From: Over 50 Interpreters Explain First Peter Return to Home
By Roland H. Worth, Jr. © 2018
List of All Sources Quoted At End of File
WEB: Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
Young’s: Christ, then, having suffered for us in the flesh, ye also with the same mind arm yourselves, because he who did suffer in the flesh hath done with sin,
Conte (RC): Since Christ has suffered in the flesh,
you also should be armed with the same intention.
For he who suffers in the flesh desists from sin,
4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us. Since he as a man has died for us. The design was to set the suffering Redeemer before them as an example in their trials. 
The Apostle returns again to the thought of , in order to make the personal application as given in this section. The glorious development of truth, contained in 3:18b-22, was simply a digression from the main argument. 
The “suffered” is a general expression here, covering His death as well as what He endured previous to that. That His death is in view appears from the definition of the “suffered” by the “being put to death” in 1 Peter 3:18. What Peter says here, too, is not exactly “in the flesh,” but “as to the flesh” or “fleshly-wise.” The term used is precisely the same as in 1 Peter 3:18. It is introduced twice in this verse, perhaps with this touch of comfort in it, that, as in Christ’s case, so in the case of Christians, it is only the perishable side of being that suffering can hurt. 
in the flesh [omitted by ESV, NASB, NIV, etc.]. The words “for us,” which the A.V. inserts, have the support of some good authorities. They are wanting, however, in the oldest of all our manuscripts as well as in some important Versions, and are rightly omitted by the R.V. and the best critics. 
arm yourselves. As a soldier called to a warfare. 
Provide yourselves with armor and weapons; i.e., let the “mind” be your defense against the temptations involved in persecution, and enable you to resist and overcome them. 
The idea of a spiritual armor, which appears repeatedly in the Pauline Epistles (Romans ; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians -17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8), and meets us also in the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah 59:17), is taken up this once and in briefest possible form in Peter’s writings. The verb “arm yourselves” occurs nowhere again in the New Testament, although it is common enough in Classical Greek, both in the literal sense and in the figurative. 
likewise with the same mind [attitude, NIV; purpose, NASB; way of thinking, ESV]. We are to put on the same fortitude which the Lord Jesus had, and this will be the best defense against our foes, and the best security of victory. 
E.V., “the same mind” would mean “the same as that of Christ,” scarcely possible as a matter of Greek, which, however, might mean “the same view,” i.e. “arm yourselves by taking the same view of your suffering as Christ took of his;” or the thought may be described in the following words, “the same thought (which sustained Christ), namely that he that hath suffered,” &c. 
for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. To be governed by sin. He is crucified and dead to it. Galatians 2:20. 
They cease to be what our generation would call our “lifestyle.” [rw]
It is a general law of spiritual life that suffering hardens and embitters; but where it is endured for the sake of Christ and with the memories of what he endured and thereby achieved, it results in a perfecting of character. Of this general law, Peter here makes a special application. One whose sufferings have been caused by his opposition to sin, by his unwillingness to imitate sinners, has surely, in so far, “ceased from sin.” He is not free from the assaults of sin, but the consciousness of his experience, and the thought of Christ, will enable him to regard his very sufferings as badges of his fidelity, as proofs of his loyalty to his Master. 
If this had been the close of the sentence we might have looked on the “suffering” of which the Apostle speaks, as including death, as it had included it in the case of Christ. So taken, the words might seem to express the familiar thought that “Death only can from sin release,” as in the Rabbinic maxim “He that is dead is freed from sin” ([quoted in] Romans 6:7), that men were to welcome the sufferings that brought death near to them, as working out their complete emancipation. The words that follow [in the next verse], however, make this interpretation impossible, and the “ceasing from sin” must therefore be understood of that “deadness to sin,” “sin no longer having dominion over us,” of which Paul speaks in Romans 6:7-11. That Apostle, it may be noted, though he quotes the Rabbinic proverb, transfers its application from literal to spiritual death, and Peter, following a like train of thought, affirms as a general law of the spiritual life that the very act of suffering in the mind of Christ and for Him so strengthens the powers of will and faith that the sufferer is ipso facto delivered from the life in which sin is dominant. 
WEB: that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Young’s: no more in the desires of men, but in the will of God, to live the rest of the time in the flesh;
Conte (RC): so that now he may live, for the
remainder of his time in the flesh, not by the desires
of men, but by the will of God.
4:2 That he no longer. The Greek form of the sentence points rather to the result than to the purpose of sufferings so borne, but the result in this case was one which implied a divine purpose. The “lusts” or “desires” of men are pointedly contrasted with “the will of God,” the wild restless cravings with the calm and fixed purpose. It is not without significance to remember that Paul, in an Epistle which Peter had clearly seen, had written “This is the will of God, even our sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3), and that Peter himself teaches “He is not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). [ - ]
[This verse has] the same general thought as in Romans , “even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.” 
should live the rest of his time in the flesh. The remainder of your earthly life. 
to the lusts of men. Either your own or those of others. These are various; but the will of God is one. 
but to the will of God. Contending influences sought to make the readers conform to one or other of two entirely different moral standards. The example and arguments of many of their neighbors, reinforced by their own natural desires and former habits (verses 3 and 4), proposed inclination as the true guide to conduct; let men follow their natural impulses. Christ and the Spirit proposed to guide and correct men’s impulses, whether natural or not, by referring them to the Divine will, to which life must be both surrendered and conformed. The exhortation in these verses seems to be twofold: (a) You have already made sacrifices for your faith; do not lose the fruit of such conduct by lapsing into sin, but rather (b) be willing to make further sacrifices, because through cheerful endurance lies the path to a yet higher life. 
Bengel notices the contrast between the “lusts” which are various, and the “will of God” which is one. Compare Paul’s contrast between the “works of the flesh” which are discordant and make life itself a discord, and the “fruit” of the Spirit which is a unity, and makes life a unity (Galatians , 22). 
Weymouth: For you have given time enough in the past to the doing of the things which the Gentiles delight in-- pursuing, as you did, a course of habitual licence, debauchery, hard drinking, noisy revelry, drunkenness and unholy image-worship.
WEB: For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries.
Young’s: for sufficient to us is the past time of life the will of the nations to have wrought, having walked in lasciviousnesses, desires, excesses of wines, revellings, drinking-bouts, and unlawful idolatries,
Conte (RC): For the time that has passed is sufficient
to have fulfilled the will of the Gentiles, those who
have walked in luxuries, lusts, intoxication, feasting,
drinking, and the illicit worship of idols.
4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us. The language is that of grave irony. Enough time, and more than enough, had been already given to the world. Was it not well to give some time now to God? The general line of thought runs parallel to that of Romans 13:11-12. 
“We have spent sufficient time in indulging ourselves, and following our wicked propensities, and we should hereafter live in a different manner.” This does not mean that it was ever proper thus to live, but that, as we would say, “we have had enough of these things; we have tried them; there is no reason why we should indulge in them any more.” 
to have wrought the will of the Gentiles. This does not mean to be subservient to their will, but to have done what they willed to do; that is, to live as they did. That the Gentiles or pagan lived in the manner immediately specified, see demonstrated in Romans 1:21-32. 
The expression is soft, but conveys a very strong meaning, namely, that in no period of our lives ought we to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; and that whatever time we spent in so doing was too much. 
The verb “wrought” is of a form and a tense, which serve to throw the action entirely into the past as now finally done with. 
when we walked in lasciviousness [lewdness, NKJV]. When we lived in the indulgence of corrupt passions--the word walk being often used in the Scriptures to denote the manner of life. 
“Walking,” or rather, as the perfect tense implies, “walking as ye have done;” in reference to a continuous course of life now done with. 
we. The apostle says we, not as meaning that he himself had been addicted to these vices, but as speaking of those who were Christians in general. It is common to say that we lived so and so, when speaking of a collection of persons, without meaning that each one was guilty of all the practices enumerated. See 1 Thessalonians 4:17, for a similar use of the word we. The use of the word we in this place would show that the apostle did not mean to set himself up as better than they were, but was willing to be identified with them. 
