Living in the Grace of God
1Since Christ, though innocent, suffered in his flesh for you, # 4:1 As translated from the Aramaic and most Greek manuscripts. A few Greek manuscripts have “for us,” while some reliable Greek texts read simply “Christ suffered in his flesh.” Variants of both the Greek and Aramaic text read “Christ died for us.” now you also must be a prepared soldier, # 4:1 The Greek word hoplisasthe, a hapax legomenon, means “to arm yourself” (like a foot soldier). It is used metaphorically to describe the battle we experience for moral purity in a decadent world. See also 1 Peter 2:11. having the same mind-set, # 4:1 Or “attitude.” That is, learn to think like him. The Aramaic can be translated “you also are nourished by him as you mediate on these things.” for whoever has died in his body is done with sin. # 4:1 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “for the one who suffers in the flesh is done with sin.” See Rom. 6:7. 2So live the rest of your earthly life no longer concerned with human desires but consumed with what brings pleasure to God. 3For you have already spent enough time doing what unbelievers # 4:3 Or “gentiles.” love to do—living in debauchery, sensuality, partying, drunkenness, wild drinking parties, # 4:3 Or “orgies.” and the worship of demons. # 4:3 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “idolatries.” 4They marvel that you no longer rush to join them in the excesses of their corrupt lifestyles, and so they vilify you. 5But one day they will have to give an account to the one who is destined to judge the living and the dead. 6This is the reason the gospel was preached to the martyrs before they gave their lives. # 4:6 Or “to those who are dead.” Most scholars believe that this refers to those who heard the gospel and eventually suffered and died for Christ. However, some believe it is preaching to the dead (the entire human family), giving them the opportunity to believe. Even though they were judged by human standards, now they live in spirit by God’s standards.
Prayer, Love, and Gifts of Grace
7Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, purposeful, # 4:7 Though the Greek uses only one word (sōphroneō), it is best defined by the two English words intentional and purposeful. and self-controlled so that you can be given to prayer.
8Above all, constantly echo # 4:8 The Greek verb echō can also mean “to maintain,” “to possess,” “to keep,” or “to be so closely joined to something that you become its echo.” In this case, we join ourselves so closely to God’s love that we “echo” his forgiving, fervent love toward one another. God’s intense love for one another, for love will be a canopy over a multitude of sins. # 4:8 As translated from the Aramaic. See Prov. 10:12; 1 Cor. 13:4–7.
9Be compassionate to foreigners # 4:9 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek, which can also be translated “Show hospitality to the stranger.” without complaining.
10Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace.
11For example, if you have a speaking gift, speak as though God were speaking his words through you. # 4:11 The Greek text is simply “If anyone speaks—as God’s words.” This would include preaching, teaching, and prophesying. If you have the gift of serving, do it passionately with the strength God gives you, # 4:11 The Greek can also be translated “The one who provides finances should do it with the strength of God, who supplies all things.” so that in everything God alone will be glorified through Jesus Christ. For to him belong the power and the glory forever throughout all ages! Amen. # 4:11 Peter exhorts us in vv. 7–11 to do five things as we see the end drawing closer: (1) be given to prayer, (2) be devoted to loving our fellow believers, (3) be compassionate to the stranger and foreigner, (4) use spiritual gifts to serve one another, and (5) give God glory in all things.
Suffering and Glory
12Beloved friends, if life gets extremely difficult, with many tests, # 4:12 Or “when the burning of a fiery trial is occurring among you.” don’t be bewildered as though something strange were overwhelming you. # 4:12 The Aramaic adds a clause here, “because these things are your communion in the inheritance.” 13Instead, continue to rejoice, for you, in a measure, have shared in the sufferings of the Anointed One so that you can share in the revelation of his glory and celebrate with even greater gladness! # 4:13 The Greek verb tenses can imply either present or future. There is a glory unveiled in us as we focus on Christ in our difficulties. This brings immediate joy and rejoicing when we pass through suffering. Yet the greatest joy will be as we are free from mortal pain and see the revelation of his glory throughout eternity. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are greatly blessed, # 4:14 See Matt. 5:11. because the Spirit of glory and power, # 4:14 Some Greek manuscripts have “and of power.” The Aramaic can be translated “the [Shekinah] glory of the Spirit.” who is the Spirit of God, rests upon you. # 4:14 See Isa. 11:2. A few manuscripts, deemed unreliable, add “On their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
15Let none of you merit suffering as a murderer, or thief, or criminal, or as one who meddles in the affairs of others. 16If you suffer for being a Christian, don’t consider it a disgrace but a privilege. Glorify God because you carry the Anointed One’s name. # 4:16 Or “that you bear this name.” The word Christian means “anointed one.” Christ is the Anointed One, and as his followers who are joined in life union to him, we too are “anointed ones.” 17For the time is ripe for judgment to begin in God’s own household. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who refuse to obey the gospel of God?
If the righteous are barely saved, # 4:18 The Aramaic can be translated “if the righteous are harvested to salvation.”
what will become of the wicked and godless? # 4:18 See Prov. 11:31 (LXX).
19So then, those who suffer for following God’s will should enfold their lives into the Creator, who will never fail them, and continue to always do what is right. # 4:19 It is interesting that Peter points us to the Creator when we suffer. The faithful Creator, who keeps all things in order and feeds his creation, will never fail to be with us and supply grace and glory in all that we face.