First Peter Chapter Four

Call to Emulate Christís Mental Attitude in Suffering (v.1)

VERSE 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh (ou=n [conj./inferential; "Therefore"] Cristou/ [gen./absolute m.s., Christos] paqo,ntoj [, pascho, suffer; "having suffered"] sarki. [loc.f.s., sarx, flesh]), arm yourselves also with the same purpose (u`mei/j [, su, you] o`pli,sasqe [aor.mid.imper.2.p., o`pli,zomai, oplizomai, arm oneself with; 1X] kai. [conj./adjun., also] th.n auvth.n [, autos, preceded by the the same] e;nnoian [acc.f.s., e;nnoia, ennoia, attitude, intention, purpose; 2X: Heb.4:12; from nous, thinking, mind]), because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin (o[ti [conj./result] o` paqw.n [, pascho, suffer] sarki. [loc.f.s., sarx, flesh] pe,pautai [pf.mid.ind.3.s., pauo, stop, cease] a`marti,aj [acc.f.s., hamaria, sin]),


  1. Translation: "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, you too must arm yourselves with the same resolve (for he who has suffered in the flesh has done away with sin)".
  2. The "Therefore" suggests that Peter is now drawing a conclusion from 1Pet.3:18-22.
  3. The conclusion is based on the entire passage, but mainly on 3:18.
  4. Verse 18a should read: "For Christ also suffered (not Ďdiedí) for sinsÖ".
  5. The exhortation proper is a military metaphor ("arm yourselves"), somewhat reminiscent of 1Pet.1:13, with its call to prepare oneself mentally for action.
  6. Just as "your minds" in 1:13 betrays a certain self-consciousness in the use of metaphorical language, so ennoia (ennoia, "purpose", or better, "intention" or "resolve") has a similar effect here.
  7. What is the "same intention" or "resolve" with which believers are to "arm themselves"?
  8. Taken by itself, this sentence could suggest that they are to go out and resolutely seek martyrdom.
  9. Just as Christ "suffered in the flesh", they must make certain that suffering and death is their lot as well, presumably on the theory that this is the only way to "follow in Christís footsteps" (cf. 1Pet.2:21).
  10. Nowhere else in the letter does Peter come close to urging such a course of action, or even hint that "suffering" in itself is a good thing.
  11. What he commends is never suffering per se, but always "suffering for doing good".
  12. "The same resolve (purpose)" has to do not with the sheer fact that Christ "suffered in the flesh", but with the attitude of mind that He brought to that moment of crisis (cf. 1Pet.2:22,23; Phil.2:5).
  13. Christ faced the sufferings of His life, and in particular the sufferings associated with His Passion, with a particular mind set.
  14. He was out to defeat the power of sin over collective humanity.
  15. By enduring in fellowship all the things He was called upon to suffer, both from the source of men and God, He could accomplish what no other could have done.
  16. One slip and there would have been no salvation.
  17. The words "for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin" is either a generic (universal principle with the participle as generic and the perfect indicative of "has ceased" as gnomic, that is universal in application) expression or a specific reference to Jesus Christ.
  18. The latter is preferable.
  19. The second participle, "he who has suffered", has as its antecedent "Christ has suffered", also an aorist participle.
  20. So the second participle, like the first, refers to Jesus Christ.
  21. The main difficulty with this interpretation is doctrinal: if Christ "is through with sin", or "has ceased from sin", does this not imply that at some point He was a sinner?
  22. It is, after all, Peter himself who reminds his readers that Christ "did not commit sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth" (1Pet.2:22).
  23. Can the words pe,pautai a`marti,aj (pepautai amartias: "is through with sin" or "has stopped sin") be understood in a way that does not imply that Jesus was once a sinner?
  24. Following this line of interpretation, Christ is "through with sin" in the sense that He has finished dealing with it.
  25. This follows 1Pet.3:18a: "Christ also suffered for sins, once for all".
  26. He "is through with sin" in the sense that He has finished dealing with it, once for all; he has put it behind Him, says Peter, and so should we (cf. vv.2,3).
  27. The parallel with Heb.9:28 is instructive: "so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him".
  28. The distinction is not that Christ, once sinful, is now sinless, but that the purpose of His first coming was to deal with humanityís sin, and that now, with that purpose accomplished, He has nothing more to do with sin.
  29. One difficulty remains with identifying Christ as the one who "suffered in the flesh" and is consequently "through with sin" in v.1b.
  30. Taken at face value, the identification would also imply that Christ is the one who "lives the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God" (v.2).
  31. This obviously makes no sense, because Peter knows that Christís days "in the flesh" are over, and that it is "by the Spirit" that He was made alive and has gone to heaven.
  32. It is also clear that v.3 refers not to Christ but to Christian believers.
  33. The view that v.1b refers to Christ virtually requires that it be considered a parenthesis, so that v.2 is read with v.1a: "arm yourselves with the same resolveÖso as to live out [your] remaining time in the flesh not for the lusts of men, but for the will of God".
  34. Having reminded his readers that "Christ has suffered in the flesh" and urged them to "arm yourselves with the same resolve", it occurs to Peter that it may not be immediately clear what "intention" or "resolve" Christ had that must be imitated.
  35. So he inserts, almost as an afterthought, "for he who suffered in the flesh [i.e., Christ] is through with sin".
  36. That was His "resolve" Ė indeed the very purpose Ė of His sufferings, and Peter wants to make sure it is the resolve of believers.
  37. So the words "Christ has suffered in the flesh" is inclusive of all of Christís sufferings, both from the source of men and from the source of God.
  38. His focus in so suffering in fellowship was to "stop sin" (perfect of pauo).
  39. We are to imitate Him, and so "arm" ourselves with the "same resolve".
  40. We, too, can have experiential victory over sin by doing the will of God, rather than taking the easy and expedient path of STA lusts (cf. v.2).
The Goal of Ph2 (v.2)

VERSE 2 so as to live (eivj to. [prep.w/; "so as"; construction expresses purpose: that; "so as"] biw/sai [aor.act.infin., bio,w, bioo, to live/spend a life; 1X; from bios, life]) the rest of the time in the flesh (to.n evpi,loipon [, evpi,loipoj, epiloipos, remaining; "the rest of the time"] evn sarki. [prep. + loc.f.s., sarx, flesh]) no longer for the lusts of men (mhke,ti [adv., meketi, no longer] evpiqumi,aij [dat.fem.p., evpiqumi,a, epithumia, lust] avnqrw,pwn [gen.m.p., anthropos, man]), but for the will of God (avlla. [conj.] qelh,mati [dat.nt.s., thelema, will] qeou/ [gen.m.s., theos, God]).


  1. Expanded translation: "Therefore, in view of the fact that Christ having suffered with respect to the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same resolve (for the One having suffered with respect to the flesh has done away with sin), so as to live out [your] remaining time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God".
  2. "Your" is supplied on the assumption that the thought of v.2 indeed follows on the exhortation of v.1a.
  3. Peter comes back from the metaphor of v.1a to prosaic reality.
  4. To "arm" oneself with the same resolve that Christ had means that one dies to sin.
  5. The believer goes on living the balance of his/her Ph2 ("the remaining time in the flesh") "for the will of God".
  6. The verb "to live" (aor.act.infin., bio,w, bioo; 1X) refers to the natural (biological) course of human existence.
  7. The noun bi,oj occurs 10X: Mk.12:44; Lk.8:14,43; 15:12,30; 21:4; 1Tim.2:2; 2Tim.2:4; 1Jn.2:16; 3:17.
  8. The noun means "livelihood", or "living".
  9. This "remaining time" is the same as "the time of your stay" of 1Pet.1:17.
  10. Peter defines the course of human existence by way of contrast, which is characteristic of his style: i.e., "not this, but that" (cf. 1Pet.1:12,14,15,18,23; 2:23; 3:3,4,9,21; 4:15,16; 5:2,3).
  11. The course of the balance of our lives can either follow the signpost marked "the lusts of men" or "the will of God".
  12. We are to "arm ourselves" with the same mental attitude that controlled Christ (cp. Phil.2:5ff).
  13. This is the road to lasting and surpassing blessing.
  14. We are "no longer" to travel down this path, as it ends in loss and shame for the believer.
  15. For "no longer" (mhke,ti, meketi), used in connection with the vices of the Gentile world, see Eph.4:17.
  16. In First Peter these "lusts" are in opposition to the will of God (4:2), they are based on "ignorance" (1:14), and they "wage war against the soul" (2:11).
  17. Peter intends also a contrast between the plural "lusts" and the singular "will of God".
  18. The "lusts" are not limited to sexual desires, but include all manner of STA lust (power, money/materialism, approbation, pleasure seeking, and so on).
  19. The meaning is as broad as 1Jn.2:16: "For all that is in the cosmos, the lust [evpiqumi,a] of the flesh and the lust [evpiqumi,a] of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the cosmos".
  20. We have no obligation to the indwelling lust pattern, no matter the peer pressure put upon us (Rom.8:12).
  21. Rather, we are to follow the signpost that directs us to "the will of God".
  22. The "will of God" is appraised through the study of the WOG.
  23. It includes "doing good" (1Pet.2:15), as "suffering for doing good" (1Pet.3:17; 4:19).
Cultural Depravity A Thing of the Past (v.3)

VERSE 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you (ga.r [conj./declar.] o` parelhluqw.j [, pare,rcomai, pass, pass by; "already past"] cro,noj [, chronos, time] avrketo.j [adj.n.m.s., arketos, enough; "is sufficient"]) to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles (kateirga,sqai [pf.dep.infin., katerga,zomai, katergazomai, accomplish; "carried out"] to. bou,lhma [, boulema, will, desire] tw/n evqnw/n [, ethnos, nation; Gentile]), having pursued a course of sensuality (peporeume,nouj [, poreu,omai, poreuomai, proceed, go; "having pursued"] evn avselgei,aij [prep.w/loc.f.p., avsle,geia, aslegeia, sensuality]), lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries (evpiqumi,aij [dat.f.p., epithumai, lust] + oivnoflugi,aij [dat.f.p., oivnoflugi,a, oinophlugia, drunkenness; 1X] + kw,moij [dat.n.p., kw/moj, komos, orgy; 3X: Rom.13:13; Gal.5:21] + po,toij [dat.m.p., po,toj, potos, drunken orgy; 1X] + kai. [conj.] + avqemi,toij [adj.dat.f.p., avqe,mitoj, athemitos, disgusting] + eivdwlolatri,aij [dat.f.p., eivdwlolatri,a, eidololatria, idolatry]).


