1. Fervent Love. It’s not enough to tolerate or get along with or even to like our brothers and sisters in Christ. What do we need in our relationship with fellow believers? What does Peter suggest we need when dealing with difficult people? Do the principles of “getting along” translate as agreeing with everything the government promotes? Or should the social world that surrounds us not matter in any significant way?
2. Church and state. Try to imagine Peter, of all people, telling us to get along and go along with the authority of government no matter what. Or is that what he’s saying when he writes, “…submit yourself to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors…”? In the country where you live, can you see positive results from obeying its governmental rules? Would you rather live in a country where no laws are enforced? Or where you can choose the laws you find agreeable?
3. Masters and Slaves. How can you and I understand Peter’s counsel on living as slaves when for most of us, slavery is unheard of or despised? Imagine that your harsh master is a boss at work, a testy husband or a nagging wife. Aren’t you justified in “getting back” at that difficult master? What do you think Peter would advise you to do about the harsh treatment your master is giving you?
4. Husbands and Wives. Should wives and husbands escape a marriage that has a failed to unite two persons in Christ? Once married, should a person in a dysfunctional relationship attempt to stay loyal to God and to the marriage partner? What should you or I offer as advice or comfort to a friend in a difficult marriage relationship? Or should we stay away from such situations? What are some specific remedies that a woman can contribute to her marriage that is in trouble? Or are there any?
5. Social Relationships. Our lesson takes a spiritual step from Peter to Paul. What steps does Paul recommend us to take toward building constructive social relationships? In what ways do Peter and Paul agree with each other in the establishment of a strong evangelical purpose within our social structure? How should the sacrifice and example of Jesus Christ affect the way we treat other human beings?
6. Christianity and the Social Order. Do you want to be a part of the social order of your church, community, and government? Or does Jesus want us to stay away from all forms of social organization? How did Peter and John get in trouble with their government? Is there anything at all that you and I can do to promote social change? Are there any programs or events that may not spring from the church as such but are viable means of upgrading the quality of life where you live?