1 Peter – Chapter One

by Ed Urzi


The Gospel of John introduces us to the Apostle Peter near the end of John chapter one. It is there where we are told that Peter’s brother Andrew heard John the Baptist refer to Jesus as “…the Lamb of God.” After spending the rest of the day with Jesus, Andrew later went to find Peter and told him, “We have found the Messiah…” (see John 1:35-41).

That led to Peter’s initial meeting with Jesus: “[Andrew] brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter)” (John 1:42). From that point, the name “Peter” (meaning “stone” or “rock”) became his primary designation. Later, Jesus called Peter and Andrew to a dedicated student-teacher relationship…

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Matthew 4:18-20 ).

Whenever the Scriptures mention Jesus’ twelve disciples, Peter is always listed first. This should not be surprising, because Peter was also involved in several other “firsts” as recorded for us within the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. For instance, Peter and Andrew were the first to leave their secular occupation to follow Jesus, as noted above. Peter was also the first among the disciples to receive God’s revelation concerning Jesus as the Messiah ( Matthew 16:13-17).

Peter and John were also the first of the apostles to arrive at Jesus’ empty tomb following His resurrection. Finally, it appears that Peter was also the first person to see Jesus following His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).

Peter was also privileged to hold a place within Jesus’ “inner circle” of disciples. Whenever Jesus chose a small group to accompany Him, he often selected Peter, James, and John. For instance, these men were present when Jesus healed the daughter of the synagogue ruler. Peter, James, and John also witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration where “…His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”

Finally, Peter was someone who always seemed ready for action. For example, it was Peter who drew a sword to protect Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10). He was also the man who walked on water with Jesus as we’re told in Matthew 14:28-32. Yet despite these successes, Peter’s relationship with Jesus was not without controversy as we’ll see next.


Despite his privileged position among Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, Peter’s relationship with Jesus was not without its challenges. For example, Jesus once publicly reprimanded Peter when Peter tried to discourage Him from going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-23). Peter is also widely known as the disciple who denied Jesus three times prior to His crucifixion.

In addition, Jesus confronted Peter with some difficult questions before His ascension, along with an ominous forewarning regarding his future (John 21:15-19). Yet despite these things, God used Peter to help establish the early church and his work continues to inspire Christians today through the Biblical books that bear his name.

Peter was clearly one of the more prominent Apostles in the years immediately following Jesus’ death and resurrection. His Pentecost sermon in response to the work of the Holy Spirit was the catalyst for a significant move of God among the people of various nations (see Acts chapter two). The first half of the Biblical book of Acts also highlights Peter’s early ministry, along with the many notable miracles that God gave him to perform.

Peter also worked to communicate the Gospel to those who lived in the region of Samaria, as well as others who were outside the Jewish community. Later, he was arrested several times and beaten for proclaiming Christ (Acts 5:12-40). Those encounters undoubtedly served to help Peter empathize with the members of his original audience who had been persecuted for their faith in Christ.

That being said, Peter’s Biblical presence grew less visible in his later years. His final appearance in the Book of Acts takes place in Acts 15:6-29, where he addressed a conference of apostles and elders. We also learn from Galatians 2:11-14 that Paul issued a public rebuke to Peter regarding his treatment of Gentile Christians in the city of Antioch. These references, along with the epistles of 1 and 2 Peter, are the only Biblical accounts of the latter portion of Peter’s life.

Church tradition tells us that Peter was ministering in the city of Rome when the Roman Empire began the first large scale governmental action against those who identified as Christians. During that period, it is said that Peter’s wife (who is historically known as Concordia or Perpetua) was martyred while Peter was made to witness her death. Nevertheless, tradition also holds that Peter encouraged her to remember the Lord as she faced execution.

We’ll consider the circumstances that may have surrounded Peter’s death next.


The circumstances surrounding the Apostle Peter’s death have been the subject of speculation and debate down through the centuries. The traditional view of Peter’s death places him in the city of Rome in or around A.D. 67. It was there that Roman authorities allegedly seized Peter as part of a governmental action targeting Christians under the Roman Emperor Nero.

As Peter faced martyrdom during that time, it is said that he requested to be crucified upside down, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus did. If this is true, then the book of 1 Peter was likely written around A.D. 65. In addition, there is a passage near the end of this epistle that may offer a clue regarding its place of origin: “She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you…” (1 Peter 5:13).

One Biblical scholar lays out the various options are associated with this reference to “Babylon”…

“According to 5:13, Peter was in ‘Babylon’ when he wrote the epistle. Various identifications of the location have been suggested, among them (1) a military outpost in Egypt, (2) the ancient Mesopotamian city itself, and (3) Rome.

Several lines of evidence favor the last proposal. Mark, who was with Peter when he wrote (5:13), is known to have been with Paul in Rome (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24). Rome is often referred to as ‘Babylon’ in the book of Revelation (Rev. 17:5, 9).

In Peter’s day, Rome was the pagan power under which God’s ‘exiles’ in the provinces of Asia Minor lived as their inheritance awaited them in heaven (1:1, 4), just as in the days of Jeremiah and Daniel, pagan Babylon had conquered Judah and carried captives far from the Promised Land. This interpretation has been generally accepted since the second century. The uniform testimony of early church history is that Peter was in Rome at the end of his life.” (1)

Another source offers a practical explanation for the use of the word “Babylon” as a substitute designation for Rome…

“In times of persecution, writers exercised unusual care not to endanger Christians by identifying them. Peter, according to some traditions, followed James and Paul and died as a martyr near Rome about two years after he wrote this letter, thus he had written this epistle near the end of his life, probably while staying in the imperial city. He did not want the letter to be found and the church to be persecuted, so he may have hidden its location under the code word, ‘Babylon,’ which aptly fit because of the city’s idolatry (cf. Rev 17, 18).” (2)

(1) R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2237.

(2) John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006).


Another intriguing aspect concerning the Biblical epistle of 1 Peter involves the recipients of this letter. Those recipients are identified in the very first verse of this epistle: “To God’s chosen people who are temporary residents in the world and are scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1).

We’ll take a closer look at this reference to those who are “…temporary residents in the world” in a future study. For now, let’s consider the regional areas that are mentioned here in the opening verse of this letter. Much like the New Testament epistle of James, 1 Peter was designed to be distributed over a wide geographic area and shared among many congregations.

Those provincial areas were located in what was then known as Asia Minor, a region that roughly corresponded with the modern-day country of Turkey. Asia Minor also served as a home to several other New Testament-era churches, such as Colossae, and the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three. One commentary details the regional characteristics of that area, as well as its political climate…

“To reach the centers of the provinces of ancient Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) to which Peter was writing, his letter had to travel many hundreds of miles over rugged terrain and treacherous seas. The bearer of the letter would have encountered Jews and Gentiles, Christians and pagans, free citizens and slaves.

Some of the places in which the letter was read were cosmopolitan trade centers that were links between the Middle East and Europe. Other places were isolated villages. Yet throughout Asia Minor, small groups of Christians of a wide variety of social, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds would gather to hear God’s word, to praise God, and to encourage one another in the faith.

Although cultural progress may not have touched many of the cities in which Christians lived, hostility to the gospel and to Christians themselves was there. Christians were targets of attack because they no longer participated in pagan religious practices. Since they were the ones who abandoned the so-called gods of the people, Christians were blamed for everything from natural disasters to economic downturns. They were even more vulnerable because they were often strangers in a city, having been driven out of other cities by persecution or having come from a Jewish background.

These early Christians often had little security, low social status (many were slaves), and little recourse to government protection. Peter wrote to encourage them. They were pilgrims in this world heading to their glorious home in heaven.” (1)

(1) Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999),


The city of Rome was ravaged by a catastrophic fire that occurred in July, A.D. 64. That event is historically known as “The Great Fire Of Rome,” and it plunged Roman leadership into a politically difficult position. To help deflect responsibility for the devastating impact of that fire, the Roman Emperor Nero attributed blame to the members of the Christian church. That led to “The Neronian Persecutions,” the first large scale governmental action ever taken against the Christian community.

That climate of increasing hostility against the early church had the potential to spread beyond its origin in Rome to the outlying provinces of the Roman Empire. In fact, it may have already done so by the time of Peter’s first epistle, at least to some degree. Therefore, the letter of 1 Peter served to encourage those who were persecuted for their beliefs…

“Nero’s Persecution of Christians, A.D. 64–67, was very severe in and around Rome, but not general over the Empire. However, the example of the Emperor encouraged the enemies of Christians everywhere to take advantage of the slightest pretext to persecute. It was a trying time. The Church was about 35 years old. It had suffered persecutions in various localities at the hands of local authorities. But now Imperial Rome, which had hitherto been indifferent, even in some cases friendly, had accused the Church of a terrible crime, and was undertaking to punish it…” (1)

However, we can also approach this epistle from a perspective that is applicable to men and women of God from every generation…

“It is apparent from the letter that the readers were suffering persecution for their faith (1:6, 7; 3:13–17; 4:12–19; 5:8, 9). But nothing in the letter indicates official, legislative persecution or requires a date of composition later than the 60s. Their sufferings were the trials common to first-century Christians, and included insults (4:4, 14) and slanderous accusations of wrongdoing (2:12; 3:16). Beatings (2:20), social ostracism, sporadic mob violence, and local police action may have been involved as well.

Yet the epistle is addressed to Christians scattered across six Roman provinces in Asia Minor, and churches and individual believers may have been encountering different degrees of reception or resistance in different places. Peter’s qualification ‘if it should be God’s will’ (3:17) implies that his original audience may have been persecuted in some regions and not in others. The purpose of the letter was for the hearers to ‘stand firm’ in faith in the midst of trials and persecutions (5:1; cf. 1:7–9; 2:18–23; 3:13–17; 4:12–19).” (2)

(1) Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1 Peter, Occasion of Writing [pg. 663] Copyright © 2000, 2007 by Halley’s Bible Handbook, Inc.

(2) R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2237.


Although it doesn’t serve as a popular topic of discussion, the Biblical book of 1 Peter repeatedly directs our attention the proper way to handle the sufferings, difficulties, persecutions, and negative circumstances we encounter in life. In fact, every chapter of this brief epistle dedicates at least one portion of its content to a discussion of that subject. For instance…

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV).

“…maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears” (1 Peter 2:12 NET).

“Can anyone really harm you for being eager to do good deeds? Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do” (1 Peter 3:13-14 CEV).

“Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13 CSB).

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV).

These passages remind us that God’s Word does not deny the existence of genuine suffering. Instead, the Scriptures acknowledge the fact that we may endure conditions that are unethical, discriminatory, inequitable, wrong, and/or unfair. However, we face a choice when confronting those circumstances. We can allow them to generate a negative response, or we can view them as opportunities to exercise the kind of faith that is pleasing to God.

One commentary addresses these challenges in an honest and forthright assessment of this epistle…

“Returning good for evil sounds noble, and Christians agree that it is the right thing to do; however, in the midst of trials and persecutions, showing kindness to our persecutors can be extremely difficult. The Christians of Asia Minor who received this letter from Peter had discovered this. They had found that a life lived for God is often a life of many difficulties. Some of their troubles came from their neighbors, while some came from government authorities. Peter wrote to these Christians to encourage them, to explain to them why suffering occurs, and to remind them of their eternal reward at the end of this earthly life.” (1),

(1) Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 1674.


Dick Woodward (1930-2014) was a minister who served in pastoral leadership for several decades. When a degenerative spinal condition confined him to a wheelchair and later restricted him to bed as a quadriplegic, Woodward shifted his primary focus from pastoral ministry to the development of a Bible study curriculum he entitled, “The Mini Bible College.”

In his New Testament Survey and New Testament Handbook for The Mini Bible College, Woodward offered some intriguing observations regarding the Apostle Peter. Woodward’s study of Peter’s life led him to conclude that we meet three distinct Peters over the course of the New Testament. The first is the Peter we meet in the Gospels. The second is the Peter we meet in the book of Acts. The third and final Peter is the one we meet here in Biblical letters of 1 and 2 Peter.

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life identify the first Peter as someone who went through a series of spiritual highs and lows. However, the second Peter we meet in the book of Acts is someone who was spiritually stable. When we come to Peter’s Biblical epistles, we meet a third Peter who differs from the Peter of the Gospels and the Peter of Acts. He is different because he is older, wiser, and has had many years of experience.

The Peter we meet in the book of 1 Peter was probably not a scholarly person, but he did possess a lifetime’s worth of experience that helped make him a highly educated individual in the things of God. Unlike the highly theological books of Romans and Hebrews, this Peter did not write about the great doctrines of the faith in his two Biblical letters. Instead, he shared from his heart and his wealth of experience as guided by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, we should view Peter’s letters as pastoral theology and approach them in the same manner we approach other Biblical letters such as James and 1, 2, and 3 John. (1) So as we end our introduction to the book of 1 Peter, we will close with an insight from a theologian who surveyed Peter’s life and offered the following observation…

“It is a tribute to God’s grace that the apostle who once dared to rebuke his Master over the prospect of the Messiah’s sufferings (Matt. 16:22, 23) and who flinched in fear when identification with Jesus became risky (Matt. 26:69–75) is in this epistle the Holy Spirit’s spokesman to declare the necessity both of Christ’s unique sacrificial suffering and of Christians’ suffering for His name. (2)

(1) Condensed and adapted from Mini Bible College Study Booklet #15 [pg.14] and Mini Bible College New Testament Handbook [pp 463-465] See https://mbc.icm.org/

(2) R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2239.


“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1).

Many authors typically place their names near the end of a written message in most forms of modern-day correspondence. However, first-century authors generally reversed that practice. So, in keeping with that custom, Peter identified himself as the author of this letter at the beginning of his epistle. This brief introduction also provides us with an opportunity to examine some intriguing aspects of Peter’s name, a name that was given to him by Jesus Himself.

In responding to Peter’s confession of His deity, Jesus said to him, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). That message to Peter features some wordplay that sheds light upon his calling.

In the original language of this passage, Peter’s name is Petros, a word that refers to a rock or stone. However, the reference to this rock” features a different word (petra) that is associated with a large rocky mass. In light of this, we can say that Peter is a stone that is set upon the rock that is Christ…

“It is as if Jesus said to Peter: ‘Peter, you are the first man to grasp who I am; you are therefore the first stone, the foundation stone, the very beginning of the Church which I am founding.’ And in ages to come, everyone who makes the same discovery as Peter is another stone added into the edifice of the Church of Christ.” (1)

Having thus identified himself to his audience, Peter next established his authority by virtue of his title: “…an apostle of Jesus Christ.” The term “apostle” designates someone who is a “commissioned representative,” much like an ambassador or spokesperson. While every follower of Jesus is an “apostle” in the sense that he or she is an ambassador for Christ, the Biblical apostles held several important qualifications that set them apart from everyone else. For example…

These qualifications are important to remember if we should encounter those who self-identify as apostles today. Finally, we should also consider Jesus’ message to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:2: “…you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.” If counterfeit apostles were active in the Biblical era, then we should be equally alert to their presence today.

(1) Barclay, William. “Commentary on Matthew 16”. “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dsb/matthew-16.html. 1956-1959.


“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those chosen, living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” (1 Peter 1:1 CSB).

This reference to “exiles” becomes easier to grasp once we identify some important background information from the Biblical book of 1 John. In 1 John 5:19 we’re told, “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). That reference to the “evil one” is an allusion to Satan, a being Jesus identified as “the enemy” in Matthew 13:39.

In light of that influence, the Bible uses the term “world” to represent the attitudes, values, and belief systems that reject the one true God (see John 8:23 and James 4:4 for some examples). Therefore, we can say that a world that is under the spiritual influence of God’s enemy is certain to exhibit varying degrees of hostility towards God, along with anyone who follows Him.

This also means that those who seek to follow Christ will inevitably feel like strangers or outsiders within this world. That helps explain why the epistle of 1 Peter begins with an address to those who are, “…God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners” (NLT). This passage should also prompt us to ask an important question: “Do I feel at home in this world, or do I feel as if I am a stranger in a world that is hostile or indifferent to Christ?”

Before we answer that question, we should first think about what “home” represents. While there are many home environments that are broken, dysfunctional, or less than ideal, let’s consider what a home should be for the purpose of this illustration. For instance, when we think about the characteristics of a place called “home,” there are a few things that likely come to mind…

  • Home is a place where we are accepted.
  • Home is a place where we belong.
  • Home is a place where we feel most comfortable.
  • Home is the place where we seek to return whenever we’ve been away.
  • Home is a familiar place, a place where we spend much of our time.
  • Home is the place where we can relax with our friends and family members.
  • Home is the place where we often find the people and things we love the most.

With these qualities in mind, let’s take those characteristics and replace the word “home” with “the world.” We’ll take a look at that comparison next.


“From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen (1 Peter 1:1 NET).

Having considered the characteristics of “home” in our previous study, let’s now substitute the word “home” for “the world” in the following list and see how well we measure up…

  • The world is a place where we are accepted.
  • The world is a place where we belong.
  • The world is a place where we feel most comfortable.
  • The world is the place where we seek to return whenever we’ve been away.
  • The world is a familiar place, a place where we spend much of our time.
  • The world is the place where we relax with our friends.
  • The world is the place where we find the people and things we love the most.

Given Peter’s description of his audience as those who were “…strangers in the world” (NIRV), it seems likely that they would have scored relatively low on the list given to us above. It also seems likely that the members of Peter’s original audience understood that those who are serious about Christ will never completely fit in with others in this world.

This should not be surprising, for Jesus wasn’t always popular or well-liked during the period of His earthly ministry, nor did He always fit in well with others. He remains that way among many today. In fact, Jesus once addressed this circumstance in speaking with His disciples…

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:18-20 NIV).

Those who seek to honor God will never completely fit in with a world that has little interest or use for the God of the Scriptures. Thus, as we are told in the New Testament epistle of James, “…do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4 NAS).


“From Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ— To God’s chosen people who live as refugees scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1 GNB).

The Biblical book of Acts relates the account of Saul of Tarsus, a man who “…made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). Of course, Saul of Tarsus is better known to us today as Paul the Apostle. However, Paul’s campaign to incarcerate first-century Christians (and the efforts of others like him) is of greater interest in our study of 1 Peter.

The effect of those efforts is described for us in Acts 8:4: “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” Undoubtedly, there were some (or perhaps many) of these dispersed individuals living in the regions mentioned here in 1 Peter 1:1. Thus, this reference to sojourners (ASV), pilgrims (NKJV), or exiles (AMP) represented a spiritual and political reality for the members of Peter’s original audience.

In this respect, these readers were not unlike other members of God’s family who faced similar realities. For instance, the people of Israel were sojourners in the Sinai wilderness following their departure from the land of Egypt (Numbers 32:13). The Biblical patriarch Abraham was a self-described foreigner and a stranger in his relationship to the native people of Canaan as well (Genesis 23).

Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, referred to the “years of his pilgrimage” on earth in speaking with Pharaoh (Genesis 47:9). Later, Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus sojourned for a time in the nation of Egypt in the interval following Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:13–15). So those who similarly feel as if they are sojourners, pilgrims, or exiles in our modern-day world find themselves in good company.

Nevertheless, we should guard against the tendency to feel as if we are doing little more than passing through this earthly life…

“…this does not mean withdrawal from the world; but it does mean that the Christian sees all things in the light of eternity and life as a journey towards God. It is this which decides the importance which he attaches to anything; it is this which dictates his conduct. It is the touchstone and the dynamic of his life.  …It would be wrong to think that this makes the Christian a bad citizen of the land in which he lives. It is because he sees all things in the light of eternity that he is the best of all citizens, for it is only in the light of eternity that the true values of things can be seen.” (1)

(1) Barclay, William. “Commentary on 1 Peter 1”. “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dsb/1-peter-1.html. 1956-1959.


“From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. To God’s chosen people who are temporary residents in the world and are scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1 GW).

The list of provinces given to us here in 1 Peter 1:1 may offer a clue regarding the first-century distribution of this letter. For instance, a courier who was tasked with the responsibility to deliver this epistle might begin in the northern region of Pontus and then proceed in a clockwise direction through the remaining provinces in the order given to us here. As the letter carrier traveled through these regional areas, each group of recipients had an opportunity to copy this letter for later reference before sending the messenger on his way to the next destination.

It is also interesting to note that three of these locations are specifically mentioned in Acts chapter two. That portion of Scripture records the events that transpired on the day of Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension. It was during that time when the residents of these areas (along with several others) heard the magnificent works of God declared in their native languages through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Peter then followed with a dynamic sermon that made a significant impact upon those who heard it…

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 4:37-39).

In light of this, we can say that Peter’s ministry had now come full circle. Even though the members of his audience were now dispersed abroad, this letter served to continue his work among those he first addressed in Acts chapter two. In addition, Paul the Apostle had also conducted several evangelistic tours through these regions. Thus, it seems that God was willing to make a significant investment in the spiritual lives of these regional populations through the work of these prominent Apostles.

Those investments should also prompt us to consider the investment that God is making in us today through the ministry of His Word and encourage us to make the best use of that investment in our daily lives.

Image Credit: Ilya Yakubovich, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


“elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied” (1 Peter 1:2).

Peter began this letter by addressing it to those who are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” In this context, “elect” means to select or choose. For those who were the recipients of this letter, “The implication is that God has purposely placed these Christians in their respective communities to serve Him; they are selected temporary residents who are representatives of God.” (1)

In a larger sense, the subject of election has probably led to more discussion and debate than any other doctrine down throughout the centuries. The issue arises from the apparent conflict that exists between God’s sovereignty in choosing (or electing) individual human beings to salvation and human responsibility in accepting or rejecting His offer of salvation.

We can turn to the following sources for some helpful insight into this topic, beginning with a definition of this term…

“The doctrine of election teaches that God chose certain people in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph_1:4). It does not teach that He chose some to be damned. If men are finally lost, it is because of their own sin and unbelief. The same Bible that teaches election also teaches human responsibility or man’s free choice. God makes a bona fide offer of salvation to all people everywhere. Whoever comes to Christ will find a warm welcome.