  1. "The time already past" stands in contrast to the believerís "remaining time in the flesh" (v2).
  2. These are the two time (cro,noj, chronos) periods into which the life of a Christian - particularly a Gentile Christian - is divided.
  3. The relegation of the evil life of the pre-salvation period is specified by Peterís use of a perfect participle, "already past" (pare,rcomai, parerchomai, pass by); by a perfect infinitive, "to have carried out" (katerga,zomai, katergazomai, accomplish); and by a second perfect participle, "having pursued" (poreu,omai, poreuomai, proceed, travel).
  4. arketo,j, "is sufficient", is used ironically, as a piece of understatement.
  5. "Enough" is actually more than enough - too much, in fact (cf. Mt.6:34 and 10:25, its only other N.T. occurrences).
  6. Peter states that there was sufficient time for these believers to go the limit in sin before their conversion.
  7. Now it is time to put the breaks on and head in another direction, i.e., the will of God.
  8. The designation of unbelievers as "Gentiles", in a letter addressed to Christians who are themselves Gentiles, is striking (cf. 2:12), and reflects, in a way that is natural and not at all self-conscious, Peterís strong conviction that his Gentile Christian readers are actually a new race in Godís sight.
  9. The bou,lhma, or "desire", of the Gentiles echoes "the lusts of men" of the preceding verse and stands in opposition to "the will of God".
  10. This noun (boulema) suggests a strong bent, or predilection, with respect to an activity (cp. Acts.27:43; Rom.9:19; cf. vb. bou,lomai; occurs 37X).
  11. The vices listed here were characteristic of the pagan world of their day.
  12. The first item, "sensuality" (avse,lgeia, aselgeia, sensuality; 10X in the N.T.: Mk.7:22; Rom.13:13; 2Cor.12:21; Gal.5:19; Eph.4:19; 1Pet.4:3; 2Pet.2:2,7,18; Jude.4), refers to actions that arouse the sex grid of the ISTA (visual and verbal arousal).
  13. It is a synonym for immorality.
  14. It is used in 2Pet.2:7 of "immoral conduct" (with avnastrofh, anastrophe, conduct) and in 2:18 with evpiqumi,a (epithumia, lust, desire) of "immoral desires of the flesh".
  15. The incorporation of epithumia into a list alongside aselgeia is evidence that Peter is using epithumia in a more specific sense than in v.2, or in 1:14 or 2:11, to refer to sexual desire or lust.
  16. It is obviously no accident that 1 Peter sounds the most like 2 Peter when it denounces the same kinds of behavior that 2 Peter denounces.
  17. The difference is that 1 Peter is directing its scorn against the world outside the church, while 2 Peter is combating the intrusion of the world into the church itself.
  18. The most significant parallel to our verse is probably not 2 Pet.2:18, but Rom.13:13, with its careful topical arrangement of six vices into three sets of two, focusing respectively on food and drink, sexuality, and selfish ambition.
  19. There, however, epithumia is not found within the list of vices, but after it, in Rom.13:14, as a comprehensive term covering them all (more like the "fleshly lusts" of v.2).
  20. The usage here is in reference to the mental attitude lusting.
  21. The third item, "drunkenness" (oivoflugi,a, oiophlugia), is a compound from "wine" and "to bubble up", occurring only here in the N.T.
  22. This does not refer to the innocent enjoyment of wine, but excessive drinking.
  23. The fourth term, "carousals" or "revelries" (kw/moj, komos), denotes riotous parties, usually in connection with pagan festivals (cp. Rom.13:13; Gal.5:21).
  24. Examples today are Mardi Gras, Spring Break or New Yearís Eve celebrations.
  25. "Revelries" (village merry making) seems the translation closest to the Greek noun.
  26. The fifth term, "drinking parties" (po,toj, potos, drunken orgy), is a hapax.
  27. The sixth and last item is "abominable idolatries", which certainly was rampant in the culture of first century Christianity.
  28. Peter characterizes such idolatrous acts as avqemi,toij (adj.dat.f.p., avqemi,toj, athemitos, unlawful), translated "abominable".
  29. It occurs here and in Acts.10:28.
  30. This is the only place in which the word idolatry occurs in the plural.
  31. Obviously he does not imply by the adjective that other idolatrous acts exist, or can be imagined, that are not "lawless", but that all acts are utterly repugnant to God, who absolutely forbids idolatry in all its forms.
  32. It is important that we look upon the violation of the first commandment of the Law as God does.
  33. The mention of "idolatry" is what betrays the primarily religious nature of the vices in this verse.
  34. In other words, idolatry generated a climate that fostered all kinds of STA excess (cf. Rom.1).
Reaction to Christian Non-Involvement (v.4)

VERSE 4 And in all this, they are surprised (evn w- [prep.w/, hos; "And in all this"] xeni,zontai [pres.pass.ind.3.p., xeni,zw, xenizo, lodge as a stranger; cp. Acts.10:6;18,32; think strange; cp. 4:12; "they are surprised"]) that you do not run with them (u`mw/n [pro.gen.p., su; "you"] mh. [neg.] suntreco,ntwn [, suntre,cw, suntrecho, run together; join with; 3x: Mk.6:33; Acts.3:11]) into the same excess of dissipation (eivj th.n auvth.n [prep.w/, autos, with the article; the same] avna,cusin [acc.f.s., avna,cusij, anachusis, flood, excess] th/j avswti,aj [, avswti,aj, asotias, dissipation]), and they malign you (blasfhmou/ntej [, blasphemeo, blaspheme, speak against, insult, malign]);


  1. The introductory "And in all this" (evn w-) refers to the sinful excesses characteristic of pagan culture.
  2. Because Christians had joined their fellow citizens in the enjoyment of excessive food, drink, and sex, it was natural to assume that they would continue to do so.
  3. When they did not (cp. v.12), "surprise" was the immediate reaction.
  4. The pres.pass.ind. of xeni,zw ("are surprised") means to entertain a guest/stranger (cf. Acts.10:6,18,23,32; 21:16; 28:7; Heb.13:2).
  5. Here it is used of a psychological state of mind (cf. Acts.17:20; 1Pet.4:4,12).
  6. The cognate noun xe,noj (zenos) means "stranger" (e.g., 3Jn.5).
  7. The verb could be translated "they think it strange" (NKJ).
  8. What took them aback was the fact that Christians who had formerly engaged in pagan vice with the same gusto as the rest of society were now non-participants.
  9. The verb (, suntre,cw, suntrecho, run together with; plunge with) is a deliberate, almost comic exaggeration of "having pursued" of v.3.
  10. Certainly, the Gentiles would not have so characterized their participation in civic and religious events.
  11. But the reality was that the pagans did rush headlong into pleasure seeking and self-gratification according to the religious calendar.
  12. They justified these things because they were done in accordance with tradition and accepted practice.
  13. Organized religion and the state sponsored events that sanctified excess in food, drink, and sex.
  14. The STA was granted a license to indulge in all manner of excess.
  15. The words "in the same" (eivj th.n auvth.n) refer to the kinds of things specified in v.3.
  16. The noun "excess" (acc.fem.sing., avna,cusij, anachusis) is also the word for "flood", occurring only here in the N.T.
  17. It is used as a metaphor for rank excess in pleasure seeking.
  18. The noun "dissipation" (, avswti,a, asotia) is used in the N.T. in connection with the sin of drunkenness (Eph.5:18) and a profligate lifestyle (Ti.1:6).
  19. The cognate adverb (avsw,twj, asotos, wild) is used of the prodigal son who was involved in the sins of hell-raising.
  20. Our noun "dissipation" means wasteful in the pursuit of pleasure.
  21. Their surprise gave way to resentment and verbal maligning.
  22. In point of fact, their maligning was a form of blasphemy.
  23. The verb "they malign you" is the of blasphemeo.
  24. Christians were accused of following a God that encouraged anti-social behavior.
  25. Atheism was one of the charges, since Christians refused to participate in pagan worship.
  26. Believers were accused of hating others as they separated from family, friends, and neighbors who practiced these vices.
  27. Finally, they were accused of being subversive to the Roman authority where participation in civic activities conflicted with Biblical standards.
  28. Accusation and ridicule were heaped upon the Christian community.
  29. Blasphemy is one of the terms used to describe that abuse.
  30. Not only were they attacking Christians, they were engaged in blasphemy against God.
  31. Those who slander believers for their changed lifestyle are in effect slandering (i.e., blaspheming) God Himself, who called these converts "out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1Pet.2:9b).
  32. Whatever is done to, or for, a child of God is done to, or for, God Himself (Lk.10:16; Jn.12:48; 15:18-25; Mt.25:31-40).
  33. Since the very Spirit of God rests upon these Christians (cf. 1Pet.4:14), so to malign them is to blaspheme God the HS.
  34. The use of such a strong word in our verse reveals that the cosmosí reaction to our stance generates genuine offense or "scandal" (cf. 1Pet.2:8).
  35. The term is transitional with respect to the next verse.
Negative Volition Will Give an Account (v.5)

VERSE 5 but they will give account (oi] [pro./rel.n.m.s., hos, who] avpodw,sousin [fut.act.ind.3.p., avpodi,dwmi, apodidomi, give back, render, repay] lo,gon [acc.m.s., logos, word; statement; account]) to Him who is ready (tw/| e;conti [, echo, to have; "who is"] e`toi,mwj [adv., etoimos, ready]) to judge the living and the dead (kri/nai [aor.act.infin., krino, judge] zw/ntaj kai. nekrou,j [, zao, to live, + conj. + adj.acc.m.p., nekros, dead]).


  1. "Who" (, hos; translated "they") has as its antecedent the of blasphemeo, translated "they malign" or "blaspheme".
  2. Those among our accusers who remain unrepentant "will give an account" (fut.act.ind.3.p., avpodi,dwmi, apodidomi, give, render, + acc.m.s., logos, account) at the last judgment.
  3. Peterís language suggests the reversal of the circumstances imagined in 1Pet.3:15,16.
  4. In time believers may be questioned about their faith and hope, even formally interrogated about their loyalty to the state.
  5. They must know how to respond graciously, yet with integrity, even to the most hostile questions (1Pet.3:15; cf. 2:13-15).
  6. In the future, the tables will be turned.
  7. Those who now ask the questions will have to come up with some answers of their own.
  8. Jesus taught accountability for this, spoken of in Mt.12:36: "And I say to you, that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment".
  9. At the respective judgments God will bring every action to judgment (Eccl.12:14; cp. 11:9; Mt.10:26; Rom.2:16; 1Cor.4:5).
  10. Unbelievers will receive the sentence of eternal condemnation based on their negative volition to the gospel.
  11. Believers will be judged at the Bema Seat (in the case of CA believers; 2Cor.5:10; cp. Rom.14:10,12) and O.T. saints will be judged at the Second Advent (Dan.12:13).
  12. For believers the judgment will determine the nature of their eternal reward.
  13. The expression "who is ready" is, literally, "having in readiness" (tw/| e`toi,mwj e;conti).
  14. God is at all times "ready"; He awaits the predetermined time (Acts.17:31).
  15. For unbelievers it comes after the Millennium, just before the New Creation.
  16. The phrase "the living and dead" refers to those who are alive as well as those who are dead.
  17. No one will escape final judgment.
  18. The dead will be raised to appear before the Last Judgment.
  19. The Judge is Jesus Christ, to whom God has committed all judgment (Acts.10:42; 17:31; Jn.5:22,27).

