“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”
The Apostle Peter is known for many things such as, walking on water at Jesus’ bidding, being at Jesus’ transfiguration, and for often speaking his mind. However, the Apostle is not often considered one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament. Nevertheless, the two short epistles Peter did write in the New Testament are very important letters for believers. The first letter is especially important as it speaks to the persecuted church – those who were suffering for their faith at the time when this letter was written, and also for the persecuted throughout the church age. In this first epistle from Peter, specifically chapter 3:13- 4:19 is a section that deals with suffering. One aspect of suffering that Peter raises is being able to give a defense for the hope that each Christian has in Christ. While you may not immediately think of this as suffering in a classical sense, if you ever had to give an answer for reason why you believe in Christ, you know that it does take a great deal of patience and can lead to much heartache. Confrontation and even quarrelling is often not far away when one is called upon to defend their faith.
The biblical term for defense is apologia in the original language. While it may sound very similar to the English word apology, this is not the meaning of the Greek word. Apologia simply means defense, and this is the meaning in 1 Peter 3:15 – our text for this Sunday. From apologia, we get the term Apologetics – the branch of Christian theology that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith. This discipline requires considerable study and research in order to gain an expertise in defending the faith against skeptics and atheists who would try to dismantle the Bible and Christian thought. In this text however, Peter is not calling everyone to defend their faith in that manner, but in the sense of a defense for the hope that every believer has in Christ. So in this sense, Apologetics is something every true believer is to be involved in! In our text, Peter is not recommending you be able to defend your faith; he’s commanding you to do this. Peter instructs every true believer, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence”
We’ll open up this text in three sections: first, “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts;” second, “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you;” and third, “yet with gentleness and reverence.” We encourage you to meditate on this commandment from the Apostle Peter and as you do consider these questions:
Is Christ set apart as Lord in your heart?
Have you ever been challenged to give a reason for the hope that you have in Christ?
What was your defense?
Did you answer your questioner in gentleness and reverence, or did it lead to confrontation and quarrelling?