A difficult question presents itself. This Epistle is written to the Jews of the
dispersion, and particularly this passage:
for their nationality is contrasted with that of the Gentiles in
the first clause, “the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the
will of the Gentiles,” and yet could the Jews of the dispersion be supposed to
have joined with the Gentiles in “abominable idolatries”? We have always been led to consider that
whatever sins the Jews fell into after the Captivity, idolatry was not one of
them. So that idolatries may be taken
here as meaning the degrading and lascivious practices which always, or almost
always, accompanied the heathen rites, in which the Jews felt themselves
justified in taking part because they did not bow down to the actual idol. This is now [in the late 1800s] a snare to
our fellow countrymen dwelling in
lasciviousness [lewdness, NKJV]. The Greek word is in the plural as expressing the manifold forms or acts of impurity. The word is always applied to the darker forms of evil (Mark ; Romans ; 2 Peter 2:2, 7, 18). 
Aselgeia is perhaps rather “lawless insolence and wanton caprice” (Trench, Synonyms), the rowdiness and horseplay associated with drunken debauchery. 
The word in Greek means any outrageous debauchery, so that it may be said to include all the words that follow. 
Peter begins with a wide, plural term, sufficient to include unbridled conduct of all kinds, and then goes on from the general to the particular. 
lusts. The indulgence of unlawful
Pointing specially to fleshly lusts and appetites strictly so called, although the term is not confined to these (see on 1 Peter ). 
excess of wine [drunkenness, NKJV]. Excess of wine should be plural. It is a contemptuous word (wine-swillings), and differs from the word translated “banquetings”, below, because the latter is more refined, and also implies company, which the first need not. 
The Greek word is found in the LXX of Deuteronomy 21:20, Isaiah 56:12, but not elsewhere in the New Testament. 
The word used here (οἰνοφλυγία oinophlugia) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means “overflowing of wine,” (οἶνος oinos “wine,” and φλύω, “to overflow”;) then wine-drinking; drunkenness. That this was a common vice need not be proved. Multitudes of those who became Christians had been drunkards, for intemperance abounded in all the pagan world. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. It should not be inferred here from the English translation, “excess of wine,” that wine is improper only when used to excess, or that the moderate use of wine is proper. Whatever may be true on that point, nothing can be determined in regard to it from the use of this word. The apostle had his eye on one thing--on such a use of wine as led to intoxication; such as they had indulged in before their conversion. Moreover, that the phrase “excess of wine” does not precisely convey the meaning of the original. The word excess would naturally imply something more than was needful; or something beyond the proper limit or measure; but no such idea is in the original word. That refers merely to the abundance of wine, without any reference to the inquiry whether there was more than was proper or not. Tyndale renders it, somewhat better: “drunkenness.” 
revellings. Only elsewhere in the New Testament: Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21. The word is explained in a good sense as “a
jovial festivity with music and dancing;” in a bad sense as “rowdy and indecent
singing and drinking bouts.” The wurd komos, here
translated “revelling,” furnished
It is the word which is so familiar to us in the Classics as the name given to the drunken merry-makings of various kinds, which were so considerable an element in Greek life. They were recognized entertainments, celebrated on festal days, in connection with the worship of Bacchus and other gods, or in honor of the victors at the national games. Those of the last-named class were of a comparatively orderly kind. The others were attended with great license, and generally ended in the revelers sallying out into the streets, and wakening the echoes with song and dance and noisy frolic. 
banquetings [drinking parties, NKJV]. Literally, drinking-parties. The word went naturally as in other Greek writers with “revellings.” 
The word used here (πότος potos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly drinking; an act of drinking; then a drinking bout; drinking together. The thing forbidden by it is an assembling together for the purpose of drinking. There is nothing in this word referring to eating, or to banqueting, as the term is now commonly employed. The idea in the passage is, that it is improper for Christians to meet together for the purpose of drinking. The prohibition would apply to all those assemblages where this is understood to be the main object. 
and abominable. [Greek word found] only here, and by Peter in Acts . More literally, unlawful, emphasizing the idolatries as violations of divine law. 
The Greek adjective means simply “unlawful:” but as in the Latin “nefas, nefanda, nefarius,” the idea of that which is at variance not merely with human but with natural law tends to pass into that of a guilt which makes men shudder. 
The expression is used in the sense of wicked, impious, since what is unlawful is impious and wrong. 
idolatries. The “abominable idolatries,” on the other
hand, may seem decisive in favor of the supposition that this part of the
Epistle was intended for Gentile readers: but here also the word of warning
would be as applicable to lax and licentious Jews, or to those who had been
proselytes to Judaism, and who had not given up their attendance at idol-feasts
or eating things sacrificed to idols (compare 1 Corinthians 8:10; Revelation
2:14, 20). The Books of Maccabees (1 Maccabees -14; 2 Maccabees
-14) show that there had been a
strong drift to apostasy of this kind under the Syrian Monarchy. The
In depth: The nature of pagan
religious and civic “revelling” . The
[Greek] word originally signifies merely a merry-making; most probably a
village festival, from [in Greek], a village. In the cities such entertainments grew into
carouses, in which the party of revelers paraded the streets with torches,
singing, dancing, and all kinds of frolics.
These revels also entered into religious observances, especially in the
worship of Bacchus, Demeter, and the Idaean Zeus in
Plato, in the introduction to “The Republic,” pictures himself as having gone down to the Piraeus to see the celebration of the festival of Bendis, the Thracian Artemis (Diana); and as being told by one of his companions that, in the evening, there is to be a torch-race with horses in honor of the goddess. The rites grew furious and ecstatic.
“Crowds of women, clothed with fawns’ skins, and
bearing the sanctified thyrsus (a staff wreathed with
vine-leaves) flocked to the solitudes of
Peter, in his introduction, addresses the sojourners
With vigorous hand the clamorous drum they rouse,
And wake the sounding cymbal; the hoarse horn
Pours forth its threatening music, and the pipe,
With Phrygian airs distracts the maddening mind,
While arms of blood the fierce enthusiasts wield
To fright the unrighteous crowds, and bend profound
Their impious souls before the power divine.
Thus moves the pompous idol through the streets,
Scattering mute blessings, while the throngs devout
Strew, in return, their silver and their brass,
Loading the paths with presents, and o’ershade
The heavenly form; and all th’ attending train,
With dulcet sprays of roses, pluckt profuse,
A band select before them, by the Greeks
Curetes called, from Phrygian parents sprung,
Sport with fantastic chains, the measured dance
Weaving infuriate, charmed with human blood,
And madly shaking their tremendous crests.”
De Rerum Natura, ii. 618-631.
WEB: They think it is strange that you don't run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming:
Young’s: in which they think it strange -- your not running with them to the same excess of dissoluteness, speaking evil,
Conte (RC): About this, they wonder why you do
not rush with them into the same confusion of
4:4 Wherein they think it strange. 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. 
They are surprised and wonder at it, as at something new and unusual, that their old friends should be so much altered. 
that ye run not with them. This seems to signify the eagerness and vehemency of these Gentiles in pursuing their lusts. 
There may be an allusion
here to the well-known orgies of Bacchus, in which his votaries ran as if
excited by the furies, and were urged on as if transported with madness. See Ovid, Metam.
iii. 529, thus translated by
to the same excess. Only here in New Testament. Lit., pouring forth. Rev. has flood in margin. The word is used in classical Greek of the tides which fill the hollows. 
The idea here is, that all the sources and forms of riot and disorder were poured out together. There was no withholding, no restraint. The most unlimited indulgence was given to the passions. 
“The word is a very strong one in describing the mad rushing of evil men encouraging themselves and, as it were, carrying all before them in the indulgence of vice, for it signifies the rushing of waters, charged with all manner of filth, into some common sewer or other outlet.” (Wordsworth.) 
of riot. Lit., unsavingness, prodigality, wastefulness; and thence of squandering on one’s own debased appetites, whence it takes the sense of dissoluteness or profligacy. In Luke 15:13, the kindred adverb ἀσώτως is used. The prodigal is described as scattering his substance, to which is added, living wastefully ( ζῶν ἀσώτως ). Compare Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6. 
speaking evil of you. They speak evil of their persons, of their way, their religion, and their God. 
The meaning here is, that they used harsh and reproachful epithets of those who would not unite with them in their revelry. They called them fools, fanatics, hypocrites, etc. The idea is not that they blasphemed God, or that they charged Christians with crime, but that they used language suited to injure the feelings, the character, the reputation of those who would no longer unite with them in the ways of vice and folly. 
Or: Charging you with pride, singularity, hypocrisy, and secret crimes (1 Peter ; 2 Peter 2:2). However, there is no “of you” in the Greek, but simply “blaspheming.” It seems to me always to be used, either directly or indirectly, in the sense of impious reviling against God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit, and the Christian religion, not merely against men as such. 