Manís Judgment of Believers Means Nothing (v.6)

VERSE 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached (ga.r [conj.; looks backward to v.5] eivj tou/to [prep.w/pro./demons.acc.nt.s.; looks forward to the "that", or hina, clause, houtos; "for this purpose"] euvhggeli,sqh [aor.pass.ind.3.s., euvaggeli,zw, euaggelizo, proclaim good news; "the gospelÖhas been preached"]) even [also] to those who are dead (kai. [conj./adjunctive {also}] nekroi/j [adj.dat.m.p., nekros, dead]), that though they are judged in the flesh as men (i[na [conj.] kriqw/si [aor.pass.subj.3.p., krino, judge] me.n [part./contrast] sarki. [dat./reference.f.s., sarx, flesh; "in the flesh"] kata. avnqrw,pouj [prep.w/acc.; according to, + n.m.p., anthropos, man]), they may live in the spirit according to the will of God (de. [conj./contrast; on the other hand] zw/si [pres.act.subj.3.p., zao, live] pneu,mati [dat./reference.nt.s., pneuma, spirit; human spirit] kata. qeo.n [prep.w/acc.m.s., theos, god; according to]).


  1. This is a very challenging and difficult verse.
  2. It has been used to teach that all will be saved, or given a second chance, which flies in the face of the body of Scripture.
  3. Roman Catholic theologians of the 16th century taught that this was the occasion when O.T. saints got to hear the gospel, not having heard it in O.T. times!
  4. It has also been connected with 1Pet.3:19 to teach that Christ personally preached the gospel to the O.T. saints when He descended into Sheol.
  5. Any view that has Jesus Christ as the one preaching the gospel has to explain why the verb is in the passive voice and not the active voice, as would be expected.
  6. In 1Pet.3:19 Christ spoke to "the spirits now in prison", which as we saw refers to certain fallen angels.
  7. In the immediate context this interpretation would be out of place and provide no immediate comfort to believers who were under verbal scoffing.
  8. The whole argument extending from 1Pet.3:13 to 4:5 is that God will vindicate those who suffer and hold their detractors accountable on the Day of Judgment.
  9. The use of "dead" in v.6 picks up on its use in the expression "the living and the dead".
  10. "The gospel has been preached" (aor.pass.ind., euaggelizo, proclaim good news) refers to the presentation of the salvation message to those now in Ph3.
  11. "The gospel has been preached" throughout the dispensations, starting with Adam and Eve.
  12. Abraham heard it in Ur (Gal.3:8).
  13. So in v.6 Peter directs our attention to those who heard the gospel and who subsequently died.
  14. Previous generations heard the good news that they might live forever.
  15. This has always been the purpose for evangelization.
  16. The potential salvation adjustment is expressed here in terms of possessing a human spirit.
  17. Believers have a body, soul, and spirit (1Thess.5:23; Heb.4:12; Lk.1:46,47), while the spiritually dead have only body and soul.
  18. In regeneration man is given a human spirit in which resides eternal life.
  19. The spiritually dead is the natural, or soulish, man (puscikos; cf. 1Cor.2:14).
  20. Those doing the judging are the counterparts to those who judged and maligned the recipients of 1 Peter.
  21. "They are judged" refers to the believing dead.
  22. The goal of salvation comes to expression in the words of 6c, "that they may live with reference to the spirit according to God".
  23. The sentence contains two contrasting parts to the hina clause ("that"), set in opposition by Peterís characteristic me,nÖde,, construction (cf. 1:20; 2:4; 3:18).
  24. The me,n clause is concessive: even though they are condemned in the flesh by people generally (expanded translation).
  25. The de clause declares the potential ("live" is a pres.act.subj. of zao) that stood before those who had the gospel preached to them: namely, eternal life in connection with the human spirit.
  26. The prepositional phrase "according to God" means according to the standard or judgment of God.
  27. Peter also intends a contrast when he sets kata. avnqrw,pouj (kata anthropous) Ė "according to men" Ė over against kata. qeo.n (kata theon) Ė "according to God" (there is also a contrast between "flesh" and "spirit"- both datives of reference).
  28. The enemy judges us "in the flesh" (or "with reference to the flesh") as mortals, and nothing more than mortals.
  29. Their putdown of Christians would go something like this: "What is the gain of becoming Christians, since you die like other men?".
  30. They disparage our hope, thinking we are no better off than anyone else.
  31. Peterís readers are placed in the long tradition of those who were judged with reference to flesh according to the standard of human viewpoint reasoning, but who will live with reference to the spirit according to the standard of God.
  32. How different the assessment of negative volition is to the revealed will of God!
  33. "For the gospel has also been preached" refers to Godís faithful provisions of saving knowledge to those who were positive in past history.
  34. "Also" means in addition to those who are alive.
  35. "For" looks backward to v.5 to future judgment when God/Christ will vindicate the righteous and condemn the unrighteous.
  36. "For this purpose" looks forward to the third and final observation of v.6.
  37. In other words, to Peterís expression of why the gospel has been preached to men: "that they might live with reference to the spirit according to God".
  38. "To those who are dead" refers to all believers who have entered Ph3.
  39. "That" introduces a purpose clause expressed by the present subjunctive of "may live".
  40. In other words, the purpose of giving the gospel is so that men might secure eternal life with reference to the human spirit.
  41. "They" refers to the believing dead.
  42. "Are judged" is an aorist passive subjunctive, indicating evaluation of these believers by their unbelieving counterparts.
  43. "In the flesh", or "according to the flesh", refers to their earthly existence that culminated in death.
  44. The words "as men" is, literally, "according to man", meaning that they were judged by men as to only what the natural man was capable of (cf. 1Cor.2:14).
  45. Principle: negative volition is incapable of evaluating positive volition since they are without the necessary knowledge arising from GAP (1Cor.2:6-16).
  46. Verse 6b ("that though they are judged in the fleshÖ.") is concessive, meaning "even thoughÖ".
  47. "As men" is an accusative, which should be translated "according to men".
  48. Even though men harshly and falsely judged them, such assessment is meaningless because God will put all negative volition to shame when He raises and judges the living and the dead.
  49. The eternal purpose of proclaiming good news to positive volition is "that they might live with reference to the [human] spirit according to God".
  50. The present active subjunctive indicates linear action in present time.
  51. The present tense is progressive, and the subjunctive mood is one of contingency, based on the response to gospel proclamation.
  52. So "may live" recognizes volition.
  53. The whole verse, with translation and explanation: "For (because of the prospect of final judgment) the gospel has been preached (evangelization of the living) for this purpose (i.e., to provide E.L.) to the dead (now in Ph3), that even though they have been judged with reference to the flesh (their earthly existence and demise) according to man, they may live with reference to a spirit (human) according to God."


Modus Operandi as the End Approaches (vv.7-11)

An Announcement and a Call (v.7)

VERSE 7 [Now] The end of all things is at hand (de. [conj., but; now; not translated] to. te,loj [, telos, end] Pa,ntwn [adj.gen.nt.p., pas, all; "all things"] h;ggiken [pf.act.ind.3.s., evggi,zw, engizo, come or draw near; "at hand"; this form occurs 14X: cp. Mt.3:2; 26:45,46; Mk.1:15; Lk.10:9,11; 21:8,20; Rom.13:12; Jam.5:8]); therefore, be of sound judgment (ou=n [conj./inferen.] swfronh,sate [aor.act.imper.2.p., swfrone,w, sophroneo, be sensible or serious]) and sober spirit (kai. [conj.] nh,yate [aor.act.imper.2.p., nh,fw, nepho, be sober; 6X: 1Thess.5:6,8; 2Tim.4:5; 1Pet.1:13; 4:7; 5:8]) for the purpose of prayer(s) (eivj proseuca,j [prep.w/acc.f.p., proseuch,, proseuche, prayer]).


  1. The short, generalized commands that characterize this section suggest that Peter may be bringing his letter to a close (cf. 1Thess.5:12-24; Jam.5:12-20), an impression that seems to be confirmed by the doxology and the "Amen" of v.11b.
  2. This is obviously not the case in the letter as it stands, for 1Pet.4:12Ė5:11 (the ending is a similar doxology) is still to come.
  3. There is a thematic correspondence between vv.7-11 and 4:12Ė5:11: an announcement followed by instructions on how believers are to treat one another (vv.8-11; cf. 1Pet.5:1-5).
  4. These instructions are reinforced with a powerful reminder of the Sovereignty of God and the necessity of glorifying Him (v.11; 5:6,7,10) and concluded with a doxology (v.11b; cf. 1Pet.5:11).
  5. If Peter has focused his attention in 1Pet.2:11 through 4:6 on the question of how Christians should think and act with respect to their persecutors, he now turns to the question of how they should treat each other.
  6. What prompts the change is his reminder that "the end of all things is near" (v.7; cf. v.6, where God "stands ready" to judge).
  7. Both here and in 1Pet.4:12Ė5:11, it is the nearness of the end and the urgency of the impending crisis that demands unity and cohesion among the royal family.
  8. It is perhaps this emphasis that distinguishes this passage from Paulís words to the Roman church (Rom.12:3-13), which it resembles in certain aspects; cf. the accent on clear thinking (12:3), followed by admonitions to mutual ministry (12:4-8), love (12:9,10), and hospitality (12:13; notice also how Paul continues in 12:14-21 with commands bearing both on relationships to fellow believers and to outsiders, more in the manner of 1Pet.3:8,9 than of the present passage).
  9. The keynote of this section is mutuality, expressed repeatedly by the phrase "for one another" (vv.8,9).
  10. The mutual responsibility governs the imperatives of love and forgiveness (v.8), hospitality (v.9), and ministry (vv.10,11), all under Godís Sovereignty and in the interest of glorifying God (v.11).
  11. The responsibilities of love and hospitality are everyoneís, while "ministry", including that of the spoken word, is dependent upon the "gift" or "grace" of God.
  12. The judgment of which Peter has been writing, however, is imminent (impending).
  13. The conjunction de, (but, now), which is omitted in most translations, is intended to link this section with the preceding one.
  14. The notion that God "stands ready" to judge (v.5) is echoed in the statement that "the end of all things is at hand".
  15. The universality of that impending judgment of "the living and the dead" is maintained by pa,ntwn, "all things".
  16. In the Greek "all things" stands in the emphatic position (first).
  17. The cosmos as we know it moves ever closer to "the end".
  18. "All things" encompasses the present order that features all that is alien to the kingdom of God.
  19. The kingdom of God will supplant the kingdoms of this world, ushering in the righteous new world order (Dan.2:34,35; cp. vv.44,45; 7:26-28).
  20. The Millennial phase of the kingdom will be immediately preceded by catastrophic judgments upon all aspects of human life, resulting in the eradication of the wicked and their works from the planet.
  21. The Millennial phase of the kingdom will be transmuted into the eternal state, which will feature a new creation in which all of the old things will be forever eradicated (death, sin, etc.; cf. 2Pet.3:10).
  22. Peterís purpose here is simply to state a reality.
  23. The present order of things will come to an end, and so Christians must be prepared for what follows.
  24. The announcement that the inevitable event "is at hand" (or "has drawn near") is similar to the proclamations of John the Baptist (Mt.3:2) and Jesus (Mk.1:15; Mt.4:17; Lk.10:9,11) that "the Kingdom of God is at hand".
  25. Hence, the call to repent and believe.
  26. Peterís adoption of this expression is from the Gospel tradition and corresponds to James (Jam.5:8).
  27. His meaning is that "the end has drawn near" and there is no time to squander.
  28. No matter how far or near end-time events are, each believer should view the call in terms of his/her uncertain future.
  29. Death ends the possibility of making the maturity adjustment.
  30. Human history is inexorably moving toward "the end of all things".
  31. Today we are very close indeed, making the call all the more urgent.
  32. The verb "is at hand" is a perfect active indicative of enngizo, meaning to "draw near", or "approach".



  34. It is used in this form 14X:
  1. Mt.3:2 ("for the kingdom of God is at hand").
  2. Mt.4:17 ("Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand").
  3. Mt.10:7 ("And as you go, preach, saying, ĎThe kingdom of God is at handí").
  4. Mt.26:45 ("Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners").
  5. Mt.26:46 ("behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand").
  6. Mk.1:15 ("The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel").
  7. Mk.14:42 ("the one who betrays Me is at hand").
  8. Lk.10:9 ("The kingdom of God has come near you").
  9. Lk.10:11 ("Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near").
  10. Lk.21:8 ("See to it that you be not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ĎI am He,í and , ĎThe time is near.í Do not go after them").
  11. Lk.21:20 ("But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand").
  12. Rom.13:12 ("The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light").
  13. Jam.5:8 ("You too be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near").
  14. 1Pet.4:7 ("The end of all things is at hand").
  1. Jesus Christís appearance on the historical scene has cleared the way for the day of the Lord when "all things" will give way to a New Creation.
  2. So in light of the impending cessation of the old order of things, believers are exhorted to mental alertness and clear thinking.
  3. The first aorist imperative, "be of sound judgment", means to be serious-minded, or think sensibly.
  4. This can only be done when divine viewpoint is in the frame of reference.
  5. To be in oneís right mind is to follow a course of action that is in accord with the established and recognized facts.
  6. A serious minded person is one who follows not his emotions but a set of rules that have been proven.
  7. BD gives us the road map we are to follow and insofar as we adhere to the commandments and doctrinal precepts, we can be said to be sound thinkers.
  8. By so doing, we will keep ourselves on the straight and narrow, recognizing what is at stake when we come into judgment.
  9. So we must "think clearly", or "keep our heads", lest we drift off course from "the grace to be brought to us at the revelation (Rapture) of Jesus Christ" (cf. 1Pet.1:13).
  10. The second aorist imperative, "be sober", suggests that we are to remain out from under the influence of STA lusts, which is the usual reason believers go astray.
  11. When the ISTA and the emotions are ruling the soul, the believer is spiritually inebriated.
  12. Peterís intention here is to bring his readers to a mental state that is conducive to prayer.
  13. The phrase "for the purpose of prayers" is linked to both verbs.
  14. Alertness and watchfulness in prayer are common N.T. warnings (cf. Mk.14:38; Mt.26:41).
  15. Alert and clear-headed prayer is a key ingredient in overcoming evil (Lk.12:37; 21:36; Eph.6:18; Col.4:2)
  16. Prayer is indispensable in our spiritual warfare and in meeting the trials associated with the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict.
Mutual Love (v.8)

VERSE 8 Above all (pro. pa,ntwn [prep.w/adj.gen.nt.p., pas; "Above all"]), keep fervent in your love for one another (e;contej [, echo, have; "keep"] evktenh/ [adj.acc.f.s., ektene, constant; "fervent"; 2X: Lk.22:44 - "He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down to the ground"] th.n avga,phn [, agape, love] eivj e`autou.j [prep/, heautou]), because love covers a multitude of sins (o[ti [conj.] avga,ph [n.f.s., love] kalu,ptei [pres.act.ind.3.p., kalu,ptw, kalupto, cover] plh/qoj [acc.nt.s., plethos, crowd; quantity; population; "multitude"] a`martiw/n [gen.f.p., hamartia, sin]).


  1. The "above all" which begins this verse serves to emphasize the most urgent necessity for Christians in their relationship to "one another".
  2. The phrase (pro. pa,ntwn) occurs here and in Col.1:17 ("And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together") and Jam.5:12 ("But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment").
  3. The prepositional phrase means "before all in order of importance".
  4. That is, love is the prerequisite to all proper applications of Christian duty.
  5. Love transforms all virtues into what they should be.
  6. Courtesy without love is a cold thing.
  7. Generosity without love is a harsh thing.
  8. First Corinthians 13 makes this transparent.
  9. Love is the principal fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22; cp. Rom.5:5).
  10. The imperative "keep fervent" means, literally, "stretched out".
  11. The idea is that of a love that is intended to reach the one who is the object.
  12. It is an attitude of one who, instead of living a self-centered life, gives of himself to others in accord with the teachings of Scripture.
  13. The obligation of mutual love among believers was stated already in 1Pet.1:22, where the adverb etenos, "unremittingly", corresponds in meaning to the adjective "constant" used here.
  14. The phrase "one another" (eivj e`autou.j), both here and in v.10, denotes mutuality.
  15. The apostleís emphasis on constancy in the fulfillment of this obligation is traceable to the fact that these believers are being tested by trials that they are now facing and will face (1Pet.1:6; 4:12).
  16. Note the prediction of Jesus in Mt.24:12 in connection with the coming trials that "the love of many will grow cold".
  17. One of the manifestations of genuine love of one another is that love refuses to take into account the past failings (sins) of those we are called upon to apply towards.
  18. This is the meaning of the hoti ("because") clause: "because love covers a multitude of sins".
  19. This expression also occurs in Prov.10:12: "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers a multitude of sins".
  20. In other words, the one who loves does not hold a grudge, but forgives.
  21. True love avoids gossip and maligning with regard to anotherís past sins.
  22. The words "will cover a multitude of sins" occurs in Jam.5:20: "let him know that he who turns a sinner (reversionist) from the error of his way will save his soul from death (SUD) and will cover a multitude of sins".
  23. By pointing the "sinner" (here, reversionistic believer; see v.19) in the direction of repentance, the believer who ministers grace to the one under the SUD is indirectly responsible for covering a multitude of sins.
  24. Obviously it is God who forgives, and it is Godís servant who points the way.
  25. The language is similar to Paulís statement that he "saved some" (cf. Rom.11:14; 1Cor.9:22).
  26. The believer acting as God has acted is credited with "covering a multitude of sins", because apart from his counsel, the reversionist would have died the SUD.
  27. But here the expression is used in a different context.
  28. The sins that are covered are the sins that are not made an issue in future dealings.
  29. "Sins" here refers to the sins of the one loved, not the sins of the one loving.
  30. Principle: We are not to relate to another today based on the sins of yesterday.
  31. This is another way of stating the doctrine of forgiveness.
  32. Holding grudges and maligning are at odds with the imperative of this verse to "keep constant in your love for one another".
  33. Bringing up the past and treating others as if they were still involved in STA activity is to violate the second great commandment: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself".
  34. Any revenge tactics, ostracism, etc., are at odds with the grace God has extended to the sinning saint.
  35. The hearing of this kind of information is how we grow in grace.
  36. God covers (forgives) a multitude of sins in every life.
  37. Genuine love, which is the product of the FHS, is manifest when we do not publish othersí failings, but cover them up from the sight of others.
  38. Here we have an example of sanctified "cover-up".
Hospitality (v.9)

VERSE 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint (filo,xenoi [adj.{imperative}n.m.p., philozenos, hospitable; "Be hospitable"; 3X: 1Tim.3:2; Ti.1:8] eivj avllh,louj [prep.w/pro./reciprocal.acc.m.p., allelon, one another] a;neu goggusmou/ [prep., aneu, without, apart from, + gen.m.s., gongusmos, complaint; 4X: Jn.7:12; Acts.6:1; Phil.2:14; 1Pet.4:9]).


  1. The adjective filo,xenoi ("hospitality") functions here as an imperative, like the adjectives in 1Pet.3:8.
  2. The success of early Christianity was from the start built on the willingness to extend hospitality towards missionaries and displaced believers.
  3. Itinerate teachers were in need of a place to stay (3Jn.5,6; contrast 2Jn.10,11).
  4. Those who were sent out by Christ were instructed by the Lord on the doís and doníts of accepting hospitality (Mt.10:11-13,40-42; Lk.10:5-7; Acts.16:15,32-34; 21:7,17; 28:14).
  5. Paul urged the Roman church to practice "hospitality" (Rom.12:13), and so did the author of Hebrews (Heb.13:2).
  6. Peter urges this same application on the scattered congregations of Asia Minor.
  7. In the O.T. Abraham (Gen.18) and Rahab (Josh.2) illustrate unusual circumstances out of which this application may arise.
  8. The background here is not toward friends who do not need it, but toward Christians who, for whatever reasons, may be in need of food and shelter.
  9. Persecution sometimes deprived Christians of the necessities of life, and such an exhortation as this was needed.
  10. Gentile believers will succor Jews in the Tribulation who are being hunted down by their enemies (Mt.25:34-39).
  11. Pastor-Teachers are to excel in this virtue (1Tim.3:2; Ti.1:8).
  12. Peter warns against "grumbling", or "complaining", in the application of this imperative.
  13. The reason is that whenever it is extended, there is always the possibility that individuals may take advantage of the one who applies.
  14. We are enjoined in Scripture to make our charitable applications "cheerfully", knowing that our reward is with God (Rom.12:8; 2Cor.9:7; Phil.2:14).
  15. Complaining is a sin which robs us of blessing.
  16. In all of our applications we should proceed with the right mental attitude.
  17. Applications of this nature are a test, but if we remember Scripture, we can overcome the STA, having our eyes on the Lord and His Word.
  18. Hospitality sometimes comes upon us out of season, meaning that we have little lead-time to plan for an unexpected guest.

Call to Exercise Spiritual Gifts (v.10)

VERSE 10 As each one has received a special gift (kaqw.j [conj., as, just as] e[kastoj [adj.n.m.s., hekastos, each on] e;laben [aor.act.ind.3.s., lambano, receive] ca,risma [acc.nt.s, charisma, gift]), employ it in serving one another (diakonou/ntej [ {imperative} n.m.p., diakoneo, serve, wait on] auvto. [pro.acc.nt.s., autos, it] eivj e`autou.j [prep. + pro./reciprocal.acc.m.p., heautou, one another]), as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (w`j [conj./compar., hos, as] kaloi. [adj.n.m.p., kalos, good, useful] oivkono,moi [n.m.p., oikonomos, manager, steward; 10X: Lk.12:42; 16:1,3,8; Rom.16:23; 1Cor.4:1,2; Gal.4:2; Ti.1:7; 1Pet.4:10] poiki,lhj [adj.gen.f.s., poikilos, varied; "manifold"; 10X: Mt.4:24; Mk.1:34; Lk.4:40; 2Tim.3:6; Ti.3:3; Heb.2:4; 13:9; Jam.1:2; 1Pet.1:6; 4:10] ca,ritoj [gen.f.s, charis, grace] qeou/ [gen.m.s., theos, God]).


  1. Peter moves into his discussion of spiritual gifts with the pronoun "each" (cp. Rom.12:3b; 1Cor.12:7,11; Eph.4:7).
  2. Thus he makes a transition from the responsibilities of all believers to the responsibilities of each individual based on their respective gift(s).
  3. The verb "has received" indicates something that his readers are already in possession of, which is in harmony with the teaching that spiritual gifts are imputed at the point of faith in Christ.
  4. The aorist active indicative of the verb "received" supports this doctrinal principle.
  5. The term "gift" (ca,risma) refers to gifts of a non-material sort bestowed by the grace of God on believers (cf. Rom.1:11; 11:29; 12:6; 1Cor.1:7; 7:7; 12:4,9,28,30,31; 1Tim.4:14; 2Tim.1:6; 1Pet.4:10).
  6. Salvation is called a gift (Rom.5:15a,16: 6:23; cp. Jn.4:10; Rom.5:15b;17; Eph.2:8; 2Cor.9:15).
  7. The other Greek nouns for "gift" are dwrea, (dorea) and dw/ron (doron).
  8. Dorea is used in connection with spiritual gifts (Acts.11:17; Eph.3:7; 4:7).
  9. The present participle of the verb translated "employ it in serving one another" is used as an imperative.
  10. Spiritual gifts, following the body parts metaphor of 1Cor.12, are given to serve other members of the body.
  11. We are commanded to serve one another through the gift(s) each one has.
  12. Only by so doing can we attain to the status of "good stewards (or managers) of the manifold grace of God".
  13. The words "manifold grace" point to the diversity of gifts within the body of Christ.
  14. "Grace" draws our attention to the fact that spiritual gifts are a part of the grace provision granted believers.
  15. Spiritual gifts enable us to do special tasks with respect to our service to one another.
  16. Godís grace is manifested through the diversified spiritual gifts functioning in a healthy local church.

The Ultimate Goal of All Gifts (v.11)

VERSE 11 Whoever speaks (ei; tij lalei/ [part./conditional, ei, if, +, tis, anyone, + pres.act.ind.3.s., laleo, speak, communicate; first class condition]), let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God (w`j [conj./compar., "as it were"] lo,gia [acc.nt.p., logion, utterance, oracle; 4X: Acts.7:38; Rom.3:2; Heb.5:12; 1Pet.4:11] qeou/ [gen.m.s., theos]); whoever serves (ei; tij diakonei/ [part./conditional, if, + pro./indef.n.m.s., tis, anyone, + pres.act.ind.3.s., diakoneo, serve; first class condition]), let him do so as by the strength which God supplies (w`j [conj./compar.; "as"] evx ivscu,oj [prep.w/gen.f.s., ischus, strength] h`j [pro./rel., hos, which] o` qeo,j [n.m.s., theos] corhgei/ [pres.act.ind.3.s., choregeo, supply; 2X: 2Cor.9:10]); so that in all things (i[na [conj./purpose] evn pa/sin [prep.w./adj.loc.nt.p., pas]) God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (o` qeo.j [, theos] doxa,zhtai [pres.pass.subj.3.s., doxazo, glorify] dia. VIhsou/ Cristou/ [prep.w/gen.m.s., Iesous, Jesus, w/gen.m.s., Christos, Christ]), to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (w-| [pro./rel.dat.m.s., hos; "to whom"] evstin [pres.act.ind.3.s., eimi; "belongs"] h` do,xa kai. to. kra,toj [, doza, glory, + conj. +, kratos, power; dominion] eivj tou.j aivw/naj tw/n aivw,nwn [prep.w/, aion, age, + w/gen.n.p., aion, age, + particle, amen]).


  1. One way of looking at the "varied gifts" is to view them in two broad, general categories.
  2. The first category being communication gifts, the second being service gifts.
  3. This clearly seems to be Peterís approach in this verse.
  4. The "speaking" here is not ordinary speech, as the object of the first class condition indicates.
  5. The conjunction "as" (w`j) is used both here and in the next clause elliptically.
  6. Something is needed to take the place of the unexpressed imperative ("let him speak" and "let him do") that advance the thought of the two parts of v.11.
  7. The noun "utterances", with the genitive of source (i.e., "God"), is technical for revelatory information.
  8. It was used of pagan oracles.
  9. Here it is used of anything that God has revealed of a spiritual nature to mankind (cf. Acts.7:38; Rom.3:2; Heb.5:12; 1Pet.4:11).
  10. Whenever a believer functions under a communication gift, he/she is delivering a divine oracle(s) to the target audience (one-on-one or to a group).
  11. According to the dictionary, an oracle is:
  1. A person (as a priestess of ancient Greece) through whom a deity is believed to speak.
  2. A shrine in which a deity so reveals hidden knowledge or the divine purpose.
  3. An answer or decision given by an oracle.
  4. A person giving a wise or authoritative decision.
  5. An authoritative or wise answer.
  1. The verb "serves" occurs in v.10 as a comprehensive term for every conceivable kind of ministry with respect to spiritual gifts.
  2. Peter uses it here for a slightly more specialized, but still general, meaning.
  3. This time the word encompasses those gifts that do not involve speech/communication, such as administration, helps, healing, etc.
  4. He does not enumerate the various gifts of "serving", which is in contrast to Paulís listing in Rom.12:7,8.
  5. The phrase "as by the strength (again, imperatival) that God supplies" parallels "the oracles of God".
  6. Both phrases center on God as the source of the believerís capacity to apply under his/her spiritual gift(s).
  7. The distinctive feature of "strength" (ivcu,j) here is that God confers it upon the one who applies under some gift.
  8. This thought is wonderfully expressed in Paulís affirmation in Phil.4:13: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me".
  9. Because of the Holy Spiritís association with power (customarily du,namij, dunamis) in the N.T. (cf. 1Thess.1:5; 1Cor.2:4; Rom.15:13,19), this phrase is Peterís equivalent of the HS in this verse.
  10. God the HS imparts the gift and God the HS supplies the dynamic to apply when the gift is operative.
  11. As Samson was given superhuman strength to defeat his enemies, so God supplies the requisite mental and physical components that the occasion calls for.
  12. "Which" (h`j) has as its antecedent "strength".
  13. The pres.act.ind. of the verb "supplies" (corhge,w choregeo) originally meant "to sponsor a chorus", and then "to supply" or "provide" in a more general sense.
  14. Both here and in 2Cor.9:10 (its only other occurrence in the N.T.) it refers to Godís generous provision for human accomplishment of tasks prescribed.
  15. The cognate verb (evpicorhge,w, epichoregeo, supply, provide) and the noun (evpicorgi,a, epichorgia, support, help) are used in the same manner (cf. 2Cor.9:10; Gal.3:5; Phil.1:19).
  16. The terms are used with respect to God providing the body of Christ, the Church, with edification gifts so believers can execute the royal imperatives related to service (Col.2:19; Eph.4:16).
  17. Peterís thought here is simpler, akin to Paulís thought in 2Cor.9:7-10 and Phil.4:13.
  18. God not only imputes the gifts, He also supplies everything to enable the believer-priest to apply under his/her gift.
  19. At this point in the letter Peter introduces a doxology (ascription of praise/worship to God; cp. 5:11).
  20. It is an expression of Peterís capacity for the spiritual implications relative to Christian application as illustrated in the imperatives of vv.7-11.
  21. His wish (as expressed by the present subjunctive) is "that (conj.w/subj. expresses result) in all things God may be glorified".
  22. God is glorified when men acknowledge His works and Word (e.g., Mt.9:8; Acts.11:18).
  23. God is glorified when people apply BD (Jn.15:8), and so it is in v.11.
  24. God is glorified when men come to saving faith (Acts.13:48).
  25. God is glorified when we hold to the same teachings (Rom.15:5,6).
  26. Christ glorified the Father while on earth, and so He prayed that the Father would glorify Him (Jn.17:5; cp. Acts.3:13).
  27. His work on the Cross glorified God (Jn.21:19).
  28. Considering what Christ has done for us, we should glorify God in the body (1Cor.6:20)
  29. Self-glorification is not lasting (Jn.8:54; cp. Heb.5:5).
  30. All of Godís works bring glory to Him (Ps.19:1).
  31. While God is to be glorified "in all things", He is not, due to failure to apply.
  32. The subjunctive mood recognizes human volition.
  33. But where there is application with respect to the "all things", God is glorified.
  34. Application under oneís gift is no small matter.
  35. Reward and prestige await those who take BD seriously.
  36. The phrase "through Jesus Christ" recognizes His mediatorship that is based on His sacrifice.
  37. Apart from Him there would be no ground for men to bring eternal glory to God and themselves.
  38. All of the grace and truth necessary for men to attain to eternal blessing comes through the Savior (Jn.1:17; Gal.1:1; Eph.1:5; Phil.1:11; Ti.3:6; 1Pet.2:5).
  39. Jesus Christ has provided us with access to God the Father (cp. Rom.5:21; 7:25).
  40. So the words "through Jesus Christ" point to the One who makes our glorification of God possible.
  41. The words "to whom" (w-|) refer to God.
  42. To God "belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever" because God has provided us with Jesus Christ who has cleared the path so we might live and reign with God forever.
  43. Some interpreters say "to whom" refers to Christ, but see Jude.1:25, Rom.16:27, and 1Pet.4:11 (which is an abbreviated form of this one and clearly refers to God).
  44. There is no verb "belong" (eimi), but it is implied (cf. Rom.1:25; 2Cor.11:31, where it occurs, and Jude.25, where it is implied).
  45. The indicative of the verb, implied or stated, is consistent with the conviction that Godís "glory and dominion" are His by right.
  46. The word translated "dominion" (kratoj) means "might" or "sovereignty".
  47. The words "glory and might" occur here and in Rev.1:6 and 5:13.
  48. This exact combination and its occurrence in the book of Revelation is very suitable to the theme of 1 Peter.
  49. It emphasizes the irresistible "might" which ensures Godís triumph over every evil force.
  50. The "Amen" is standard after doxologies in the O.T. (e.g., Neh.8:6) and the N.T. (e.g., Rom.1:25; Gal.1:5; Phil.4:20; 1Pet.4:11).
  51. It is a liturgical term signifying devout assent: "So be it", or "I believe it".

