The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Peter

1 2 3 4 5

1 Peter 4

1Pe 4:1

THEREFORE: In view of 1Pe 3:18.

ARM YOURSELVES: For a spiritual "warfare": 2Ti 2:3,4; Eph 6:11; 2Co 10:4.

WITH THE SAME ATTITUDE: The mind of the Spirit: Rom 8:6; the mind of Christ: Phi 2:5.

HE WHO HAS SUFFERED... IS DONE WITH SIN: Prob best understood in the sense of Rom 6:7. By union with Christ, the Christian is to understand that his conversion is a death to sin (Gal 5:24; 6:14; Eph 4:22).

1Pe 4:2

HIS EARTHLY LIFE: Better, "his time in the flesh" (AV).

1Pe 4:3

FOR YOU HAVE SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN THE PAST: That is, the time before experiencing the "newness of life" in Christ: Rom 6:4.

Lists of vices such as this were common in the ancient world and also in the NT (Mar 7:21-22; Rom 1:29-31; 13:13; 1Co 5:10; Gal 5:19-20; 2Pe 2:10-14). The common excesses of drink, sex, and wild parties was found among the non-Christians then, as it is now.

1Pe 4:4

A believer's life of holiness, self-restraint, and chastity is his greatest recommendation to the attention of the outsider.

PLUNGE: "Suntrecho" = to rush, or run together.

FLOOD: "Anachusis", one time only in NT. An effusion, or overflowing.

DISSIPATION: Gr "asotia", lit that which is not saved. Similar word for the prodigal son's (wild living" (Luk 15:13).

THEY HEAP ABUSE ON YOU: The pagan amazement will often turn to hatred and evil speaking (Joh 3:19-21).

1Pe 4:5

THEY: Whereas the AV "who" here is ambiguous, the antecedent of "they" is the unbaptized Gentiles, because the verb ("will have to give account") is 3rd person plural.

1Pe 4:6

THOSE WHO ARE NOW DEAD: Men in imprisoned "spirits" (1Pe 3:19) are morally "dead" (1Ti 5:6). Or, perh, ref to believers who have by now died -- thus they will yet live again, "in the spirit"!

1Pe 4:7

THE END OF ALL THINGS IS NEAR: Jesus taught responsible living, in the light of his return (Luk 12:35-43; 17:26,27).

THEREFORE BE CLEAR MINDED AND SELF-CONTROLLED: Christians are not to give way to "eschatological frenzy", but to practice self-control. Peter had set a negative example in his failure to watch and pray in the Garden (Mat 26:40,41).

SO THAT YOU CAN PRAY: Sometimes the only, and certainly the best, thing one can do for his brothers and sisters.

1Pe 4:8

LOVE: "Agape" love is capable of being commanded because it is not primarily an emotion but a decision of the will leading to action. (On the necessity of Christians’ loving one another, see Mar 12:30-33; Joh 13:34-38; 15:12-17.)

LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS: This quotation from Pro 10:12 does not mean that our love covers or atones for our sins. In the proverb the meaning is that love does not "stir up" sins or broadcast them. So the major idea is that love suffers in silence and bears all things (1Co 13:5-7). Christians forgive faults in others because they know the forgiving grace of God in their own lives.

1Pe 4:9

OFFER HOSPITALITY TO ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT GRUMBLING: Hospitality (Gr "philoxenos" = the love of strangers) between Christians was an important, concrete expression of love in a world without our modern inns and hotels. This virtue was required of the bishops and widows (1Ti 3:2; 5:10; Tit 1:8) and is commanded for us all (Mat 25:35-45; Rom 12:13; 3Jo 1:5-8). Hospitality is to be "without grumbling" -- a phase that suggests the difficulty of carrying out this command. In certain cultures that are strongly family-orientated, the bringing of strangers or foreigners into a house may be somewhat shocking. Yet Christians overcome these conventions because God's love has made them into a single great family.

1Pe 4:10

WHATEVER GIFT: We all have "gifts" (natural abilities, blessings of material things, etc) from God -- not necessarily just HSp "gifts" -- and the lessons of Paul apply to both: cp Rom 12:6-8; 1Co 12:12-31. One of the longstanding misconceptions in church practice is the idea that only one person is to "minister" in the local church. The Bible principle is that all can and should minister in one way or another -- with whatever capacities or abilities God has bestowed upon them.

1Pe 4:11

IF ANYONE SPEAKS, HE SHOULD DO IT AS ONE SPEAKING THE VERY WORDS OF GOD: We should take care that all we say is in accordance with the Word of God. If we are not sure, then it is not sin -- indeed, it is a very good idea -- simply to keep quiet!

SO THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD MAY BE PRAISED: The purpose of mutual Christian service is that through Jesus Christ God will be glorified. Serving fellow Christians does glorify God because people will praise Him for His grace -- that comes to them through Jesus and through his followers.

