1 Peter 4
Counsels to Suffering Saints.
SUMMARY.--Christ Having Died for Us, We Should Live for Christ.
Watchfulness in View of the Speedy End.
The Trials of the Saints.
Suffering as Christians.
1-6. Arm yourselves. The saints must be equipped for warfare and
With the same mind. The mind that was in Christ when he suffered,
a willingness to suffer to do the will of God.
Hath ceased from sin. The idea seems to be that of
"He that is dead is freed from sin." Suffering with Christ puts an end
to (or ceases) our connection with sin.
2. That ye no longer should live. Hence, because we have "ceased
we should live, henceforth,
to the will of God.
3. The time past. That was enough time for sin.
Have wrought the will of the Gentiles. Lived the unholy lives
common among the heathen.
To have walked. Peter describes the common sins, sins of the
Gentile world, sins in which too many Jews imitated them. The first
two are sins of uncleanness.
Excess of wine. Drunkenness.
Rom. 13:13, and Gal. 5:21.
Riotous merry making is meant.
Banquetings. Carousings, as in Revision.
4. Wherein they. The outside world think it strange that you do
not engage in these sins longer. Their enjoyment is in them, and they
cannot understand how one can enjoy life without them.
Speaking evil of you. Because you refuse to rush into their
5. Who shall give account. Those sinners, who not only persist
in their unholy lives, but persecute the saints because they will not
sin with them. Christ shall judge
living and the dead.
6. For to this end was the gospel preached even to dead. This
passage has been explained as meaning those spiritually dead. But the
dead must be the same as in
and there they are opposed to the living. Meyer holds that this is an
There he supposes Christ, in the Spirit, preached to the antediluvians.
Here, he holds, that Peter affirms that all the dead who lived before
Christ came had the opportunity to hear; hence when the living and dead
are judged, none can plead that they had no chance of life. Others hold
that the meaning may be freely given as follows: "Whether you die or
live Christ is your judge. For this cause the gospel was preached to
your brethren who have died," etc. This view avoids some difficulties
but does not seem to harmonize fully with the context. Others hold that
Peter means all the dead who have died from the time the gospel began
to be preached. These had heard and gone, but would be judged as well
as the living. This interpretation has the advantage of giving "the
dead" the apparent meaning of that phrase.
That they might be judged. Without some opportunity to know of
the gospel they could not be judged for its rejection.
According to men in the flesh. These dead, who had heard, and
received the gospel, though experiencing the judgment of physical death
that rested on all men, were called to
live according to God in the spirit; that is, live on, an immortal
7-11. The end of all things is at hand. The end of Jerusalem was
not far off, and it does not seem that it was given to Peter to
distinguish clearly between that and the end of all things, which truly
Watch unto prayer. Compare
1 Thess. 5:6, 8, and Matt. 24:42.
8. Love covereth a multitude of sins. Compare
Prov. 10:12; 1 Cor. 13:7.
Love is a mantle which seeks to condone sin rather than exaggerate
9. Using hospitality. A duty very needful in that age of
persecution when Christians were so often driven from home. See notes
1 Tim. 3:2.
10. Even as each hath received a gift. All these are to be
freely used for others. Spiritual gifts
(1 Cor. 12:4, 28)
are primarily meant, but the principle is of general application.
As good stewards. Those to whom God has given gifts must use
them, not as their own, but as God's.
11. If any man speaketh. Through a gift of the Spirit. He must
speak not his own words, but speak as though they were God's oracles,
speakers of a divine message.
Ministereth. Let him act as one of God's ministers and act in
That God may be glorified. Since all is of God.
12-14. The fiery trials. Persecution.
As though a strange thing. Christians, with the world against
them, must expect to endure such things.
13. Rejoice. Because thus you are
made partakers of Christ's sufferings. See notes on
2 Cor. 1:7.
At the revelation of his glory. All who suffer with him will be
14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ. Because you are
Because the spirit of glory. Spirit is not found in the Greek.
The idea is, that the sufferer for Christ is happy because the glory of
Christ awaits him, and God's spirit is with him.
15-19. Let none of you suffer as a murderer. As an evil
16. If any man suffer as a Christian. This name was now widely
known, and good men suffered only because they were Christians.
17. The time for judgment is come. it begins at the house of
God, the church. In
Matt., chapter 25,
the righteous are judged first.
If it begin first at us. If even the righteous are called to
judgment, what shall be the fate of the disobedient?
18. And if the righteous. A passage quoted from
The idea is that if sufferings and judgments (chastenings) come upon
good people, what hope is there for the wicked?
19. Wherefore let them also that suffer. Let all who suffer, not
for evil doing but for righteousness sake, keep on
in well doing and commit their souls to the care of the all seeing
and faithful God.