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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 4

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

For as much then as Christ suffered in the flesh (Χριστου ουν παθοντος σαρκ). Genitive absolute with second aorist active participle of πασχω, to suffer, and the locative case of σαρξ (flesh). The ουν (then, therefore) draws and applies the main lesson of 1 Peter 3:18-22, the fact that Christ suffered for us.

Arm ye yourselves also (κα υμεις οπλισασθε). Direct middle first aorist imperative of οπλιζω, old verb from οπλον (weapon, John 18:3), in metaphorical sense, here only in N.T.

With the same mind (την αυτην εννοιαν). Accusative of the thing (content), εννοιαν, old word (from εν, νους), putting in mind, thinking, will, in N.T. only here and Hebrews 4:12. "Here again Christus Patiens is our υπογραμμος" (Bigg).

For (οτ). Reason for the exhortation.

Hath ceased from sin (πεπαυτα αμαρτιας). Perfect middle indicative of παυω to make cease and the ablative singular αμαρτιας, but B reads the dative plural αμαρτιαις (cf. Romans 6:1). Temptation has lost its appeal and power with such a man.

Verse 2

That ye no longer should live (εις το μηκετ βιωσα). Purpose clause with εις το (negative μη) and the first aorist (for the Attic second aorist βιωνα) active infinitive of βιοω, old verb, to spend a life (from βιος, course of life, Luke 8:14), here only in N.T.

The rest of your time in the flesh (τον επιλοιπον εν σαρκ χρονον). Accusative of time (χρονον, period of time). Επιλοιπον is old adjective (επι, λοιπος, remaining in addition), here only in N.T. But εις το here can be result (so that) as in Romans 1:20; Romans 4:18.

Verse 3

Past (παρεληλυθως). Perfect active participle of the compound verb παρερχομα, old verb, to go by (beside) as in Matthew 14:15 with ωρα (hour).

May suffice (αρκετος). No copula in the Greek, probably εστιν (is) rather than δυνατα (can). Late and rare verbal adjective from αρκεω, to suffice, in the papyri several times, in N.T. only here and Matthew 6:34; Matthew 10:25, apparently referring to Christ's words in Matthew 6:34 (possibly an axiom or proverb).

To have wrought (κατειργασθα). Perfect middle infinitive of κατεργαζομα, common compound (κατα, εργον work) as in 1 Corinthians 5:3.

The desire (το βουλημα). Correct text, not θελημα. Either means the thing desired, willed. Jews sometimes fell in with the ways of Gentiles (Romans 2:21-24; Romans 3:9-18; Ephesians 2:1-3) as today some Christians copy the ways of the world.

And to have walked (πεπορευμενους). Perfect middle participle of πορευομα in the accusative plural of general reference with the infinitive κατειργασθα. Literally, "having walked or gone."

In lasciviousness (εν ασελγειαις). All these sins are in the locative case with εν. "In unbridled lustful excesses" (2 Peter 2:7; 2 Corinthians 12:21).

Lusts (επιθυμιαις). Cf. 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 4:2.

Winebibbings (οινοφλυγιαις). Old compound (οινος, wine, φλυω, to bubble up), for drunkenness, here only in N.T. (also in Deuteronomy 21:20).

Revellings (κομοις). Old word (from κειμα, to lie down), rioting drinking parties, in N.T. here and Galatians 5:21; Romans 13:13.

Carousings (ποτοις). Old word for drinking carousal (from πινω, to drink), here only in the N.T. In the light of these words it seems strange to find modern Christians justifying their "personal liberty" to drink and carouse, to say nothing of the prohibition law. The Greeks actually carried lust and drunkenness into their religious observances (Aphrodite, for instance).

Abominable idolatries (αθεμιτοις ειδωλολατριαις). To the Christian all "idolatry," (ειδωλον, λατρεια), worship of idols, is "abominable," not allowed (alpha privative and θεμιτος, θεμιστος the old form, verbal of θεμιζω, to make lawful), but particularly those associated with drinking and licentiousness. The only other N.T. example of αθεμιτος is by Peter also (Acts 10:28) and about the Mosaic law. That may be the idea here, for Jews often fell into idolatrous practices (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 274).

Verse 4

Wherein (εν ω). "In which thing" (manner of life).

They think it strange (ξενιζοντα). Present passive indicative of ξενιζω, old verb (from ξενος, stranger), to entertain a guest (Acts 10:23), to astonish (Acts 17:20). See also 1 Peter 4:12. "They are surprised or astonished."

That ye run not with them (μη συντρεχοντων υμων). Genitive absolute (negative μη) with present active participle of συντρεχω, old compound, to run together like a crowd or a mob as here (just like our phrase, "running with certain folks").