These two doctrines, election and freedom of choice, create an irreconcilable conflict in the human mind. But the Bible teaches both and so we should believe both even if we can’t harmonize them.” (2)

Another commentary offers several Biblical references that support the doctrines of divine election and human responsibility while acknowledging the difficulty in reconciling them…

From the word translated chosen (ekloge) comes the English ‘election.’ That God has chosen to bless some individuals with eternal life is clearly taught in many places in both the Old and New Testaments (e.g., Deu_4:37; Deu_7:6-7; Isa_44:1-2; Rom_9:1-33; Eph_1:4-6, Eph_1:11; Col_3:12; 2Th_2:13).

Equally clear is the fact that God holds each individual personally responsible for his decision to trust or not to trust in Jesus Christ (cf. Joh_3:1-36; Rom_5:1-21). The difficulty in putting divine election and human responsibility together is understanding how both can be true. That both are true is taught in the Bible. How both can be true is apparently incomprehensible to finite human minds; no one has ever been able to explain this antinomy satisfactorily.” (3)

Portions of this message originally appeared here

(1) Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2600.

(2) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (p.2024) Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers

(3) John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary, note on 1 Thessalonians 1:4 pg. 691


“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” (1 Peter 1:2 ESV).

1 Peter 1:2 continues with a reference to another important theological term: foreknowledge. When we say that God has foreknowledge, we mean God has a perfect understanding of all things, past, present, and future. God is not limited by the need to wait and see what our response will be in any given situation. Instead, He is already aware of our response by virtue of His foreknowledge.

This brings us to the word “sanctification,” a concept that involves separation from sin and dedication to God. Sanctification is defined as, “the act or process by which people or things are cleansed and dedicated to God…” (1) One commentator expands on that definition with the following illustration…

“Suppose one were living in the time of Christ and wanted to make a gift to the temple. He would bring his gift of gold coins and lay them on the altar. What happened to those gold coins? The moment they were given to God they became sanctified. They were set apart for holy use. The sanctification did not change the character of the gold coins, but it did change their use and the purpose for which they were directed. So, every true Christian has been set apart as holy to God, even though he falls short of perfection.” (2)

Jesus also made an important declaration on this subject in speaking with the religious leaders of His day: “…why do you say that I’m dishonoring God because I said, ‘I’m the Son of God’? God set me apart for this holy purpose and has sent me into the world” (John 10:36 GW). So, just as Jesus was set apart for God’s purpose, those who are in Christ are set apart as well.

The Biblical letter of Ephesians offers a further illustration: “God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV). Thus, we can say that sanctification is a work of God through Christ. However, it is also accurate to say that Christians are involved in this process of sanctification as well.

For instance, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 tells us, “For this is the will of God— your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each of you learn how to maintain control over his own ‘vessel’ in holiness and honor” (Mounce). This points us toward the need to seek God’s empowerment as we participate in this process of sanctification.

Portions of this message originally appeared here

(1) New Dictionary of Theology, (Leicester/ Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 1988) pg. 613

(2) John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question, pp. 34-35. Quoted in Notes on 1 Thessalonians 2020 Edition, Dr. Thomas L. Constable https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/1thessalonians/1thessalonians.htm#_ftn131


“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure! (1 Peter 1:2 NET).

Our text from 1 Peter 1:2 references an image taken from the Old Testament sacrificial system to illustrate a New Testament idea. In this instance, “sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ” (HCSB) reflects three practices that were associated with the Law of Moses. The first of those practices is mentioned in Exodus 24:7-8…

“Then [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.’ And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.’”

So this first act involved the establishment of a covenant between God and His people. We find the next instance in Exodus 29:21…

“And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.”

This passage speaks of consecration and dedication to God. Finally, we have the following reference from the book of Leviticus regarding those who had been healed of leprosy

“[The priest] will sprinkle the blood seven times on the one to be cleansed and will declare that person clean…” (Leviticus 14:7 GW).

Our last example points us toward an act of cleansing and restoration. Thus, we have three Old Testament practices and three corresponding New Testament fulfillments in Christ…

  • We have entered into a New Covenant with God through Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.
  • We are consecrated and set apart to God in Christ.
  • We have been cleansed from sin through Jesus’ sacrificial offering.

Therefore, this passage offers several potential applications for those who are willing to consider and apply the references that underlie this portion of Scripture. As one commentator concludes…

“In the Old Testament there are three occasions when sprinkling with blood is mentioned. It may well be that all three were present in Peter’s mind and that all three have something to contribute to the thought behind these words.” (1)

(1) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Three Great Facts Of The Christian Life (1Pe_1:1-2 continued).”



“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 ESV).

The phrase “born again” (as found here in 1 Peter 1:3) may be one of the most abused and misconstrued terms in all Christianity. Nevertheless, this concept was introduced by Jesus Himself, and the spiritual truths that underpin this idea are essential to a correct understanding of our relationship to God in Christ. For this reason, the reference to this phrase here in 1 Peter 1:3 is much too important to ignore or disregard.

We can begin our consideration of this subject with a look at an after-dark meeting between Jesus and a prominent religious leader…

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night…” (John 3:1-2a).

Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, or “ruling council,” the highest governing body among the Jewish people of that time. That council served as the final authority in all spiritual and administrative affairs, as long as the Roman government deemed their rulings acceptable. Since Nicodemus was a member of this governing body, we can identify him as someone who was religious, educated, and highly influential.

So why did Nicodemus choose to visit Jesus after dark? One possible answer is that Nicodemus arranged this night-time visit to minimize the potential for interruption. However, there is a second possibility that seems more likely given the prevailing attitude towards Jesus among the members of the religious establishment.

You see, Jesus was quite unpopular among the religious authorities of His era. At one point later in Jesus’ life, these religious leaders issued a directive that instructed anyone who knew of His whereabouts to report Him for arrest (see John 11:57). At other stages of Jesus’ ministry, these authorities also engaged in various acts of character assassination, attempted legal entrapments, and assassination plots.

In light of this, it seems far more probable that Nicodemus was afraid of what others might say if he was publicly seen with Jesus. So it seems likely that Nicodemus wanted to see Jesus, but also wanted to avoid being seen with Him. But to Nicodemus’ credit, it appears that he was the only one among his peers who was willing to interview Jesus in person and decide for himself. We’ll continue our look at Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus next.


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Our look at the term “born again” from 1 Peter 1:3 now takes us to the Gospel of John and Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus, a member of the ruling council. This man opened his interview with Jesus with the following admission…

“‘…Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’

Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’

Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (John 3:2b-8).

So just as human beings must undergo a physical birth process, so we must also undergo a process of spiritual birth as well. That rebirth is necessary in light of the fact that human beings are spiritually separated from God. Therefore, we must be “born again” to a new life with God in Christ. This explains why Jesus told Nicodemus, “I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” (GW).

This portion of Scripture also tells us that this act of spiritual rebirth is a prerequisite to our reconciliation to God. Thus, as we’re told in the following passages…

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God…” (1 John 5:1 CSB).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).

So, a person who is “born again” is someone who is spiritually reborn into a life that is alive to God through Jesus Christ.


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

This passage from 1 Peter 1:3 contains an expression that may be easily overlooked. That expression is “living hope.” When we examine the words that comprise this phrase in their original language, we discover the following…

  • In a metaphorical context, the word “living” means “to be in full vigour.” It points to something that is fresh, strong, efficient, active, powerful, and/or efficacious. (1)
  • In a Christian sense, the word “hope” is associated with the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. (2)

Much like the elements that comprise a Venn diagram, these ideas intersect with faith in certain respects. Just as faith involves the confident expectation that God is who He says He is, and will do what He says He’ll do, this “living hope” speaks of a confident assurance that is based upon Jesus’ historical resurrection from the dead.

One source catalogs the differences between the type of hope referenced here 1 Peter 1:3 and the word “hope” as we commonly use it today…

“We should note that the word hope is used in the Bible with the distinctive meaning ‘confident expectation.’ Today, of course, hope means merely to ‘want’ something to happen, without having any real assurance that it will happen, as in the sentence, ‘I hope tomorrow will be a sunny day.’ The resurrection is the central hope of Christianity; it is not merely something that we want to happen, but an assurance we have.” (3)

This living hope stands in contrast to a person who lives his or life without the acknowledgement or recognition of God. Those who choose to live as if God does not exist may hope that all will be well when they pass from this earthly life. But that kind of “hope” certainly does not inspire confidence. Instead,“… biblical hope has reference to something that is certain but not yet fully seen or experienced. ‘Living’ indicates the undying and permanent character of this hope.” (4)

So, living hope instills a living confidence through a living Savior in those who respond affirmatively to Jesus’ question from the Gospel of John…

“…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Image Credit: User:Verycurve, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

(1) G2198 zao https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2198/kjv/tr/0-1/

(2) G1680 elpis https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1680/kjv/tr/0-1/

(3) Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2601.

(4) R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2242.


“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

We sometimes associate the idea of an “inheritance” with the money or property that belongs to the heir of an estate. Or perhaps we might look to the physical attributes, natural talents, athletic abilities, or other genetic traits that pass from a parent to a child. However, these things pale in comparison to the inheritance mentioned here in 1 Peter 1:4.

While the Biblical book of Revelation is known for its apocalyptic imagery, it also provides us with a glimpse into the inheritance that awaits God’s people…

“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:3 NLT).

“He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted” (Revelation 21:4-5 CEV).

“Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children” (Revelation 21:7 NIV).

Therefore. as Jesus reminded us…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

The following commentators encourage us to maintain a similar perspective…

“For some of us this spiritual inheritance is the only one we will ever have, but its description as incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading, evokes from us the greatest possible praise to God. This inheritance is more lasting than any earthly inheritance could be. Every stone of earth will crumble, every column will fall, every arch will collapse. Diamonds chip, gold wears away, but this inheritance of ours is a truly ‘imperishable’ commodity.” (1)

“Earthly inheritances are uncertain at best. Sometimes the value of an estate drops sharply because of market declines. Sometimes wills are successfully contested by parties not mentioned in them. Sometimes people are deprived of an inheritance because of legal technicalities. But this divine inheritance is not subject to any of the changes of time, and there are no loopholes in the believer’s title to it. It is kept in the safety-vault of heaven for the child of God.” (2)

(1) Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2601

(2) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (p.2251) Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers


“to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4 ESV).

1 Peter 1:4 speaks of an inheritance that is reserved for us in heaven. But what is heaven? Well, the Biblical word “heaven” possesses several meanings that depend upon the way this word is used. For instance, heaven can refer to the area within earth’s atmosphere, the realm where birds fly from place to place throughout the sky. It may also to refer to outer space, the expanse where the sun, the moon, and the stars reside (Psalm 19:1).

