Home thoughts from

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


Free Daily Bible thoughts by Rev. Stephen Thompson

Daily Bible Thoughts: 1 Peter 3:14: Word for Today

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats ; do not be frightened.’ NIV

As a Christian you live in a hostile world, and that can be scary. There are people who hate God and therefore loathe His church and want to do damage to it; some even want to get rid of it. True believers are, at one level, ‘an endangered species’. It is dangerous to be a Christian, even when you don’t feel in danger.

Living with this reality could play havoc with your emotions. Where you feel the intimidating presence of persecution on a regular (if not daily) basis, as Peter’s first readers no doubt did, you could cave in to fear.

But Peter quotes a text that surely is a ‘word for today.’

‘’Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’’

 Once again I remember that Peter spent a lot of time in Jesus’ company, and what two words did Jesus repeatedly say?

‘’Fear not.’’

 Here in verse 14b we have ‘a quotation from Isaiah 8:12. Peter’s meaning is that we believers should not fear the things other people fear. Other people fear the loss of their wealth. Or they fear the loss of health-they fear death. These are things that believers in Christ do not need to fear.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary’, p.915.

PRAYER: Lord, in my best moments, I know that I have nothing to fear. But I confess that I am often assaulted by all kinds of fears. Like the psalmist, as I seek you, please deliver me from all fears. In these frightening times, I pray that my peaceful life will be a wonderful advert for your Kingdom.

1 Peter 2:24-25: The Lord is my Shepherd.

“24 ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ 25 For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” NIV

In writing to slaves about how to bear with unjust treatment, Peter, as we have seen, points to the example of Jesus. The Lord didn’t retaliate, but prayed. He ‘’entrusted himself to him who judges justly’’ (v.23b).

But Christ is not just our pattern; He is also our Saviour, and there is such a wonderful theology of the cross packed into these two verses. You don’t have to think about them for long to hear echoes of Isaiah 53: a remarkable prophecy about the death of the Messiah given some 500 years before Jesus appeared.(In fact, this also also applies to the whole section from v21-v.25).

Note a number of things:

  • ‘’He himself…’’ Jesus did not delegate the saving of the world to an angel or some other ambassador. God Himself came in His Son.
  • In order to enter into the benefits of what Jesus did for you when He died, you have to repent (v.24b). You have to do an about turn. This is spoken of as dying ‘’to sins’’ and living ‘’for righteousness’’. It’s a complete U-turn;
  • God is often spoken of in the Old Testament as Israel’s Shepherd, and Jesus (God in human form), said, ‘’I am the good shepherd.’’ We are so lost and discontented and frustrated as human beings because we are ‘’astray’’ from our ‘’Shepherd’’. But there is a way back to Him through the Cross. Salvation involves turning from sin (v.24b) and turning to God (v.25)

‘’But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’’ (Isaiah 53:5,6).

PRAYER: Lord, the world is wounded. May we look to you, and your cross, for our healing.


1 Peter 2:19-23: Follow Jesus

“19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 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. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.22 ‘He committed no sin,and no deceit was found in his mouth.’23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” NIV

Jesus is our example in life. He is our pattern. It needs to be emphasised that He is more than just a good example. He is also our Saviour, and in verses 24, 25 we will go on to consider some of the theological implications of His death. Try as we may, we can’t come anywhere near to following Jesus’ example successfully, until we first come to know Him as Saviour.

Peter is writing at this point to Christian slaves. Many slaves were well-treated in those days, but not all of them. So what does Peter have to say to those who experience ‘’unjust suffering’’ (19)? In essence he says, ‘Follow Jesus.’ Jesus was perfect (which not even the best of us are), and He was unfairly treated. He suffered so much at the hands of sinful people. But Jesus did not hit back. Instead, He entrusted Himself to the God who always ‘’judges justly’’ (23). We know that He was vindicated. Bad men put Him to death, but a good God raised Him, and put Him on the throne of the universe. As someone said, Jesus’ resurrection is ‘the divine reversal of the human verdict’ on Him.

‘So there is your template’, says Peter. ‘Don’t retaliate, but commit yourself to God.’ The example of Jesus shows that all who do this will be in safe Hands.


