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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 4

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

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Verse 1

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

Arm yourselves with the same mind — Which will be armour of proof against all your enemies.

For he that hath suffered in the flesh — That hath so suffered as to he thereby made inwardly and truly conformable to the sufferings of Christ.

Hath ceased from sin — Is delivered from it.

Verse 2

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

That ye may no longer live in the flesh — Even in this mortal body.

To the desires of men — Either your own or those of others. These are various; but the will of God is one.

Verse 3

For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

Revellings, banquetings — Have these words any meaning now? They had, seventeen hundred years ago. Then the former meant, meetings to eat; meetings, the direct end of which was, to please the taste: the latter, meetings to drink: both of which Christians then ranked with abominable idolatries.

Verse 4

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

The same — As ye did once.

Speaking evil of you — As proud, singular, silly, wicked and the like.

Verse 5

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Who shall give account — Of this, as well as all their other ways.

To him who is ready — So faith represents him now.

Verse 6

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

For to this end was the gospel preached — Ever since it was given to Adam.

To them that are now dead — In their several generations.

That they might be judged — That though they were judged. In the flesh according to the manner of men - With rash, unrighteous judgment. They might live according to the will and word of God, in the Spirit; the soul renewed after his image.

Verse 7

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

But the end of all things — And so of their wrongs, and your sufferings.

Is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer — Temperance helps watchfulness, and both of them help prayer. Watch, that ye may pray; and pray, that ye may watch.

Verse 8

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Love covereth a multitude of sins — Yea, "love covereth all things." He that loves another, covers his faults, how many soever they be. He turns away his own eyes from them; and, as far as is possible, hides them from others. And he continually prays that all the sinner’s iniquities may be forgiven and his sins covered. Meantime the God of love measures to him with the same measure into his bosom.

Verse 9

Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

One to another — Ye that are of different towns or countries.

Without murmuring — With all cheerfulness. Proverbs 10:12.

Verse 10

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

As every one hath received a gift — Spiritual or temporal, ordinary or extraordinary, although the latter seems primarily intended.

So minister it one to another — Employ it for the common good.

As good stewards of the manifold grace of God — The talents wherewith his free love has intrusted you.

Verse 11

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

If any man speak, let him — In his whole conversation, public and private.

Speak as the oracles of God — Let all his words be according to this pattern, both as to matter and manner, more especially in public. By this mark we may always know who are, so far, the true or false prophets. The oracles of God teach that men should repent, believe, obey. He that treats of faith and leaves out repentance, or does not enjoin practical holiness to believers, does not speak as the oracles of God: he does not preach Christ, let him think as highly of himself as he will.

If any man minister — Serve his brother in love, whether in spintuals or temporals.

Let him minister as of the ability which God giveth — That is, humbly and diligently, ascribing all his power to God, and using it with his might.

Whose is the glory — of his wisdom, which teaches us to speak.

And the might — Which enables us to act.

Verse 12

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Wonder not at the burning which is among you — This is the literal meaning of the expression. It seems to include both martyrdom itself, which so frequently was by fire, and all the other sufferings joined with, or previous to, it; which is permitted by the wisdom of God for your trial. Be not surprised at this.

Verse 13

But 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.

But as ye partake of the sufferings of Christ1 Peter 4:1, while ye suffer for his sake, rejoice in hope of more abundant glory. For the measure of glory answers the measure of suffering; and much more abundantly.

Verse 14

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

If ye are reproached for Christ — Reproaches and cruel mockings were always one part of their sufferings.

The Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you — The same Spirit which was upon Christ, Luke 4:18. He is here termed, the Spirit of glory, conquering all reproach and shame, and the Spirit of God, whose Son, Jesus Christ is.

On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified — That is, while they are blaspheming Christ, you glorify him in the midst of your sufferings, 1 Peter 4:16.

Verse 15

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

Let none of you deservedly suffer, as an evildoer - In any kind.

Verse 16

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Let him glorify God — Who giveth him the honour so to suffer, and so great a reward for suffering.

Verse 17

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God — God first visits his church, and that both in justice and mercy.

What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel — How terribly will he visit them! The judgments which are milder at the beginning, grow more and more severe. But good men, having already sustained their part, are only spectators of the miseries of the wicked.

Verse 18

And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

If the righteous scarcely be saved — Escape with the utmost difficulty.

Where shall the ungodly — The man who knows not God. And the open sinner appear - In that day of vengeance. The salvation here primarily spoken of is of a temporal nature. But we may apply the words to eternal things, and then they are still more awful. Proverbs 11:31.

Verse 19

Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Let them that suffer according to the will of God — Both for a good cause, and in a right spirit.

Commit to him their souls — (Whatever becomes of the body) as a sacred depositum.

In well doing — Be this your care, to do and suffer well: He will take care of the rest.

As unto a faithful Creator — In whose truth, love, and power, ye may safely trust.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/1-peter-4.html. 1765.
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