Into the same excess of riot (εις την αυτην της ασωτιας αναχυσιν). Αναχυσιν (from αναχεω to pour forth) is a late and rare word, our overflowing, here only in N.T. Ασωτιας is the character of an abandoned man (ασωτος, cf. ασωτως in Luke 15:13), old word for a dissolute life, in N.T. only here, Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6.

Speaking evil of you (βλασφημουντες). Present active participle of βλασφημεω as in Luke 22:65. "The Christians were compelled to stand aloof from all the social pleasures of the world, and the Gentiles bitterly resented their puritanism, regarding them as the enemies of all joy, and therefore of the human race" (Bigg).

Verse 5

Who shall give account (ο αποδωσουσιν λογον). Future active indicative of αποδιδωμ. For this use with λογον (account) see Matthew 12:36; Luke 16:2; Acts 19:40; Hebrews 13:17. For the sudden use of the relative ο see Romans 3:8.

To him that is ready to judge (τω ετοιμως κρινοντ). Dative, "to the one readily judging," correct text, not ετοιμως εχοντ κρινα, "to the one ready to judge," which "softens the rugged original" (Hart). That is Christ apparently (1 Peter 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:10), but the Father in 1 Peter 1:17.

The quick and the dead (ζωντας κα νεκρους). "Living and dead." Those living at the time and those already dead (1 Thessalonians 4:15).

Verse 6

Was the gospel preached (ευηγγελισθη). First aorist passive indicative of ευαγγελιζω. Impersonal use.

Even to the dead (κα νεκροις). Does Peter here mean preached to men after they are dead or to men once alive but dead now or when the judgment comes? There are those (Augustine, Luther, etc.) who take "dead" here in the spiritual sense (dead in trespasses and sins as in Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1), but consider it "impossible" for Peter to use the same word in two senses so close together; but Jesus did it in the same sentence, as in the case of ψυχη (life) in Matthew 16:25. Bigg takes it to mean that all men who did not hear the gospel message in this life will hear it in the next before the final judgment.

That they might be judged (ινα κριθωσιν μεν). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist passive subjunctive of κρινω, to judge, whereas ζωσιν δε (by contrast) is the present active subjunctive of ζαω, to live. There is contrast also between κατα ανθρωπους (according to men) and κατα θεον (according to God).

Verse 7

But the end of all things is at hand (παντων δε το τελος ηγγικεν). Perfect active indicative of εγγιζω, to draw near, common late verb (from εγγυς), same form used by the Baptist of the Messiah's arrival (Matthew 3:2) and by James in 1 Peter 5:8 (of the second coming). How near Peter does not say, but he urges readiness (1 Peter 1:5; 1 Peter 4:6) as Jesus did (Mark 14:38) and Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:6), though it is drawing nearer all the time (Romans 12:11), but not at once (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

Be ye therefore of sound mind (σωφρονησατε ουν). In view of the coming of Christ. First aorist (ingressive) active imperative of σωφρονεω (σως, sound, φρην, mind) as in Mark 5:15.

Be sober unto prayer (νηψατε εις προσευχας). First aorist (ingressive of νηφω (see 1 Peter 1:13) and plural προσευχας, (prayers). Cf. Ephesians 6:18.

Verse 8

Above all things (προ παντων). See this phrase in James 5:12.

Being fervent (εκτενη εχοντες). Present active participle of εχοντες and predicate accusative of adjective εκτενης (from εκτεινω, to stretch out), stretched out, here only in N.T., "holding intent you love among yourselves."

For love covereth a multitude of sins (οτ αγαπη καλυπτε πληθος αμαρτιων). See James 5:20 for meaning, sins of the one loved, not of the one loving.

Verse 9

Using hospitality (φιλοξενο). "Friendly to strangers," old word (from φιλοσ, ξενος), in N.T. only here and 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8. No verb here in the Greek.

Without murmuring (ανευ γογγυσμου). Like χωρις γογγυσμων in Philippians 2:14. Complaint spoils hospitality. Jesus enjoined the entertainment of strangers (Matthew 25:35). Inns were rare and very poor. Hospitality made mission work possible (3 John 1:5).

Verse 10

Gift (χαρισμα). Late N.T. word (in late papyri) from χαριζομα, to give graciously. It is used here by Peter as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Corinthians 12:29-31; Romans 12:6).

Ministering (διακονουντες). Present active participle plural of διακονεω, common verb (Matthew 20:28), though εκαστος (each) is singular.

As good stewards (ως καλο οικονομο). For "steward" (οικονομος, house-manager) see Luke 16:1; 1 Corinthians 4:1 (used by Paul of himself) and of any bishop (Titus 1:7), but here of any Christian. See καλος used with διακονος in 1 Timothy 4:6.

