What does 1 Peter 3:16 mean?
ESV: having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
NIV: keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
NASB: and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who disparage your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
CSB: Yet do this with gentleness and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame.
NLT: But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
KJV: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
NKJV: having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
Verse Commentary:
In the previous two verses, Peter taught Christians how to respond to suffering for the sake of Christ. We must not give in to fear and anxiety. Instead, we must commit to treating Christ as our Lord, ready to give an answer to questions about the surprising hopefulness that comes with our place in God's family (1 Peter 3:15).

But, we must give this answer with gentleness and respect. In this verse, Peter explains why this attitude is key. First of all, it allows us to maintain a good conscience. This is an inner confidence that we have not done even the slightest hurtful thing in telling others about Christ. Secondly, those who wrongfully hurt us for our good behavior should feel shame about doing so. Without any cause to accuse us, they will become aware of their own wrongdoing in accusing us in the first place. Lacking that, it will at least be apparent to others that we are being attacked for no good reason.
Verse Context:
1 Peter 3:8–22 addresses all believers, commanding Christians to be unified and to refuse to seek revenge when wronged. Peter quotes from both David and Isaiah to show that God’s people have always been called to reject evil and to do good. This is true even when we are suffering. In fact, it may be God’s will for His people to suffer, in part, to demonstrate His power. Our good example can convict others into repentance. Christ, too, suffered, died, was resurrected, and ascended to power and authority in heaven.
Chapter Summary:
Peter continues teaching about Christian submission to human authorities, now addressing Christian wives. Believing wives must be subject to their own husbands, even if the husband is not a follower of Christ. By doing so, they might win them to Christ through the example of their own changed lives and hearts. Christian husbands must honor their wives. All believers must live in unity together and refuse to seek revenge. In part, God means to use our hopeful response to suffering to provoke the world to see His power in us. Christ, too, suffered and then died, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven.
Chapter Context:
Peter’s letter to persecuted Christians is about how to endure suffering for faith in Christ. Thus far, he has assured Christians that their future is secure in eternity with God. We are His holy people, set apart for His specific purposes. Because of this, it matters that we live out that truth, even when we suffer. Christians are called to live in submission to every human authority, including kings, governors, and slave masters.
Book Summary:
Some 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus, Christians are facing greater persecution for their faith. How should they respond? How should we respond to suffering today? The apostle Peter writes this letter both to comfort believers and to encourage them to stay strong. He urges them to put all their hope in their perfect future with Christ, and to obey and trust Him in the present, even in their suffering. Christ suffered greatly; now the Christ-followers have the opportunity to follow Him even in this, showing His grace and power in their hopefulness, obedience, and faith.
Accessed 5/20/2024 8:34:31 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com