WEB: who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
Young’s: who shall give an account to Him who is ready to judge living and dead,
Conte (RC): But they must render an account to
him who is prepared to judge the living and the dead.
4:5 Who shall give account to Him. That is, they shall not do this with impunity. They are guilty in this of a great wrong and they must answer for it to God. 
The phrase is one of the many echoes in this Epistle of our Lord’s teaching (Luke 16:2). The thought of the Final Judgment from which there will be no appeal is made here, as in 1 Corinthians 4:5, a motive for patience and courage under the false accusations and unjust judgments of men. They who now demand an account (1 Peter ) will one day have to render it. 
that is ready. That is,
“who is prepared to judge”-- τῷ ἑτοίμως
ἔχοντι tō hetoimōs echonti. See the phrase used in Acts 21:13, “I am
ready not to be bound only, but also to die at
to judge. Not the nearness of the event, but its certainty, is intended. 
This Judge, too, as we may infer from the general conclusion to which 1 Peter 3:17-22 led up, is Christ—the Christ who is reviled when Christians are reviled, the Christ who, in the time of His own suffering, committed His case to Him that judgeth righteously. 
the quick [living, NKJV] and the dead. i.e., all generations of men; not as some, the spiritually living—believers—and the spiritually dead—unbelievers. 
WEB: For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.
Young’s: for for this also to dead men was good news proclaimed, that they may be judged, indeed, according to men in the flesh, and may live according to God in the spirit.
Conte (RC): For because of this, the Gospel was
also preached to the dead, so that they might
be judged, certainly, just like men in the flesh, yet
also, so that they might live according to God, in
4:6 For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead. We might easily tabulate thirty distinct and different interpretations of this verse as given by commentators. 
The expression, “For, for this cause,” refers to an end to be reached, or an object to be gained, or a reason why anything referred to is done. The end or reason why the thing referred to here, to wit, that “the gospel was preached to the dead,” was done, is stated in the subsequent part of the verse to have been “that they might be judged,” etc. It was with reference to this, or in order that this might be, that the gospel was preached to them. 
The plain meaning is, that “the gospel was preached” to men when living, who are now “dead,” just as it would be perfectly correct to say that it was preached to saints in glory, or to souls that are in perdition; meaning, that it was preached to them when here on the earth. The aorist shows its cessation. 
Or: The question might be asked, How were the dead to be judged by their acceptance or rejection of the Gospel when they had passed away without any opportunity of hearing it? He finds the answer in the fact that to them also the Gospel-message had been brought. Of some of these his Lord Himself had taught him that if they had seen the wonderful works which attested His ministry and mission, “they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:21). Was it not a natural inference from those words, confirmed by what had been revealed to him as to the descent into Hades, that that opportunity had been given? 
was the gospel preached. “Were the good tidings preached.” One word in Greek. The word is altogether different from that used for the heralding of .
that they might be judged according to men in the flesh. After the manner of men’s experience as it must happen to men, as men, to be judged. 
Or: That these O.T. saints, at the final judgment, might stand in the same judicial relation to the kingdom of God as their fellow-saints which were still living in the flesh on earth and now had the Gospel preached to them. 
but live. That is, might be pardoned and become heirs of eternal life. 
according to God in the spirit. In their souls, as contrasted with their body. In respect to that--to the flesh--they were put to death; in respect to their souls--their higher natures--they were made truly to live. The argument, then, in this verse is, that the flesh might suffer in consequence of their embracing the gospel that was preached to them, but the soul would live. 
Flesh and spirit, it will be noticed, are set against one another from chapter to this verse. 
Or: That these Old Testament saints now in their blessed condition in heaven, in the presence of Christ, in the period intervening between Christ’s Ascension and His Second Coming, might live in their glorious spiritual existence, separated from the body, in the full enjoyment of the peace and joy of heaven, which Christ obtained for them by His death and exaltation. 
In depth: The nature of the dead being preached to. Martin’s Luther’s caution on this text that our concern and emphasis needs to be on the current situation rather than past events over which we have no control : We are not to be anxious how God will condemn the heathen who died many centuries ago, but only how He will judge those that are now living.
As a reference to the spiritually dead being preached to in the current life . That [this Greek word], “the dead,” in Scripture, doth often signify not those who in a natural sense are dead by dissolution of the soul and body, but those who are spiritually so, as being alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins; as when the apostle saith the widow “that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth,” 1 Timothy 5:6; and Christ unto the church of Sardis, “Thou hast a name to live, and art dead,” Revelation 3:1; and when he speaks to one of his disciples thus, “Follow thou me, and let the dead bury their dead,” Matthew 8:22.
This is a phrase so common with the Jews, that, as Maimonides informs us, they proverbially say, Impii etiam viventes vocantur mortui, “The wicked are dead even while they are alive:” for he saith, Philo, “who lives a life of sin, is dead, as to a life of happiness;” his soul is dead, and even buried in his lusts and passions. And because the whole gentile world lay more especially under these most unhappy circumstances, whence the apostle styles them “sinners of the gentiles,” Galatians 2:15, it was proverbially said by the Jewish doctors, Populi terrarum, i.e. ethnici non vivunt, “The heathens do not live;” and they in Scripture are more peculiarly intended by that phrase. Hence the apostle saith to the Ephesians and Colossians (Ephesians 2;1, Colossians ), that they were, “dead in trespasses and sins;” and brings in God thus speaking to the gentiles, “Awaken thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life,” Ephesians .
As having in mind those Christians who have died since their conversion . It seems to me that the most natural and obvious interpretation is to refer it to those who were then dead, to whom the gospel had been preached when living, and who had become true Christians. This is the interpretation proposed by Wetstein, Rosenmuller, Bloomfield, and others. In support of this it may be said:
(1) that this is the natural and obvious meaning of the word dead, which should be understood literally, unless there is some good reason in the connection for departing from the common meaning of the word.
(2) the apostle had just used the word in that sense in the previous verse.
(3) this will suit the connection, and accord with the design of the apostle. He was addressing those who were suffering persecution.
It was natural, in such a connection, to refer to those who had died in the faith, and to show, for their encouragement, that though they had been put to death, yet they still lived to God. He therefore says, that the design in publishing the gospel to them was, that though they might be judged by people in the usual manner, and put to death, yet that in respect to their higher and nobler nature, the spirit, they might live unto God. It was not uncommon nor unnatural for the apostles, in writing to those who were suffering persecution, to refer to those who had been removed by death, and to make their condition and example an argument for fidelity and perseverance. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Revelation 14:13.
As limited to the believing dead (rejected) . It is erroneous to understand by the quick and the dead the Christians only (Wichelhaus, Schott), or those who speak evil only. Peter, by naming Him to the dead, implies thereby that they are not to remain unpunished, whether they die before the day of judgment or not. And this as a testimony to the justice of God, should serve to comfort the Christians under the calumnies which they had to endure, and exhort them not to be led aside by them to a denial of their Christian walk.
As a reference to 1 Peter . The reference here seems to be to the previous mysterious passage which spoke of the preaching to “the spirits in prison.” Both statements are obscure; the practical bearing is plain. Here the simple truth is emphasized that all men, without exception, are to be judged by God, a truth intended to encourage those who are seeking to keep from sin, and to warn those by whom they are opposed. 
As a reference to the same time period as 1 Peter 3:19 but to what was happening in a different part of Hades--that part which was home to God’s faithful . Peter here unveils another mystery belonging to the great work of redemption. He has reference to the manifestation of Christ in the world of departed spirits which took place at the same time as the event recorded in 1 Peter 3:19-20, but the reference is now to what took place in the upper part of Hades, in Paradise, where the soul of the Old Testament saints were still held under the power of death, Satan, and Hades.
Unto them Christ also manifested Himself after His revivication, and to them His appearance was also one of triumph and glory. But to them He appeared as their glorious and Risen Lord, the conqueror of Satan and the power of death. He also heralded forth His victory, but His preaching was not simply an announcement of His victory as it had been when He appeared to the spirits in prison (), for now it was a preaching of good tidings. It brought joy and peace to the O.T. saints.
