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1 Peter 3:16

    1 Peter 3:16 Translations

    King James Version (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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Being conscious that you have done no wrong; so that those who say evil things about your good way of life as Christians may be put to shame.

    Webster's Revision

    having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.

    World English Bible

    having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Peter 3:16

    Having a good conscience - The testimony of God in your own soul, that in simplicity and godly sincerity you have your conversation in the world. See on the term conscience at the end of Hebrews.

    Whereas they speak evil of you - See the same sentiment in 1 Peter 2:11 and the note there.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Peter 3:16

    Having a good conscience - That is, a conscience that does not accuse you of having done wrong. Whatever may be the accusations of your enemies, so live that you may be at all times conscious of uprightness. Whatever you suffer, see that you do not suffer the pangs inflicted by a guilty conscience, the anguish of remorse. On the meaning of the word "conscience," see the notes at Romans 2:15. The word properly means the judgment of the mind respecting right and wrong; or the judgment which the mind passes on the immorality of its own actions, when it instantly approves or condemns them. There is always a feeling of obligation connected with operations of conscience, which precedes, attends, and follows our actions. "Conscience is first occupied in ascertaining our duty, before we proceed to action; then in judging of our actions when performed." A "good conscience" implies two things:

    (1) That it be properly enlightened to know what is right and wrong, or that it be not under the dominion of ignorance, superstition, or fanaticism, prompting us to do what would be a violation of the divine law; and,

    (2) that its dictates must always be obeyed. Without the first of these - clear views of that which is right and wrong - conscience becomes an unsafe guide; for it merely prompts us to do what we esteem to be right, and if our views of what is right and wrong are erroneous, we may be prompted to do what may be a direct violation of the law of God. Paul thought he "ought" to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth Acts 26:9; the Saviour said, respecting his disciples, that the time would come when whosoever should kill them would think that they were doing God service, John 16:2; and Solomon says, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25 Under an unenlightened and misguided conscience, with the plea and pretext of religion, the most atrocious crimes have been committed; and no man should infer that he is certainly doing right, because he follows the promptings of conscience.

    No man, indeed, should act against the dictates of his conscience; but there may have been a previous wrong in not using proper means to ascertain what is right. Conscience is not revelation, nor does it answer the purpose of a revelation. It communicates no new truth to the soul, and is a safe guide only so far as the mind has been properly enlightened to see what is truth and duty. Its office is "to prompt us to the performance of duty," not "to determine what is right." The other thing requisite that we may have a good conscience is, that its decisions should be obeyed. Conscience is appointed to be the "vicegerent" of God in inflicting punishment, if his commands are not obeyed. It pronounces a sentence on our own conduct. Its penalty is remorse; and that penalty will be demanded if its promptings be not regarded. It is an admirable device, as a part of the moral government of God, urging man to the performance of duty, and, in case of disobedience, making the mind its own executioner.

    There is no penalty that will more certainly be inflicted, sooner or later, than that incurred by a guilty conscience. It needs no witnesses; no process for arresting the offender; no array of judges and executioners; no stripes, imprisonment, or bonds. Its inflictions will follow the offender into the most secluded retreat; overtake him in his most rapid flight; find him out in northern snows, or on the sands of the equator; go into the most splendid palaces, and seek out the victim when he is safe from all the vengeance that man can inflict; pursue him into the dark valley of the shadow of death, or arrest him as a fugitive in distant worlds. No one, therefore, can over-estimate the importance of having a good conscience. A true Christian should aim, by incessant study and prayer, to know what is right, and then always do it, no matter what may be the consequences.

    That, whereas they speak evil of you - They who are your enemies and persecutors. Christians are not to hope that people will always speak well of them, Matthew 5:11; Luke 6:26.

    As of evildoers - See the notes at 1 Peter 2:12.

    They may be ashamed - They may see that they have misunderstood your conduct, and regret that they have treated you as they have. We should expect, if we are faithful and true, that even our enemies will yet appreciate our motives, and do us justice. Compare Psalm 37:5-6.

    That falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ - Your good conduct as Christians. They may accuse you of insincerity, hypocrisy, dishonesty; of being enemies of the state, or of monstrous crimes; but the time will come when they will see their error, and do you justice. See the notes at 1 Peter 2:12.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Peter 3:16

    3:16 Having a good conscience - So much the more beware of anger, to which the very consciousness of your innocence may betray you. Join with a good conscience meekness and fear, and you obtain a complete victory. Your good conversation in Christ - That is, which flows from faith in him.