on these two sections, consider the
difference between being under the authority of Rome or
under the authority of someone who owns you, and being a
citizen in a democracy and working for an employer you
choose. What principles Peter expresses apply to us today?
- Read 1 Peter 3:1-2 and 1 Peter 3:5-6. Is Peter addressing
this advice only to women who are married to pagans? (No.
Abraham was not a pagan, yet Sarah illustrates what Peter
- What do you think it means to "be submissive?"
- Let's skip down to 1 Peter 3:8. What is Peter's universal
advice to all believers? (Live in harmony, be sympathetic,
compassionate and humble.)
- If I am to be sympathetic, compassionate and humble
to fellow Christians in general, what kind of
attitude should I (a husband) have toward my wife?
(Obviously, at least that!)
- Imagine a married couple where the husband is
sympathetic, compassionate and humble toward his wife
and the wife is submissive towards her husband. Does
that make sense in the modern world?
- Read Ephesians 5:33. What attitude does Paul tell a
husband he should have toward his wife? (He should
love her as he loves himself.)
- Notice that Paul tells wives to "respect" their
husbands. How important is that in a marriage?
- Read 1 Peter 3:7. What does Peter say about husbands
respecting their wives? (He says respect is due. Thus, in
a Christian marriage, the husband and wife should respect
- What is on the line for a husband who mistreats his
wife? (His communications with God are "hindered.")
- This discussion might seem odd in modern times and
infuriate some feminists. The divorce rate is high in the
United States, and the percentage of couples who live
together without marriage is substantial. What does that
suggest about the merit of modern views on marriage? (They
obviously do not work very well. We can hardly reject the
advice of Peter and Paul when current advice leads to poor
- We skipped over 1 Peter 3:3-4. Read it. Does this tell
women not to spend money on their hair, wear poor clothes
and avoid jewelry? (No. Rather, it says that your true
beauty should come from your personality, not what you
- Is this good advice when you are looking for a
spouse? Look for characteristics that do not change
- Friend, do you notice a pattern in Peter's advice? That
pattern is to have an attitude of respect and submission
toward authority. Rebels are headed for trouble. Will you
re-examine your attitudes today?
- Next week: Living for God.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.