1 Peter 2:13-17: Good citizens.

“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor.”NIV

In recent days we have seen that declaring ‘’the praises of him’’ who called us ‘’out of darkness into his wonderful light’’ (9) involves living a good life in the world, before men. The idea is reinforced in today’s reading in terms of citizenship (15). How we conduct ourselves as citizens of a nation is governed by this over-riding belief: it is ‘’for the Lord’s sake’’ (13) that we live as we do. God has created the world for government. He has established authorities.

It is interesting to note that Peter was not writing from within a liberal democracy. He, and his readers, lived under the pagan Roman Empire. It was often harsh, cruel and persecuting. It’s not easy to live under a dictatorship. But Peter saw it as important that believers should be good citizens. This is a key part of our witness. People may throw mud at us, but let the lives we lead speak for themselves.

The message of the whole paragraph, it seems to me, is encapsulated in verse 17. It’s a neat summary.

Of course, there may come a time when followers of Jesus have to say, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’ If the state demands what God forbids then we must follow our consciences. But for the most part we don’t face such choices.

Our government is asking difficult things of all of us in these days of restriction and confinement, but it is clearly for the common good. I believe Christians should be at the forefront of honouring what is being asked of us by the authorities. In so doing we can reflect the ‘’wonderful light’’ we have been brought into. This light is God Himself.

If we ‘Submit’ then, it is ‘’for the Lord’s sake.’’

PRAYER: Lord, you never tell us to do anything without also giving us the strength to do it. Help us please to shine for you in our citizenship. We pray for wisdom and strength today for all in authority, that they may receive your help in the heavy burdens of responsibility they carry.

1 Peter 2:4-5: Spiritual sacrifices.

“4 As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” NIV

In a magazine article, a young woman wrote, ‘God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. So why do I so often act like He made a big mistake when He made me?’

When David Watson was one of the most ‘famous’ clergymen in the country, and people flocked to the church he led in York, ‘St. Michael le belfry’, to hear him, he gave his congregation a wise piece of counsel: ‘‘When people come in here and ask who the minister is, say, ‘we all are!’ ‘’

In his commentary on Paul’s letter to the ‘Ephesians’, John Stott writes about visiting St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Connecticut. He says that on the front of the Sunday bulletin he saw the name of the Rector, and the associate Rector, and then the assistant Rector. Next came a line saying: ‘Ministers: The entire congregation.’ This is a thoroughly Biblical vision of the church. We believe in ‘the priesthood of all believers’ – namely, that every Christian has a ministry. We don’t all have the same ministry, but we do each have a ministry. Everyone, by God’s grace, gets to make a contribution.

We saw yesterday that the church is ‘’a spiritual house’’. It is not a material construction, but a ‘building’ made of people who have ‘’come’’ to Jesus.

( ‘’Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life…’’ it says in ‘The Message.’)

But Peter goes on to write that these people who compose Christ’s church offer ‘’spiritual sacrifices’’. Each one is a priest and has a ministry: something to present, to give.

Sadly, our best efforts are tainted by sin. It is so good to know, then, that our offerings are ‘’acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’’

 THOUGHT: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is taken!’

 PRAYER: Thank you Lord that in your Kingdom there are no ‘good-for-nothings’. Everyone counts. Thank you that there’s a work for Jesus none but I can do.

1 Peter 2:4-5: A spiritual house.

“4 As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house  to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” NIV

If buildings were always intrinsic to Christ’s vision of the church, why did the first church meet primarily in homes for several hundred years?

The beautiful old building down your street, complete with tower, or spire, and stained glass windows, is not the church. Certainly, it may have been hallowed by years, even centuries, of worship offered within its walls, and I can understand the special ‘feel’ you sense as you step inside, but a building of dead stones is not the church. The church can meet in such a structure, but we must never confuse the building with the church itself.

We are living in days when some people feel a profound sense of loss and dislocation because they cannot meet in a ‘consecrated’ building. Whilst I understand, and sympathise to some extent, the church of Christ is not a physical building. It is ‘’a spiritual house’’. The true church is made up of all those who have ‘’come’’ to Jesus. (Peter describes Him as ‘’the living Stone’’). These believers ‘’like living stones, are ‘’being built into a spiritual house’’.

 In days when church buildings have been temporarily closed, we can rejoice that the ‘’spiritual house’’ is always open.