[Even those who might not agree with the interpretation the commentator adds next, might agree with him this far. The two segments of the approach do not have to be joined, though they normally are. rw]
The teaching of Scripture warrants us in believing that at Christ’s glorious descent into Hades as the risen God-man, great changes were wrought in the condition of the souls of the saints. That part of Hades known as Paradise before Christ’s resurrection has now yielded up its captives, for the Lord Jesus “hath led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8-9); He has snatched all the blessed dead from Hades, and the gifts which the exalted Christ gave to the saints of the O.T., when He ascended on high and entered upon His kingly and heavenly throne, were freedom from the dominion of Satan and Hades, and the blessedness and glory of being with Him in heaven.
And from this time forward Paradise is not regarded as a place or condition of joy on the earth as it was before the Fall, nor under the earth as the upper places of Hades where the blessed dead were between the Fall and the resurrection of Christ, but as above the earth in heaven itself (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). And ever since Christ’s resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven, the souls of the blessed dead, according to the constant testimony of the New Testament Scriptures, are in heaven with Christ, under the throne of His glory, and the souls of all believers who now die enter immediately into heaven, and not into Hades, to be with Christ in joy and glory—there in blessedness to await the Second Coming of Christ and their glorious resurrection, when with body and soul reunited, they shall enter upon their eternal glory.
Rebuttal of the concept that the text refers to how from Jesus’ death to the end of time, the gospel is preached after death to those who either did not hear it or rejected it in the current life . Either this preaching in Hades is identified with the preaching mentioned in 1 Peter 3:19; in which case it is open to the objections already taken to the theory of a presentation of the Gospel, by the disembodied or quickened Redeemer, to the souls of the disobedient of Noah’s time in Hades. Or it is supposed that Peter now states the general truth, of which that was only a particular illustration, namely, that, through Christ’s visit to Hades, the Gospel is proclaimed to all, and that upon this basis Christ can righteously judge all, whether dead or living.
But there are various considerations which tell against this reading of the verse. It does injustice, for example, to the time to which the preaching is referred. It disposes of the historical tense ‘was preached’ as if it were ‘is preached,’ or ‘shall be preached,’ and of a Gospel ministry which is distinctly described as past, as if it were a continuous process.
It involves the assumptions that the term “dead” must mean all the dead, and that what is given as the statement of an already accomplished fact is the statement of a general principle. It overlooks the circumstance that the act of being “judged according to men” is represented as subsequent to the preaching.
It introduces an irrelevant idea, when it introduces the idea of its being a righteous thing that all men should be judged by Christ because, in the other world, if not in this, the Gospel shall first have been preached to all. For Peter is not dealing with any such question as to how it shall stand with those who have not heard the Gospel in this world, but with a plain case where the Gospel is known—the case where Christians are slandered by their heathen neighbors for their fidelity to the Gospel.
It is difficult, too, to see how the idea in question bears upon the exhortation which Peter is pointing. How should the mention of a Gospel preached to the dead in the under world bear upon the position of living Christians who are misrepresented by living detractors in the upper world? What encouragement to patient endurance of heathen slander should Christians find in the information that their heathen persecutors are assured of a new period of favor in the other world? Or how should the mention of Christ’s graciousness towards the unrighteous dead incite the righteous living to a persevering separation from heathen impurity? These considerations, and others of like kind, render this popular view of the passage very doubtful indeed. On the other hand, it must be frankly confessed that it is far from easy to make out an entirely satisfactory interpretation.
WEB: But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer.
Young’s: And of all things the end hath come nigh; be sober-minded, then, and watch unto the prayers,
Conte (RC): But the end of everything draws near.
And so, be prudent, and be vigilant in your prayers.
4:7 But the end of all things is at hand. This refers to the second coming of Christ. 
be ye therefore sober [be serious, NKJV]. The Greek word implies the exercise of moderation of mind, self-control. 
It should be noted that a very different state of mind is too frequently associated with the expectation of the return of Christ. Fear, idle curiosity, restless excitement, neglect of duty, too commonly attend popular teaching concerning the second advent. 
In more detail: The word here rendered “sober” by the A.V. means literally “sound-minded,” and is so used in the description of the healed demoniac as “in his right mind” (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35). Then it comes to mean sober-mindedly discreet, self-controlled. It points to what Jeremy Taylor calls “reason’s girdle and passion’s bridle,” the healthy self-restraint which keeps the curb on appetite, extravagance, and all intemperate feeling or action. Its cognates occur almost exclusively in the Pastoral Epistles. The noun itself is found only thrice in the New Testament—in Acts 26:25 (of Paul’s “words of truth and soberness”); 1 Timothy 2:9, where “shame-fastness” and “sobriety” are coupled, the former denoting the “innate shrinking from anything unbecoming,” the latter the “well-balanced state of mind resulting from habitual self-control” (Ellicott); and 1 Timothy 2:15, where it is the fence of “charity and holiness.” In the Classical ethics it was opposed to licentiousness and excess, and was defined by Socrates as the “foundation of manly virtue.” 
and watch unto prayer. That is, so that you may always be in the right frame of mind for prayer. 
watch. The word rendered watch, means to be sober, temperate, abstinent, especially in respect to wine; then watchful, circumspect. 
unto prayer. The plural points to repeated prayer (Schott). 
Or: In Greek the word prayer is in the plural; this suggests that there are different kinds of prayers, that we ought to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians ), and may refer to the regular prayers offered daily by the Church. 
Prayer of all kinds, whether private or public, personal or social, seems to be in view. This is the end to which the cultivation of the previous graces should look, the great interest which it should advance. Soundness of mind and sobriety are essential to the prayerful frame, and specially so where the believer suffers from the contagion of vicious surroundings and the distraction of trial. Tyndale’s rendering, therefore, expresses the point most happily, “Be ye, therefore, discreet and sober, that ye may be apt to prayers.” 
Rival interpretations of when “the end” was anticipated to be coming.
As a reference to the approaching death of anyone then alive . The phrase, “the end of all things,” would naturally refer to the end of the world; the winding up of human affairs. It is not absolutely certain, however, that the apostle used it here in this sense. It might mean that so far as they were concerned, or in respect to them, the end of all things drew near. Even if the phrase did originally and properly refer to the end of the world, it is probable that it would soon come to denote the end of life in relation to the affairs of each individual; since, if it was believed that the end of the world was near, it must consequently be believed that the termination of the earthly career of each one also drew near to a close. It is possible that the latter signification may have come ultimately to predominate, and that Peter may have used it in this sense without referring to the other.
As a reference to the fall of
Embracing the individual death approach but providing a
cross-section of those taking the fall of
Thus Whitby understands him: “This phrase, and the advice upon it, so exactly parallel to what our Lord had spoken, will not suffer us to doubt that the apostle is here speaking, not of the end of the world, or of all things in general, which was not then, and seems not yet to be at hand, but only of the end of the Jewish state.”
Thus also Macknight: “This epistle being written about a year after the war with the Romans began, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish state, Peter, who had heard his Master’s prophecy concerning these events, and the signs of their approach, had good reason to say that they had approached.”
But, as Dr. Doddridge justly observes, this was an event in which most of those, to whom the apostle wrote, were comparatively but little concerned. It is probable, therefore, that the apostle either referred to death, which may be considered as the end of the whole world to every particular person; or the consummation of all things, which may be said to be at hand in the sense in which our Lord, long after the destruction of Jerusalem: says to the church, (Revelation 22:7, 20,) Behold I come quickly.
To the same purpose is Mr. Scott’s interpretation: “All Christians must expect tribulations in the world, but these would soon terminate; for the end of all things was at hand, and death was about to close their course of trials or services; nay, judgment would not be so long delayed, as that the intervening space should, in the estimation of faith, be at all compared with eternity.”
The case that this
represents Peter’s personal
conviction or hope of a near-turn return of the Lord, but that he recognized
that the actual timing might be
considerably different since even the apostles had not been given the complete data needed to make such a
statement with absolute certainty . In speaking of the “end,” Peter
refers neither to the mere destruction of
This “end,” too, is “at hand”—a rendering which occurs again in Romans 13:12, Philippians 4:5, and better conveys the impending imminence of the event than the “draweth near” or “draweth nigh,” which appears elsewhere (Luke 21:8; James 5:8). The same expressive term is applied to the advent of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 3:2; Matthew ; Matthew 10:7; Mark ; Luke 10:4), to the approach of the traitor and the “hour” of the Son of Man (Matthew 26:45-46), to the entrance of the “day” (Romans ), etc.
