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Peoples New Testament, 1 Peter 4

Counsels to Suffering Saints

SUMMARY OF I PETER 4: Christ Having Died for Us. We Should Live for Christ. Watchfulness in View of the Speedy End. The Trials of the Saints. Sufferings as Christians.

1   Arm yourselves likewise. The saints must be equipped for warfare and suffering.
With the same mind. The mind that was in Christ when he suffered, a willingness to suffer to do the will of God.
For he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. The idea seems to be that of Ro 6:7. Suffering with Christ puts an end to (or ceases) our connection with sin.

2   That he no longer should live ... to the lusts of men. Hence, because we have "ceased from sin" (1Pe 4:1), we should live, henceforth, "to the will of God".

3   For the time past may suffice us enough. That was enough time for sin.
To have wrought the will of the Gentiles. Lived the unholy lives common among the heathen.
When we walked. Peter describes the common sins, sins of the Gentile world, sins in which too many Jews imitated them.
In lasciviousness, lusts. Sins of uncleanness.
Excess of wine. Drunkenness.
Revellings. Riotous merry making is meant. See Ro 13:13 Ga 5:21.
Banquetings. "Carousings", as in the Revised Version.

4   Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them]. The outside world think it strange that you do not engage in these sins longer. Their enjoyment is in them, and they cannot understand how one can enjoy life without them.
Speaking evil of [you]. Because you refuse to rush into their riotous sins.

5   Who shall give account. Those sinners, who not only persist in their unholy lives, but persecute the saints because they will not sin with them.
To him. Christ shall "judge the living and the dead".

6   For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead. This passage has been explained as meaning those spiritually dead. But the dead must be the same as in 1Pe 4:5; and there they are opposed to the living. Meyer holds that this is an expansion of 1Pe 3:20,21. There he supposes Christ, in the Spirit, preached to the antediluvians. Here, he holds, that Peter affirms that all the dead who lived before Christ came had the opportunity to hear; hence when the living and dead are judged, none can plead that they had no chance of life. Others hold that the meaning may be freely given as follows: "Whether you die or live Christ is your judge. For this cause the gospel was preached to your brethren who have died", etc. This view avoids some difficulties but does not seem to harmonize fully with the context. Others hold that Peter means all the dead who have died from the time the gospel began to be preached. These had heard and gone, but would be judged as well as the living. This interpretation has the advantage of giving "the dead" the apparent meaning of that phrase.
That they might be judged. Without some opportunity to know of the gospel they could not be judged for its rejection.
According to men in the flesh. These dead, who had heard, and received the gospel, though experiencing the judgment of physical death that rested on all men, were called to
live according to God in the spirit; that is, live on, an immorta. life.

7   The end of all things is at hand. The end of Jerusalem was not far off, and it does not seem that it was given to Peter to distinguish clearly between that and the end of all things, which truly draweth near.
Watch to prayer. Compare 1Th 5:6,8 Mt 24:42.

8   Charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Compare Pr 10:12 1Co 13:7. Love is a mantle which seeks to condone sin rather than exaggerate it.

9   Using hospitality. A duty very needful in that age of persecution when Christians were so often driven from home. See notes on Ro 12:13: 1Ti 3:2.

10  As every man hath received the gift. Spiritual gifts are primarily meant, but the principle is of general application (1Co 12:4,28).
[Even so] minister the same one to another,. All these spiritual gifts are to be freely used for others.
As good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Those to whom God has given gifts must use them, not as their own, but as God's.

11  If any man speak. Through a gift of the Spirit.
[Let him speak] as the oracles of God. He must speak not his own words, but speak as though they were God's oracles, speakers of a divine message.
If any minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth. Let him act as one of God's ministers and act in his strength.
That God in all things may be glorified. Since all is of God.

12  The fiery trial. Persecution.
As though some strange thing happened unto you. Christians, with the world against them, must expect to endure such things.

13  Rejoice. Because thus you are made
partakers of Christ's sufferings. See notes on Ro 8:17 2Co 1:7.
When his glory shall be revealed. All who suffer with him will be glorified.

14  If ye are reproached for the name of Christ. Because you are a Christian.
Happy [are ye]; for the Spirit of glory and of God. "Spirit" is not found in the Greek. The idea is that the sufferer for Christ is happy because the glory of Christ awaits him, and God's spirit is with him.

15  Let none of you suffer as a murderer. As an evil doer.

16  If [any man suffereth] as a Christian. This name was now widely known, and good men suffered only because they were Christians.

17  The time [is come] that judgment must begin. Judgment begins
at the house of God, the church. In Matthew, Mt 25:32-34, the righteous are judged first.
If [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them? If even the righteous are called to judgment, what shall be the fate of the disobedient?

18  If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? A passage quoted from Pr 11:31. The idea is that if sufferings and judgments (chastenings) come upon good people, what hope is there for the wicked?

19  Wherefore let them that suffer. Let all who suffer, not for doing evil but for righteousness sake, keep on
in well doing and commit their souls to the care of the all seeing and faithfu. God.


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The People's New Testament commentary by B.W. Johnson (1891), Public Domain

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