1 Peter 

(1 Peter 1:1) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Peter writes to Christians of the Roman Empire living in what is now Turkey. In calling them strangers he refers to the dispersion after Stephen's martyrdom of Gentile Christians, to Gentiles who converted to Christianity. The were dispersed and were, therefore, strangers in those lands.

(1 Peter 1:2) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

In discussing the topic of election, it is usually assumed that each person is elected, or chosen. But this verse is referring to the dispersed Jewish Christians as a group, not to each individual.

Just as the nation of Israel was chosen by God to be his covenant people, so also, Christ would come from that people and to that people. God planned this when he planned to choose Israel.

Christians are made holy, are sanctified, through the sacrificial death of Jesus. He obeyed God the Father in offering himself up as the sacrificial Lamb of God. His own blood was sprinkled just as the blood of sacrificial animals was sprinkled as part of the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.

I find it striking that when speaking to Gentiles, the apostles often refer to Jewish ideas such as sacrifice, priesthood, temple, etc. Perhaps the majority of Gentile Christians were the God-fearers who had partially become Jewish and had learned Jewish ways.

Obedience is lifelong and therefore sprinkling should be lifelong. The word obedience doesn't refer to the instant of salvation by faith.

(1 Peter 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Peter uses the phrase "born again".

Our hope comes from the resurrection of Jesus for 3 reasons:

  1. He conquered death via his resurrection. Being 100% human, he prepared the way for all other humans into eternal life.
  2. His resurrection proves that he conquered death.
  3. His resurrection illustrates what the future holds in store for the redeemed. We will also be resurrected.

(1 Peter 1:4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

Once resurrected, the redeemed will live forever in a glorified body.

People often say that our final destiny is heaven, but this is not the case, it is the new heavens and new earth. This verse merely says that our reservation, our ticket to eternity if you will, is kept in heaven. In other words, God has reserved our place.

If the new heavens and new earth is in heaven, this merely means that whatever heaven is, it includes the new heavens and new earth. Perhaps the word "heaven" refers to any place where God dwells and where we can commune with him.

(1 Peter 1:5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Those who are redeemed are kept that way by God himself. This verse does not address the topic of what happens to someone who habitually commits mortal sin or who apostatizes from the faith.

People don't seem to notice what this verse actually says. It clearly says that our faith is what keeps us in God's saving power. Those who commit habitual mortal sin simply do not have saving faith, that is clear from many, many verses which state that those who sin do not inherit eternal life. Saving faith requires good works or it is not saving faith, rather, it is mere belief.

Notice when salvation actually occurs: at the end of time.

Faith involves doing. Mere mental remembrance of our loyalty to Christ is not faith but, rather, mere belief. In habitually performing good works, motivated by our desire to please God, we are acting out our faith. Without this acting out of faith, there is no faith. Faith only exists moment to moment when you prove you have it by doing it. It's like saying you love someone without doing something loving. True love expresses the love through continual loving actions.

(1 Peter 1:6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

We live a dual life: (1) the glorious eternal life of the future, and (2) the difficult life of the present.

Since these Christians had to flee for their lives, some were probably tempted to give up being a Christian so they could retain their security. They likely were not as well off in their new homes since they had to give up their livelihoods and start over.

I wonder how Peter's letter was communicated to all these people dispersed over such a large area? I suppose delegates were sent around to read it during mass and some copies were probably made. It must have taken months if not years for everyone to hear this letter read, and they probably only heard it read once. I suppose if they made a copy for themselves, they would have read it from time to time during mass. After all, how often did they get to hear from an apostle?

(1 Peter 1:7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

The trial tested their faith. People often use verses like this to support the idea that we are tempted into watching bad TV shows or what-not. But the trial of the recipients of this letter involved their very lives. They had to flee for their lives or give up their faith. Remember that Saul was going around looking for people to capture and take back to the Sanhedrian for trial. Presumably, what was done to Stephen is what would have been done to them.