This vivid realization of the nearness of the end, which appears in all the apostolic writings, is specially characteristic of Peter. To all the New Testament writers, but perhaps specially to him, and his comrade John, their own time was the “last time,” the dispensation beyond which there was to be no other, and the close of which was so near that nothing seemed to stand between them and it.
Yet the chronology of the “end,” as Christ Himself had taught them (Acts 1:7), was not disclosed to them, and there were things which they knew must intervene before that time (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). “This principle is to be held fast,” says Calvin, “that ever since Christ first appeared, nothing is left to believers but with minds in suspense to be always intent upon His Second Advent.”
WEB: And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins.
Young’s: and, before all things, to one another having the earnest love, because the love shall cover a multitude of sins
Conte (RC): But, before all things, have a constant
mutual charity among yourselves. For love covers a
multitude of sins.
4:8 And above all things. More than all things else. 
Or: Not that “charity” or love is placed above “prayer,” but because love is the animating spirit, without which all other duties are dead. 
Saying this in a different way: The preference which is given to brotherly love is not given as if it were superior to prayer and the other virtues, or as if these were to be subordinated to the interests of that, but because without it nothing else can make the inner life of the Church what it should be. 
have fervent charity [love, NKJV]. Their love is not to be the minimum to get by. It is to be passionate, wholehearted, doing whatever one can. [rw]
Neither is it brotherly love in itself that is enjoined (for that is taken for granted), but the duty of giving it fullest scope. It is to be cultivated with “persevering intensity” (Huther), as the disposition to which the soul without risk can surrender itself entirely, and which, the more it is cherished, adds new grace to sobriety and the other virtues, and deepens the life of the Church. 
among yourselves. To “love the brotherhood” is a fine, positive, ideal—but does not require anything immediate out of you. To have committed and determined love for your local fellow church members--that is either demonstrated by behavior or can hardly be claimed to actually exist. And if your behavior toward the locals is snobbish, conceited, arrogant, or even spiteful—or merely “obstacles to be ignored”—you’ve given no actual demonstration that love of them actually exists in you at all. [rw]
for charity [love, NKJV] shall cover the multitude of sins. Either your own [sins] or those of others. These are various; but the will of God is one. 
The sentence is taken from Solomon, whose words are found in Proverbs , “Hatred discovers reproaches, but love covers a multitude of sins.” And it ought to be noticed that Solomon does not say that only a few sins are covered, but a multitude of sins, according to what Christ declares, when he bids us to forgive our brethren seventy times seven, Matthew 18:22. But the more sins love covers, the more evident appears its usefulness for the wellbeing of mankind. 
One mark of true charity [= love] is that it keeps us from spreading abroad, cackling over, exposing the faults and failings of others. The charity which “covers sins” shows itself in a spirit of true kindness. Do you not know how we do this in our own homes—how careful we are to keep secret the faults and failings of some member of the family? Not because we condone them, but for love of the erring one, and “for the sake of the family”! Well, God would have us act thus towards every fellow man and woman, as we act in our own homes. Do we know something discreditable to another? Then do not, for the love of God, let us go and make it known in every home, and at every tea-table, and every tennis-party in the parish! That is not charity. It is the hateful spirit which is glad at his disgrace. There are some whose lives would be better, more hopeful lives to-day, had more charity of this kind been extended to them in days gone by. 
In depth: Does Peter have in mind the forgiveness of our own sins? A survey of options and affirming that it is the sins of others . The sense of the words is evident from the first half of the verse; whilst hatred stirs up strife and contention (by bringing the sins of others to the light of day), love, with forgiving gentleness, covers the sins of others (and thus works concord).
In its original meaning, accordingly, the proverb has reference to what love does as regards the sins of others; love in its essential nature is forgiveness, and that not of some, but of many sins; 1 Corinthians 13:5, 7; Matthew 18:21, 22. In this sense Estius, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Steiger, Wiesinger, Weiss, Schott, Fronmuller, etc., have rightly interpreted the passage, which then, serving as the basis of the preceding exhortation, is intended to set forth the blessed influence of love on life in the church.
Several expositors (Grotius, etc.) understand the words to have the same meaning here as in James 5:20), that is, that love in effecting the sinner’s conversion, procures the divine forgiveness for his many sins; but, on the one hand, “the apostle does not here regard his readers as erring brethren, of whom it might be the duty of some to convert the others” (Wiesinger); and, on the other, “there is here not the slightest indication as such, but of reclaiming labors” (Weiss).
Oecumenius already, and after him many Catholic expositors (Salmeron, Corneliusa Lapide, Lorinus, etc.), and several Protestants also (the latter sometimes, whilst distinctly defending the Protestant principle against Catholic applications of the passage), understand the maxim of the blessing which love brings to him who puts it into practice. But if Peter had wished to express a thought similar to that uttered by Christ, Matthew 6:14-15, he would assuredly not have made use of words such as these, which in the nature of them bear not upon personal sins, but on those of others.
In depth: Is Peter actually quoting Proverbs 10:12? Case that Peter has in mind the forgiveness of our own sins . Shall cover.—Properly, neither “shall” nor “will,” the right reading being present, covereth. The words are usually said to be a quotation from Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins;” but they are widely different from the LXX in that passage, and also vary from the Hebrew; and as precisely the same variation occurs in James 5:20, it seems more probable either that Peter had the passage of James consciously in his mind, or that the proverb was current and familiar to both writers in the form, “Love covereth a multitude of sins.”
It is, therefore, unsafe to argue from the exact shade of meaning which the words bear in Proverbs 10:12. To “cover,” in Hebrew, often means to “forgive,” the idea being that of an offensive object which you bury or hide by putting something else over it; see, for examples, Psalms 32:1, 85:2; and the place in Proverbs seems to mean that whereas a bitter enemy will rake up every old grudge again and again, one who loves will not allow even himself to see the wrongs done to him by a friend.
If this sense be accepted here, it will imply that
the Christians in
It far better suits the context to take the proverb in the same sense as in James, without any reference to the Old Testament passage. In James it is usually taken to mean, “He shall save (the convert’s) soul from death, and shall cover (i.e., procure for him the pardon of) a multitude of sins;” but as the true reading there is “his soul,” it is more natural to suppose that James is holding up, as the reward of converting the sinner, that the person who does so shall save his own soul, and procure for himself the pardon of a multitude of sins.
So here it seems obvious that Peter is urging charity as something which will be found advantageous when the “end of all things” comes; and the advantage he mentions is, “because charity covereth a multitude of sins:” i.e., the exercise of this grace makes up for a great many other shortcomings in the man. A very good case might be made out for a doctrine of Justification by Love.
That would not, of course, mean justification by love alone anymore than salvation by faith means salvation by faith alone, without the other elements God demands go with it (a reformed life, faithfulness, etc). [rw]
WEB: Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
Young’s: hospitable to one another, without murmuring;
Conte (RC): Show hospitality to one another
4:9 Use hospitality. In the early Church the grace of “hospitality” was much emphasized; it did not denote the entertainment of friends but the relief of travelers; as inns were rare and poor, as the extension of the Church depended upon work of itinerant evangelists, the need of receiving strangers into their homes was apparent to all Christians; yet it did require love, it did offer occasions for imposition, for resentment, and for murmuring. 
Relationship to persecution: [Assistance] as would often be necessary toward those who might be driven from home, or otherwise suffering. 
one to another without grudging [grumbling, NKJV]. The characteristic Eastern virtue became of still more urgent importance among Christians in the early times of their uncertainty and trial, when families were broken up, friends divided, and homeless wanderings made a necessity. Taking it for granted, however, that the laws of hospitality are honored, and that believers who have the power will be ready to open the door to every needy brother, Peter deals here with the spirit in which all should be done. 
Greek, “without murmurs;” that is, without complaining of the hardship of doing it; of the time, and expense, and trouble required in doing it. The idea of grudging, in the common sense of that word--that is, of doing it unwillingly, or regretting the expense, and considering it as ill-bestowed, or as not producing an equivalent of any kind--is not exactly the idea here. It is that we are to do it without murmuring or complaining. One of the duties involved in it is to make a guest happy; and this can be done in no other way than by showing him that he is welcome. 
