When Doing Right Gets You in Trouble
1 Peter 2:18-20
“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (I Peter 2:18-20).
I call your attention to one particular phrase in this letter: “I have no doubt whatsoever that I am exactly where God wants me to be right now.” It is a tremendous advance spiritually to be able to say that. All of us would say that jail is not a good place to be. Yet this man can say three things:
- It is good for me to be here.
- I am here by God’s design.
- I am here so that I can grow spiritually.
- Can you say that about your current situation?
- No Fear of Death
Word Study of First Peter 2:18
Servants (οι οικεται — hoi oiketai). Note article with the class as with ανδρες — andres (1 Peter 3:7), though not with γυναικες — gunaikes (1 Peter 3:1). Οικετης — Oiketēs old word from οικος — oikos (house), means one in the same house with another (Latin domesticus), particularly house servants (slaves) in distinction from the general term δουλος — doulos (slave). “Ye domestics.” See similar directions to Christian servants (slaves) in Colossians 3:22-25; Ephesians 6:5-7; 1 Timothy 6:1.; Titus 2:9. Οικετης — Oiketēs in N.T. occurs only here, Luke 16:13; Acts 10:7; Romans 14:4.
Be in subjection (υποτασσομενοι — hupotassomenoi). Present middle participle of υποτασσω — hupotassō common late compound to subject oneself to one (Luke 2:51). Either the participle is here used as an imperative (so in 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:7) as in Romans 12:16., or the imperative εστε — este has to be supplied (Robertson, Grammar, p. 945).
To your masters (τοις δεσποταις — tois despotais). Dative case of δεσποτης — despotēs old word for absolute owner in contrast with δουλος — doulos It is used also of God (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24, Acts 4:29) and of Christ (2 Peter 2:1; Judges 1:4). Κυριος — Kurios has a wider meaning and not necessarily suggesting absolute power.
To the good and gentle (τοις αγατοις και επιεικεσιν — tois agathois kai epieikesin). Dative case also with the article with class. For επιεικης — epieikēs see note on James 3:17. There were slave-owners (masters) like this as there are housekeepers and employers of workmen today. This is no argument for slavery, but only a sidelight on a condition bad enough at its best.
To the froward (τοις σκολιοις — tois skoliois). “To the crooked.” Old word, also in Luke 3:5; Acts 2:40; Philemon 2:15. Unfortunately there were slave-holders as there are employers today, like this group. The test of obedience comes precisely toward this group.