Gold is very valuable but it perishes. Our faith is much more valuable than gold and it results in life eternal.

These people's faith had been tested and proven. Because of this, they will be blessed with redemption when Jesus appears.

Those who might use this verse as referring to the so-called rapture are not paying attention. When Jesus appears at his coming (his second coming), it is for salvation as verse 9 indicates.

The faith of some is tested by fire but not necessarily of everyone.

Faith is tested throughout our life

(1 Peter 1:8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

How is it possible to love someone that you've never even seen? Two ways: We love Jesus (1) in believing what he did for us, and (2) in longing for the day we will meet him face to face.

(1 Peter 1:9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The goal of faith is salvation.

Notice that it is our souls which are saved. Some claim that we have body, soul, and spirit, and only our spirit is saved. This verse refutes that notion. We have only body and soul. The body dies and is resurrected. The soul never dies.

Faith is tested throughout our life

(1 Peter 1:10) Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

(1 Peter 1:11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

(1 Peter 1:12) Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with [by] the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

The Old Testament prophets who wrote about Christ did this for the apostles and those they taught and passed the gospel down to, for us of the Church Age.

The gospel is from the Holy Spirit. This implies the Old Testament prophets spoke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit also.

The gospel message resides in the spiritual realm. The word "heaven" also refers to the spiritual realm, the dwelling place of deity. Thus, the spiritual realm has various zones or regions.

(1 Peter 1:13) Wherefore gird up [secure by encircling with a belt or band] the loins [hips and middle] of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

The phrase "gird up" mean to secure your clothing with a belt. In English this phrase is used metaphorically. In the old days they would gird up their robes before travelling or before war, so girding up was done as a preparation for something. In Ephesians 6:14 Paul establishes the idea of preparing for war as an extended metaphor for preparing ourselves to fight spiritual enemies. Normally I prefer to interpret the Bible strictly literally but in this case the apostles themselves have established a metaphor.

Here are preparations Peter suggests...

  1. prepare your mind — we should be thinking correctly and have the proper attitude; we should conform our thoughts to apostolic teaching.
  2. be sober — probably means to take it all seriously.
  3. hope to the end — presumably this refers to enduring until death in our trust in God and in knowing that he will redeem us as he has promised.

In referring to various translations it is not clear whether the phrase "at the revelation of Jesus Christ" refers to his second coming or his first coming. In either case, we are redeemed by God's grace, and we hope and trust in God for this grace.

(1 Peter 1:14) As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

(1 Peter 1:15) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [behavior];

We are to be holy as God is holy. This does not mean we are capable of being like God except is some small way as we are in his image. We are to be as holy as is possible for redeemed humans, in the way God created for us to be holy. In the new heavens and new earth we will effortlessly embody this maximum of holiness.

Notice God has called us to be redeemed.

(1 Peter 1:16) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

(1 Peter 1:17) And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Protestants consider good deeds to be merely the evidence that a person has saving faith. But this verse says otherwise; a person's acceptance by God is contingent upon good works.

(1 Peter 1:18) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation [way of life] received by tradition from your fathers;

(1 Peter 1:19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

(1 Peter 1:20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

(1 Peter 1:21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

(1 Peter 1:22) Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned [sincere] love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Notice that truth is a law that can be, must be, obeyed. Living a life of truth purifies the soul. This is why we should boycott the unwholesome aspects of our culture; they pollute the soul. All goodness, beauty, purity, holiness is from God, from the Spirit.

In order to be saved you must love your fellow Christians; salvation is not by faith alone.

(1 Peter 1:23) Being born again, not of corruptible [perishable] seed, but of incorruptible [perishable], by the word of God, which liveth [lives] and abideth [endures] for ever.

Born again. The soul is born again.

The word of God is living, that is to say has conscious existence and awareness of its existence. In effect, the word of God is God; the essence of God includes all his plans and dreams and works and joys and his love and care for his created creatures.