In depth: The social context that made this trait of special value and importance . The stress laid on this virtue in the New Testament, as in 1 Timothy 3:2; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2, brings before us some of the more striking features of the social life of the Christians of the first three centuries. The Christian traveler coming to a strange city was in a position of no little difficulty. The houses of heathen friends, if he had any, were likely to bring trials of one kind or another. He might be taunted and persecuted for his faith or tempted to “run to the same excess of riot with them.” Inns presented too often [abundant] scenes of drunkenness and impurity, foul words and fouler acts.
It was therefore an unspeakable gain for such an one to know that he could find shelter in a Christian home. The fact that he was a Christian, that he brought with him some “letter of commendation” (2 Corinthians 3:1) as a safeguard against imposture, was to be enough to secure a welcome. It lay in the nature of things that sometimes strangers might thus present themselves with inconvenient frequency or under inconvenient conditions, and therefore Peter adds “be hospitable . . . without murmurings.” Men were not to look on it as a trouble or a nuisance, or think themselves hardly [ = badly] treated. They might be entertaining angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2). Here also God loved a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
WEB: As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms.
Young’s: each, according as he received a gift, to one another ministering it, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God;
Conte (RC): Just as each of you has received grace,
minister in the same way to one another, as good
stewards of the manifold grace of God.
As every man [Just as each one, NET]. Each of us is an individual; whether physically or spiritually the abilities and talents of each of us is different. [rw]
And “even as” it was received, so is it to be ministered. This “even as” is understood by some to refer to the spirit of the ministering; in which case it would mean that as the gift was freely bestowed, so it should be freely and ungrudgingly used. Others think it implies that the gift was to be used according to the intention of its bestowal. The point, however, seems to be that the recipients of spiritual gifts should serve the Church each according to the measure of what he had received, or (and this seems more consistent with such parallel statements as Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:7) each according to the kind of gift received. 
hath received the gift. [The] ability to do good. 
The word rendered “the gift” (χάρισμα charisma) in the Greek, without the article, means “endowment” of any kind, but especially that conferred by the Holy Spirit. Here it seems to refer to every kind of endowment by which we can do good to others; especially every kind of qualification furnished by religion by which we can help others. It does not refer here particularly to the ministry of the word--though it is applicable to that, and includes that--but to all the gifts and graces by which we can contribute to the welfare of others. 
A miraculous gift? This gift has been supposed by some to signify the means of exercising hospitality. And this seems to be implied by Paul in the parallel passage in Romans 12:8: “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” But “charisma” may be any particular gift of the Spirit—prophecy, tongues, &c. We are to remember that the allusions to the gifts of the Spirit in the Apostolical Epistles assume a very wide diffusion of them. Thus particularly in 1 Corinthians 12:7: “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall.” 
even so minister the same one to another. Faithfully employ your gift. 
In anything by which you can benefit another. Regard what you have and they have not as a gift bestowed upon you by God for the common good, and be ready to impart it as the needs of either requires. The word “minister” here (διακονοῦντες diakonountes) would refer to any kind of ministering, whether by counsel, by advice, by the supply of the needs of the poor, or by preaching. It has here no reference to any one of these exclusively; but means, that in whatever God has favored us more than others, we should be ready to minister to their needs. See 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Corinthians 3:8, -20. 
as good stewards. He intends to do them good, but he means to do it through your instrumentality, and has entrusted to you as a steward what he designed to confer on them. This is the true idea, in respect to any special endowments of talent, property, or grace, which we may have received from God. 
οἰκονομία means primarily “the office of a steward” or “household management,” but the latter meaning was used in a very wide sense of any kind of provision or arrangement, cf. the English word “dispensation,” so in Ephesians 1:10; 3:2, 9; Colossians 1:25 it is used of God’s plan or arrangement; but in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, 9:17 Paul speaks of his own stewardship and says that he and his fellow-workers should be regarded as “stewards,” so Titus 1:7 the ἐπίσκοπος must be blameless as being “the steward of God” (cf. the Parable of the unjust steward and Luke 12:42). In the latter passage the steward, though himself a slave, is evidently regarded as being in a position of authority over the other servants, but here Peter seems to regard every man as an οἰκονόμος. As members of “the household of God” each one is responsible for using what his Master has given him for the benefit of the household in accordance with God’s “housekeeping arrangements.” 
of the manifold grace of God. His favors are not confined to one single thing; as, for example, to talent for doing good by preaching; but are extended to a great many things by which we may do good to others--influence, property, reputation, wisdom, experience. All these are to be regarded as his gifts; all to be employed in doing good to others as we have opportunity. 
Weymouth: If any one preaches, let it be as uttering God's truth; if any one renders a service to others, let it be in the strength which God supplies; so that in everything glory may be given to God in the name of Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the might to the Ages of the Ages. Amen.
WEB: If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Young’s: if any one doth speak -- 'as oracles of God;' if any one doth minister -- 'as of the ability which God doth supply;' that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the power -- to the ages of the ages. Amen.
Conte (RC): When anyone speaks, it should be
like words of God. When anyone ministers, it
should be from the virtue that God provides, so
that in all things God may be honored through
Jesus Christ. To him is glory and dominion forever
and ever. Amen.
If any man speak, let him. In [both] public and private. 
In public assemblies, or in the social meetings of his Christian brethren. 
Or: As a preacher, referring here particularly to the office of the ministry. 
As a teacher, preacher, or exhorter. 
The words cover all the various gifts of speech,—prophesying, teaching, exhorting, etc., which were known in the Church, whether official or non-official. They are enumerated in Romans 12:6-8, and 1 Corinthians 12:8, 28. Such gifts are a part of the stewardship. They who speak in the Church are to do so, therefore, as “oracles of God.” 
speak as the oracles of God. As communications of God’s doctrines, and not the speaker’s own. 
The word is used of Old Testament revelations in Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2, but we may think of it as including also those made through the prophets and teachers of the Christian Church. The fact that Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, who came within the circle of Apostolical teaching, wrote a book on the Oracles of the Lord Jesus (Eusebius Hist. Eccl., iii. 39), makes it probable that Peter included our Lord’s teaching, possibly also the Epistles of Paul, which he speaks of as “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:16), under this title. The essential unity of Apostolic teaching was not to be disturbed by private eccentricities of interpretation or theoretical speculation. 
On the same point: The term “oracles,” which in the Classics means oracular responses, is used in the New Testament to designate Divine utterances or revelations, specially those of the Old Testament (Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2). Once it is applied to those of the New Testament itself, viz. in Hebrews 5:12, where it seems to denote the Divine testimony to Christ, or Christian doctrine as derived from revelation. It is not meant here, however, merely that those who spoke should see that what they said was accordant with Scripture or the Word of God, but that they should speak as if they themselves were oracles of God, utterers not of thoughts of their own, but of thoughts which they owe to Him. 
The standard of Divine judgment consists of the Bible not creeds: The Bible is the only authority, and this divine agapee the whole sum and substance of the Christian religion. The sectarian creeds were made during the Dark Ages, when not one man in a thousand could read. At that time an effort to focalize Bible truth into a small compass and thereby facilitate instruction, was perhaps apologetical. Now all the people can read, hence the credistic ages, to say the least, have come and gone, leaving the blessed Bible sole victor of the field. If you believe your creed to be true, of course you find it in the Bible. So preach the truth from the Bible, saying nothing about your creed, and you will glorify God, remembering that your creed will not be mentioned when you stand before the great White Throne, while you will certainly be judged by the whole Bible.  – 1 of 3 usages
True “gospel preaching” is gospel centered and not centered on my own
insights and wisdom: He who preaches is not to give utterance
to his own opinions or thoughts, but let him confine himself to the revelations
of God, what God has revealed in His Word.
(See Acts ; Romans
3:2; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Hebrews 5:12). 
if any man minister. διακονεῖ diakonei. This may refer either, so far as the word is concerned, to the office of a deacon, or to any service which one renders to another. See 1 Peter 4:10. 
“Ministetreth:” exercises the gifts of healing, relief of the poor, tending the sick, &c. 
This gift, too, is not to be limited to the official ministry of the deacon. It includes all those kinds of service, in relation to the poor, the sick, strangers, etc., which are associated with the gifts of teaching in such passages as Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians . Nothing more distinguished the primitive Church than its self-denying, enthusiastic attention to such interests. Tertullian of Carthage (A.D. 160-240) speaks of it as one of the chief felicities [= blessings] of marriages in Christ, that the wife was free to care for the sick and distribute her charities without hindrance, and as one of the greatest disadvantages of mixed marriages that the Christian wife was not allowed by the heathen husband to visit the house of the stranger, the hovel of the poor, the dungeon of the prisoner. (See Neander, Ch. Hist. i. 354, Bohn.) 
