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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

1) "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh." Peter concludes that Jesus Christ has suffered in the flesh, on the believer’s behalf, and that such suffering should elicit loyalty and gratitude and willingness to suffer from his children, Luke 24:46; Acts 3:18; 2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 2:21.

2) "Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind." (Greek hoplisasthe) arm or fortify yourselves with (hauten) the one of the same mind or disposition -- a willingness to suffer for Him. Philippians 2:5-7.

3) "For he that hath suffered in the flesh." (Greek hoti ho pathon) the one having suffered (Christ) in the flesh, Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 5:8; Isaiah 53:5.

4) "Hath ceased from sin." Has terminated his subjection to the power and presence of sin over him -- the sins of others having borne, Hebrews 9:25-26. Thus he cried, "it is finished." John 19:30.

Verse 2

1) "That he no longer" (eis to meketi) with reference to which one -- (the redeemed) not at all -beyond this point, being "dead to sin" Romans 6:11; Colossians 3:4.

2) "Should live the rest of his time in the flesh." The saved who has accepted the suffering Christ as his Saviour should live biologically (in the old flesh) no longer, beyond this point, as he once lived.

3) "To the lusts of men" (Gk. epithumiais) to, for, or in the lusts of humanity - the unrestrained pattern of sins of the unredeemed.

4) "But to the will of God." After salvation one should live his (Gk. epiloipon) remaining or continuing biological life (Gk. thelemati) to, for, or in the high, holy, spiritual will of God. Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9.


Ko-San-lone, a converted Chinese, when in America on a visit, was deeply impressed with the little difference he saw between the style of living of many professing Christians and the men of the world. Adverting to the matter, he said, "When the disciples in my country come out from the world, they come clear out."


Undoubtedly there is a degree of natural pleasure, connected with the exercise of the appetites, which is lawful. But it is very obvious that self is the natural man, which, is always seeking for pleasure, without regarding either its nature or its lawfulness has polluted everything here. It is in connection with the appetites in their unsanctified state that we find one of the strong ties which bind man to his idols, and which subject his proud spirit. This strong bond must be sundered. No one can be acceptable to God who does not crucify and reject every form of attraction and pleasure from this source which is not in accordance with the intentions of nature, and does not receive the Divine approbation and sanction.


Verse 3

1) "For the time past of our life." Because the loosely passed time of our life -- the unplanned life without purpose.

2) "May suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles." Was sufficient for us to have gone on in the unregenerate will (mind) of the Gentiles, races or heathen.

3) "When we walked in"(Greek peporeumenos) While we walked and stumbled along in

a) Lasciviousness -- Intense sexual craving of any kind.

b) lusts -- personal desires, will, or sexual urge.

c) excess of wine -- debaucheries (Greek oinophlugiais)

d) revelings -- (Greek komois) carousals.

e) banquetings -- (Greek potois) drinking bouts, or challenges.

f) and abominable idolatries" -- Idolatries abominable to God (Greek athemitos) Deuteronomy 7:25-26. Malachi 2:11.

Verse 4

1) “Wherein they think it strange." (en ho) "in which" (Greek ksenizontai) they are surprised, shocked -- to live in modesty, sobriety, Christian piety marks God’s children as "peculiar" Titus 2:12; Titus 2:14.

2) "That ye run not with them." That with them you truck not along. Popularity of excessive banqueting leads to judgment, Daniel 5:1-31; Mark 6:21-28.

3) "To the same excess of riot." (Greek eis)

unto" the same excess of (Greek asotias) profligacy, rioting or unruly behavior. This refers to gluttony, excessive gorging and eating.

4) "Speaking evil of you. " (Greek blasphemountes) "Blaspheming, deriding, or castigating you."


1. Swinish gluttony ne’er looks to heaven amid his gorgeous feats, but with besotted, base ingratitude, crams and blasphemes his feeder.


2. I saw few die of hunger -- of eating a hundred thousand.

--Benjamin Franklin

3. They whose sole bliss is eating, can give but that one brutish reason why they live.

Verse 5

1) "Who shall give account." The term (Greek logon) indicates a detailed "ledger report" -- which each person shall give to God, at the judgment. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 12:36.

