This verse continues Peter’s reference to David’s Psalm 34, verses 12–16. What David wrote describes the very specific choices made by those who want to love life and see good days.
Peter cites David’s words after declaring that Christians must not try to “even the score,” when insulted or treated with evil intent. Instead, we must give a blessing in exchange (1 Peter 3:9). In these verses, Peter shows how this is to our benefit. Those who want to love life and see good days refuse to use words to harm even those who have harmed them (1 Peter 3:10) and, instead, turn from evil and do good, searching for and chasing peace (1 Peter 3:11).
Finally, in this verse, Peter affirms David’s statement that God sees all of this. He is watching. He is paying attention. He knows, and He cares about those set apart for His purposes. Specifically, God is paying attention to the righteous. Peter has already made it clear that Jesus, perfectly righteous, paid the penalty for our sin when he died on the cross (1 Peter 2:22–24). Paul adds that those who trust in Christ have been made righteous by what He has done for us (Romans 3:21–25).
So God is paying attention to all Christians, to all who are His people in Jesus. His ears are open to our prayers. He is ready and willing to hear us as we reject the option to repay evil with evil, and choose instead to give good. We are to seek peace. But God also notices those who do evil. David’s and Peter’s words are meant as a comfort: God does not simply ignore the hurtful actions of those who bring suffering to His people. His face is against the evil ones. Justice will come (Romans 12:19).
Peter continues teaching about Christian submission to human authorities, now addressing Christian wives. Believing wives must be subject to their own husbands, even if the husband is not a follower of Christ. By doing so, they might win them to Christ through the example of their own changed lives and hearts. Christian husbands must honor their wives. All believers must live in unity together and refuse to seek revenge. In part, God means to use our hopeful response to suffering to provoke the world to see His power in us. Christ, too, suffered and then died, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven.
1 Peter 3:8–22 addresses all believers, commanding Christians to be unified and to refuse to seek revenge when wronged. Peter quotes from both David and Isaiah to show that God’s people have always been called to reject evil and to do good. This is true even when we are suffering. In fact, it may be God’s will for His people to suffer, in part, to demonstrate His power. Our good example can convict others into repentance. Christ, too, suffered, died, was resurrected, and ascended to power and authority in heaven.