As Her Majesty said recently, ‘Easter has not been cancelled.’ We may also add that the true church has not been shut down.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you are building you church and nothing can stop you.

1 Peter 2:1-3: Grow up!

“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”NIV

Following on from yesterday, I was thinking about Paul writing:

‘’This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.’’ (2 Timothy 2:8b/9).

We may be confined and restricted, but God’s Word isn’t. It is very much alive and active in the world

Spiritual growth is not automatic. There are certain things we have to do (‘’…rid yourselves…crave…’’). Once again we find that the Bible, which is instrumental in our new birth, is also essential for our growth to maturity. Everyone loves a baby, but there is something quite wrong if the baby stays a baby; and there is something grotesquely sad about an adult who still behaves like he’s back in the nursery.

No, growth is not automatic. But it is wonderfully possible. Peter knows this. He is going to write in his second letter:

‘’His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness’’ (2 Peter 1:3).

We have the power supply for growth, and this is very good news.

Warren Wiersbe writes:

‘Just as a baby has an appetite for the mother’s milk, so the child of God has an appetite for the Father’s Word. If you lose that appetite and stop growing, check to see if any of the sins listed in verse 1 are infecting your life.’

‘’So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.’’ The Message.

PRAYER: Lord God, may it be true of me that I ‘’crave’’ your Word.

1 Peter 1:22-25: “Word” Power

“22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,25  but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’And this is the word that was preached to you.” NIV

Here is incentive enough, if we should require it, to go on ‘preaching’ God’s Word, whether formally in public, or informally one-to-one. There is power in His Word. There is life in the ‘’seed’’. Mysteriously, and wonderfully, it produces Christians. People are ‘’born again’’ by it. It has been said that God’s Word is His work.

‘’He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29).

The ‘’word of the Lord’’ is also described as ‘’the truth’’ in this passage. Not only are people converted by God’s Word; they are also transformed by it. As we ‘obey’ it, we become more ‘’deeply’’ loving (22). Christianity changes ‘’the heart’’ and we are enabled to live obediently and lovingly out of changed hearts.

In a book I’m reading at the moment, the author comments that in evangelical Christianity we have been too quick to measure spiritual growth in terms of how much we know, rather than how well we love. Knowing is important, but it has to lead somewhere.

Pause to ponder: What does loving ‘’one another deeply, from the heart’’ look like for you in these days of ‘social isolation’?

PRAYER: Lord, Peter gives a timely reminder of the transience of wealth and of people. Thank you that he points beyond this impermanence to the enduring quality of your Word. It is encouraging to know that the ‘seeds’ we sow now, may well bear fruit long after we have gone.


1 Peter 1:13-16: A call to arms.

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ NIV

John Stott once wrote that we must actively cultivate a Christian lifestyle, for holiness is not a condition into which we ‘drift’.

You will note that Peter does not say here, ‘Don’t have ‘’evil desires’’ ‘. In this life that would be impossible. Even after you have set out to follow Christ you still have a sinful nature, and you can think, feel and act in accordance with it, rather than living out your new identity in Christ. What Peter does say, though, is ‘’do not conform’’ to these desires. It’s not the case that you won’t have them, but you don’t have to give into them; to capitulate. They don’t have to rule over you.

But we certainly do not ‘drift’ into holiness. This paragraph is in many ways a call to arms. Living a life of holiness will involve your ‘’minds’’ (v.13a); your will (v.13b: ‘’be self-controlled’’)and your heart (v.13c: ‘’set your hope fully…’’). It will involve the whole person.

In yesterday’s passage we saw that the Christian life is cruciform in shape. It is Christ-centred and therefore cross-centred. The pattern is suffering, then glory (v.11b). In ‘the problem of pain’ C.S. Lewis wrote: ‘The sacrifice of Christ is repeated, or re-echoed, among His followers in very varying degrees, from the cruellest martyrdom down to a self-submission of intention…’

When the seed falls into the ground and dies, the beautiful flower of holiness can grow.

PRAYER: Lord, I did not want or choose these days of crisis, but please show me what it means to grow in holiness right in the middle of them. Help me not to postpone growth until a brighter day dawns. By your grace, help me become more like you today.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: