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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 4

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Since Christ. “Since Christ suffered physically and died to save his people, each of you must have this same attitude! You must be willing to die for Christ, if this should be God’s will for you!” See note on 1 Peter 3:17. Because. “The person who has firmly made up his mind to die rather than renounce Christ, has freed himself from the power of sin!”

Verse 2


From now on. “Your baptism was a promise (1 Peter 3:21) to God! You must allow God’s will to control your earthly lives! You must not allow either your human nature or fear of persecution to turn you back to the old ways! If you have overcome fear of persecution and death, weaker temptations will be no problem to you!”

Verse 3


You have spent enough time. “You never should have lived this way at all, but whatever time you spent was too much!” Indecency. Here the word means: “one who actually practices immorality, adultery, incest, homosexuality, etc., and doesn’t care who knows it!” The technical term is lasciviousness.

Verse 4


And now. “The heathen cannot understand why you do not join them in these things as you once did! And so they insult you and make fun of you and say you are antisocial!” The worshipers of Bacchus, in their orgies and drinking parties, would run up and down the public streets and fields like crazy people, doing their indecencies!

Verse 5


But they. “Don’t let these things disturb you. All these will have to answer to God for what they are doing! Christ will judge them as well as you!” In Jewish thought, living = God’s people; dead = Gentiles. See 1 Peter 4:6.

Verse 6


That is why. “To encourage you to suffer death for Christ, know that is why the Good News was preached also to the Gentiles dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), to make them know Christ; to those who had been judged and condemned to death in their physical existence as all men are judged (Romans 3:9); it was preached to them so that by the power of God, in their spiritual existence (as Christ now lives) they may live as God lives.” This applies to both right now, and to eternity. [I have followed MacKnight on this.]

Verse 7


The end of all things. To the Jewish mind, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was the end of all things! See Matthew 24:1-3 and notes. This can also be understood in view of John’s last hour (1 John 2:18). You must be. Compare 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; Matthew 24:42-44.

Verse 8


Love one another earnestly. “Love is the mortar which builds living stones into the house where God lives through his Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22). Without this love to hold you together, you will be nothing but a pile of jagged rocks! If you love one another, you will be more strongly motivated to help one another, especially in this time of persecution! For love will make you overlook the many faults you see in each other!”

Verse 9


Open your homes. Persecution often made it necessary to “run for your life!” Hospitality was therefore especially important! See notes on Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2.

Verse 10


Each one. Peter means the gifts from the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:28), but the same principle applies to everyone. Each one is to think of his abilities and talents as gifts from God, and to use them wisely for the good of others (Galatians 6:10).

Verse 11


Whoever preaches. “He must preach it as a message from God, of whom he is a servant (1 Corinthians 3:5 and note).” Whoever serves. Compare Acts 6:2-4 and notes. “The one who serves must view this as serving Christ by proxy!” Compare Matthew 25:31-46. “Your good works praise God through Christ!” Matthew 5:16.

Verse 12


Do not be surprised. “Do not think the painful test is something which never happened to the people of God before!”

Verse 13


Rather be glad. “Suffering only proves that you are God’s child! (See Hebrews 12:5-11.) Be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings! (See 2 Corinthians 1:5-7.) When Christ’s glory is revealed, you will receive your reward!”

Verse 14


If you are insulted. See Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:11-12 and notes. This means. “If you had the spirit from the Enemy of Christ, the world would not insult you. The fact that they do insult you because you are Christ’s followers, proves that the glorious Spirit is resting on you!”

Verse 15


None of you. “Being guilty of such things as these bring neither glory or reward to those who suffer because of them!”

Verse 16


But if you suffer. The name Christian was widely used by this time (Acts 11:26). Many good people suffered only because they were Christians! But thank God. “Praise God for his finished work in Christ that makes it possible for you to bear the name of Christ!”

Verse 17


The time has come. Those who think this passage teaches that in the Judgment, Christians will just barely squeeze by, do not give full honor to God’s finished work in Christ! Christians are given full right to enter the eternal Kingdom (2 Peter 1:11)!!! MacKnight is right in thinking the judgment is that which Christ predicted in Matthew 23:25. Even Christian Jews such as Peter would suffer in the events which led up to the destruction of Jerusalem! But Josephus tells us no Christian Jew was in Jerusalem when it was destroyed (see note on Matthew 24:21),

Verse 18


As the scripture says. Peter paraphrases Proverbs 11:31 and Ezekiel 9:8-11. “The time has come for judgment to be poured out on the Jewish nation for their crimes, and it must begin with you Jewish Christians who have become in fact God’s own people! If God allows such punishment to come on us, whom He loves so dearly because of our faith in Christ, what will He do to those Jews who reject His Son???” Johnson applies the principle to the whole church. “If even we Christians must suffer in this life, what will God do to the godless and sinful after the Judgment???”

Verse 19


So then. “In punishing the Jews, God is just! Therefore, if we suffer as a Christian, because it is God’s will for us, we should trust ourselves completely to God’s care by living holy lives full of good actions. And we know our Creator always keeps his promise, and he will raise us to eternal life at the Resurrection!” Compare Romans 8:28 and note.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/1-peter-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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