1 Peter – Chapter Four VI

by Ed Urzi

“For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking bouts, and wanton idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3 NET).

1 Peter 4:3 highlights some additional behaviors that should not characterize those who claim to follow Christ. That list includes revelries (NKJV), carousing (AMP), or “wild parties” (GW). These activities allude to loud, drunken celebrations, or the type of rowdy, late-night partying that might draw the scrutiny of law-enforcement.

We can revisit the observations of the following commentator who offers insight into the word “carousing” from the original language of this passage: “This term kōmos is related to the Greek term for village, kōmē. It implies a large community-wide festive party involving excess of eating, drinking, and unrestrained sexual activity (cf. Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21).” (1)

In addition to what we read here in 1 Peter, we can find similar cautionary messages in the Apostle Paul’s Biblical letters. For example, Paul’s letter to the church in Rome and his letter to the churches of Galatia each contain the following admonitions…

“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy” (Romans 13:13).

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:  … envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” ( Galatians 5:19, 21).

Jesus delivered a similar warning regarding such behaviors in discussing the events that would unfold during the end times….

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34 NIV).

Finally, several translations of 1 Peter 4:3 (such as the CSB, ESV, and NIV) make reference to “orgies” among these behaviors. Unlike today, the primary meaning behind that term was not sexual in nature (although it did not preclude such conduct). Instead, it referred to the actions of a riotous crowd at night. Then, as now, such activities might result in drunken brawls, physical injuries, and widespread property damage.

Today, we might refer to these destructive behaviors as an “orgy of violence.” These word pictures thus illustrate the type of warning that Peter issues to us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

(1) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary – 1 Peter 4, Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL02/VOL02B_04.html