What does it mean to gird up your loins?
Snowstorms and violent weather mark the winters of the Cairngorm Mountains near my home in Scotland. Almost every year some unfortunate climbers who venture out on them at that season come to grief, not because they are inexperienced climbers, but because they set out ill prepared for the weather. Every year warnings are given that the mountains are treacherous in the winter. While they are safe for fully equipped and experienced climbers, they can be fatal for the ill-equipped.
Peter’s readers were likely to face opposition from a hostile society round about them. In the second part of the letter Peter will tell them what they are to do when they are actually in the world and facing hostility, but in this first part he instructs them on how to be prepared and equipped spiritually for what lies ahead of them. The Scottish preacher Murdo Ewan Macdonald used to speak of the necessity of having “adequate internal resources.” This is the heart of Peter’s message in this section of his letter, which is concerned with the personal lives of Christians and how they are to behave individually in relation to God (1:13–21) and to other Christians (1:22–2:3) and collectively in the church (2:4–10).
Marshall, I. H. (1991). 1 Peter. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (1 Pe 1:13). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.