These ancient peoples discuss procreation in terms of what is easily observed in plants and animals emphasizing the external aspects of biological reproduction easily observable, things such as seeds and birth. They had none of the modern understandings of biology such as biochemistry, molecular biology, evolutionary biology, and ecology. And they mixed it with the philosophical ideas of the day. Sad to say, modern Christian creationists don't do much better.

Their view of seed-bearing plant reproduction: seeds fall to the ground, the seed dies, and in the process a new plant of the same kind springs forth. Peter's view of being born again has nothing in common with plant reproduction but he describes it as if it does. At first the human soul is unredeemed and entangled with the spirits of darkness. In seeking salvation from this, the soul purifies itself by conforming to God's plan and purpose through the energizing role of the Holy Spirit. After this, it has unity with God forever.

(1 Peter 1:24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

(1 Peter 1:25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

(1 Peter 2:1) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

(1 Peter 2:2) As [like] newborn babes, desire the sincere [pure, spiritual] milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Other translations include that we grow into salvation: Grow into salvation, not after salvation as it should be if the Protestant view were correct.

(1 Peter 2:3) If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

(1 Peter 2:4) To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

(1 Peter 2:5) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

(1 Peter 2:6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

(1 Peter 2:7) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

(1 Peter 2:8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

(1 Peter 2:9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Peter is referring to Christians in general. He appears to be excluding those who are not truly Christians. God reached into Satan's kingdom of darkness and established his kingdom of light. In faith we can latch on to this light becoming redeemed from the kingdom of darkness.

Notice it's not each individual person who was chosen but, rather, all as a group in all generations. It's wrong to speak of God's election of certain individuals for redemption. Each generation is the chosen generation.

Christianity is a nation as Israel was. But this nation resides in the spiritual realm, not in the political realm. Christianity is not a political institutional nation as Israel was.

Christianity is a spiritual nation consisting entirely of priests. There is no clergy / laity division as was later developed by the bishops. Although there are leaders, each Christian participates in the worship of God and the offering of sacrifice, including the offering of the Eucharist.

(1 Peter 2:10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

(1 Peter 2:11) Dearly beloved, I beseech [urge] you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

The body doesn't war against the soul, rather, the evil spirits in the spiritual realm war against the soul. The soul is entangled with these and has to break free from the influences.

We don't belong in this world because it is tainted by sin and wickedness. But actually it is the evil spirits who don't belong here and who will one day be evicted. At that time the new heavens and new earth will begin.

The people of New Testament times had a wrong view of the source of evil desires and temptations to evil behavior, and Christians of today still have this confusion. They ascribe it to the flesh which they think is part of the physical body. In other words, your body tempts you to sin. The reality is that all such things originate in the soul from the spiritual realm. This wrong view has many bad side effects in the life of the Christian and has permeated into Christian society and cultures. Some examples...

  1. Difficulties discerning good bodily urges from sinful ones. For example, gluttony: at what point does the biological urge to eat become gluttony? At what point do the natural bodily urges morph into lust?
  2. A simplistic view of the causes of bad behavior ignoring insights from psychology and behavioral biology preferring to believe merely that fleshly lusts are the cause.
  3. Sex is bad.
  4. Treating the life of spiritual perfection as if it's a war between you and your body in which you must call upon Jesus to cast out various demonic spirits which have invaded your body.
  5. The Christian teaching that works are not necessary for salvation, but then strongly emphasizing works.
  6. Ineffectual cures for addictions and habitual bad behaviors involving will power over the bodily urges.
  7. You must tame the body through severe ascetic practices such as fasting, eating dull food, wearing uncomfortable clothes, strict obedience to a spiritual master, silence, an arduous prayer schedule, living a life of poverty, sleep deprivation.

The truth is that the soul controls the body. Spiritual warfare occurs in the spiritual realm, not in the physical realm.

(1 Peter 2:12) Having your conversation [way of life, behavior] honest [virtuous] among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time. It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.

