1 Peter 2:11-17 – A Rationale for Christian Obedience


1 Peter 2:11-17


This passage outlines the general principles of obedience to Christ before the letter moves to exhortations aimed at specific groups including slaves, husbands and wives, the persecuted and leaders.


The passage begins by acknowledging the reality that the hearers feel: though they have not physically moved, they feel like “aliens and exiles” in their own homes and lands.Despite their alienation, the author urges followers of Jesus to practice good conduct in society so that unbelievers will see their good deeds and one day be moved to glorify God. Followers of Jesus must bear unjust social structures and governments “for the Lord’s sake,” because by acting honorably they will silence the false charges of their foolish oppressors. Finally, the author reminds the followers of Jesus of the paradox of the Christian life: they are servants (“slaves,” literally) of God, but that servitude grants them freedom. It should come as no surprise that this passage and others like it have given hope and strength to Christians through the centuries, including those suffering under the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe in the latter half of the 20th century.