The obligation to “minister” within the limits of the revealed oracles of God that were just mentioned: “Whoever rules in the Christian church and has an office or ministry for the care of souls, he is not to proceed as he may choose, and say, “I am sovereign lord, I must be obeyed; what I do shall remain established.” God requires that we should do no otherwise than as He directs. So that since it is God’s work and ordinance, let a bishop do nothing except he be sure that God sanctions it, that it is either God’s word or work.” – Martin Luther 
let him do it as of the ability which God giveth. This is the limit of all obligation. No one is bound to go beyond his ability; everyone is required to come up to it. Compare Mark 14:8; Luke 17:10. 
giveth. The word for “giveth,” used by Paul in 2 Corinthians , and again in a compound form by Peter in 2 Peter 1:5, had, as its primary meaning in Classical Greek, that of defraying the expense of a chorus in the performance of a drama. As this took its place among the more munificent [= generous] acts of a citizen’s social life, the verb came to be connected with the general idea of large or liberal giving, and was used in that sense long after the original association had died out of it. 
that God in all things may be glorified. This is pointed out as the end to be aimed at in the use of all gifts whether of speech or action. In so teaching, Peter was but reproducing what he had heard from his Lord’s lips, “that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16), perhaps also what he had read in Paul’s Epistles, that men should “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 
through Jesus Christ. That he may be honored; to wit, by our doing all the good we can to others, and thus showing the power of his religion. 
Gerhard: “As through Christ all benefits descend upon us from God, so also ought we in humble gratitude to refer all things through Christ to the glory of God.” 
to whom be praise [belong the glory, NKJV] and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. This doxology may refer grammatically either to God or to Christ. The former is probably the correct reference here, though according to , the writer might consistently have had Christ in view. 
It may be noted, as probable evidence that the Apostle is using a liturgical formula, that precisely the same combination is used by John in Revelation 1:6, and is found also, in a fuller form, in Revelation 5:13. 
and dominion [power, Holman, NIV]. Control over His kingdom and the entire world—believing or not. [rw]
for ever and ever. Permanently—both today, tomorrow, and with no stopping point in the future. [rw]
The idea of the everlasting is expressed according to the Hebrew conception of eternity as the measureless succession of cycles of time. 
Amen. From the Hebrew for “fixed, settled, true,” and so meaning “verily.” 
WEB: Beloved, don't be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you.
Young’s: Beloved, think it not strange at the fiery suffering among you that is coming to try you, as if a strange thing were happening to you,
Conte (RC): Most beloved, do not choose to
sojourn in the passion which is a temptation to you,
as if something new might happen to you.
Beloved. The affectionate address, “Beloved,” which has been used already at a serious turning-point in the Epistle, is repeated here in token of the writer’s sympathy with the readers, and to conciliate their attention to what he has yet to say on a painful subject. 
think it not strange. i.e., alien from you and your condition as Christians. Compare 5:4. 
Do not consider it as anything which you had no reason to expect; as anything which may not happen to others also. 
Cf. 4:4. Since, as Christians, they were special objects of God’s love and care, they might naturally “think it strange” that they were singled out for exceptional suffering. 
concerning the fiery trial. The trial itself is expressed by a term which is well represented by the “fiery trial” of the A.V. In the Classics it means a burning, or a firing, and is used of the material processes of cooking, roasting, etc., but also at times metaphorically of burning desire, proving by fire, etc. In Proverbs 27:21 it is rendered “furnace,” and the cognate verb is used of the trial of character as being like the smelting of metals (cf. Psalms 65:10; Zechariah 13:9). 
The word rendered “fiery trial” (πυρώσει purōsei) occurs only here and in Revelation 18:9, 18; in both of which latter places it is rendered burning. It means, properly, a being on fire, burning, conflagration; and then any severe trial. It cannot be demonstrated from this word that they were literally to suffer by fire, but it is clear that some heavy calamity was before them. 
which is to try you [that has come on you to test you, NIV; is occurring among you, NET]. This “burning” is said to be among you—a clause which is overlooked by the A.V., and which represents the fiery process as not remote but already at work in their midst. The “which is to try you” of the A.V. makes that future which Peter gives as present. The trial was then taking place, as the terms imply, and that with the object of proving and so purifying them. The idea, therefore, is so far the same as in 1 Peter 1:7. 
as though some
strange thing happened unto you. Men were to enter into the
WEB: But because you are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy.
Young’s: but, according as ye have fellowship with the sufferings of the Christ, rejoice ye, that also in the revelation of his glory ye may rejoice -- exulting;
Conte (RC): But instead, commune in the Passion
of Christ, and be glad that, when his glory will be
revealed, you too may rejoice with exultation.
But rejoice. The words of the beatitude of Matthew 5:12 come back upon the Apostle’s mind, and are reproduced as from his own personal experience. When he had first heard them, he may well have counted them a strange thing. Now he has tried and proved their truth. 
The idea being to rejoice in the suffering that is unearned and undeserved, that comes upon us through no fault of our own. [rw]
inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings. [Sufferings] like His, and endured for His sake. 
The term rendered “inasmuch as” by the A.V. means in 2 Corinthians , however, in proportion as; and in Romans it seems to have the same sense (= we know not what we should pray for, in proportion to the need, to the propriety of the case). Here, therefore, the idea is probably that we should rejoice in our trials not merely because we are participants in what Christ suffered, but in so far as that is the case with us. 
that, when his glory shall be revealed. At the day of judgment. 
Literally the words run, in the revelation of His glory. As thought of by the Apostles, the “revelation of Christ” is identical with His coming to judge the quick and dead (Luke ). The precise phrase “the revelation of His glory” is not found elsewhere, but it has an analogue in “the throne of His glory” in Matthew 25:31. 
The burden of suffering is lightened when we remember that it was shared by the well-beloved Son of God. Cf. , , , 4:1, and Philippians 3:10, “That I may know the fellowship of his sufferings;” 2 Corinthians 1:7, “Ye are partakers of the sufferings” (of Christ); and Colossians , “I . . . fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ.” The sufferings of the persecuted Christians were part of the sufferings of Christ, because their endurance was inspired by his Spirit; they suffered for righteousness’ sake, and their constancy tended to the salvation of men and the glory of God. 
ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Every good man will have joy when, immediately at death, he is received into the presence of his Savior; but his joy will be complete only when, in the presence of assembled worlds, he shall hear the sentence which shall confirm him in happiness forever. 
This revelation will occur when Christ, at His Second Advent (Matthew 25:31), comes to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5). To believers this revelation will be a day of joy, to unbelievers a day of terror. 
WEB: If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.
Young’s: if ye be reproached in the name of Christ -- happy are ye, because the Spirit of glory and of God upon you doth rest; in regard, indeed, to them, he is evil-spoken of, and in regard to you, he is glorified;
Conte (RC): If you are reproached for the name
of Christ, you will be blessed, because that which is
of the honor, glory, and power of God, and that
which is of his Spirit, rests upon you.
If ye be reproached [reviled, NASB; insulted, ESV]. Not just criticized, but severely—even harshly so. [rw]
The sentence is another echo of Matthew 5:11. 
for the name of Christ. To be reproached for the name of Christ is to be reproached for being a Christian, that is, for being like Christ. 
The phrase “in the name of Christ,” which is paraphrased by both the A.V. and the R.V. as “for the name of Christ,” is best interpreted, as is done by most, in the light of Christ’s own explanation in Mark 9:41—in my name, because ye belong to Christ. It covers, therefore, all kinds of reproach endured on account of bearing Christ’s name and belonging to Him. 
happy are ye. “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake,” we found an echo of one beatitude (Matthew ), so in this we have the counterpart of the more personal “for my sake” of Matthew . It would be better, as indicating the reference to the beatitudes, to render the adjective by “blessed” rather than “happy.” 
for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you. There is no doubt that there is reference here to the Holy Spirit; and the meaning is, that they might expect that that Spirit would rest upon them, or abide with them, if they were persecuted for the cause of Christ. 