But here in the context of1 Peter 1:4, “heaven” identifies the place where God dwells (Matthew 6:9) along with the angels (Mark 13:32). Heaven is a place that Jesus described as “paradise” in Luke 23:43. Heaven is where we see God (1 Corinthians 13:12) and enjoy eternal life with Him. However, “eternal life” does not simply mean unending life; it also encompasses life in all its fullness without the sinful limitations or restrictions we experience today.

The Scriptures tell us that we will worship God in heaven (Revelation 19:1). In heaven, we will have a perfect understanding of God’s love and perfection, unlike now when we know relatively little, along with the tendency to sin. Since God reigns in heaven, it also possesses the characteristics of His kingdom: love, joy, peace, and righteousness.

Interestingly, there are several Biblical references to feasting in heaven as well (see Matthew 8:11, Luke 22:30, and Revelation 19:9). We also have this intriguing promise from Jesus Himself…

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

The word translated “mansions” in the passage quoted above refers to a dwelling, or a place to stay. Thus, heaven will satisfy the desire of everyone who seeks the comfort and acceptance of a permanent home. Jesus has gone to prepare such a place for us, even as He prepares us to inhabit that place.

Finally, heaven is a place where God will grant us leadership responsibilities in some respect. Jesus offered a preview of that future in His Parable of The Talents

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21).


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

This portion of Scripture, and its reference to those “who are kept by the power of God through faith” presents us with two important dynamics that should impact our understanding of the relationship we enjoy with God through Christ. The first dynamic involves God’s role in preserving our relationship with Him. The following passages highlight Jesus’ personal assurance in this regard…

“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:39-40).

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

Paul the Apostle also addressed this subject in the New Testament book of Romans…

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).

So our relationship with God, and our eternal inheritance are each under the personal protection of God himself. Since there is no force or entity that exceeds the power of the omnipotent Creator of everything, those who trust in Christ can rest in the knowledge that their eternal lives are in safe hands.

While our feelings are transient and changeable, the assurance offered to us through these passages remains unchanged. Should there come a time when we are tempted to doubt God’s eternal, providential care for us, we should call these Scriptures to mind. Then we can say along with Paul the Apostle, “…I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Timothy 1:12 NLT). Paul knew what he believed, but more importantly, he knew whom he believed.


“who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5 ESV).

The second important dynamic given to us in 1 Peter 1:5 is faith. One Biblical dictionary defines faith as “A belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to His will for one’s life.” (1) However, the New Testament book of Hebrews offers the best definition of faith…

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” (Hebrews 11:1-3 AMP).

Faith involves the confident expectation that God will act in a trustworthy manner to fulfill His promises, even when external appearances may seem to suggest otherwise. This kind of faith serves as a defining quality of a God-honoring life, for as Romans 1:17 tells us, “…it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (NIV). This makes faith something we possess, as well as a lifestyle that should characterize those who seek to honor God.

One theologian analyzes the tension that exists within this passage as we are kept by God’s power through faith…

“While Scripture repeatedly emphasizes that those who are truly born again will persevere to the end and will certainly have eternal life in heaven with God, there are other passages that speak of the necessity of continuing in faith throughout life. They make us realize that what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:5 is true, namely, that God does not guard us apart from our faith but only by working through our faith so that he enables us to continue to believe in him. In this way, those who continue to trust in Christ gain assurance that God is working in them and guarding them.

One example of this kind of passage is John 8:31-32: “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Jesus is here giving a warning that one evidence of genuine faith is continuing in his word, that is, continuing to believe what he says and living a life of obedience to his commands. Similarly, Jesus says, “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 10:22), as a means of warning people not to fall away in times of persecution.” (2)

(1) “Faith” Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers

(2) Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 975.


“who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5 NET).

1 Peter 1:5 provides us with an opportunity to consider another important Biblical doctrine: salvation. We can obtain a better grasp of this Biblical tenet by conceptualizing this idea as a series of steps…

  • The word “salvation” is synonymous with the concept of “deliverance” when used in a spiritual sense.
  • That deliverance involves God’s liberation of human beings from their state of separation from Him.
  • That state of separation exists because “…all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT).

Unfortunately, everyone has failed to live up to the standard of perfection that God established when He created the very first human couple. As the Biblical book of James reminds us, “…the person who keeps every law of God but makes one little slip is just as guilty as the person who has broken every law there is” (James 2:10 TLB).

This is why Jesus Christ -who was perfect- accepted that death penalty on our behalf through His sinless life and atoning, sacrificial death on the cross. Those who accept Jesus by faith receive salvation (or deliverance) from an eternity of separation and punishment from their Creator. One paraphrase of John 3:17-18 summarizes this idea in the following manner…

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God” (TLB).

Finally, the concept of salvation also incorporates the aspects of preservation and safety as well. Jesus expressed His unwavering commitment to ensure our eternal safety in the following excerpt from the Gospel of John…

“Everyone whom my Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me, because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. And it is the will of him who sent me that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day. For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them to life on the last day” (John 6:37-40 GNT).


“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6).

It is sometimes difficult to know how to respond when we are in the midst of a harrowing trial. However, 1 Peter 1:6 gives us several insights that can help us navigate such challenges whenever we encounter them.

We can begin by examining the phrase “if need be.” As difficult as it may be to acknowledge, these trials (and the grief they produce) may form a necessary component of God’s agenda for our lives. In some instances, it is relatively easy to see why it may be needful to “…go through many hard trials” (CEV). For example, if we have chosen to engage in a Biblically inappropriate behavior, we should not be surprised to discover that God has allowed a corrective action to enter our lives.

On the other hand, God may allow such trials for no discernable reason. Job, the famous Biblical personality, may represent the best example of that difficult reality. Job was oblivious to the spiritual drama that initiated the sufferings he endured. Nevertheless, God had a purpose in his life experience, even if Job was unaware of it at the time.

So while it is sometimes difficult to determine why we may be required to “struggle in various trials” (HCSB), 1 Peter 1:6 assures us that such things are ultimately necessary. Thus, we may assume that God has good reasons to permit us to endure them. Paul the Apostle echoed a similar theme in his epistle to the Philippian church…

“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me” (Philippians 1:29-30).

Paul clearly knew what it meant to suffer (see 2 Corinthians 11:25-27 for some examples). But Paul also looked upon those experiences as opportunities to share in what Jesus endured for him. Every trial had an ultimate objective, and Paul was able to derive value from those trials as he trusted in the God who had a purpose behind them. Therefore, as we are reminded in the Biblical book of Hebrews…

“…My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child… No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12: 5-6, 11 TLB).


“You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials (1 Peter 1:6 HCSB).

In addition to what we read here in 1 Peter 1:6, the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians encourages us to adopt a constructive attitude toward the hardships and afflictions we face in life…

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

We can view the problems and troubles we experience as “light and momentary afflictions” if we seek to view them from an eternal perspective. If we weigh those trials on the scale of eternity and measure them against the future that God has prepared for us, can find value and comfort in the midst of our circumstances. The sufferings, persecutions, indignities, and hardships we endure for Christ now are relatively insignificant when compared to the eternal glory to follow.

Thus, we should focus our attention upon the eternal life that awaits us, even as we endure the trials that accompany our lives today. To borrow a phrase from the New Testament epistle of James, such things are like “…a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14) when viewed in the light of eternity.

We’ll consider this aspect of 1 Peter 1:6 at greater length in our next study. But before we continue, let’s first define the nature of a “trial” as Peter uses it here in the passage quoted above. This reference to “various trials” involves “a putting to the proof” in the original language of this passage. (1) When used in this context, a trial refers to the act of putting someone to the test in a manner that demonstrates the existence of things like virtue, integrity, the validity of one’s faith, and other, similar qualities.

Such trials may take the form of a physical ailment, a financial concern, an interpersonal difficulty, an act of persecution, or any number of other things. God, in His sovereignty, may permit these things to enter our lives “if need be (KJV), and in the words of one commentary, “One need not invite or lay a cross on himself, but only ‘take up’ the cross which God imposes.” (2)

(1) G3986 peirasmos https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/peirasmos

(2) Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. “Commentary on 1 Peter 1”. “Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfb/1-peter-1.html. 1871-8.


“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6 ESV).

How can we rejoice in the midst of various trials? One commentator helps us do so by encouraging us to view our trials from the perspective of eternity…

“…how can an all-powerful, all-loving God allow evil to persist? An ancient form of the problem is sometimes attributed to Epicurus: ‘Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?’

…One important consideration we must consider when evaluating the potentially exculpatory nature of evil is the nature of life, particularly if, as Christians believe, life extends beyond the grave.

Evil and suffering are typically experienced and understood within the context of one’s life. For thirty-five years an atheist, I thought of my life as a ‘line segment’ spanning two points: my birth and my death. I hoped for a life (a ‘line segment’) of approximately ninety years. In the context of this span of time, if I had developed cancer in my forties, I would have been angered by the amount of time stolen from me as I battled the disease. In fact, if I had been diagnosed with a terminal disease at that age, I would have been outraged to be deprived of fifty percent of the life I expected.

If theism is true, however, and we are more than mere material beings, life is not a line segment. Life is, instead, a ray stretching from the point of our birth, passing through the point of our physical death, and extending to an eternal life beyond the grave.

Now consider any experience of evil, pain or suffering in the context of an eternal life… Our experience and understanding of pain and evil must be contextualized within eternity, not within our temporality. Whatever our experience here in our earthly life, no matter how difficult or painful it may be, must be seen through the lens of forever. As our eternal experience stretches beyond our struggles in this life, our temporal suffering will become an ever-shrinking percentage of our consciousness. The anguish we may have experienced on earth will be long outdistanced by the bliss we’ll experience in eternity…

If the Christian worldview is true, evil must be assessed through the lens of eternity, not through the limited perspective of our mortal lives. And eternity changes everything.” (1)

(1) J. Warner Wallace, Can An Understanding of Eternal Life Change the Way We See Evil? Retrieved 28 August 2023 from https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/can-an-understanding-of-eternal-life-change-the-way-we-see-evil/


“that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).

This reference to “gold tested by fire” finds its origin in several Old Testament passages. The Apostle Peter adapted this imagery to highlight the purifying effect that often accompanies the trials and afflictions we encounter in life. However, we also see this principle at work in other areas of life as well.

For instance, a self-cleaning oven operates at high levels of heat in order to melt away impurities. A similar means of purifying metal involves heating a metallic ore until it reaches a liquid state. Once that ore has been brought to a sufficient temperature, any impurities typically rise to the top. These impurities may then be skimmed away and discarded. The result is a purified metal that offers greater strength and durability than one that had not been treated in this manner.

The heat of a personal trial or affliction also serves to produce a similar effect. This helps explain why the New Testament epistle of James offers the following counsel…

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

James 1:12 later continues by saying, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (NIV). These difficulties often prove useful as an incubator for spiritual growth. They may also serve as the means by which God polishes our character to help us better reflect the image of Christ.

