“Unit 29, Day 4: 1 Peter 3–5,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 29, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
The Apostle Peter encouraged the Saints to always be ready to testify of Jesus Christ and to live righteously in order to dispel false accusations made against them. He taught that Jesus Christ preached the gospel in the spirit world after His death. Peter also admonished the elders of the Church to watch over God’s flock with the same care as Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd.
Read the following account by President Thomas S. Monson:
“We will have opportunities throughout our lives to share our beliefs, although we don’t always know when we will be called upon to do so. Such an opportunity came to me in 1957, when I worked in the publishing business and was asked to go to Dallas, Texas, [USA,] sometimes called ‘the city of churches,’ to address a business convention. Following the conclusion of the convention, I took a sightseeing bus ride through the city’s suburbs. As we passed the various churches, our driver would comment, ‘On the left you see the Methodist church’ or ‘There on the right is the Catholic cathedral.’
“As we passed a beautiful red brick building situated upon a hill, the driver exclaimed, ‘That building is where the Mormons meet.’ A lady in the rear of the bus called out, ‘Driver, can you tell us something more about the Mormons?’
“The driver pulled the bus over to the side of the road, turned around in his seat, and replied, ‘Lady, all I know about the Mormons is that they meet in that red brick building. Is there anyone on this bus who knows anything more about the Mormons?’” (“Dare to Stand Alone,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 67).
If you had been on that bus, what would you have done or said?
In what ways might this kind of opportunity be exciting to you? In what ways might it be challenging for you?
As you study 1 Peter 3:1–17, look for a principle that can help you when you have opportunities to share the gospel with others.
In 1 Peter 3:1–11 we read that the Apostle Peter exhorted wives to help bring unbelieving husbands to Christ through their righteous conduct (see Joseph Smith Translation, 1 Peter 3:2 [in 1 Peter 3:2, footnote b]). He counseled husbands to honor their wives. He also counseled members to “be … of one mind” (1 Peter 3:8) and to live according to gospel standards.
Read 1 Peter 3:14–16, looking for what Peter counseled the Saints to do when they encountered people who questioned their beliefs or persecuted them because of those beliefs.
The word answer in verse 15 can also be translated as “defense” (see 1 Peter 3:15, footnote b). Peter admonished the Saints to share and defend their religious beliefs. Notice also that Peter suggested they do so with meekness and fear. Meekness means gentleness, humility, and patience (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Meek, Meekness,” scriptures.lds.org). The word fear means reverence or respect (see 1 Peter 3:15, footnote a).
One truth we can learn from 1 Peter 3:15 is that as followers of Jesus Christ, we should strive to always be ready to share and defend our beliefs with meekness and reverence. Consider writing or noting this truth in your scriptures next to 1 Peter 3:15.
Read the rest of President Monson’s account of his experience on the bus:
“I waited for someone to respond. I gazed at the expression on each person’s face for some sign of recognition, some desire to comment. Nothing. I realized it was up to me to do as the Apostle Peter suggested, to ‘be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.’ I also realized the truth of the adage ‘When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.’
“For the next 15 or so minutes, I had the privilege of sharing with those on the bus my testimony concerning the Church and our beliefs. I was grateful for my testimony and grateful that I was prepared to share it” (“Dare to Stand Alone,” 67).
Answer two or all of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are some things you can do to always be ready to share your beliefs?
Why do you think it is important to share your beliefs with meekness and reverence?
When have you shared your beliefs or testimony with others?
Think about how you will prepare to share and defend your beliefs. Act on any promptings you receive.
Imagine that you are a full-time missionary. Think about how you would respond to someone who says the following: “I believe what you are teaching me is true, but I wonder about people who die without having the chance to hear the truth. It doesn’t seem fair for God to punish them or prevent them from living with Him again if they never had the chance to learn about His plan of salvation.”
Read 1 Peter 3:18–20, including the Joseph Smith Translation in 1 Peter 3:20, footnote a. Then read 1 Peter 4:5–6, including the Joseph Smith Translation in 1 Peter 4:6, footnote a. As you read, look for truths Peter taught that you could share with the person in the above scenario. The “spirits in prison” in 1 Peter 3:19 refer to those in the spirit world who did not accept the gospel or have the opportunity to hear it while in mortality.
What do we learn from these verses about those in the spirit world who did not accept the gospel or have the opportunity to receive it in this life?
President Joseph F. Smith was pondering the meaning of 1 Peter 3:18–20 and 1 Peter 4:6 when he received a revelation and vision of the Savior’s visit to the spirit world. This revelation is recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 138. President Smith saw that Jesus Christ, between the time of His death and Resurrection, preached the gospel and personally ministered to the righteous spirits in the spirit world. Jesus Christ then organized and authorized righteous servants to teach the gospel to the spirits in spirit prison (see D&C 138:1–12, 18–19, 27–30).
According to 1 Peter 4:6, why is the gospel preached to those who are dead?
A truth we can learn from this verse is that the gospel is preached to those who have died so that they may have the same opportunities as those who hear the gospel in mortality. (Note that 1 Peter 4:6 is a scripture mastery scripture. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can easily locate it in the future.)
Review the scenario you read at the beginning of this section. In your scripture study journal, write how you would use 1 Peter 4:6 to respond to the concern you read about. Include your feelings about how the doctrine of salvation for the dead is evidence of God’s mercy and compassion for His children.
In 1 Peter 4:7–19 we read that Peter urged the Saints to have fervent charity because charity covers, or prevents, a multitude of sins. He also referred to a future “fiery trial” (1 Peter 4:12) that the Saints may yet have to endure, and he taught the Saints to rejoice when they suffer trials and persecution because of their belief in Jesus Christ.
Write the words from 1 Peter 4:6 on a small card or piece of paper. On the other side write what you can do to help your ancestors who have received the gospel in the spirit world and are waiting to be freed from spirit prison. In your scripture study journal, write that you completed this part of the assignment. During the next week, work on memorizing 1 Peter 4:6 by reciting it each morning and evening before you say your personal prayers. Also review what you wrote about ways to participate in the work of salvation for your ancestors.
To help prepare the Saints for the trials they would experience, the Apostle Peter taught the elders of the Church about their responsibilities as Church leaders. Read 1 Peter 5:1–3, looking for Peter’s counsel to the elders of the Church.
To “feed the flock of God” (verse 2) means to take care of and watch over the members of the Church. Peter taught that Church leaders should serve willingly and with love rather than grudgingly or out of a desire for reward. They were to be examples to the members instead of “lords” (verse 3) over them.
One truth these verses teach is that Church leaders have the responsibility to care for and watch over God’s flock with love and by example.
Read 1 Peter 5:4, looking for how Peter referred to the Savior.
What Christlike qualities and attributes can help Church leaders watch over and care for the members of the Church?
When have you been blessed by the Christlike love or example of a Church leader?
As you respect, trust, and follow Church leaders whom the Lord has called, they will help shepherd and care for you spiritually.
In 1 Peter 5:5–14, Peter taught the Saints to respect the elderly, to cast their cares upon Jesus Christ, and to remain steadfast in their faith, despite afflictions. Peter assured them that if they did so, God would perfect and strengthen them.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Peter 3–5 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: