and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]. For,
“THE ONE WHO WANTS TO ENJOY LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS [good—whether apparent or not],
MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FREE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING GUILE (treachery, deceit).
HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM WICKEDNESS AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT.
HE MUST SEARCH FOR PEACE [with God, with self, with others] AND PURSUE IT EAGERLY [actively—not merely desiring it].
FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE [looking favorably] UPON THE RIGHTEOUS (the upright),
AND HIS EARS ARE ATTENTIVE TO THEIR PRAYER (eager to answer),
BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO PRACTICE EVIL.”
Now who is there to hurt you if you become enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness [though it is not certain that you will], you are still blessed [happy, to be admired and favored by God]. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR INTIMIDATING THREATS, NOR BE TROUBLED or DISTURBED [by their opposition]. But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect. And see to it that your conscience is entirely clear, so that every time you are slandered or falsely accused, those who attack or disparage your good behavior in Christ will be shamed [by their own words]. For it is better that you suffer [unjustly] for doing what is right, if that should be God’s will, than [to suffer justly] for doing wrong. For indeed Christ died for sins once for all, the Just and Righteous for the unjust and unrighteous [the Innocent for the guilty] so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit; in which He also went and preached to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the great patience of God was waiting in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons [Noah’s family], were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that [rescue through the flood], baptism [which is an expression of a believer’s new life in Christ] now saves you, not by removing dirt from the body, but by an appeal to God for a good (clear) conscience, [demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God [that is, the place of honor and authority], with [all] angels and authorities and powers made subservient to Him.