(1 Peter 2:13) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

I can think of plenty of examples of laws Christians should not obey. This is an example of the word "every" not meaning "each and every last one"; rather it is limited to the category of just laws, or at least those laws (such as slavery) which Christians should not try to change.

From the Catholic point of view, it's a startling omission that Peter doesn't include submission to the Church hierarchy. If Peter the so-called first pope doesn't think it's important to mention this, well...

(1 Peter 2:14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

Peter assumes the political, secular rulers are accurately judging those doing evil from those living righteous lives. In reality, corruption and graft abounded.

Flash forward a couple of hundred years from the time Peter wrote this and the Christians would en masse be refusing to offer a pinch of incense to the emperor. I happen to think they should have offered the incense for the reason Peter mentions in the next verse: to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

(1 Peter 2:15) For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

Christians are not to make a fuss over every problem in society because, in doing so, they become targets for criticism. Christians are to take aim carefully at issues that can be addressed without bad side-effects and harm done to the cause of Christ. This is, I think, a main problem with fundamentalist evangelical Protestant thinking; they anger the culture at large by fighting amongst themselves and with the culture. For example, they make eschatology and creationism essential topics. In the same category: opposing contraception (Catholics) and opposing gay rights including gay marriage. For example: my dad rejected Christianity out-of-hand because of young earth creationism.

(1 Peter 2:16) As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

Peter seems to be addressing Christians who think they no longer have to obey the government rulers because they are bound to Christ only, and his laws. Peter informs these that Christ's law includes living as a good citizen in the context of a relatively just society. Obviously, there will be many bad and immoral practices in the culture that Christians would simply have to overlook.

(1 Peter 2:17) Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Slave, submit to your master 

(1 Peter 2:18) Servants, be subject [submissive] to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward [harsh].

Probably referring to household servants, some who were previously or still slaves. Certainly if these were to endure indignities by their employer, so should we. This does not mean we should not try to improve working conditions, only that early Christianity did not do so; the burden was on Christians to endure exploitation so as to not imperil the spread of Christianity. Today, Christians do the opposite, demanding freedom to practice their faith in the most minute of details.

(1 Peter 2:19) For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

(1 Peter 2:20) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

(1 Peter 2:21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

(1 Peter 2:22) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

(1 Peter 2:23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

(1 Peter 2:24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Substitutionary atonement.

Did Jesus bear sins which were ultimately not forgiven, for example, for those who will end up in hell?

(1 Peter 2:25) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop [overseer] of your souls.

A simile: the unredeemed are like lost sheep, wandering to and fro amidst spiritual danger. Notice the passage in Isaiah is referring to those of the Old Testament; they are the ones lost.

Lost sheep need the shepherd to keep them safe and well fed. Notice that Christ is looking after our soul residing in the spiritual realm, not our bodies living in the physical material realm.

Sadly, throughout church history and even today, the bishops did not seem to care very much for the spiritual condition of those they were to oversee.

Wife, submit to your husband 

(1 Peter 3:1) Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection [submit] to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [way of life, behavior] of the wives;

Just as slaves and servants were to be subject to their masters so also women to their husbands.

This is a terrible teaching. It should be rejected by Christians just as they reject the other so-called cultural passages (which are really just errors on the part of the apostles).

This verse implies that the first to become Christians were the women.

(1 Peter 3:2) While they behold [observe] your chaste conversation [way of life, behavior] coupled with fear.

Perhaps the word "fear" means "respect". When a non-Christian husband observes his Christian wife's long-term obedience and respect of him, he might become a Christian himself. Certainly this kind of lifestyle applies to all Christians; we are to respect others in our culture. Sadly, fundamentalist evangelical Protestants discredit the gospel by their disrespect of non-Christians.

Perhaps the word "fear" means the same kind of emotion and attitude we are to have toward God when we "fear God".