The following commentator ties these concepts together with the idea of being “tested by fire“…

“As someone has well pointed out, fire will destroy what it cannot purify, but it purifies what it cannot destroy… We are passing through the fire which is designed either to destroy that which can be destroyed, or to purify that which can never be destroyed …God is leading us through these trials and through the difficulties of our day, in order that we may learn to cry with old Job, back there in the oldest book of the Bible, ‘He knoweth the way that I take, when he has tried me I shall come forth as gold,’ (Job 23:10 KJV).” (1)

(1) Excerpted with permission from Never Give Up © 1965 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Visit www.RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material. Please direct any questions to webmaster@RayStedman.org


“so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7 ESV).

The word “glory” as it appears in our text from 1 Peter 1:7 is a Biblical word that is frequently undefined or misunderstood. In the original language of the Old Testament, this word is translated from the term kabad. This ancient Hebrew word conveys the idea of heaviness, weight, and/or substance. (1) Those who are familiar with the history of Old Testament Israel may recognize a form of this word in the name Ichabod, a name that means, “there is no glory.” (2)

That name reflected the depressing circumstances that accompanied the loss of the ark of the covenant, as recorded in 1 Samuel chapter four. It was later adapted as a designation for the literary character Ichabod Crane by the 19th century author Washington Irving in his short story, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow. Crane was aptly named, given the circumstances of his apparent demise within the story.

On a more positive note, the word “glory” is closely associated with the concept of dignity in the New Testament. It also refers to a good opinion that results in praise and honor for the person under consideration. (3) A more contemporary definition of “glory” is similarly descriptive: “very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown. (4)

One source expands on these definitions with some helpful observations…

“The word glory in Hebrew, kabod, derives from a root word meaning ‘weight.’ For example, the value of a gold coin was determined by its weight. To have weight, therefore, is to have value or worth.

The Greek word for glory, doxa, originally meant ‘opinion.’ This word refers to the worth or value which we, in our opinion, assign to someone or something. The Hebrew idea speaks of what is inherent in God—His intrinsic value or worth; the Greek idea speaks of the response of intelligent and moral beings to the value or worth they see manifested by God’s Word and works.” (5)

For those who are seeking real substance in a shallow world that often seems filled with banalities, platitudes, and trivialities, 1 Peter 1:7 assures us that “…genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (CEB).

(1) H3513 kabad https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3513

(2) H350 ichabod https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h350/kjv/wlc/0-1/

(3) G1391 doxa https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g1391

(4) “Glory” Dictionary.com, Retrieved 1 June 2020 from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/glory

(5) Joel R. Beeke, Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism © 2008 146-147


“whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

The gospels record several instances where Jesus interacted with His core group of disciples following His death and resurrection. However, Jesus’ best known post-resurrection appearance may have occurred with the disciple who is widely known today as “Doubting Thomas.” Their encounter serves to parallel our text from 1 Peter 1:8…

“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’
So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’

And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:24-29).

In hindsight, it may be easy to criticize Thomas and his refusal to believe the other disciples regarding Jesus’ resurrection. Nevertheless, we might argue that Thomas actually made a wise choice in one sense. You see, Thomas was unwilling to let others tell him what he should believe concerning Jesus. Instead, he was determined to validate the truth for himself. We can follow that example today by reading the Biblical Scriptures for ourselves to verify the truth concerning Jesus, as well as the claims that others make regarding Him.

That brings us to Jesus’ summary statement: “…The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!” (CEV). While there are many who believe that “seeing is believing,” the opposite is often true when it comes to the work of Christ is our lives. First we believe, and then we see.

This involves an element of faith, for “…without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 CEB). Since the Word of God also tells us, “the just shall live by faith,” we should not be surprised if God permits us to enter various life circumstances that require us to exercise it.


“receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9).

While 1 Peter 1:9 reaffirms the doctrine of salvation mentioned earlier in verse five, the other components of this brief passage (such as these references to the “soul” and “the end of your faith”) may be less familiar.

For instance, “the end of your faith” is not like the end of a road or the finale of a movie presentation. Instead, this passage associates the salvation of our souls with the result (or outcome) of our faith. That end result involves our deliverance from divine judgment, as well as the eternal life that God offers through Christ.

In the original language of this passage, the word translated “soul” is “psuche.” This word survives today as the root of such modern-day words as psychology and psychoanalysis. In addition to our passage here in 1 Peter 1:9, this word also appears in 1 Peter 2:11 and 1 Peter 4:19…

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

In this context, the soul refers to the human being as an individual personality. It also conveys an emotional component that encompasses the things we love, hate, or feel indifferent about. The soul is the element of our being that embodies our talents, skills, and abilities. This includes our inherited traits and characteristics, as well as those qualities we have worked to develop.

In addition, the human soul incorporates our will, intellect, and everything that serves to distinguish one human being from every other human being who has ever lived, or ever will live. Therefore, we can associate the soul with the “you” inside your body.

This helps explain why men and women are more than just human machines. Unlike a piece of software that is written and programmed to perform certain tasks, the soul represents the distinctive element that uniquely identifies every individual human person. Thus, it enables every member of the human family to enjoy an exclusive relationship with his or her Creator that differs from any other human being.

So, while our physical bodies are temporal, the “you” inside your body will continue beyond your physical death. Thus, we can take comfort in this verse, for “The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls” (NLT).


“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you” (1 Peter 1:10).

The Gospel of Luke records the following statement from Jesus…

“…all things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it’” (Luke 10:22-24 NIV).

1 Peter 1:10 offers insight into that passage as it describes the efforts of the Old Testament prophets to better understand the revelations they received from God. These messengers faithfully conveyed those prophetic truths; however, they struggled to understand how their messages formed a comprehensive picture. The following commentary offers two such examples…

“These prophets, realizing that the Spirit signified more by their words than they themselves could appreciate, scrutinized their writings for the deeper significance. Dan. 8: 15; 9: 2 f., is one example of this process in operation, while Isa. 53, quoted in 2: 22-25, is an instance of the type of prophesying in mind.” (1)

So while the Old Testament prophets spoke of the Messiah’s suffering (Isaiah 53) as well as His triumph (Isaiah 11), they labored to understand the relationship between those two aspects of God’s redemptive plan. Their experience illustrates the common bond we share with these ancient prophets whenever we struggle to ascertain God’s purpose behind the circumstances we experience.

If we are ever challenged with the task of deciphering God’s will for our lives, we can take comfort in the fact that these Old Testament prophets endured a similar struggle as well. Another source ties those experiences together for our benefit…

“Peter’s point in verses 10-12 seems to be that his readers could rejoice in their sufferings, even though they could not see exactly how or when their present trials would end. The readers should find encouragement by looking at the prophets’ limited understanding of their own prophecies dealing with the suffering and glorification of Messiah. God would bring their own experiences to a glorious completion, just as surely as He would Messiah’s, though in both cases the details of fulfillment were not yet clear.” (2)

(1) New International Bible Commentary general editor G. C. D. Howley, consulting editors F. F. Bruce, H. L. Ellison. Copyright© 1979 by Pickering & Inglis Ltd [pp. 1553].

(2) Constable, Thomas. DD. “Notes on 1 Peter 2023 Edition” (1:12) Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable. https://planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/pdf/1peter.pdf


“searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11).

1 Peter 1:11 continues an exposition concerning the Old Testament prophets and their struggle to understand their messages concerning God’s Messiah. This passage thus presents a useful application: if these Old Testament prophets did not fully comprehend the meaning of the things God spoke through them, we should not be surprised if we struggle to fully comprehend God’s purpose behind our life experiences as well.

Nevertheless, we can say that there are definite reasons behind the events that God allows to enter our lives, even if we fail to grasp His motive behind them. We can turn to several examples from our current age of technology to better appreciate this truth. For instance, let’s take the example of an automobile, a piece of software, or a complex electronic device that has performed consistently and reliably.

One does not need to have a comprehensive understanding of these advancements in order to place his or her trust in them. If we can place such faith in these imperfect technologies, we should have a greater degree of faith in the all-powerful God of the Scriptures, even when we don’t have a comprehensive understanding of His motives.

We should also consider this reference to “the sufferings of Christ” here in 1 Peter 1:11. There were many within the Jewish community of Jesus’ era who looked forward to the arrival of a conquering Savior who would liberate Israel from the oppressive Roman government. Since the Messiah was viewed as a person of strength and power, those who expected Jesus to be an all-conquering deliverer were sure to be disillusioned by His crucifixion and death.

Thus, the problem was not with God’s plan: the problem involved their perception of that plan. One oft-quoted way to illustrate that misperception is to visualize two mountain peaks. One peak represents the suffering endured by the Messiah for our sakes; the other represents His triumphant reign. It is only within our present age (as represented by the valley that lies between those peaks) that we can see these aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry with clarity.

Finally, one source highlights an intriguing observation regarding Peter, the human author of this passage…

“He [Peter], who wanted to hear nothing of it [Christ’s sufferings] during the lifetime of Jesus, made Jesus’ suffering and death the very centre of his explanation of Jesus’ earthly work.” (1)

(1) Cullman, Oscar. The Christology of the New Testament [p. 74] quoted in Constable, Thomas. DD. “Notes on 1 Peter 2023 Edition” (1:10-11) Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable. https://planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/pdf/1peter.pdf


“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you…” (1 Peter 1:10-12 NIV).

Our text from 1 Peter 1:10-12 explains why God’s prophets failed to grasp the full meaning of His revelation concerning the Messiah: their work involved service to a future generation.

For instance, consider the following excerpt from the book of the Biblical prophet Daniel. After Daniel received a prophetic vision of the future, the angel Gabriel was sent to provide him with a further explanation. Yet despite the additional detail offered by God’s angelic messenger, Daniel chapter eight closes with the following words…

“‘The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.’ I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding” (Daniel 8:26-27 NIV).

These passages hold implications that should not escape our attention. Here in 1 Peter 1:11-12, the great apostle tells us that the Old Testament prophets did not grasp the full significance of what God had spoken to them. Much like the prophet Daniel, “It was then disclosed to them that the services they were rendering were not meant for themselves and their period of time, but for you” (1 Peter 1:12 AMPC).

In a sense, what was true of these prophets is also true of us: our lives serve future generations as well. You see, the prophets are long gone, but their words continue to speak to us today. Their lives served future generations, just as the lives of those who preceded us served our generation. That service was rendered to us by parents, ministers, teachers, and mentors, along with a multitude of others who have played a role in shaping our lives.

Those individuals served us by investing in us, for better or worse. This portion of Scripture should thus prompt us to consider the investments we are making in others with the limited time we have now. We’ll continue our consideration of this idea next.


“This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you…” (1 Peter 1:10-12 NLT).

Much like the prophets of old, our lives serve the generations to follow. To use the analogy of a relay race, those who have invested in our lives have handed the baton to us, so to speak. We, in turn, will hand something off to the generation that succeeds us. The question is, will we hand them something good, or will we hand them something else?

At the risk of sounding pedantic, every new generation replaces their predecessors. These older generations trust that the investments they have made in these younger generations will continue to bear fruit long after they are gone. But much like an assembly line, each new generation invests in the generation that follows.

No one escapes this responsibility, for whatever we do (or don’t do) will impact those who follow, perhaps for generations to come. In fact, we might even say that everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, holds a leadership position from this perspective.