The Glory of Christian Suffering (vv.12-19)

Suffering Purifies Believers (v.12)

VERSE 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you (VAgaphtoi, [adj.voc.m.p., avgaphto,j, agapetos, beloved, dear] mh. xeni,zesqe [neg. + pres.pass.imper.2.p., xeni,zw, xenizo, entertain as a guest; surprise; cp. 4:4] th/ purw,sei [, pu,rwsij, purosis, burning; fiery ordeal, painful test; 3X: Rev.18:9,18] evn u`mi/n [prep.w/pro.2.p., su; "among you"]), which comes upon you for your testing (ginome,nh| [, ginomai] u`mi/n [pro.dat.m.p., su] pro.j peirasmo.n [prep.w/acc.m.s., peirasmo,j, peirasmos, testing; temptation]), as though some strange thing were happening to you (w`j [conj., as] xe,nou [adj.gen.nt.s., zenos, strange] sumbai,nontoj [, sumbai,nw, sumbaino, happen, come about] u`mi/n [pro.dat.p., su]);


  1. The Greek word translated "Beloved" is, literally, "Beloved ones".
  2. Peter uses the term as a descriptive title of Godís love for His people.
  3. Just to know that God the Father loves us is comforting in times of trouble and heartache.
  4. The words "do not be surprised" are, literally, "stop being surprised".
  5. The verb occurs here as well as in 4:4, where negative volition is "surprised" at the behavior of believers, but it does not follow that they should be "surprised" at the actions of the cosmos.
  6. The verb means to entertain a stranger/guest.
  7. Believers are enjoined to not regard suffering brought on by persecution as a strange or alien thing.
  8. Among their ranks were those who were taken aback when they encountered the hostility of the cosmos, as if being a Christian made one immune from suffering (cf. 1Jn.3:13)
  9. They are encouraged here to think of suffering as a natural and expected thing.
  10. Jesus taught His disciples to expect it from the hostile cosmos (Jn.15:18-21).
  11. Peter speaks of their sufferings as a "fiery trial".
  12. The noun means a "burning".
  13. It is used by Josephus (Antiquities 1.203) of the destruction of Sodom, as well as the prophetic destruction of the U.S. (Rev.18:9,18).
  14. Here it is used metaphorically for a severe test of faith and endurance brought on by persecution from family, friends, associates, and strangers.
  15. The noun pu,rwsij occurs in Prov.27:21 (LXX) in connection with the purification of silver and gold, as the translation of the Hebrew word for "furnace", or "forge".
  16. Peter characterizes the "fiery ordeal" as being "for testing".
  17. Peterís language here must be interpreted in relation to chapter 1:6,7, where the "various trials" that believers encounter are a way to refine or purify their faith as fire refines gold.
  18. Peter describes their "fiery ordeal" as a "testing" which is presumably as beneficial to their spiritual momentum as the refining process is to gold and silver.
  19. So when people do bad things to you in connection with your adherence to BD, it is a good thing, as it accomplishes something that would not otherwise be possible.
  20. This is true of all kinds of testing, not just abuse from the source of people.
  21. The Christian communities to whom this letter was originally sent share a common test: namely, persecution sponsored by a pagan environment.
  22. It was soon to have political backing, as seen in Neroís assault on the Church in Rome, spreading throughout the empire.
  23. The words "for your testing" express purpose, and the purpose of all testing is to accelerate and refine spiritual growth.
  24. Once again we see that nothing happens in our lives that God does not work for good if we love Him (Rom.8:28).
  25. This reminder helps us to better cope with suffering that is undeserved, as it is working with the BD we have learned for our spiritual betterment.
  26. Suffering of this sort is not "strange", but is to be expected and is commonplace in the lives of the saints through the ages.
  27. Peter desires that his readers not react with shock under the social ills brought on by negative volition, but focus on the fact that they are doing them a favor!
Suffering Maximizes SG3 (v.13)

VERSE 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ (avlla. [conj.] kaqo. [conj., katho, to the degree that] koinwnei/te [, koinwne,w, koinoneo, share, participate in; 8X: Rom.12:13; 15:27; Gal.6:6; Phil.4:15; 1Tim.5:22; Heb.2:14; 1Pet.4:13; 2Jn.1:11] toi/j paqh,masin [, pa,qhma, pathema, suffering; passion; cf. 1:11; 5:1,9; Phil.3:10; 2Cor.1:5; Rom.8:18] tou/ Cristou/ [, Christos, Christ]) keep on rejoicing (cai,rete [pres.act.imper.2.p., chairo, rejoice; cf. Mt.5:12]); so that also at the revelation of His glory (i[na [conj./result] kai. [conj./adjunc., also] evn th/| avpokalu,yei [prep.w/, avpoka,luyij, apokalupsis, revelation; of the Rapture; cf. 1:7,13; Rom.8:19; 1Cor.1:7] th/j do,xhj auvtou/ [, doxza, glory, + pro.gen.m.s., autos, his) you may rejoice with exultation (carh/te [aor.pass.subj.2.p., chairo, rejoice] avgalliw,menoi [, avgallia,w, agalliao, be extremely glad; cf. 1:6,8]).


  1. Rather than being in a state of shock or dismay, they are to "keep on rejoicing" because BD tells them that in the future they will be rewarded by the Lord Himself at His coming for the Church.
  2. The words "but to the degree" indicate we will not all be rewarded the same since we do not all suffer the same.
  3. Some believers suffer less in this respect due to the circumstances of their lives, while others fail to apply, which brings less heat from others.
  4. The point Peter makes has a parallel in Paulís statement in 2Cor.1:5.
  5. The promise in 2Cor.1:5 is that God will comfort the suffering believer according to the degree of the test.
  6. Here the promise relates to Ph3 when CA believers are at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
  7. Those of us who have contributed much to what Peter calls "the sufferings of Christ" will have greater occasion to "whoop it up" than someone who, for whatever reasons, suffered less.
  8. The expression "the sufferings of Christ" refers to those things He suffered while on earth.
  9. A major part of which included things done to Him by inconsiderate and hostile people.
  10. This expression occurs 4X: 2Cor.1:5; 1Pet.1:11; 4:13; 5:1.
  11. We "share the sufferings of Christ" when we are persecuted for the same things He was.
  12. His "sufferings" arose from His steadfast adherence to the POG for His life.
  13. We have experiential solidarity with Him whenever we suffer in the same race/fight.
  14. Failure to complete our race/course will take much of the luster off the Bema celebration.
  15. We who stand and suffer for the truth as He did have a common fellowship (Phil.3:10).
  16. As the Head of the Church suffered His allotment of temporal afflictions, so the Body must suffer its share, and the end of the age will come (Col.1:24).
  17. Present sufferings do not even come close to the eternal glory associated with our resurrection (Rom.8:18).
  18. Peterís point here and in 1:7 is that present (Ph2) suffering will give way to Ph3 celebration and reward.
  19. It is obvious, as it ever will be, that the afflicted have prevailed through the grace and power of God at the Bema celebration.
  20. Even now we can rejoice when we are persecuted, knowing that "at the revelation of His glory" we will "rejoice with exultation/exceeding joy".
  21. We are commanded to exhibit +H when we are persecuted for adherence to the faith (pres.act.imper. of "to rejoice").
  22. This is certainly not the normal reaction to this sort of treatment.
  23. "The revelation of His glory" refers to the visible appearing of Christ to the Church at the Rapture.
  24. This strong expression for super +H can also be ours in Ph2 (cf. 1Pet.1:6,8; cp. Mt.5:11,12; Lk.1:47; 10:21; Jn.5:35; 8:56).
  25. The subjunctive "may rejoice" recognizes that it depends upon our willingness to endure to the end no matter what circumstance and man throw our way.
  26. This verse contains a promise to those who are willing to endure whatever to the end of life.

Undeserved Suffering Constitutes a State of Blessedness (v.14)

VERSE 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ (eiv ovneidi,zesqe [part./conditional + pres.pass.ind.2.p., ovneidi,zw, oneidizo, denounce, revile, reproach; 9X: Mt.5:11; 11:20; 27:44; Mk.15:22; 16:14; Lk.6:22; Rom.15:3; Jam.1:5; 1Pet.4:14] evn ovno,mati Cristou/ [prep.w/loc.nt.s., onoma, name, + gen.m.s., Christos]), you are blessed (maka,rioi [adj.n.m.p., makairos, blessed, fortunate; this form occurs 26X in the N.T.; cf. 3:14]), because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (o[ti [conj./causal] to. pneu/ma [, pneuma] th/j do,xhj [, doxza, glory] kai. to. tou/ qeou/ [conj. + {spirit} +, theos, God] avnapau,etai [pres.midd.ind.3.s., avnapau,w, anapauo, rest, relax; rest upon] evfV u`ma/j [prep., epi, upon, + pro.2.p., su]).


