THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER
This letter is one of the most hope-filled books in the New Testament.
Its purpose is to encourage Christian converts living in the midst of a
hostile society. It does this by emphasizing their new life and
salvation in the risen Christ (who is their "living hope"), showing how
they became heirs of the people of God described in the Old Testament,
and helping them understand what it means to live faithfully among
people who ridicule and harass them. Throughout this letter, Jesus
Christ's life, and especially his suffering, is used as an example of
how they are to understand and bear their sufferings as they seek to do
This letter expresses the gospel in rich, varied, and powerful ways and
then draws from it interesting, complex, and specific implications for
how Christians might think about living faithfully in their society. The
distance between 1 Peter's context in the first century and the context
of the modern world is huge in many ways, requiring us to avoid making
too easy applications of the letter's words to our own lives. On the
other hand, the daring and creative ways in which the letter works out
its view of faith and life challenge us to take these ideas seriously
and to think with equal daring and creativity regarding the challenges
facing Christians today.
The First Letter of Peter is the twenty-first book in the New Testament.
It is situated among the books typically referred to as the "Catholic
Letters" (James through Jude)--"catholic" in the sense of being
A pseudonymous work, 1 Peter is the work of an unknown author, writing from Rome, in the name and memory of the Apostle Peter.
Most scholars support a date between 75 and 95 C.E., with the early 90s
being most likely. This would mean that 1 Peter was written a generation
after the deaths of Peter and Paul in the mid 60s.
Believers have reasons for hope, even in times of apparent hopelessness
and persecution, because Christ is raised and living, and God is at work
in the world.
First Peter is carefully written and repays careful reading. Read it as
good news for bad times: truth from the One who is the truth, hope from
the One who is our living hope, and encouragement from the One who has
promised to be faithful to us all the way through eternity, no matter
how difficult and chaotic the present may seem.
AUTHOR: Marc Kolden, Professor of Systematic Theology
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
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.
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,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
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:
having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet
believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
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.
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 the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;
which things the angels desire to look into.
gird up the loins 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;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
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:
as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver
and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
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.
ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a
pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
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:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus
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
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,
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.
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;
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.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
your conversation honest 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.
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
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.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
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.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened
not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
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
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not
the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let
it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,
even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of
God of great price.
after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in
God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as
Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long
as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
ye husbands, dwell 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.
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise
blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a
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:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
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.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
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:
a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of
evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good
conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
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:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
sometime 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.
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:
22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
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;
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.
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:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
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.
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
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.
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.
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
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.
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.
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.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
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?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
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.
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:
the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not
by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
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.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
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.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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.
13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.