You see, one does not need to possess a leadership title in order to be a leader, for we are already leaders in certain respects. Everyone has a circle of influence, even if it is only among a few select individuals. For instance, we may be in a position to influence friends, classmates, or co-workers. Our words and actions will influence teammates, roommates, family members, or others. In today’s worldwide social media age, we possess the ability to influence those we’ve never met in person.

So how can we serve and lead the generations to follow? We can do so by applying Paul the Apostle’s counsel to a young church leader named Timothy: “…set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV). With this in mind, we should remember that everyone teaches and instructs others through the example of their lives. Some teach others what to do, while some teach others what not to do.

We can honor God and serve those who follow when we set the right example for others in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.


“To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12).

In the midst of this discussion regarding God’s messages to His prophets, 1 Peter 1:12 offers an interesting aside: “These are things which even the angels would like to understand” (GNT).

While the word “angel” is generally associated with a supernatural being today, this word carries the idea of a messenger in the original Biblical languages. Thus, we can say that these angelic beings serve as emissaries, representatives, or agents for God. Although angels possess capabilities that far exceed those of ordinary human beings, 1 Peter 1:12 tells us that they have something in common with these ancient prophets: they each failed to grasp the scope of God’s plan for humanity.

That plan thus serves as a subject of interest among the members of the angelic realm. This likely includes fallen angels, as well as those angels who continue to serve God. One group undoubtedly seeks insight into God’s plan as a means of honoring the One whom they serve. The other may be seeking actionable intelligence in an attempt to counter God’s agenda.

This passage also tells us that angels are not passively interested in God’s plan for humanity, as if one were listening to the broadcast of a sporting event while performing some other task. Instead, these celestial beings hold a great degree of interest in God’s redemptive plan. (1) One source offers a wide-ranging perspective on this subject…

“…Scripture indicates there is a sense in which all angels may be considered celestial spectators of planet earth. Indeed, 1 Peter 1:12 tells us that all the angels ‘long to look into’ things related to God’s redemption of humankind. This is a topic of great fascination for the entire angelic realm. [a]

We must remember that angels have been observing earth from the very beginning. They were present when man was first created. They witnessed the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Throughout the Old Testament era they witnessed one prophet after another speak forth words regarding the Redeemer who would be born in Bethlehem. They witnessed the incarnation and watched as Christ -the One they had served since their creation- took on human flesh. They also witnessed His cruel execution on the cross of Calvary and His glorious resurrection from the dead.

In short, the angels -from the very start- have been celestial spectators of the unfolding drama of human redemption being played out on planet earth.” (2)

(1) See G3879 parakupto https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3879/kjv/tr/0-1/

(2) [a] See Louis A. Barbieri, First and Second Peter (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979), p. 40. Quoted in Rhodes, Ron, Angels Among Us Copyright © 1994 by Harvest House Publishers [p. 129]


“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

One of the more frequently overlooked words in the Bible is the word “therefore.” Once we train ourselves to look for this word within the Scriptures, a wide variety of applications open up for us. You see, the word “therefore” signals a transition from an earlier teaching or idea to an associated action, consequence, or behavior.

“Therefore” tells us that a Biblical author is about to present us with an application that is based upon a previously established concept. This word should thus prompt us to listen carefully whenever it appears within the Scriptures. 1 Peter 1:13 presents us with a good illustration of this idea in action, for the next few verses will alert us to six personal applications based on what we have already read within this epistle…

  • Gird up the loins of your mind (verse 13).
  • Be sober (verse 13).
  • Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (verse 13).
  • Be obedient to God and do not allow your lives to be shaped by the inappropriate desires of the past (verse 14).
  • Be holy in your conduct (verses 15-16).
  • Live in respect (or fear) of God (verse 17).

The first action given to us is “gird up the loins of your mind.” This obscure reference is easier to understand when we remember that people typically wore long, robe-type garments in the New Testament era. If someone needed to move quickly, that person might take up the lower portion of that garment and tuck it inside a belt. That would allow sufficient freedom of movement for running, working, or other tasks.

Some Biblical translations have adapted this concept for contemporary audiences through the use of the phrase “prepare your minds for action” (AMP). (1) The idea is that we should prepare to face the challenges of daily life in an active (rather than passive) fashion. One of the best ways to meet those challenges involves familiarizing ourselves with the Biblical Scriptures by reading them each day. This will enable us to implement the following counsel from the Biblical book of Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).

We’ll consider some strategies to implement these directives from 1 Peter 1:13 and Romans 12:2 next.

(1) Also see the CSB, ESV, and NLT translations of this passage, among others.


“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13 ESV).

This reference to “being sober-minded” encompasses more than freedom from intoxication. It also includes the elements of discipline (or temperance) and discretion (or circumspection) as well. (1) This concept will reappear later in 1 Peter 4:7 where it will be rendered “watchful.” Taken together, these definitions should prompt us to be disciplined in our thinking and alert to anything that might make us fall.

So just as we might gather a long coat that presents a tripping hazard as we descend upon a staircase, this verse encourages us to pull in the loose ends of our thinking. (2) This is important, for if we are undisciplined in our thoughts and attitudes, it is only a matter of time before we engage in behaviors that are likely to trip us up.

God’s warning through the prophet Jeremiah illustrates this idea via the use of an instructive word-picture…

“Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people— The fruit of their thoughts, Because they have not heeded My words Nor My law, but rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:19).

We can help ensure that the “fruit of our thoughts” produces a good harvest by prayerfully acting upon the following Scriptural guidance…

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

“…take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 GW).

Jesus also spoke about the importance of this idea in the context of His return…

“Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by drinking parties, drunkenness, and the anxieties of day-to-day life. Don’t let that day fall upon you unexpectedly, like a trap. It will come upon everyone who lives on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35 CEB).

Finally, we can implement this directive from 1 Peter 1:13 by asking some of the following questions as we face the daily decisions of life…

  • Is this thought or act appropriate from God’s perspective?”
  • “Am I making the best use of the talents, skills, and abilities that God has given me in this situation?”
  • “Am I handling these circumstances in a God-honoring manner?”

To borrow a phrase from our text in 1 Peter 1: 13, these questions provide us with a vertical perspective that can help us prepare our minds for action.

(1) G3525 nepho https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3525/kjv/tr/0-1/

(2) See John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Pe 1:13.


“Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:13 NET).

The word “hope” in 1 Peter 1:14 conveys the positive assurance that God will extend His unmerited favor to us upon the revelation of Christ. While that assurance carries implications for the future, it also carries implications for the present…

“When we ‘fix [our] hope completely on the grace to be brought to [us],’ present trials will not deflect us from obeying God faithfully now. In other words, Peter urged his readers to face their daily trials with a specific attitude clearly and constantly in mind. We should remember that what God will give us soon, as a reward for our faithful commitment to Him, is worth any sacrifice now (cf. Rom. 8:18).” (1)

So what we believe about Christ (and His future return) will undoubtedly impact our choices for today. For instance, the following passage from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes characterizes one type of mindset…

“Because God does not punish sinners instantly, people feel it is safe to do wrong” (Ecclesiastes 8:11 TLB).

However, the New Testament epistle of 1 John presents us with a different way of thinking…

“Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure” (1 John 3:3 GNT).

Therefore, those who place their hope in Christ should demonstrate that hope in the daily choices of life. Hebrews 9:28 serves to reinforce that mindset with the following promise…

“…Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins. This time he will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for him” (TLB).

Finally, Jesus left us with a contrast that relates to this passage in some of His final recorded words…

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:12-15).

(1) Constable, Thomas. DD, Notes on 1 Peter 2023 Edition ” 1. A life of holiness 1:13-16″ [1:13] https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/1peter/1peter.htm


“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).

“Obedience” is a difficult concept in many respects. On one hand, we often have little difficulty in obeying those rules that pertain to something we enjoy. In addition, many of us are perfectly willing to live in obedience to a regulation or directive that benefits us in some way. However, it is more difficult to live in obedience to an authority figure, a rule that inconveniences us, or ultimately, to God Himself.

This may explain the enduring popularity of fictional accounts that feature heroic characters who overcome the forces of oppression. Those forces are often associated with an attitude of insolence, arrogance, and hubris- and since it is always gratifying to see arrogance humbled, it’s easy to see why such narratives remain so popular.

It is not uncommon to find similar attitudes among human authorities as well. However, it would be a mistake to assume that our negative experiences with self-important authority figures also apply to Christ. You see, Jesus sets a very different precedent in this area…

“So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to [Mary and Joseph]…” (Luke 2:51 GNT).

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

“…being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

We should also consider Jesus’ attitude of humility as demonstrated at the Last Supper…

“So (Jesus) got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing…

After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, ‘Do you know what I’ve done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do’” (John 13:4-5, 12-15 CEB).

So if we chafe at this directive from 1 Peter 1:14 and its admonition to act “as obedient children,” we should remember that Jesus is the one who leads by example in this area.


“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14 ESV).

As mentioned previously, the word “obey” often generates a sense of internal resistance. Yet there are several Biblical instances where God ordains a commitment to obedience in our relationships with others. Colossians 3:20 offers one such example: “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).

We find another example in the New Testament epistle of Titus: “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1). We also have the following counsel regarding church leadership from the epistle to the Hebrews: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

If we struggle to fulfill these initiatives, it may help to think of them as duties or responsibilities that have been entrusted to us. We can honor God by acting on these directives, for in doing so, we are indirectly acting in obedience to Him. We can follow that path willingly, or unwillingly as illustrated by the following excerpt from the Biblical book of Psalms…

“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control’” (Psalm 32:-9 NLT).

In addition, we should remember that virtually everyone is required to demonstrate obedience in one form or another. Just as one authority figure must act in obedience to those with higher levels of authority, no one escapes this responsibility. Nevertheless, we must balance that commitment with the acknowledgement that human obedience ultimately lies with the highest authority, God Himself.

That recognition should prompt us to reject those authorities who seek to compel us to act illegally, immorally, or unethically. Authorities who demand obedience in violation of clear Biblical standards are those who justify an exception to this general rule. As the Apostle Peter himself once said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

We will consider this responsibility in greater detail in later portions of our look at the Epistle of 1 Peter. But for now, we can say that if we are faced with such a choice, we, like Peter, we ought to obey God rather than men.


“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Unfortunately, the word “holy” is a word that people often seem to use with little concern for its meaning. For instance, it’s not unusual to hear the word “holy” employed as an exclamation or expression of surprise. Nevertheless, those who use the word “holy” in a careless or disrespectful manner should reconsider doing so, especially if they know and respect the One who is most closely associated with that term.

You see, the word “holy” expresses the qualities of moral purity and ethical perfection. This is especially true when used in relation to God. This word can also describe a person or thing that has been consecrated or “set apart” in a spiritual sense. When used appropriately, “holiness” conveys God’s moral perfection and complete separation from anything that is wrong, corrupt, immoral, or impure.

The Biblical book of Revelation also associates holiness with Jesus Himself. As Jesus stated in His own words…

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He is the one who has the key of David. He opens doors, and no one can shut them; he shuts doors, and no one can open them” (Revelation 3:7 NLT).