Of the manifold grace of God (ποικιλης χαριτος θεου). For ποικιλος (many-colored) see on 1 Peter 1:6; James 1:2.

Verse 11

If any man speaketh (ε τις λαλε). Condition of first class, assumed as a fact.

Speaking as it were oracles of God (ως λογια θεου). No predicate in this conclusion of the condition. For λογια θεου see Acts 7:38 (Mosaic law); Romans 3:2 (the Old Testament); Hebrews 5:12 (the substance of Christian teaching), here of the utterances of God through Christian teachers. Λογιον (old word) is a diminutive of λογος (speech, word). It can be construed here as nominative or as accusative. The verb has to be supplied.

If any one ministereth (ε τις διακονε). First-class condition again. See Acts 6:2-4 for the twofold division of service involved here.

Which God supplieth (ης χορηγε ο θεος). Ablative case (ης) of the relative attracted from the accusative ην, object of χορηγε (present active indicative of χορηγεω, old verb, to supply from χορηγος, chorus leader, in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 9:10). Peter has the compound επιχορηγεω in 2 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:11. God is the supplier of strength.

That God may be glorified (ινα δοξαζητα ο θεος). Purpose clause with ινα and the present passive subjunctive of δοξαζω. See John 15:8.

Whose is (ω εστιν). "To whom (dative) is," that is to Jesus Christ the immediate antecedent, but in Romans 16:27; Judges 1:25 the doxology is to God through Christ. For other doxologies see 1 Peter 5:11; 2 Peter 3:18; Galatians 1:5; Romans 9:5; Romans 11:36; Philippians 4:20; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:16; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:13; Revelation 7:12. The others addressed to Christ are 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 4:18; Revelation 1:6.

Verse 12

Think it not strange (μη ξενιζεσθε). Prohibition with μη and the present passive imperative of ξενιζω, for which verb see 1 Peter 4:4. "Be not amazed."

Concerning the fiery trial among you (τε εν υμιν πυρωσε). Instrumental case, "by the among you burning," metaphorical sense of old word (since Aristotle), from πυροω, to burn (πυρ fire). See 1 Peter 1:7 for the metaphor. See Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18 only other N.T. examples. It occurs in Proverbs 27:21 for the smelting of gold and silver and so in Psalms 56:10 (LXX 65:10): "Thou didst smelt us as silver is smelted" (επυρωσας ημας ως πυρουτα το αργυριον).

Which cometh upon you (υμιν γινομενη). Present middle participle of γινομα (already coming) with dative case υμιν.

To prove you (προς πειρασμον). "For testing."

As though a strange thing happened unto you (ως ξενου υμιν συμβαινοντος). Genitive absolute with ως, giving the alleged reason, and υμιν, dative case with συμβαινοντος (present active participle of συμβαινω, to go together, to happen (Mark 10:32), agreeing with ξενου (strange, Hebrews 13:9).

Verse 13

Inasmuch (καθο). "In so far forth as" ("according to which thing"), old conjunction, in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 8:12; Romans 8:26.

Ye are partakers of (κοινωνειτε). Present active indicative of κοινωνεω, old verb (from κοινωνος, partner), to share in either with genitive (Hebrews 2:14) or dative as here (παθημασιν).

That ye may rejoice with exceeding joy (ινα χαρητε αγαλλιωμενο). Purpose clause with ινα and second aorist passive subjunctive of χαιρω, with the present middle participle of αγαλλιαω to exult (1 Peter 1:8), "that ye may rejoice exulting." See 1 Peter 1:6-8 for this same idea associated with the second coming of Christ as here.

Verse 14

If ye are reproached (ε ονειδιζεσθε). Condition of first class assumed as true with ε and present passive indicative of ονειδιζω, for which verb see James 1:5.

For the name of Christ (εν ονοματ Χριστου). "In the matter of the name of Christ." For the idea see Matthew 5:11; Matthew 19:29; Acts 5:41; Acts 9:16; Acts 21:13. This is the only N.T. example of just ονομα Χριστου, here used because of the use of Χριστιανος in verse 1 Peter 4:16. For the beatitude μακαριο see Matthew 5:11.

The Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God (το της δοξης κα το του θεου πνευμα). Note repetition of the article (το) though πνευμα only once. The reference is to the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Glory and of God.

Resteth upon you (εφ' ημας αναπαυετα). Quotation from Isaiah 11:2. Present middle indicative of αναπαυω, to give rest, refresh (Matthew 11:28). "He rests upon the Christian as the Shechinah rested upon the tabernacle" (Bigg). Cf. 1 Peter 1:8; Matthew 3:16.

