Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 3:17 | Notes on the Petrine Epistles
On the surface, this verse simply forms a truism—one is better off to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong. This is much like what Peter said in regard to slaves at 1 Peter 2:20: “For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval.”
Yet, this suffering is a type of Christ’s suffering. Jesus suffered for doing right rather than for doing wrong. In that Christians suffer for doing right rather than for doing wrong, they share in Christ’s sufferings and become like him.
It is better to suffer for doing right. When one suffers for doing right, he has God’s approval (2:20). When one sufferings for doing right, he is able to set an example for the rest of the world.
It might be God’s will for Christians to suffer. Why would God will for Christian’s to suffer? God might would need Christians to set an example in the world. God might would need the gospel to be preached—in the New Testament, persecution actually helped advance the gospel.
Whatever reason God would will Christians to suffer, the Christian could know that God was behind the suffering and that God only wants what is good.