Of course, some may readily acknowledge Jesus’ holiness while struggling to apply this directive from 1 Peter 1:16: “Be holy, for I am holy.” As fallible human beings, the qualities of moral purity and ethical perfection may seem to be unattainable goals. Yet even though human beings are imperfect, we do possess the ability to exhibit holy, God-honoring character.

For instance, we can interact with others in a respectable and morally pure manner. We can prayerfully seek to consecrate ourselves and avoid those things that are wrong, corrupt, immoral, or impure. This does not mean that we can lead lives of sinless perfection, but it does mean that we should seek to emulate God’s character in our conduct and manner of life.

One commentator summarizes God’s agenda within this call to holiness…

“God’s will has always been that His children reflect His character (cf. Titus 2:14). The goal of Christianity is not only heaven when we die, but Christlikeness now (cf. Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 4:13; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:3,7; 5:23). Jesus’ task was not only remission of sin, but the restoration of the image of God in fallen mankind.” (1)

(1) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary, Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International https://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL02/VOL02B_01.html


“The scripture says, ‘Be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16 GNT).

The portion of Scripture referenced here in 1 Peter 1:16 is taken from the Old Testament book of Leviticus (see Leviticus 11:44). In fact, the phrase “be holy” appears seventeen times in the New King James translation of Leviticus. This represents the most appearances of that phrase in any Biblical book by a wide margin. Thus, it is useful to consider the various applications that are associated with this Biblical mandate.

For instance, the book of Leviticus employs the phrase “be holy” in relation to the following…

  • Offerings made unto God (Leviticus 6:18, 27).
  • Defilement (in the context of inappropriate contact with various types of insect species- Leviticus 11:41-45).
  • Family relationships, idolatry, occultic practices, social responsibility, business relationships, environmental responsibility, and a host of other human behaviors (Leviticus 19:2 and following).
  • Spiritual leadership (Leviticus 21:6-8).
  • Human freedom and responsibility (in the context of the year of Jubilee – see Leviticus 25:12 and other related directives from that chapter).

So this concept did not suddenly appear within the Biblical epistle of 1 Peter without prior context. Instead, the Old Testament Scriptures repeatedly referenced this idea. This was true of the book of Leviticus in addition to other Biblical books such as Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Peter thus reminded his readers (both ancient and modern) that holiness is an unchanging attribute of God’s nature. Furthermore, God seeks to shape our lives in a manner that will enable us to adopt that characteristic. The following commentators lend their insights to this important concept…

“Fulfilling God’s call to holiness requires that we, like obedient children, break off with the lifestyle of the world (characterized by lusts and ignorance) …The primary idea behind holiness is not moral purity (though the idea includes moral purity), but it is the idea of apartness – that God is separate, different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes. Instead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness – to Be holy, for I am holy.” (1)

“Holiness essentially defines the Christian’s new nature and conduct in contrast with his pre-salvation lifestyle. The reason for practicing a holy manner of living is that Christians are associated with the holy God and must treat Him and His Word with respect and reverence.” (2)

(1) Guzik, David, 1 Peter 1 – (13-17) The conduct of those who are saved © Copyright – Enduring Word https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-peter-1/

(2) John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Pe 1:15.


“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17).

If we were to borrow a computer software programming term, we might say that 1 Peter 1:17 presents us with a “conditional statement.” This describes a type of cause-and-effect relationship: if a condition is met, then an action is performed.

The grammar of this passage assumes that the first part of that conditional statement (“if you call on the Father“) has already been fulfilled. (1) So, in view of that fulfilled condition, this passage urges us to take action as a result: “…conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”

That brings us to the word “fear.” Our modern-day use of this word usually invokes a sense of apprehension or the state of being afraid. However, the word “fear” is also is used to convey the qualities of reverence, honor, and respect. Consider how Jesus employed this word in the Gospel of Luke…

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5).

When we speak of our responsibility to “fear God” in this manner, it means that we should honor and respect Him above all else. This attitude of honor, respect, and reverence serves as the basis for what we read here in 1 Peter 1:17. Yet, even though the word “fear” communicates an attitude of honor and respect in this context, we should avoid the mistake of thinking that we have nothing to be afraid of regarding God.

While God is loving, slow to become angry, kind, gracious, and compassionate, He is also to be respected and honored. He is not to be treated lightly, for “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” as we are told in Hebrews 10:31.

Nevertheless, we have no reason to be fearful of God when we approach Him through Christ, for it is there where we will find love and acceptance through His sacrifice on our behalf. Thus, we can experience freedom without fearfulness in our relationship with God, for everything that might strike terror within us regarding our Creator has been eliminated through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.

(1) “The ‘if’ does not introduce an hypothesis but a fulfilled condition. ‘Since,’ or ‘in view of the fact,’ is the idea in the word…The idea in the Greek is, ‘in view of the fact that you call on as Father.’” (Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament (1 Peter 1:17-21) Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.


“And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence” (1 Peter 1:17 NET).

Most of us have probably interacted with others who have exhibited some form of bias. Perhaps it was someone who benefited from his or her relationship with an important or influential person. It may have been a leader who worked to ensure that a son or daughter received a favorable position over those who were better qualified. Maybe it was someone who failed to receive justice because the guilty party had a patron in a position of authority.

These unfortunate realities are summarized by the following maxim: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While it is often easy to see that principle at work in the various circumstances of life, our text from 1 Peter 1:17 offers a different perspective. For instance, consider this reference to “…the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work” in the passage quoted above. This portion of Scripture reminds us that God does not “grade on the curve” so to speak.

In other words, God does not adjust His view of our behavior based on what others may (or may not) be doing. Unlike those who seek to normalize a standard or behavior simply because “everyone else is doing it,” God is a completely impartial judge. On one hand, this can be a great comfort, for it tells us that God will account for every influence upon the decisions we make. This includes those extenuating circumstances that might exonerate us. We can always count on God to render an impartial and fair verdict- and those who are quietly doing His will under adverse circumstances can be assured that no detail of their service will go unnoticed.

On the other hand, those who are forgiven of their sins in Christ do not have a license to take advantage of their heavenly Father’s graciousness. Unlike an earthly father who demonstrates unwarranted favor toward a son or daughter who engages in inappropriate behaviors, 1 Peter 1:17 tells us that we should not expect a similar response from our heavenly Father.

Because we are beloved by God in Christ, we should therefore consider the impact of our choices and decisions. Just as we are fearful of hurting those whom we love, our love for God should prompt us to conduct ourselves accordingly. The prospect of facing God’s impartial judgment thus serves as a useful guardrail that helps keep us accountable and encourages us to stay on the right path.


“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” (1 Peter 1:17 KJV).

The singular reference to “work” here in 1 Peter 1:17 represents an important detail that might easily escape our attention. You see, this word serves to identify a person’s “business, employment, [or] that which any one is occupied.” (1) With that definition in mind, let’s compare this verse to Jesus’ message from Matthew 16:27….

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

While these references to “work” and “works” may appear similar, they are not the same. In Matthew 16:27, Jesus used a word that speaks of our deeds, practices, and behaviors. (2) Taken together, this tells us that God will judge our individual actions (as Jesus says in Matthew 16:27), as well as the “business” of our lives, as we’re told here in 1 Peter 1:17.

That “business” reflects the character of our lives, the qualities that distinguish us, or the things we are known for. So these passages tell us that God will examine what we are as well as what we do. In light of this, we should pay close attention to those things that occupy our lives. A simple question such as, “What am I known for?” can help us in that self-assessment.

We should also note this reference to the word “sojourning” in 1 Peter 1:17. This word is synonymous with the idea of a traveler or a person on a journey. A sojourner is someone who may live for an extended period in one place, but is not a citizen of that area. Today, we might use the term “resident alien” or “foreign national” to describe such a person.

This passage thus serves to remind us that God’s people are passing through this life on the way to another place. That knowledge should encourage us to honor God as we journey through the various stages of life. In light of these things, we should demonstrate respect for God in our economic activities, governmental interactions, and personal relationships as we pass the time of our sojourning here.

If we view the days and years of our earthly existence as a pilgrimage on the way to an eternal destination, it should help us make good choices as we conduct the business of our lives.

(1) G2041 ergon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2041/kjv/tr/0-1/

(2) G4234 praxis https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/praxis


“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

While the concept of “redemption” may be familiar to airline travelers, retail shoppers, and others who participate in various consumer loyalty programs, the Biblical concept of redemption is one that stretches back into the Old Testament era. For instance, let’s consider the related concept of a “kinsman-redeemer” as it appears within the pages of the Old Testament.

Although the role of a kinsman-redeemer may be largely unfamiliar to contemporary audiences, it is an important Biblical concept that holds significant interest for those who follow Christ. A kinsman-redeemer was someone who held the power to act on behalf of a family member in several ways…

  • He possessed the ability to re-purchase family property.
  • He could redeem another family member who had been sold into slavery.
  • A kinsman-redeemer could punish those who injured a relative.
  • He could assume responsibility for continuing the lineage of a deceased male relative.

These responsibilities are most clearly defined in the Biblical book of Ruth. As we consider these duties, it should be easy to apply them to our relationship with Christ. For example, Jesus serves as our kinsman-redeemer in several respects…

  • He is related to us through our common humanity.
  • His death on the cross served as the purchase price to redeem us from our estrangement from God.
  • He then cares for us, protects us, provides for us, and gives eternal life to those who accept and follow Him.

The following commentary offers some further insight into Jesus’ act of redemption on our behalf…

“The word redeemed (Gr lytroō) refers to the payment of a required price to release one from an obligation. This is one of the most important words in the Bible since it succinctly describes the atonement of Jesus Christ and the reason for His death on the cross. Peter refers to the fact that his readers, like all Christians, have been released from empty and meaningless lives by a payment made on their behalf.

The value of the payment that was made was far greater than silver or gold in any amount; it was the blood of Christ, meaning His death on the cross, which paid the price of release from traditional, pagan conduct. The command to live holy lives for our brief sojourn on the earth, in the interim, as we wait for the consummation of our salvation, is based upon the great price paid by Jesus Christ.” (1)

(1) Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2604.


“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV).

Virtually everyone is familiar with the Biblical account of Adam and Eve-  and 1 Peter 1:18 focuses our attention on the lingering effects of their decision to transgress God’s command in the Garden of Eden. For instance, this reference to “…the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers” (NIV) traces its origin directly back to the events of Genesis chapter three.

Let’s consider Adam, the first human being. Adam’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden severed the fellowship with God he previously enjoyed. However, the effect of that decision also carried over to his descendants as well. Since it is impossible to give others something we do not possess, Adam’s loss of fellowship with God meant that he had nothing to pass to his descendants other than the example of his disobedience. Adam’s offspring thus grew to be like him, even to this day.

This helps explain this reference to our redemption from “…from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors” (NIV). A life lived apart from a relationship with the Creator ultimately leads to futility, but we have been redeemed from that kind of life through Christ.