(1 Peter 3:3) Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting [braiding] the hair, and of wearing of gold [jewelry], or of putting on of apparel;

Just as today, when women are mentioned, their outward appearance is emphasized. Men are pigs to treat women this way. Why isn't the appearance of men mentioned too? The line you hear all-too-often in church, "if the barn needs painting, paint it"; this is degrading and insulting to women. Men are pigs to treat women this way. Why don't men wear makeup? Are they somehow naturally beautiful without it?

Peter exhorts women to not be so concerned with outward beauty but he neglects to mention that it is the influence of men that makes them this way. Why doesn't he exhort the men to stop treating the women this way? If the women stop being concerned with their outward appearance, the men will hassle them and make them feel small.

We are all, not just women, to be more concerned with the spiritual life rather than the materialistic lifestyle. I am shocked by the effects of materialism and consumerism in our culture today. The marketing people and advertisers and corporations have swindled everybody into purchasing more and more products. They do this by manipulating people's ingrained psychological weaknesses. Shame on them!

(1 Peter 3:4) But let it be the hidden man [person] of the heart, in that which is not corruptible [imperishable], even the ornament of a meek [gentle] and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price [precious].

Our true beauty in God's eyes is not our outward appearance but, rather, the inward condition of the heart. We are to display a meek and quiet spirit. This does not mean we have to dress poorly with sloppy hair to please God.

Our true self is the soul residing in the spiritual realm, not the body. The soul inhabits the body and expresses itself through the body.

(1 Peter 3:5) For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

Notice the reference to the paternalistic male-dominated culture with women having an inferior role. Some say women were treated more fairly in Christianity, and maybe that's true to an extent. This verse does not address what women should do when their husbands are abusive.

(1 Peter 3:6) Even as Sara [Sarah] obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

We are children of Abraham and Sarah if we mimic their holiness. The Jews emphasized strongly their being descendants of Abraham so the apostles mention this often.

It's odd Peter mentions fear. Why should anyone be afraid to be holy? The only source of fear is other people who wish to harm you. There is danger in a violent and depraved society for those who refuse to live lives of debauchery like everyone else, or perhaps, from ungodly husbands who hate their wives' piety. Perhaps these men are mocked by others for having a holy wife.

Husband, respect your your wife 

(1 Peter 3:7) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell [live] with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Just as a wife is to submit to her husband so also a husband is to respect his wife. But this is a poor comparison: she is to submit to him but he must merely respect her.

A husband is to love his wife so his prayers won't be hindered. But a wife is to submit to her husband so he might become a Christian if he wasn't already.

Whatever does the word "knowledge" mean in this verse? Probably it means knowledge of the gospel. In a previous verse Peter mentions husbands who aren't Christians or who don't live like one. Perhaps here he is trying to exhort them to take the gospel message more seriously through right knowledge of it. Some say the word "knowledge" here refers to the husband's knowledge of his proper role in marriage — of how he treats his wife and relates to her.

Throughout history women have been exploited by men because they are weaker. But Peter here exhorts a husband to honor his wife.

Just as Isaac and Jacob were heirs together with the same promise to Abraham, so also the husband and wife are heirs together of the blessings of the gospel.

The phrase "grace of life" probably refers both to the blessings of life in this world as well as to the eternal blessings of the redeemed living eternal life in the new heavens and new earth.

Christians, love each other

(1 Peter 3:8) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful [compassionate], be courteous [kind]:

Christians are to be united in spirit and to manifest the gifts of the Spirit. Peter list a few: compassion, love, mercy, courtesy and respect.

(1 Peter 3:9) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

We are bless those who harm us and who speak badly of us. Here we have another of the many examples of the necessity of good works to be redeemed. We are blessed only when we bless others, including those who have wronged us. If we wish to inherit a blessing we must do this.

