1 Peter 3:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

King James Bible
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
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.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But with modesty and fear, having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

English Revised Version
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.

Webster's Bible Translation
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good deportment in Christ.

Weymouth New Testament
Yet argue modestly and cautiously, keeping your consciences free from guilt, so that, when you are spoken against, those who slander your good Christian lives may be put to shame.

1 Peter 3:16 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

Having a good conscience (συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν)

The position of the adjective shows that it is used predicatively: having a conscience good or unimpaired. Compare Hebrews 13:18, "We have a good conscience (καλὴν συνείδησιν)." Συνείδησις, conscience, does not occur in the gospels, unless John 8:1-11 be admitted into the text. Nor is it a word familiar to classical Greek. It is compounded of σύν, together with, and εἰδέναι, to know; and its fundamental idea is knowing together with one's self. Hence it denotes the consciousness which one has within himself of his own conduct as related to moral obligation; which consciousness exercises a judicial function, determining what is right or wrong, approving or condemning, urging to performance or abstinence. Hence it is not merely intellectual consciousness directed at conduct, but moral consciousness contemplating duty, testifying to moral obligation, even where God is not known; and, where there is knowledge of God and acquaintance with him, inspired and directed by that fact. A man cannot be conscious of himself without knowing himself as a moral creature. Cremer accordingly defines the word as "the consciousness man has of himself in his relation to God, manifesting itself in the form of a self-testimony, the result of the action of the spirit in the heart." And further, "conscience is, essentially, determining of the self-consciousness by the spirit as the essential principle of life. In conscience man stands face to face with himself." Conscience is, therefore, a law. Thus Bishop Butler: "Conscience does not only offer itself to show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its own authority with it, that it is our natural guide, the guide assigned us by the Author of our nature; it therefore belongs to our condition of being; it is our duty to walk in that path and follow this guide." And again, "That principle by which we survey, and either approve or disapprove our own heart, temper, and actions, is not only to be considered as what is, in its turn, to have some influence, which may be said of every passion, of the lowest appetites; but likewise as being superior; as from its very nature claiming superiority over all others; insomuch that you cannot form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment, direction, superintendency. This is a constituent part of the idea, that is, of the faculty itself; and to preside and govern, from the very economy and constitution of man, belongs to it. Had it strength as it had right; had it power as it had manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world" (Sermons II. and III., "On Human Nature").

Conscience is a faculty. The mind may "possess reason and distinguish between the true and the false, and yet be incapable of distinguishing between virtue and vice. We are entitled, therefore, to hold that the drawing of moral distinctions is not comprehended in the simple exercise of the reason. The conscience, in short, is a different faculty of the mind from the mere understanding. We must hold it to be simple and unresolvable till we fall in with a successful decomposition of it into its elements. In the absence of any such decomposition we hold that there are no simpler elements in the human mind which will yield us the ideas of the morally good and evil, of moral obligation and guilt, of merit and demerit. Compound and decompound all other ideas as you please, associate them together as you may, they will never give us the ideas referred to, so peculiar and full of meaning, without a faculty implanted in the mind for this very purpose" (McCosh, "Divine Government, Physical and Moral").

Conscience is a sentiment: i.e., it contains and implies conscious emotions which arise on the discernment of an object as good or bad. The judgment formed by conscience awakens sensibility. When the judicial faculty pronounces a thing to be lovable, it awakens love. When it pronounces it to be noble or honorable, it awakens respect and admiration. When it pronounces it to be cruel or vile, it awakens disgust and abhorrence.

In scripture we are to view conscience, as Bishop Ellicott remarks, not in its abstract nature, but in its practical manifestations. Hence it may be weak (1 Corinthians 8:7, 1 Corinthians 8:12), unauthoritative, and awakening only the feeblest emotion. It may be evil or defiled (Hebrews 10:22; Titus 1:15), through consciousness of evil practice. It may be seared (1 Timothy 4:2), branded by its own testimony to evil practice, hardened and insensible to the appeal of good. On the other hand, it may be pure (2 Timothy 1:3), unveiled, and giving honest and clear moral testimony. It may be void of offence (Acts 24:16), unconscious of evil intent or act; good, as here, or honorable (Hebrews 13:18). The expression and the idea, in the full Christian sense, are foreign to the Old Testament, where the testimony to the character of moral action and character is borne by external revelation rather than by the inward moral consciousness.

Falsely accuse (ἐπηρεάζοντες)

Compare Luke 6:28; the only other passage where the word occurs, Matthew 5:44, being rejected from the best texts. The word means to threaten abusively; to act despitefully. Rev., revile.

1 Peter 3:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

a good.

1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh...

1 Peter 2:19 For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offense toward God, and toward men.

Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom...

2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully...

1 Timothy 1:5,19 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned...

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience...

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God...

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

whereas. See on ch.

1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works...

Titus 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

falsely.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

good. See on ver.

1 Peter 3:1,2 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word...

Cross References
Daniel 6:4
Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.

Acts 28:22
But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."

1 Timothy 1:5
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Hebrews 13:18
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.

1 Peter 2:12
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:15
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

1 Peter 2:19
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

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