Exegesis of 1 Peter 3:13-17: Introduction
1 Peter is a book about hope-filled, righteous living in the eschatological tension present for members of Christ’s already-established but not-yet-fully-consummated kingdom. 1 Peter 3:13-17 is an inclusio (1) which adequately reflects some of the larger themes of this epistle, particularly the exhortation to righteous living and encouragement in times of suffering. It is contextually situated in a pericope about suffering for righteousness’ sake, located between the author’s admonition and explanation of righteous living (verses 8-12) and the proclamation of Christ’s suffering for salvation and resurrection with power (verses 18-22). Within the broader context of 1 Peter this pericope is a specific encouragement for the church to live a holy life, fearing only God even in the midst of suffering.
The purpose of this paper is to systematically analyze the Greek grammar and syntax of this text in order to draw appropriate theological conclusions regarding how Christians are to suffer righteously, as well as a brief concluding discussion regarding some contextual implications of Peter’s use of the term apologian for Christian philosophy and apologetics.
(1) The rhetorical interrogative of verse 13 is closely tied to verse 14 by qualification, and the use of the optative mood in both 14 and 17 displays the enclosure between verses 13-14a and 17, while not making any sharp breaks thematically from the rest of the pericope (verses 8-22). See the discussion in J. Ramsey Michaels, Word Biblical Commentary: 1 Peter (Waco: Word Publishers, Inc., 1988), 184.