Today’s passage is one of the most talked about sections of Scripture in the New Testament. Peter will advise slaves in how to relate to their masters. Some outside of Christianity use this passage to discount the Bible as an antiquated, bigoted text that is used to propagate further racism among people. It is true that slave owners fighting against the abolition of slavery used verses such as 1 Peter 2:18-20 to defend their actions; however, this misuse demonstrates precisely why it is so important to take into account ALL of Scripture when we are applying it to our lives. The Bible Project we referenced during Week One gives a helpful overview of this passage. And rest assured that many godly men and women, like William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Theresa, have fought against the dehumanization that is experienced through slavery for centuries. Jesus Followers are ALWAYS called to love ALL of our neighbors as ourselves.
So, how do we read passages that don’t have an exact modern day example? It’s helpful to go back to the main point Peter was trying to make: suffering and injustice are expected and actually lead to a DEEPENING of faith!
While you or I might not have a slave master, we very well might face injustice or unfair treatment in the workplace. After High School, while I was attending college, I worked for a rock wall manufacturer. I made just barely enough to live, pay for school, and drive back and forth to the campus in the next town. After a few months, my supervisor informed me that I was being transferred effective immediately to another location that was a 25 mile drive away. I explained that this would be incredibly difficult for me; gas was expensive, and I would not be able to afford the extra driving expense or the added commute into my rather packed schedule. Other people had offered to be transferred instead of me, yet my supervisor insisted. He informed me that if I quit, I would need to give him 30 days notice. I was angry. In no way did I want to make this easier for the company or my supervisor. BUT, this was a chance to be obedient not just when it was convenient, but when it really hurt. I worked my full 30 days while driving back and forth.
It seems like such a small thing now; however, God used the smaller moments of virtue, integrity, and obedience in my life as practice for larger moments to come. Today in your journaling, reflect on how God is calling you into the seemingly small areas of obedience, as well as in the large.
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.1 Peter 2:18–20 (NLT)