2) "To him that is ready." (Greek to etoimos) "to the one who is ready" (Greek echonti) having or holding the authority -- this one is Jesus Christ, to whom judgment accounting is committed. John 3:35; John 5:22.

3) "To judge the quick and the dead." To judge the (Greek zontas) "living" and the (Greek nekrous) dead bodies, to give to each his righteous due, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; 2 Timothy 4:1-2.

Verse 6

1) "For for this cause." (Greek eis touto gar kai) means "for with reference to this also" the day of personal accountability to God. Romans 14:11-12.

2) "Was the gospel preached also to them that are dead." Just judgement could never have been rendered to any man by Jesus Christ had the gospel (good news) not, first been preached to him. John 3:18.

3) "That they might be judged." (Greek hina) "in order that" they (Greek krithosi) might be critically examined, evaluated, or judged.

4) "According to men in the flesh." (Greek men kata) "on the one hand" as human beings in the flesh, bodies of natural birth, each is to be judged.

5) "But live according to God in the Spirit,” (Greek de kata) "on the other hand according to" God in the Spirit they (Greek zosi) "might live." Those saved are said to live in the Spirit and admonished to walk in that way, Galatians 5:25; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:11.

Verse 7

1) "But the end of all things is at hand." The end or termination of all things (fleshly, about which Peter has been writing) (Greek engiken) has drawn near or is at hand, to be faced. The redeemed in the light of God’s holiness are to account their fleshly living to be ended.

2) "Be ye therefore sober." (Greek sophronesate) "Be ye wise -- minded." The wise "understand what the will of the Lord is" Ephesians 5:17; Romans 12:2.

3) "And watch unto prayer." The term watch comes from (Greek nepsate) and means be sober (eis) with reference to (proseuchas) prayers -- not one but continual prayers which help keep one from wrong, Colossians 1:9; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:17-18.

Verse 8

1) "And above all things." (Greek pro) "before" or "preceding" all things.

2) "Have fervent charity among yourselves." Have or hold (Greek ektene) fervent, tenacious charity (Greek eis heautous) toward one another or yourselves, John 13:35.

3) "For charity shall cover the multitude of sins." Because love covers or hides a multitude of sins, for instance fervent love keeps one from gossiping, talebearing, faultfinding, and criticizing harshly those he sincerely loves -- or doing them any kind of harm, See?

Verse 9

1) "Use hospitality" (Greek philoksenoi) be hospitable or friendly – Proverbs 17:17; John 15:14.

2) "One to another without grudging." (Greek eis) "With relationship to" one another, (Greek aneu) without or void of (Greek gongusmou) griping, murmuring, or complaining. Romans 12:9-10.

Verse 10

1) "As every man hath received the gift." (Greek ekastos kathos) "even as each one" received (charisma) a gift, or anointing. Romans 12:6.

2) "Even so minister the same one to another." (Greek diakonountes) be ministering to yourselves, one to another, doing good or helping one another.

3) "As good stewards." As good (Greek oikonomoi) housekeepers or stewards. 1 Timothy 6:17-18; 1 Corinthians 4:2.

4) "Of the manifold grace of God." (Greek pokiles) of the many or much phases of grace of God. 2 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 5:10; Romans 12:3.

Verse 11

1) "If any man speak" (Greek ei tis lalei) "if anyone should speak."

2) "Let him speak as the oracles of God." (hos logia theou) as the logistics, or oracles of God let him speak. This means let his utterances be in contextual setting as God spoke it.

3) "If any man minister." Should anyone (Greek diakonei) perform a common ministry to meet a daily need.

4) "Let him do it as of the ability that God giveth." Let the performance be as (Greek Eks) out of strength which the God (Greek choregei) supplies or provides. James 4:15; Philippians 4:19.

5) "That God in all things may be glorified." (Greek hina) "in order that" in all things God may be glorified. 1 Corinthians 10:31.

6) "Through Jesus Christ" through the person of Jesus Christ His Son who suffered, leaving us an example.

7) "To whom exists glory and (Greek Kratos) might or dominion into the ages of the ages. John 11:4; Hebrews 13:21.