Verse 15

Let no one of you suffer (μη τις υμων πασχετω). Prohibition with μη and present active imperative (habit prohibited).

As (ως). Charged as and being so. Two specific crimes (murderer, thief) and one general phrase (κακοποιος, evildoer, 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:14), and one unusual term αλλοτριεπισχοπος (a meddler in other men's matters). Note η ως (or as) = or "also only as" (Wohlenberg). The word was apparently coined by Peter (occurring elsewhere only in Dionys. Areop. and late eccles. writers) from αλλοτριος (belonging to another, 2 Corinthians 10:15) and επισκοπος, overseer, inspector, 1 Peter 2:25). The idea is apparently one who spies out the affairs of other men. Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 224) gives a second-century papyrus with αλλοτριων επιθυμητης a speculator alienorum. Epictetus has a like idea (iii. 22. 97). Biggs takes it to refer to "things forbidden." Clement of Alexandria tells of a disciple of the Apostle John who became a bandit chief. Ramsay (Church in the Roman Empire, pp. 293, 348) thinks the word refers to breaking up family relationships. Hart refers us to the gadders-about in 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11 and women as gossipers in 1 Thessalonians 5:13. It is interesting to note also that επισκοπος here is the word for "bishop" and so suggests also preachers meddling in the work of other preachers.

Verse 16

But if as a Christian (ε δε ως Χριστιανος). Supply the verb πασχε (condition of first class, "if one suffer as a Christian"). This word occurs only three times in the N.T. (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). It is word of Latin formation coined to distinguish followers of Christ from Jews and Gentiles (Acts 11:26). Each instance bears that idea. It is not the usual term at first like μαθητα (disciples), saints (αγιο), believers (πιστευοντες), etc. The Jews used Ναζωραιο (Nazarenes) as a nickname for Christians (Acts 24:5). By A.D. 64 the name Christian was in common use in Rome (Tacitus, Ann. XV. 44). Owing to itacism it was sometimes spelled Χρηστιανο (ι, ε and η pronounced alike).

Let him not be ashamed (μη αισχυνεσθω). Prohibition with μη and present passive imperative of αισχυνω. Peter had once been ashamed to suffer reproach or even a sneer for being a disciple of Christ (Mark 14:68). See the words of Jesus in Mark 8:38 and Paul's in 2 Timothy 1:12. Peter is not ashamed now. In this name (εν τω ονοματ τουτω). Of Christian as in Mark 9:41, "because ye are Christ's."

Verse 17

For the time is come (οτ ο καιρος). No predicate, probably εστιν (is) to be supplied. The phrase that follows comes from the vision of Ezekiel (chapter 1 Peter 4:9). The construction is unusual with του αρξασθα (genitive articular aorist middle infinitive of αρχω), not exactly purpose or result, and almost in apposition (epexegetic), but note του ελθειν used as subject in Luke 17:1. The persecution on hand (1 Peter 1:7) was a foretaste of more to come. By "house of God" he can mean the same as the "spiritual house" of 1 Peter 2:5 or a local church. Biggs even takes it to refer to the family.

And if it begin first at us (ε δε πρωτον αφ'ημων). Condition of first class again, with the verb αρχετα understood. "From us" (αφ' ημων) more exactly.

End (τελος). Final fate.

Of them that obey not the gospel of God (των απειθουντων τω του θεου ευαγγελιω). "Of those disobeying the gospel of God." See the same idea in Romans 2:8. See Mark 1:14 for believing in the gospel.

Verse 18

And if the righteous is scarcely saved (κα ε ο δικαιος μολις σωζετα). First-class condition again with ε and present passive indicative of σωζω. Quotation from Proverbs 11:31. See 1 Peter 3:12; 1 Peter 3:14; Matthew 5:20. But the Christian is not saved by his own righteousness (Philippians 3:9; Revelation 7:14). For μολις see Acts 14:18 and for ασεβης (ungodly, without reverence) see Romans 4:5; 2 Peter 2:5.

Will appear (φανειτα). Future middle of φαινω, to show. For the question see Mark 10:24-26.

Verse 19

Wherefore (ωστε). Picking up the thread of consolation again (Bigg).

Commit their souls (παρατιθεσθωσαν τας ψυχας). Present (continuous) middle imperative third plural of παρατιθημ, old word, a banking figure, to deposit, as in 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:2, the word used by Jesus as he died (Luke 23:46).

In well-doing (εν αγαθοποιια). Late and rare word, only here in N.T., from αγαθοποιεω (1 Peter 2:15; 1 Peter 2:20).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/1-peter-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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