(1 Peter 3:10) For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

(1 Peter 3:11) Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

(1 Peter 3:12) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

(1 Peter 3:13) And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

(1 Peter 3:14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

(1 Peter 3:15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

This verse is directed to those righteous Christians who are persecuted and troubled by the wicked; they are not to be afraid nor troubled in their hearts but, rather, to remain holy and self-controlled — to keep their cool. In fact, they are to calmly explain why they believe as they do when asked.

Notice that our attitude is to be of meekness and fear. How many times I've encountered Christians seeking to correct my views and they are so angry. Where is all this anger coming from? Perhaps it is because many Christian movements don't emphasize training in virtue as a key aspect of salvation; in teaching salvation by faith only there is no motivation for these angry Christians to stop being angry. In fact, some pastors seem to believe that anger is a virtue! Imagine that.

Christians should know their faith well enough that they can at least give an answer for why they hope in Christ. This implies that they realize they are doomed by their sin and they look to Christ for redemption from their sin. This also implies that Jesus is able to redeem us from our sin.

(1 Peter 3:16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation [way of life, behavior] in Christ.

These evildoers who speak evil of you will one day be ashamed that they misjudged you. Likely in many cases this will not happen in this life.

If we are living a holy life, we should ignore it when wicked or unholy people speak badly of our commitment to holiness and to Christ. This can be difficult since we are social creatures influenced by others.

(1 Peter 3:17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

It's not a question whether we suffer, but for what cause. Suffering as a consequence of our sin and wrongdoing is useless. We should wonder what kinds of wrongdoing Paul has in mind and why it leads to suffering.

Notice Paul says suffering can be good; it is better if out of persecution. If he was trying to say suffering is bad he would have said certain kinds of suffering are worse.

God has a hand in our suffering. In a sense, suffering (for the right reasons) is an act of worship because we become united with God's will in something we would not otherwise choose.

(1 Peter 3:18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Substitutionary atonement: only the Orthodox Churches have the proper view of this — Christ the victor...

Christ's death on my behalf did for me what I could never have done for myself. My original sin doesn't cause me to die, rather; this created world order influenced by Satan causes death for all. Christ's sacrificial death was to remedy this, to provide a happy eternal home in the new heavens and new earth for the redeemed.

Christ must wrest free control of the spiritual realm from Satan; he does this by taking on human nature into the divine nature, by "deifying" it; and this light of divinity invades Satan's realm ultimately pushing Satan and all the spirits of darkness into the Lake of Fire. Christ took upon himself the wrath of Satan and overwhelmed it to rescue us from God's wrath against sin. Until our soul was disentangled from evil, God cannot redeem us because darkness flees from the light, repelled like a magnetic repulsion.

The unjust referred to are the redeemed, those who merely receive in faith the grace obtained by Christ's redemptive work on the cross and in the incarnation in general. These are called unjust because they carry original sin which separates them from God. Christ's redemptive work makes union with God again possible.

(1 Peter 3:19) By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

People often assume Peter is referring to the damned, and specifically to those who were killed by Noah's flood. But of what use is it for Christ to preach to the damned? During the great white throne judgment they will give account for all the world to see of their wicked ways and their rejection of God's mercy.

This is the same thing that occurs at each of our death; Christ reveals himself in all his glory and preaches the gospel of redemption. We choose whether to follow him, ultimately into the new heavens and new earth; or to reject him and spend eternity in hell.

Peter is referring to those who are members of the redeemed of all times before Christ's coming. Since salvation had not yet been obtained through his sacrificial death on their behalf, they waited in Abraham's bosom until Christ came to them (went to hell), preached to them, and took them to another location in the spiritual realm, to the same location as the redeemed now go to.

(1 Peter 3:20) Which sometime [in the past] were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The word "which" is not in the biblical text. I suspect Peter is referring to those unjust from verse 16 — not those specifically, but of evildoers in general.

Peter abruptly shifts the focus to the damned before the time of Christ, and specifically to those at the time of Noah.