  1. Verse 14 begins with a first class condition which presumes reality.
  2. Christians inevitably face verbal abuse, if nothing more.
  3. "Reviled" refers to verbal attacks.
  4. This is, and was, the most common form of persecution of Christians.
  5. The phrase "the name of Christ" indicates a specific context, and not verbal abuse in general.
  6. When we are spoken against because of our stand on spiritual matters, we are "blessed".
  7. The adjective "blessed", or "bless-ed", occurs in this form 26X in the N.T.
  8. The word indicates "happy/fortunate/blessed".
  9. It is featured in the nine beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt.5:3-11).
  10. It is used of things that people do not normally associate with advantage (as here).
  11. Peter has already made this same observation in 1Pet.3:14, "But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed", where he employs a condition of contingency (part. with the optative).
  12. In 3:14 Peter addresses in a general manner different possible cases or scenarios, some more remote and more drastic than others.
  13. Here it deals with a ubiquitous form of suffering common to all who are connected with "the name of Christ".
  14. All manner of verbal abuse that comes against believers puts them in a state of blessedness (cf. Lk.6:22).
  15. The specific verb "reviled", in our vernacular, means "ridiculed".
  16. It is one of a number of terms Peter uses for verbal abuse (2:12; 3:16; 4:4).
  17. The mention of "ridicule" suggests that name-calling was involved.
  18. Such verbal abuse "for the name of Christ" was simply a specific instance of suffering "for the cause of righteousness" (3:14).
  19. As in the sayings of Jesus on which the words of Peter are based, the beatitude of this verse is followed by a o[ti clause (cf. Lk.6:20,21; Mt.5:3-10).
  20. The teaching of Christ in the Gospels contains the promise that the "Holy Spirit" (Mk.13:11; Lk.12:12), or the "Spirit of your Father" (Mt.10:20), will stand by His disciples and prompt them what to say when they are arrested and interrogated by the authorities.
  21. Yet here the specific phrase, "the Spirit of God," and the construction "rests upon" shows marked dependence upon Isa.11:2a (LXX): "and the Spirit of God will rest upon Him".
  22. This was prophetic of the Holy Spiritís ministry upon the humanity of Christ from His baptism forward.
  23. The verb (avnapau,w, anapauo) means to give relief/refresh in the passive voice and rest/rest upon in the middle voice.
  24. The doctrinal point here is that God the HS is, in a very special sense, with those who are the objects of verbal attack.
  25. He is called "the Spirit of glory", which speaks of His heavenly association, and "of God", which speaks of His deity.
  26. Facing an oftentimes hostile world we have an ally who comforts, protects, and guides us when we are in fellowship.
  27. God the HS is with those who are under attack for their devotion to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.
  28. This verse constitutes yet another reassurance in the face of undeserved suffering.
Suffering to Avoid (v.15)

VERSE 15 By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler (mh. [neg.; "By no means"] ga,r [part., for] tij [pro./indef.n.m.s., tis, anyone] u`mw/n [pro.gen.p., su] pasce,tw [pres.act.imper.3.s., pascho, suffer] w`j [conj., as] foneu.j h' kle,pthj h'kakopoio.j h' w`j avllotriepi,skopoj [n.m.s., foneu,j, phoneus, murderer, + conj., or, + n.m.s., kle,pthj, kleptes, thief, + conj., or, + adj.n.m.s., kakopoio,j, kakopoios, evildoer, + conj., or, + conj., as, + n.m.s., avllotriepi,skopoj, allotriepiskopos, busybody, meddler; 1X]);


  1. The point of this verse within the present context is this: If they want to make sure that they are under the blessings of God the HS, they must make sure that they are being spoken ill of for the right reason.
  2. Peter assumes that his readers are being "ridiculed for the name of Christ" and makes his assumption the basis for a command.
  3. ga,r (gar, for) normally introduces an explanation, but here it introduces a command.
  4. To make his point, Peter begins with wrong reasons to suffer.
  5. The list of vices falls into two parts.
  6. The first three items come from a stock catalogue.
  7. His object in citing them is to underscore the world of difference between suffering when you suffer for righteousness, and when you suffer a penalty for something you brought on yourself.
  8. The mention of murder and thievery were common crimes that were punishable by severe penalties.
  9. Their mention is not to be taken as evidence that he believed these crimes were being committed by believers to whom he wrote.
  10. The presence of the ISTA, however, does not preclude these sins on the part of believers (cf. Eph.4:28).
  11. The third item, translated "evildoer", is "criminal", used here and in 2:12,14 in a technical sense.
  12. Christians were being maligned as enemies of the state.
  13. This was based on their reluctance to engage in state-sponsored activities that involved the practice of idolatry.
  14. Their affirmation that Jesus was King and Lord in the culture of emperor worship fostered the slander that they were disloyal.
  15. Although suffering as an evildoer does not demand formal criminal charges, the term is used against a background of Christians being slandered as "criminals" (enemies of the state) by some of their fellow citizens.
  16. Such name-calling could lead at some point to formal charges, which the local governors would be obliged to follow up on.
  17. The second part of the list contains one term, "troublesome meddler".
  18. It is separated from the previous three items with its own conjunction w``j (as).
  19. The term is found only here in the N.T. and is unattested in earlier Greek literature.
  20. It is found 3X in later Christian exposition.
  21. Epiphanius in the fourth century uses it as part of an exposition of 1Cor.2:10, to the effect that the HS is not probing into alien matters in searching out the "deep things of God", but into that which is His proper concern.
  22. The second reference from Epiphanius makes the point that Jesus, when He broke the Sabbath, was not abrogating the work of another, but was, as God, doing His own proper work.
  23. There is one other reference in Dionysius to bishops who encroach on anotherís canon/diocese.
  24. The common idea in these few uses of avllotriepi,skopoj (allotriepiskopos, busybody) appears to be that of meddling in things that are none of oneís business.
  25. Peterís terminology suggests that he may have known of Christians who considered themselves guardians of public morality, and warns his readers against assuming such a posture.
  26. "Busybodies", whatever their motivation, were not popular in the Roman world.
  27. Peter stands in agreement here with most pagan writers and with the apostle Paul (1Thess.4:11; 2Thess.3:11; 1Tim.5:13).
  28. "Troublesome meddler" is set off from "murderer", "thief", and "criminal" by the repetition of "as" simply because it does not refer to something potentially criminal, but to an attitude or a social pattern of behavior likely to bring reproach on Christians.

Call to Glorify God under Suffering (v.16)

VERSE 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian (de. [conj., but] eiv [part., if] w`j Cristiano,j [conj., as + n.m.s., Christianos, Christian; 3X: cf. Acts.11:26; 26:28]), let him not feel ashamed (mh. aivscune,sqw [neg. + pres.midd.imper.3.s., aivscu,nomai, aischunomai, be ashamed; feel ashamed; 5X: Lk.16:3; 2Cor.10:8; Phil.1:20; 1Pet.4:16; 1Jn.2:28; in this form only here]), but in that name let him glorify God (de. [conj., but] evn tw/| ovno,mati tou,tw| [prep.w/, onoma, name, + pro./demonstr., houtos, that, OR possibly the reading: evn tw//? me,rei tou,tw, "in this matter/capacity", or "on this account"] doxaze,tw [pres.act.imper.3.s., doxa,zw, doxazo, glorify; praise; in this form only here] to.n qeo.n [, theos]).


  1. Peter returns to the main subject: undeserved suffering.
  2. The phrase "suffers as a Christian" is a hapax.
  3. The verb is implied, as the italic suggests.
  4. The phrase is elliptical.
  5. "But" supplies the contrast with the preceeding warning with respect to deserved suffering.
  6. "If" introduces a conditional statement expressing reality (incomplete first class condition).
  7. Believers are referred to as "Christians" elsewhere in the N.T. only in Acts.11:26 and 26:28.
  8. This noun Cristiano,j (Xristianos) is a formulation analogous to "Herodian".
  9. It has the meaning of "partisans of Christ."
  10. All three instances appear to reflect the viewpoint of Jewish and pagan outsiders toward those who worshipped and served Jesus.
  11. The "ridicule" is still very much in view, as the term "Christian" was originated with the enemies of believers in Jesus Christ and not with Christians themselves.
  12. Christian, at the time of the writing of this letter, was a term of contempt (rather like "Christer" on American college campuses in the 1950s).
  13. The Cult of Caesar was the state religion of the Roman Empire, in which the emperor was worshipped as a god.
  14. It served two purposes.
  15. The subjects of Rome gave obedience to the laws of the empire, not only as a political duty, but also as a religious duty.
  16. It also constituted the unifying factor which bound the many different peoples of the empire into one, and made the task of holding the empire together easier.
  17. The Greek word for Caesar is Kaisar.
  18. Those who worshipped the Kaisar were called Kaisarianos.
  19. Christianity appeared to offer a rival claimant to world dominion and worship.
  20. Those who worshipped the coming Ruler and King of the nations were called Christianos, as over against Kaisarianos, worshippers of Caesar.
  21. Rome reacted to this rival and growing sect with ten bloody persecutions.
  22. It meant and cost something to be a Christianos in those days.
  23. So it is against this growing dark cloud of antagonism that Peter exhorts believers in those provinces (cf. 1:1) of Roman hegemony to "not be ashamed".
  24. Those who suffer for "the name that is above every name" will never be put to shame (cf. 2:6), while those who slander them will (cf. 3:16).
  25. So Peter exhorts, by way of a command, as to what the suffering Christianís attitude should be in the presence of majority opinion.
  26. Peterís desire for them corresponds to Paulís aspiration for himself in the face of imprisonment and possible martyrdom (Phil.1:20; cf. 2Tim.1:12; as well as Jesusí warnings in Mk.8:38 and Lk.9:26).
  27. The second present imperative in the verse ("but" or "only glorify God") presents the other alternative to "shame" and its counterpart, denial.
  28. For Paul in Phil.1:20 the choices were either "shame" or "magnifying Christ" in his body through life or death.
  29. Peter wants to make sure that his readersí response to threats and recrimination is the glorification of God - precisely the same goal toward which he directed them in their ministries to each other (cf. 4:11).
  30. There are clues throughout the letter as to how Christians are to accomplish this imperative "to glorify God".
  31. He wants them to acknowledge their faith openly and without fear, regardless of the consequences.
  32. This is the inference of 3:15,16.
  33. As in the case of their ministry to one another, glorification of God depends on attitudes and behavior toward outsiders.
  34. The words "in that name" suggest that Peter is encouraging believers to embrace, as a badge of honor, the epithet "Christian" coined by their antagonists.
  35. First Peter stands as a transition between the use of "Christian" by opponents of the movement (as in Acts and the pagan sources), and its serious use by believers themselves, beginning with Ignatius.
  36. Peter is saying, "Even though the name ĎChristianí is thrown at you by your enemies in derision, wear the name proudly, for that is what you are".
  37. Transcriptional probabilities point to the reading: evn tw//? me,rei tou,tw ("in this matter").
  38. Although it was the reading supported by the KJV/AV, it is not so much as mentioned in either the UBSGNT (ed., K. Aland, et al.) or Metzgerís Textual Commentary.
  39. Although me,roj occurs nowhere else in First Peter, the phrase "in this matter" forms a kind of sequel to 2:12 and 3:16, where a similarly colorless evn w/ served as the authorís way of introducing a "case" approach to the prospect of slander and interrogation.
  40. In those passages the pronoun o]j (hos) had no antecedent, no actual word for "case" or "situation" in the context, but if it had, me,roj would have been an appropriate word.
  41. The vague expression evn tw//? me,rei tou,tw, therefore, functions here in much the same way as the evn w of 2:12 and 3:16.
  42. It is easy to see why copyists might have altered the more prosaic me,roj from what Peter wrote to what is reflected in the NAS translation.
  43. Copyists would have opted for the more theologically rich term "name".
  44. Either way there is no effect upon the body of truth (even though I lean towards the me,roj reading).

