1 Peter 3:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 3:17, NIV: For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17, ESV: For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17, KJV: For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

1 Peter 3:17, NASB: For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

1 Peter 3:17, NLT: Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

1 Peter 3:17, CSB: For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

What does 1 Peter 3:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter continues his teaching on how Christians should respond to suffering for the sake of Christ. This relates to persecution resulting from being known as a believer in Jesus. Here, Peter reveals what may be a startling idea for some of us: It might be God's will that we suffer.

Contrary to many false teachers, God's will for the Christian life does not always involve wealth, health, and ease. It may require hardship and abuse. Why would God ever want that to happen? 1 Peter chapter 2 explained that our example, Jesus, suffered enormously for our sake. We should not be surprised to be called on to suffer in the same way for His sake.

In addition, the previous verses (1 Peter 3:15–16) describe a scenario in which those who persecute Christians may be attracted to our message. Hopefulness in the face of suffering can lead them to conviction of their own sinfulness in causing that suffering. God can use our suffering to bring even our persecutors to faith in Christ. Or, to prove to others that we, not our tormentors, are following the will of God.

Whatever the reason behind God's will, Peter clearly teaches that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. A Christian suffering for Christ's sake brings blessing (1 Peter 3:14), both for us and the world around us. To suffer for doing wrong, however, means the misery is merely the consequence of our own sin. As a believer, this is especially heinous, since it can harm the reputation of Christ in the world.