(1 Peter 3:21) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

We are saved by baptism. I'm surprised that those claiming to interpret the Bible literally have a different opinion about this. Certainly the early church believed that sins were remitted by baptism.

Notice the mention of flesh and the reference to clean and unclean. Also, to the word "figure", often used as a marker for a type. And to make it even more confusing, the word "conscience". I was taught as an fundamentalist evangelical Protestant that we are born with the conscience fully-formed, complete with all content of right and wrong. Later, influenced by psychology and Catholic teaching, I rejected this view.

This verse states that we are saved by baptism. It does not say that baptism is merely a symbol of our obedience to Christ after receiving salvation.

(1 Peter 3:22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

We should wonder why it's emphasized so strongly that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, after all, as second person of the Trinity he is God also and has always been so. The only sensible explanation is that he deified human nature.

(1 Peter 4:1) 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;

(1 Peter 4:2) 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.

(1 Peter 4:3) 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:

(1 Peter 4:4) Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

(1 Peter 4:5) Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead.

The wicked of this world will have to give account of their wickedness to God.

(1 Peter 4:6) 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.

Some have been killed by others for various reasons, sometimes because of their faith, sometimes out of tyrannical wickedness by the perpetrators. Presumably Peter is referring to those of times past who were righteous in God's eyes, deserving of redemption. Fellow humans killed them, not recognizing they were beloved of God. But God redeems those who are his. For those righteous souls who died before the coming of Christ, they were reserved in safety in Abraham's bosom, a location in the spiritual realm, to await Christ's visit to preach the gospel to them and to redeem them. Everyone will know their eternal fate upon their death. This was true for those in Abraham's bosom but the difference is that Christ did not come to them upon their death as he does now; they had to wait to see him until later. But now, everyone meets with Christ at death.

(1 Peter 4:7) But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Peter exhorts them to be sober and prayerful and to persist in this because the end of all things is at hand. I think the best explanation for references to the imminency of the end is that this refers to the death of each person which does come soon and at which time they are judged.

Preterists interpret this end of all things to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D., but this verse says the end of all things, not just things Jewish. I reject Preterism.

Notice the emphasis on prayer as an ingredient of our salvation. We are to take this whole subject of salvation very seriously.

(1 Peter 4:8) And above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for charity [love] shall cover the multitude of sins.

The Greek word for love here is agape. In loving our fellow Christians we love God. We are not to be blind to the sins of others, rather, when they repent of their sins and ask us for forgiveness, we are to do so in love

We should be gentle and respectful of our fellow Christians who have inadvertently fallen into sin. We should not gossip about it and ruin their reputation. We should assume they will soon see their error and will repent of it.

We should wonder why we are covering people's sins with love? Shouldn't we be not sinning instead? This verse is too concentrated and leaves out a step. The full process is: (1) You become aware of your sin, (2) you repent from it, (3) you call out to God in love for forgiveness, (4) God forgives you and in doing so "covers" these sins so that he doesn't see them any more.

(1 Peter 4:9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

(1 Peter 4:10) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

(1 Peter 4:11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles [words] 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.

When we speak we should chose our words carefully and consider that we are speaking God's word to others, to bless and heal them, not to tear them down. It's a high standard but worth striving for.

When assisting and helping others, we should consider we are doing what God wishes done rather than imposing our will and preferences.

Our life and living should be pleasing to God, expressing our love for Jesus.

(1 Peter 4:12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Faith is tested throughout our life

(1 Peter 4:13) 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.

(1 Peter 4:14) 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.

(1 Peter 4:15) 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.

There are many passages in the New Testament exhorting Christians not be murderers (or adulterers). This is shocking. I can't imagine hearing this kind of thing in a sermon today. Perhaps this was directed to the Roman soldiers, many of whom became Christian and who fought in a brutal manner in a violent time. I've often wondered how a Roman soldier could even be a Christian at all.

It is almost comical that murderer and busybody are referred to in the same sentence. But this busybody referred to here probably means someone who interferes with someone else's life in a serious way, maybe preventing them from getting a certain job or position and things such as this.