The Paradox (v.17)

VERSE 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God (o[ti [conj., for] Îo`Ð kairo.j [, kairos, time, season] to. kri,ma [, krima, judgment] tou/ a;rxasqai [, a;rcw, archo, rule, govern; midd., begin; this form occurs here and in Acts.11:15] avpo. tou/ oi;kou tou/ qeou/ [prep., apo, from; with w/, oikos, house, household, +, theos]); and if it begins with us first (de. [conj., and] eiv [part., if] avfV h`mw/n [prep.w/pro.gen.m.p., ego, us] prw/ton [adv., proton, first]), what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God (ti, [pro.interrog., tis, what] to. te,loj [, telos, end] tw/n avpeiqou,ntwn [, avpeiqe,w, apeitheo, disobey; in this form 2X: Rom.15:31; the verb occurs 14X: Jn.3:36; Acts.14:2; 19:9; Rom.2:8; 10:21; 11:30,31; 15:31; Heb.3:18; 11:31; 1Pet.2:8; 3:1,20; 4:17] tw/ euvaggeli,w| [, euvagge,lion, euangelion, gospel] tou /qeou/ [, theos, God])?

Scriptural Support (v.18)

VERSE 18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED (kai. eiv [conj., and, + part., if] mo,lij [adv., molis, difficulty; 6X: Acts.14:18; 27:7,8;16; Rom.5:7; 1Pet.4:18] o` di,kaioj [, dikaios, righteous] sw,|zetai [pres.pass.ind.3.s., sozo, save]), WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER (pou/ [adv. pou, where, to what place; "what"; but "where" seems preferable] fanei/tai [fut.midd.ind.3.s., fai,nw, phaino, manifest; be seen, in midd. and pass.] o` avsebh.j [, asebes, godless, profane, impious] kai. a`martwlo.j [conj. + adj.n.m.s., amartolos, sinner])?


  1. The conjunction "For" is explanatory presenting a reason why believers should, paradoxically, give glory to God (i.e., remain steadfast in the face of hostilities) in their sufferings.
  2. The paradox is this: by enduring their allotted sufferings they are coming under "judgment" which is designed to test them and purify them so that they can escape loss and shame at the Bema Seat (cf. vv.12,13).
  3. Kairo,j ("time") is to be taken as a predicate (with "it is" understood).
  4. The nature of the "time" is defined by the articular infinitive as a time for "beginning", or "commencement".
  5. The "time" is the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict, of which the present dispensation is the last days.
  6. "Judgment" is the totality of divine testing put upon the church, called here "the household (or Ďhouseí) of God".
  7. The reference here is to the church universal, portrayed in 2:5 as a temple made up of "living stones".
  8. "The household of God" refers to the community of born-again believers.
  9. Peter includes himself in this category, as seen in the pronoun "us".
  10. "Judgment" is used as a synonym for all adverse circumstances that come upon mankind.
  11. For believers, it includes the "testing" mentioned in v.12.
  12. All sufferings that Christians experience, whether punitive or undeserved, are designed to build patience and character as a part of the maturity adjustment.
  13. So when we are persecuted, we experience divine judgment.
  14. This is a paradox.
  15. So all the hatred, slander, and brutality that the church of Jesus Christ has undergone down through the centuries is divine judgment, falling under the category of undeserved suffering.
  16. All our undeserved and deserved suffering is designed to bring positive volition to the place where we can escape unacceptable loss and shame at the Bema.
  17. Suffering, even if it is undeserved, constitutes "judgment".
  18. This "judgment" is painful and unpleasant, producing positive results in those who are positive.
  19. To those who are negative to the Ph2 good news, the end is the SUD and loss at the Bema, yet the objects are "saved as through fire".
  20. The phrase "and if it begins with us" is a conditional clause denoting reality.
  21. The adverb "first" does not mean first as in a sequence, but first as in most important.
  22. Godís dealings with believers can be viewed as a matter of highest concern, since we are His children (cf. Heb.12:7-11).
  23. If Godís judgment upon His people is so important and manifests itself in extreme measures, the rhetorical question that inexorably follows is: "what will be the outcome" for unbelievers?
  24. We have seen the draconian measures God sometimes takes to advance believers spiritually (Job, David, the prodigal son, examples from the Psalms, etc.).
  25. Furthermore, we know of Biblical and extra-Biblical examples of believers suffering the SUD.
  26. So the thought follows, what about those who are unbelievers?
  27. The definition of a negative unbeliever is: "those who do not obey the gospel of God".
  28. Peter does not specify what that "outcome/end" is, but leaves it to his readers to supply the answer.
  29. Eternal wrath in the Lake Of Fire is the "outcome".
  30. It consists of unimaginable suffering forever in total separation from God (cp. 2Thess.1:8).
  31. To drive the point home, he cites Prov.11:31 (LXX).
  32. The subject of the proverb is the welfare of two classes of humanity.
  33. The two classes are the positive believer and the negative unbeliever.
  34. The word translated "with difficulty" is used in Acts14:18 where Paul experienced difficulty in restraining the people of Lystra from sacrificing to him as a god.
  35. The context in First Peter speaks to the persecutions which were allowed to come upon these Christians as a refining judgment.
  36. They were being "saved" in the Ph2, or experiential, sanctification sense.
  37. Drastic means are employed to bring positive volition to maturity so "the righteous" can be "saved" from loss and shame at the Bema (the case of CA believers).
  38. The verb "saved" is used of both Ph1 and Ph2 salvation.
  39. Ph2 salvation is seen in Mt.10:22, 1Cor.5:5, and 15:2.
  40. The noun "salvation" is used in a Ph2 sense as well (Phil.2:12; 1Tim.4:16; 1Pet.1:9).
  41. The word group is used in Scripture of Ph1 salvation, temporal deliverance, eschatological deliverance, and deliverance from loss of reward.
  42. "The righteous" refers to a believer who is facing the prospect of the maturity adjustment.
  43. "The godless (or Ďprofaneí) man and the sinner" is a reference to the negative unbeliever.
  44. The structure of the proverb is a fortiori (the lesser to the greater).
  45. The rhetorical question underscores the severity with which God deals with both classes, but especially of those who reject the good news.
  46. The "godless man" is someone who has no interest in spiritual matters, while the "sinner" describes his life in conformity to the ISTA.
  47. Believers need to remember that God will deal with those who disregard the gospel and who oftentimes persecute the righteous (cf. 2Thess.1:4-10).
  48. Until such time as God makes a public and universal statement vindicating the faith of believers, we are to acclimate to our allotment of sufferings that work for our good (cf. 1Thess.3:1-8).
Call to Trust God (v.19)

VERSE 19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God (w[ste [conj./result, hoste, that, so that, with the result that; in order that] kai. [conj./adjunc.] oi` pa,scontej [, pascho, suffer] kata. to. qe,lhma tou/ qeou/ [prep.w/ w/acc.nt.s., thelema, will, +, theos]) entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (paratiqe,sqwsan [pres.midd.imper.3.p., parati,qhmi, paratithemi, entrust {midd.}] ta.j yuca.j auvtw/n [, psuche, soul, + pro.gen.m.p., autos] pistw/| kti,sth| [adj.dat.m.s., pistos, faithful, + dat.m.s., ktiste, Creator; 1X] evn avgaqopoii<a| [prep.w/dat.f.s., avgaqopoii>a, agathopoiia, doing good/right; 1X]).


  1. Having eloquently sketched the blessedness of righteous suffering and the awful fate that awaits those who in their state of unbelief inflict it, Peter draws his conclusion.
  2. Peter uses yet another expression to describe undeserved suffering: "suffer according to the will of God".
  3. When we suffer persecution for our stand for truth, we open ourselves up to this category of suffering.
  4. God allows each one of us who are so committed to suffer, which suffering advances our maturity adjustment.
  5. Paradoxically, it isnít Godís will for people to abuse us in this fashion, yet He uses it for our purification/sanctification.
  6. God wills that we are tested, otherwise no one would be so purified.
  7. Gold and silver need to be refined by fire to be useful to the user.
  8. So God permits evil men to persecute us within limits, for the purpose specified.
  9. God uses evil to advance His plan.
  10. God does not sponsor evil, but He is free to use it for His purposes.
  11. This is a main factor that God employs to correct our unrighteous habits on the glory road.
  12. Evil in us (STA tendencies) is tamed by suffering, and then He brings those who perpetrated the evil under judgment.
  13. Again, it isnít Godís will for people to persecute believers, but it is Godís will for us to suffer, considering the STA factor that works against our spiritual momentum.
  14. Suffering is the perfect Rx for bringing us into Ph2 sanctification.
  15. The imperative introduces a fresh injunction.
  16. The conjunction kai,, translated "also", does not make sense, since as it stands, it would suggest in addition to others who suffer.
  17. The problem is, who could these others conceivably be?
  18. It is best to take it with the opening conjunction w]ste ("so"), which would read: "And so then".
  19. "So then" introduces not a new thought, but (as in 1Cor.7:38) a conclusion drawn from what has gone before.
  20. The suffering Peter has in mind is clearly undeserved suffering.
  21. Undeserved suffering is not normally perceived as Godís will, while deserved suffering is.
  22. The phrase "let [them] entrust their souls/lives" defines the mental attitude that makes glorification of God in a time of suffering possible (cf. v.16).
  23. Peter wants them to entrust themselves continually (present imperative) to Godís watch and care, whatever the circumstances (cf. Paulís confidence in 2Tim.1:12, as well as his ministry to various Asian churches in Acts.14:22,23; 20:32).
  24. The verb "entrust" is a graphic term connoting entrusting something valuable to someone for safekeeping.
  25. The well-being of our "souls" is of paramount importance.
  26. God preserves the soul so it can arrive at its destination - Ph3 glory in a resurrection body.
  27. Hence, Jesusí statement: "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt.10:28).
  28. In light of this verb "entrust", we perceive the proper nuance of "faithful": God is a reliable depository.
  29. Godís faithfulness is an expression of His perfect character.
  30. God, who is Immutable, cannot but do what He has promised.
  31. Godís faithfulness is the basis for Christian hope (cf. 2Tim.1:12; Heb.10:23).
  32. The description of Him as Creator (this is the sole reference in the N.T.) is noteworthy.
  33. The title has been chosen here because it draws our attention to the divine attribute of Omnipotence.
  34. Godís power is sufficient to preserve His creaturesí vital interests.
  35. Believers have nothing to fear, as the One who is the "faithful Creator" will make good on His promises to preserve and vindicate their faith and trust in Him.
  36. The critical issue that is in our power is the expression "in doing what is right" (evn avgaqopoii<a|).
  37. This word/expression occurs only here in the N.T.
  38. Evidence that a believer is indeed trusting God are the words "doing good".
  39. It includes the proper response to all forms of persecution as specified in this letter.
  40. Godís verdict on behalf of His people will supercede every human verdict of repudiation.
  41. In this section Peter attributes all judgment to God, who without favoritism strikes first his own house and then the rest of the world.
  42. From these verses we learn that suffering is a necessity, and we should never be surprised at it (v.12), for Christ Himself was not spared from it (2:4).

END: 1 Peter Chapter Four

Jack M. Ballinger

August, 1999

© Copyright 1999, Maranatha Church, Inc.