Verse 12

1) "Beloved think it not strange.” (G reek agapetoi) "beloved ones" -- These brethren of five specific localities, evidently in local churches, were advised (Greek ksenizesthe) "be not surprised."

2) "Concerning the fiery trial." (te purosei) at the fiery testings or trials – 2 Corinthians 8:2; Philippians 1:12-14.

3) "Which is to try you." Which is designed to test, discipline, or try you. God often permits Satan to try the believer to strengthen him for later greater battles, Romans 5:3-4.

4) "As though some strange thing happened unto you." The mature Christian learns that suffering, trials and tribulations are designed to work patience in him that he may learn God cares and that he is to be content in whatsoever station in life he may be Paul did. Philippians 4:11; Hebrews 13:5; Romans 8:28.

Verse 13

1) "But rejoice," (Greek alla chairete) but rejoice ye -- all of you not because of trials, but because they are helpful when received rightly.

2) "Inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings” (Greek koinoneite) means, "you share" the sufferings of Christ, Matthew 25:40; James 1:2.

3) "That when his glory shall be revealed." (Greek hina) "In order that" -- a purpose clause -- When His glory shall be (Greek apokalupsei) unveiled or disclosed, 2 Timothy 2:12.

4) "Ye may be glad also." (Greek charate) "Ye may rejoice." Why not rejoice at His taking us Home! Sufferings will be past, home at last!

5) "With exceeding joy." (Greek agalliomenoi) with exultation, much elation. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.


May we not safely say, there is no book of the Bible which has not some reference to trial, whilst many parts are full of reference to the subject. In the Book of Psalms, e.g., out of one hundred and fifty Psalms, it is reckoned that in ninety some allusion is made to suffering! There is no saint in the Bible, of whose history we have any lengthened record, who was not called to endure trouble in some form; and very frequently the most eminent saints were most tried. Those who were called to important services, were generally trained in the school of affliction.


Payson, in the midst of great suffering, being asked if he saw any special reason for the visitation, replied, "No, but I am as well satisfied as if I should see ten thousand; God’s will is the very perfection of all reasons.

Windows For Sermons

Verse 14

1) "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ." If for living for Jesus, one is reproached, let him realize he is following his Lord’s example. Romans 15:3; 1 Peter 2:23.

2) "Happy are ye." (Greek makarioi) Blessed or spiritually prosperous are ye -- to suffer indignities for Christ brings one God’s approval. Matthew 5:11-12.

3) "For the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you " (Greek hoti) "Because" the Holy Spirit of God "or even" the one giving glory upon you rests or abides. Even when persecuted the Holy Spirit brings a sense of peace to the saved.

4) "On their part he is evil spoken of." On the part of those who reproach the people of God -- even God is derided by them. If not saying, "there is no God;” they act it, Psalms 14:1.

5) "But on your part he is glorified." One glorifies God when he lives the crucified life, Galatians 6:14. The latter half of this verse is not in some of the better manuscripts.

Verse 15

1) "But let none of you suffer." While there is honor in suffering for the name of Christ, there is no honor or glory in suffering for one’s own evil actions. A soldier is honored for suffering and valor for his country but due no honor for disloyalty.

2) "As a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil doer." Murder, theft, and deeds of wrong should be avoided by God’s children, lest they suffer due civil and moral judgment, without honor.

3) "Or as a busy body" as if an afterthought, Peter added (Greek allotriepiskopos) "one who pries or sticks his nose in other peoples matters."

4) "In other men’s matters." Those who pry into matters of others, meddle in affairs of others, practice conduct not approved, but rather condemned by the Lord, Proverbs 20:3; Proverbs 26:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13.


It is observed of the hen that, loathing the plenty of meat that is cast before her on a clean floor, she will be scratching in a hole or spurring the dung-hill in search of one single musty grain. So these over-busy people, neglecting such obvious and common things into which any man may inquire and talk of without offence, cannot be satisfied unless they rake into the private and concealed evils of every family in the neighborhood.

Verse 16

1) "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian." Peter for the first and only time, referred to suffering for Christ as Christian suffering. The term Christian is used only two other times in the New Testament, Acts 11:26; Acts 26:23.