TO HIM BE THE GLORY AND THE POWER FOR EVER AND EVER: Peter adds a doxology -- something that is not uncommon in Christian letters at various places besides the end (Rom 11:33-36; Eph 3:20-21).

1Pe 4:12

DEAR FRIENDS: "Agapetoi" , “beloved,” as at 1Pe 2:11; also occurs in 2Pe 3:1,8,14,15,17).

THE PAINFUL TRIAL YOU ARE SUFFERING: Suffering is not to be regarded as something foreign to Christian experience but rather as a refining test. Peter has already mentioned the necessity of faith being refined through suffering and testing (1Pe 1:6,7). Here the idea of refining is found in the word "painful" (lit, "burning", or "fiery", as in AV), which occurs in the LXX) in the metaphor of the refining of metals. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (Joh 15:18); and John writes, "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you" (1Jo 3:13). In the light of Jesus' experience and teaching, his followers should expect troubles, but troubles should only encourage them (Joh 16:33).

1Pe 4:13

REJOICE... IN THE SUFFERINGS: In contrast to the usual response of sorrow and shock to suffering and persecution, the Christian is to rejoice because he is participating in Christ’s sufferings: cp Mat 5:10-12; Rom 8:17; 2Co 1:5-7; Phi 3:10. For illustrations of Christians’ rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Christ, see Act 5:41 (of all the apostles) and Act 16:22-25 (of Paul and Silas).

SO THAT YOU MAY BE OVERJOYED WHEN HIS GLORY IS REVEALED: Christian rejoicing rests on the fact that as Christians share in Christ’s suffering, so they will share in his glory with great joy. The prospect of Christ’s full manifestation in all his glory fills the believer with joy and comfort.

"We have the misfortune or happiness (according as we reckon it) to live in an age of corrupt Christianity, when there is neither the bracing vigour that comes with open persecution, nor the helping comfort that ought to come with a universal profession of the name of Christ. The whole community, while professing to be Christian, are away from God's own book, which they either do not heed at all, or make void by the commandments and traditions of men. We are helpless in the matter. We could accept reprobation if it would bring the world to God. It is not we who have appointed the gospel of the Kingdom as the power of God unto salvation, or who have denounced a curse on those preaching any other. It is not our invention at all. We simply believe and submit, and sorrowfully recognise the position of Christendom. But we may be of good cheer. We are on God's side, and His words to us by our reading today are, 'Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy' " (RR, Diary of Voyage 171).

1Pe 4:14

YOU ARE BLESSED: Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad" (Mat 5:11,12). Here in 1Pe we have a fulfillment of the Lord's own promises to his disciples.

FOR THE SPIRIT OF GLORY AND OF GOD RESTS ON YOU: In Mat the cause for happiness is the promised reward. Here it is the possession of the messianic Spirit -- which could also occur at the 2nd coming of Christ: 2Ti 2:10-12. (Many ancient mss add "and of power" after "glory.") This v is based on Isa 11:2 (and perh Psa 89:50-51). One of God's great characteristics is his glory (Act 7:2; Eph 1:17), and in Jesus that glory is revealed (John 1:14,18) -- just as it will be in us one day!

1Pe 4:15

A MURDERER OR THIEF OR ANY OTHER KIND...: "And such were some of you..." (1Co 6:9-11).

MEDDLER: Gr "allotriepiskopos" = lit, one who oversees SOMEONE ELSE'S affairs (instead of his own!). Only once in NT. Cp 2Th 3:11: diff wd, but prob same sig.

1Pe 4:16

DO NOT BE ASHAMED: As Peter had been: Mat 26:69-75; Mar 14:66-72.

1Pe 4:17

An echo of Ezekiel 9:6 — "Slay utterly old and young... and begin at My sanctuary." Judgment coming first upon the people of God: Zec 13:7-9; Mal 3:1-5.


1Pe 4:18

Cited from Pro 11:31.

1Pe 4:19

COMMIT THEMSELVES TO THEIR FAITHFUL CREATOR: This their Lord did at his death (Luk 23:46), reflecting Psa 31:5!

"To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God's will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God's will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. Be merciful to God's reputation. It is easy to blacken God's character because God never answers back, He never vindicates Himself. Beware of the thought that Jesus needed sympathy in his earthly life; he refused sympathy from others because he knew far too wisely that no one on earth understood what he was going through. Notice God's 'waste' of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in some of the most useless places. We say, 'God intends me to be here because I am so useful.' Jesus never estimated his life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him most, and we are no judges at all of where that is" (Oswald Chambers).

CONTINUE TO DO GOOD: The continuation in good works or action is a concrete sign of the faith that is the essence of being a Christian (1Pe 2:15,20; 3:6,17). This is equivalent to laying up "treasure" in heaven: Luk 12:21; Mat 19:21.

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