(1 Peter 4:16) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

(1 Peter 4:17) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at [with] us, what shall the end [outcome] be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Christians are to ensure they are living holy lives and that the churches express the truth and love of God. In other words, if God were to judge us Christians now, would we pass the test? Christians should consider they will be judged first before unbelievers rather than look on with glee as God judges them.

I think Peter is trying to say that Christians should not suffer the same consequences as unbelievers when judged by God, this, because Christians are not living wicked and unholy lives as unbelievers do. In other words, The wicked will be judged unfavorably, but Christians should be judged favorably.

This verse assumes non-Christians are wicked and depraved. Some are, but some are not. Some will actually end up redeemed when they encounter Christ at death. Why should we expect someone to accept the teachings of the Christian churches today when they have so much they've added to the essential gospel message?

(1 Peter 4:18) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

(1 Peter 4:19) 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.

Good works are necessary for salvation.

To the bishops

(1 Peter 5:1) The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Peter was both a bishop and an apostle. As apostle he had the right and duty to exhort the other bishops. This does not mean he was the first pope since the eastern church never agreed there even was to be such a thing as a "head" bishop over all bishops (but the Patriarchate of Constantinople played and continues to play a role similar to this). Certainly Jesus called-out Peter to take care of the early Church, a role he took seriously.

Peter was a very humble man. He refers to himself as a mere equal to the other elders.

Peter was a witness of the beatings of Jesus during his trial before Pilate.

Peter refers to a future time in which the glory of God would be revealed; presumably all the redeemed of past, present, and future would participate in this event. I must assume, therefore, he is referring to the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of all the redeemed, the Great White Throne judgment, and the new heavens and new earth. The redeemed will partake of this glory.

Peter refers to himself as an elder. This implies that bishops and elders are the same Church leadership role (otherwise he would have called himself a bishop). In the next verse he uses the same word as that of bishop or overseer. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Peter 5:2) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [dishonest gain], but of a ready mind;

Peter here defines the qualifications of bishops. If they don't meet these qualifications they are not truly bishops of Christ and should be rejected.

It's hard to imagine how anyone could function properly as a bishop who didn't willingly choose to serve God's people. The idea of aristocratic bishops or bishops of birth is foreign to Biblical teaching.

(1 Peter 5:3) Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples [examples] to the flock.

(1 Peter 5:4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Perhaps this occurs at each person's death.

To the others

(1 Peter 5:5) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

This verse uses the same word for elder as the preceding section.Presumably not all older men are Church leaders, so this verse is confusing. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Peter 5:6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

(1 Peter 5:7) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

(1 Peter 5:8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

(1 Peter 5:9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

(1 Peter 5:10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

(1 Peter 5:11) To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Peter 5:12) By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

Silvanus, a scribe or secretary, actually wrote this letter. It may bear the imprint of his grammar, syntax, and writing style. Thus, you cannot use grammar, syntax, and writing style to identify who wrote a New Testament writing, yet modern interpretation of the Bible does just this. They claim Peter was an illiterate fisherman and, therefore, could not have written his letters.

(1 Peter 5:13) The church [she] that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus [Mark] my son.

This verse says Peter lived in Babylon with the church in that city. Some early church fathers remark that Peter refers to Rome — perhaps he changed the name of the city in his letter to protect the Roman Christians from persecution.

Those who wish to deny that Peter ever lived in Rome have no other option except to interpret this verse as referring to the city named Babylon, (there was also a Babylon in Egypt at the time but it was a fortress, not a city) but Peter actually did live in Rome, and he was martyred there. The anti-Catholic perspective pervades everything in Protestant thinking.

Mark wrote the gospel of Mark under Peter's direction and that gospel is, therefore, apostolic. Mark wrote that gospel in Rome when he and Peter lived there.

(1 Peter 5:14) Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

King James Version