In addition, we can also approach this passage from the perspective of the traditional observances that others added to the Old Testament Law. The Gospel of Mark identified some of those elements…

“…The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders… they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles…” (Mark 7:3-4 NIV).

Those rules did nothing to facilitate a genuine relationship with God. Jesus noted the futility of those practices with the following observation…

“So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus, ‘Why is it that your disciples do not follow the teaching handed down by our ancestors, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?’ Jesus answered them, ‘How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! You are hypocrites, just as he wrote:

‘These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me. It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!’ ‘You put aside God’s command and obey human teachings’” (Mark 7:5-8 GNT).

1 Peter 1:18 thus offers the encouraging reminder that we have been redeemed from such things.


“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20).

We can draw comfort from our text in 1 Peter 1:20, for it tells us that Jesus’ sacrificial death did not serve as God’s contingency plan in response to human sin. Instead, God foreordained a plan for human redemption before the world began.

You see, God knew how the first human couple would respond when they were tempted with the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil- and He addressed their response “before the foundation of the world.” In addition to what we read here in 1 Peter 1:20, several other Biblical passages touch upon the subject of God’s foreordination as well…

“this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23 ESV).

“Here in Jerusalem, Herod and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Then they turned against your holy Servant Jesus, your chosen Messiah. They did what you in your power and wisdom had already decided would happen” (Acts 4:27-28 CEV).

“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT).

Thus, in the words of one commentator, 1 Peter 1:10 presents us with a God who served as the Redeemer before He was the Creator. (1) That truth has now been made visible (or “manifest”) to those who are living in “these last times.” That period began with the Apostle Peter’s generation and continues into this day. In light of this, we should take care to distinguish between the “last times” and the “end times.”

The phrase “end times” generally refers to the events that will occur just prior to the close of the current chapter of human history. In contrast, “these last times” began with Jesus’ ascension and will conclude upon His return. One source illustrates the relationship between these ideas with the imagery of a roadway that runs alongside a mountainous cliff….

“History is not, and has not, been rushing towards a distant brink that would end this current order; even in apostolic times, history had reached that brink – and has run parallel to it since.” (2)

(1) See Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Christless Life And The Christ-Filled Life (1Pe_1:14-25).”

(2) Guzik, Dave, 1 Timothy 4 – God’s Man Of Truth And Integrity (4:1) https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-timothy-4/


“who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:21-22).

In our earlier look at 1 Peter 1:9, we noted that this reference to the “soul” is derived from the word “psuche” in the original language of this passage. In this context, the soul refers to the human being as an individual personality. We can thus associate the soul with the “you” inside your body.

Here in 1 Peter 1:22, we have an intriguing reference to those who have purified their souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren. This thought-provoking idea is one that can benefit from a deeper analysis.

For instance, let’s consider this reference to purification. The word “purified” is linked to the act of “cleansing from defilement” in a moral or ceremonial sense. (1) That cleansing is actualized as we obey the truth through the Spirit. As we act in accord with the truth of God’s Word through the internal prompting of the Holy Spirit, we experience greater purity in thought, word, and deed.

A sincere love for other men and women of God subsequently reflects that growth in inner purity. Such love is “genuine” (CEB), “unfeigned” (KJV), and “real” (TLB). If we prayerfully seek to purify our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, we will naturally put the following behaviors into practice…

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT).

“Be humble and gentle in every way. Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other. Through the peace that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives” (Ephesians 4:2-3 GW).

“Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 Phillips).

In addition, we will also follow the Biblical directive from Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV). Taken together, this should prompt us to love one another fervently, as we’re told here in 1 Peter 1:22. We will explore what “fervently” means (and what it doesn’t mean) next.

(1) G48 hagnizo Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers


“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart”
(1 Peter 1:22)

The word “fervently” is often associated with a sense of emotional passion. While it may be natural to ascribe that quality to our text from 1 Peter 1:22, this word better identifies the characteristics of earnestness and intensity. (1) Unlike those who are indifferent or apathetic, this passage conveys the idea of an athlete who is stretched to his or her limit in pursuit of a goal.

This reminds us that “fervent love” is not necessarily synonymous with the external display of emotional affection. For example, the type of love referenced in the passage quoted above is a love that originates in the will. If we always felt naturally affectionate toward one another, there would be no need to demonstrate the type of fervent love that requires us to stretch ourselves to the limit. Instead, “…the idea suggested is that of not relaxing in effort, or acting in a right spirit.(2)

While a sense of warmth and affection might grow easily and spontaneously among those of similar temperament, it’s important to remember that there are wide varieties of personal, cultural, and emotional differences among Jesus’ followers. In other words, there are other genuine followers of Jesus who differ from us in terms of personality, background, and maturity.

While we should expect to find love and affirmation among Jesus’ followers, we must also recognize that there may be instances where we struggle to get along with one another (see Acts 15:36-41 for an example). This may explain why the New Testament book of Romans reminds us to, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV).

So the fervent love mentioned here should incorporate the qualities of longsuffering, kindness, and an attitude that enables us to rejoice in the welfare of others without envy or jealously. (3) Although there may be some (or perhaps many) who require us to “stretch ourselves to the limit” in our love for them, one commentator leaves us with some helpful conclusions…

“That he commands them to love one another already implies that love has essentially to do with one’s will and disposition rather than one’s emotions. Love is active goodwill or acting for the highest good of another person. Of course, ‘the highest good’ must be understood in light of the good revealed by God in Christ. It is in this sense that Peter commands Christians to love one another.” (4)

(1) G1619 ektenos https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1619/kjv/tr/0-1/
(2) Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers. See https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=VT0000847 [C-1]
(3) See Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament [1 Peter 1:22-25] Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
(4) Kendall, David W. “2. Love (1:22-2:3)” In Asbury Bible Commentary. 1189. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1992.


“having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).

Many of us have probably heard the phrase “born again” used in various ways. While that expression often means different things to different people, we can find its true meaning by looking to Jesus and His use of that term. For instance, the Gospel of John records an after-hours meeting between Jesus and a man named Nicodemus in which they held the following exchange…

“[Nicodemus] came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’

Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” (John 3:2-8).

If we take the time to read Jesus’ explanation in this passage, we’ll find there is very little complexity behind this idea. Just as every human being must undergo a physical birth to emerge as a child of his or her parents, so we must also be born spiritually (or “born again”) in order to become a child of God. A paraphrase of 1 Peter 1:23 explains that concept in the following manner…

“…you have a new life. It was not passed on to you from your parents, for the life they gave you will fade away. This new one will last forever, for it comes from Christ…” (TLB).

So while people may hold different views on the meaning of the phrase “born again,” the only valid definition is the one Jesus gave it. Our first birth is physical; our second birth is spiritual, just as we see in the Gospel of John. Through this second birth, we are adopted into God’s family and receive the blessings He bestows upon His sons and daughters.


“since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23 ESV).

Just as we must undergo a physical birth that is necessary to enter the world around us, so we must also undergo a spiritual birth that is necessary to enter heaven. The need for this act of rebirth is grounded in the fact that human beings are spiritually alienated from God. Therefore, we must be “born again” in order to enter a relationship with Him. This explains why Jesus tells us, “…I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above” (GW) in John 3::3.

So being “born again” means we are reborn from a state of spiritual separation from God to a life that is alive to God through Christ. The Spirit of God directs that rebirth, and it takes place when we accept Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf.

For instance, the Scriptures tell us, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1 NKJV). We’re also told, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” (NIV) in 2 Corinthians 5:17. So, unlike the mortal life that we inherit from our human parents (or the “perishable seed mentioned here in 1 Peter 1:23), those who are born again are redeemed by the sacrifice of the imperishable Christ.

Thus, we can say that this act of spiritual rebirth is a necessary prerequisite in our reconciliation to God. One source closes our look at this important topic with the following insights…

“It was Jesus who first declared that spiritual rebirth was an absolute necessity for entering the kingdom of God. He declared to Nicodemus, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). The word unless in Jesus’ teaching signals a universally necessary condition for seeing and entering the kingdom of God.

Rebirth, then, is an essential part of Christianity; without it, entrance into God’s kingdom is impossible. Regeneration is the theological term used to describe rebirth. It refers to a new generating, a new genesis, a new beginning. It is more than ‘turning over a new leaf’; it marks the beginning of a new life in a radically renewed person. Peter speaks of believers ‘having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever’” (1 Peter 1:23). (1)

(1) Sproul, R. C. (1992). Essential truths of the Christian faith. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. Page 171.


“For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:24-25).

It sometimes seems as if the world is filled with those who live as if they never expect to die. Then when a friend, family member, or celebrity passes away (sometimes unexpectedly), we are suddenly reminded that our physical lives are far from permanent. While the closing verses of 1 Peter chapter one offer an island of hope in the midst of that unfortunate truth, we must first wade through several grim realities before we reach it.

For instance, the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them” (Ecclesiastes 1:11). To illustrate the truth of that passage, let’s take a moment to consider the generations who have preceded us. While some may know little or nothing of their family history, others can often provide many details concerning parents, grandparents, or other family members.

For those who know of their family’s history, let’s consider our great-grandparents, the parents of our grandparents. How many of us are familiar with their generation? Now let’s step back one generation further to the parents of our great-grandparents. How many of us even know their names? Unless we’ve done some genealogical research, there’s a good chance that many of us know very little about these family members who preceded us just decades ago.

Unfortunately, the sights, sounds, and experiences of their daily lives are now lost to us. They live on today only in our scattered memories or perhaps a few old documents, photographs, or recordings. From our perspective, it is almost as though they never existed. But that sad reality applies not only to those who preceded us, for what is true of their generation now will likely be true of us as well.

While today’s age of social media may allow us to document our lives at great length, eventually there will be no one left to speak of our lives from their own personal experience. 1 Peter 1:24 expresses that unfortunate reality with a quotation from Isaiah 40:6-8: “all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall…

However, these depressing realities need not be true of us, as we’ll see in the final installment of our look at 1 Peter chapter one.


“for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:24-25 ESV).

The final verses of 1 Peter chapter one remind us that life can pass very quickly. Perhaps this is why Psalm 39:4 tells us, “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life…” In addition, Psalm 144:4 later tells us, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.”

The New Testament book of James echoes that thought with a pointed observation: “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears” (James 4:14 CEV). As one paraphrase of our text from 1 Peter 1:24 puts it, “…our natural lives will fade as grass does when it becomes all brown and dry. All our greatness is like a flower that droops and falls” (TLB).

While we may have a reasonable expectation of a long life, there are certainly no guarantees. While this may be a depressing reality, we can find encouragement in the fact that the choices we make today will influence the events of tomorrow. Therefore, the investments we make with our resources  hold great relevance for ourselves and others.

In light of this, we would do well to take an eternal perspective regarding this passage, one that recognizes that our true significance lies in our eternal relationship with Christ. Jesus spoke of that eternal perspective when He said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

A person who invests in the material things of today must leave those things behind when he or she passes from this life. But those who have accepted Christ can secure things of real, eternal value with the following investments…

“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19 ESV).

Peter will go on to address the practical effect of that eternal mindset in the opening verses of 1 Peter chapter two.