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1 Peter 2:11-17

Read 1 Peter 2:11-12

  • Why do you think Peter call Christians 'foreigners and exiles'?

    • In what ways do you feel like a 'foreigner' in our culture?

    • In what ways do you feel 'at home' in our culture?

  • What do you think Peter has in mind when he speaks about 'sinful desires which wage war against your soul'? [1]

  • Why does Peter call Christians to "live such good lives among the pagans"?

    • What do you think is the value of being seen to be living a good, moral life?

    • What about Jesus' words in Matthew 6:1: "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." How do we obey these two seemingly contradictory instructions?

Peter goes on to expand on the good lives Christians should live among non-Christians.

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17

  • Why do you think Peter wanted the Christians to submit to human authorities (even non-Christian ones)?

    • How would they have done this when the emperor or other authorities were persecuting the church? [2]

    • What impact would their respectful attitude have on their persecutors?

    • What limits to the Christian's submission to human authorities are implied in this passage?

    • How do we submit to the human authorities over us as God's people today?

  • Peter describes Christians as uniquely 'free' people (especially in verse 16).

    • What makes us free?

    • What would 'using our freedom as a cover-up for evil' look like?

    • How do we understand the two instructions "Live as free people" and "live as God's slaves" working hand-in-hand?

  • How then do we live well as God's people, in the overflow of his freedom, as we live among a non-Christian culture with non-Christian laws and customs?

    • When do we 'submit' and 'respect' it, and when do we challenge or live counter-culturally?

    • See if you can come up with specific examples.

    • And then see if you can come up with some principles to be able to choose the right response to the culture we live amongst as 'foreigners and exiles'.

Spend some time in prayer, that God would show us the wise way to act toward outsiders, and the wise way to live amongst a strange culture with respect and yet with ultimate allegiance to Jesus.

[1] Read Galatians 5:13-25 for a passage which expands on this concept.

[2] "The Roman emperor at the time Peter wrote was Nero (reigned AD 54–68), under whose persecution Peter himself would later be put to death. God expects Christians to be subject even to human authorities who are neither believers nor morally upright."

Wayne A. Grudem, Tyndale Commentary Vol 17: 1 Peter, p127


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