2) "Let him not be ashamed." (Greek aiskunestho) in a state or condition of shame or blushing. Peter remembered, perhaps, his own shame for once not having confessed Jesus for fear of suffering. Mark 8:38; Matthew 26:15; Romans 10:11.

3) "But let him glorify God on his behalf." Peter then admonishes Christian brethren to glorify God (Greek en to onomati touto) "in this name" -- the name of Christ, thru suffering, confessing Him, Colossians 3:17.

Verse 17

1) "For the time is come." (hoti) because the (Greek kairos) "time", condition, or circumstances has come.

2) "That judgment must begin at the house of God. (Greek archasthai) "to begin" the judgment from the (oiku) household, fellowship, or church of God. This seems to refer to church discipline.

3) "And if it first begin at us" And if it (must) (Greek proton) firstly (begin) from among us -- the household or church -- one judged by the church to be walking in grave or moral wrong must be judged by the church, excluded until he is ashamed and confesses his wrong, 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 5:13; Titus 3:10; 2 Corinthians 4:4-7.

4) "What shall be the end of them." Peter turns his thoughts from suffering as a Christian for wrong deeds by God’s chastisement and the church’s discipline to that of the unmerciful judgment of hell against the eternally lost, Hebrews 12:5-8; Psalms 89:30-33; Psalms 9:17.

5) "That obey not the gospel of God?" What (shall be) the end of the one’s disobeying, disregarding, or not being persuaded by the gospel? This is a rhetoric question, affirming their judgment for rebellion against wrongs of Christians, Hebrews 2:2; Ecclesiastes 12:14. Disobeying the gospel is declared to be unbelief in or rejection of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:15-17.

Verse 18

1) "And if the righteous" and if the (Greek dikaios) one declared righteous, justified, saved by the gospel Romans 1:16; Romans 10:16.

2) "Scarcely be saved." (Greek molis sozetai) scarcely or barely is saved, delivered, Ephesians 2:8-10; With difficulty even the righteous (redeemed) is saved. Consider the death, resurrection, and intercession of Christ -- the wooing of the Spirit -God’s sealing and keeping 1 Peter 1:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

3) "Where shall the ungodly ." (Greek pou asebes) where the impious renegade, the one never having obeyed God, (appear)? The idea is he can’t evaporate, go out of existence. He must suffer for his transgressions, Hebrews 2:2-3.

4) "And sinner appear?" and where shall (Greek hamartolos ) the habitually evil "mark-missing" one on moral matters appear? Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23.

Verse 19

1) "Wherefore let them that suffer." (hoste) "So as" (Greek kai oi paskontes) “certainly the ones suffering" -- referring to the indignities of mistreatment by men because of their obedience to Christ-the theme of this letter.

2) "According to the will of God." Only suffering in the I of God, not because of one’s own sins in the flesh, is to be endured with peace and joy, Matthew 5:11-12; Romans 8:17-18.

3) "Commit the keeping of their souls." (Greek paratithesthosan) places or put the keeping of their (Greek psuchas) souls, entire lives...

4) "To him in well doing." To God in "doing good," The one who spends time doing good, following God in all He does, stays busy doing things in the will of God, has no time for evil. He redeems the times. Such is desirable. Ephesians 5:15-17.

5) "As unto a faithful Creator." The faithful Creator is loyal, faithful to his work, sees that it operates according to his will. His creatures are given volition’s (wills) of their own and admonished, but not forced to follow the will of their faithful creator. It is best. John 7:17; 2 Timothy 2:11; 2 Timothy 2:13.


An intimate friend of Handel called on him just as he was composing the music for the words, "He was despised," and found him sobbing, so greatly had that this passage of shame and suffering of Christ affected him.

--W. B. K.


They crushed the thorns into His brow And struck harsh blows that day. 0 Lord, I would not treat Thee so - I only walked away.

They drove the nails into His hands And raised the cross on high. 0 Lord, that men could be so vile - I only passed Thee by.

But blinded eyes and heart of stone Will spurn a love like Thine 0 Lord, I struck the cruelest blows; The sharpest thorns were mine.

--Victoria Beaudin JohnsonI

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-peter-4.html. 1985.
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