1 Peter – Chapter Two I

by Ed Urzi

The Apostle Peter touched upon several important topics in the first chapter of this epistle. For example, our author began the opening portion of this letter with a number of key insights, including…

  • “…you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy” (verses 15-16).
  • “[You have been redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (verse 19).
  • …you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (verse 22).
  • “…the word of the Lord endures forever” (verse 25).

Peter will now build upon that foundation as he identifies several negative character traits that should not define our lives, or shape our interactions with the world…

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking” (1 Peter 2:1).

The opening verse of this chapter begins with the familiar word “therefore.” It thus provides us with an opportunity to revisit an important point from our earlier look at 1 Peter chapter one. As mentioned previously, the word “therefore” signals a transition from an earlier teaching or idea to an associated action, consequence, or behavior. In short, this word tells us that a Biblical author is about to shift from instruction to application. Therefore, the word “therefore” should encourage us to listen carefully whenever it appears.

Much like similar lists that appear in other portions of the New Testament. this transition draws our attention to a list of behaviors that should not characterize our conduct. This portion of Scripture thus builds upon the list of positive behaviors given to us earlier in chapter one. The first chapter told us what we should do. The second chapter opens with a list of things we shouldn’t do.

Peter presents these characteristics along with an encouragement to “lay aside” such conduct. This often requires tenacity, discipline, and a deliberate decision to avoid these behaviors as we seek God’s empowerment to make good choices. One source looks at this phrase in the original language of this passage and draws the following conclusion…

“This is from apothesthai, ‘which is the word for stripping off one’s clothes.’ The child of God must denounce and turn away from all manner of wickedness, just as one might strip off filthy clothing.” (1)

Later in our study of 1 Peter chapter two, we’ll discuss strategies that can help us choose the right path when our will to do so isn’t there. But first, we’ll take a closer look at the five negative characteristics that are given to us here in 1 Peter 2:1.

(1) William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 189. Quoted in Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on 1 Peter 2”. “Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/ commentaries/ eng/ bcc/ 1-peter-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. [verse 1]