Persecution will not be a sign of God’s rejection, as proved by the continued presence of the Spirit. [rw]
The English version is tenable, but the construction of the sentence is peculiar and admits of a different rendering, “the principle or element of glory, and the spirit of God, resteth on you.” In either case what is emphasized is the fact that the outward reviling to which the disciples were exposed brought glory and not dishonor. 
resteth upon you. In contrast to men’s reproaches. Cf. Isaiah 11:2, “The spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him.” 
God’s Spirit is described as a resting upon them. The word is one which, either in itself or in a compound form, occurs in several suggestive passages of the O.T.—in Numbers 11:25-26, of the prophetic Spirit resting on the seventy elders; in 2 Kings 2:15, of the spirit of Elijah resting on Elisha; and above all in Isaiah 11:2 (which is probably in Peter’s mind here), of the Spirit of the Lord that was to rest upon Messiah. This is the reason why even in reproach and persecution they are “blessed.” They whom the Spirit thus visits have glory already with them; for He is the Spirit whose nature glory is, and where He enters, there the earnest of all glory is. They with whom the Spirit is pleased to dwell, have God Himself with them; for He is the Spirit of God, and where that presence is, there is rest. 
on their part He is still spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.
“Critical texts,” reflected in the NASB and many other translations, omit the remainder of the verse as inadequately documented in ancient manuscripts. [rw]
on their part. By the wicked. 
He. That is, the Holy Spirit. 
Or: Christ. 
is evil spoken of. If our age can find an excuse to criticize an individual for just about anything—and for no good reason at all--why should it be any surprise that the foes of Christ will hate even the suggestion of His influence upon us? [rw]
but on your part He is glorified. By your manner of speaking of him, and by the honor done to him in the patience evinced in your trials, and in your purity of life. 
WEB: For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil doer, or a meddler in other men's matters.
Young’s: for let none of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evil-doer, or as an inspector into other men's matters;
Conte (RC): But let none of you suffer for being
a murderer, or a thief, or a slanderer, or one who
covets what belongs to another.
But let none of you. Emphatic in the Greek, “no single one of you.” 
Keep clear of those crimes which may expose you to suffering by the hand of justice, and carry yourselves so innocently, that you may never suffer from men but unjustly. 
“Does not this warning teach Christian preachers a lesson, that no matter how high they assume the spiritual state of their hearers to be, they must speak to them as still in the flesh, and not above the temptations to commit even gross sin?” 
suffer. If you must be called to suffer, see that it be not for crime. If were brought against them, there should be no pretext furnished for them by their lives. 
The implied sequence of thought would seem to be this: “I bid you suffer for the name of Christ and remind you of the blessing which attaches to such suffering, for the last thing I should wish is that you should think that it is the suffering, not the cause, that makes the martyr.” 
as a murderer. The killer of any man or woman, adult or child. [rw]
or as a thief. A far lesser evil than stealing a man’s life (“as a murderer”), but still wrong nonetheless. Your theft may be self-serving or out of revenge for a real or imagined slight. It remains a moral evil in either case. [rw]
or as an evildoer. As a wicked man; or as guilty of injustice and wrong toward others. 
Since the two previous evils—murder and theft—were extreme acts, it is as if Peter had said, “or any other brazen act of clear-cut and obvious evil that even a calloused pagan would regard as such.” [rw]
or as a busybody in other men's matters. Meddling whether from undue zeal to conform the customs of non-Christians to the Christian standard, as some explain the passage, or from love of power or “managing” [others]. 
The Greek found only here in New Testament. Literally, the overseer of another’s matters. One who usurps authority in matters not within his province. Rev., meddler. Compare Luke 12:13, 14; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11. It may refer to the officious interference of Christians in the affairs of their Gentile neighbors, through excess of zeal to conform them to the Christian standard. 
The admonition is good, taking the ordinary view of it. Robinson defines, an overseer of other men’s matters; perhaps an indiscreet zealot against heathen manners and customs. But as the apostle is specifying offences against civil law, it seems better, with Lardner and others, to understand it of political busybodies, or factious, seditious persons. How faithfully this injunction was heeded by the early Christians may be estimated from the testimony of Pliny’s letter to the Emperor Trajan, some forty-five years later. After saying that they were charged with no other crime than the being Christian, he adds: “They affirmed that the whole of their fault or error lay in this—that they were wont to meet together on a stated day before it was light, and sing among themselves alternately a hymn to Christ, as to God, and bind themselves by an oath, not to the commission of any wickedness, but not to be guilty of theft, or robbery, or adultery; never to falsify their word, nor to deny a pledge committed to them when called upon to return it. When these things were performed it was their custom to separate, and then to come together to a meal which they ate in common.” 
WEB: But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter.
Young’s: and if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; and let him glorify God in this respect;
Conte (RC): But if one of you suffers for being
a Christian, he should not be ashamed. Instead, he
should glorify God in that name.
Yet if any man suffer. If this happens to any of you, regardless of your gender and regardless of how “important” or “unimportant” you may be in the community of faith. [rw]
as a Christian. Because he is a Christian; if he is persecuted on account of his religion. 
Or: Only three times in the New Testament, and never as a name used by Christians themselves, but as a nickname or a term of reproach. See Acts . Hence Peter’s idea is, if any man suffer from the contumely of those who contemptuously style him Christian. 
It should be remembered that whether “Christian” was a pagan appellation or a Divinely given one in Acts 11:26, when a pagan used it in bringing accusations against believers, it had to have a negative connotation in their minds, however honorable the term might be among the Christians themselves. [rw]
The history of the name is a question of importance. It has been held by some to have originated with the Roman authorities (Ewald). It has also been supposed to have been at first a term of ridicule (de Wette, etc.). The generally accepted account of it, however, is that it originated with the Gentiles at Antioch, that it was formed on the model of other party names, such as Herodians, Marians, Pompeians, etc. (as = the followers of Herod, Marius, Pompey, etc.), and that it designated those to whom it was applied simply as followers of the party-leader, Christ. 
let him not be ashamed. (1) Ashamed of religion so as to refuse to suffer on account of it. (2) Ashamed that he is despised and maltreated. He is to regard his religion as every way honorable, and all that fairly results from it in time and eternity as in every respect desirable. A man should be ashamed only of that which is wrong. 
but let him glorify God on this behalf [in that name, ESV]. It’s a thing to take pride in. And your Master, Jesus, suffered far, far worse in His own life! [rw]
The reading “in this name” is better supported than the one which the A.V. renders “on this behalf,” and which means simply “in this matter” (it occurs again in the “in this respect” of 2 Corinthians , and the “in this behalf” of 2 Corinthians 9:3). The phrase “in this name” goes back either upon the term “Christian,” or on the “in the name of Christ” in 1 Peter . 
In depth: The scenario that “Christian” was a name ultimately adopted by believers but originating from pagans . The occurrence of a name which has played so prominent a part in the history of mankind requires a few words of notice. It did not originate with the followers of Christ themselves. They spoke of themselves as the “brethren” (Acts 14:2; 15:1, 3, 22, &c.), as “the saints,” i.e. the holy or consecrated people (Matthew 27:52; Acts 9:13, 32; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 6:1; Ephesians 1:1, &c.), as “those of the way,” i.e. those who took their own way, the way which they believed would lead them to eternal life (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 24:22).
By their Jewish opponents they were commonly stigmatized as “the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5), the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the city out of which no good thing could come (John ).
The new name was given first at
Soon it came to be claimed by those believers. The question, Are you a Christian? became the crucial test of their faith. By disowning it, as in the case of the mildly repressive measures taken in these very regions by Pliny in the reign of Trajan, they might purchase safety (Pliny, Epp. x. 96). The words now before us probably did much to stamp it on the history of the Church. Men dared not disown it. They came to exult in it.
Somewhat later on they came to find in it, with a pardonable play upon words, a new significance. The term Christiani (= followers of Christ) was commonly pronounced Chrestiani, and that, they urged, showed that they were followers of Chrestus, i.e. of the good and gentle one. Their very name, they urged, through their Apologist, Tertullian (Apol. i. 3), was a witness to the falsehood of the charges brought against them. 
Question: If pagans could not pronounce the name rightly, why in the world should we expect that they originated it? You can’t even pronounce the name rightly that you originated! Doesn’t that strain credulity? [rw]
In depth: An analysis of descriptions applied to believers and why a name like “Christian” was essential to have as a public identifier. The following is from J. W. McGarvey’s [Original] Commentary on Acts, as he deals with Acts 11:26:
The united efforts of two such men as Barnabas and Saul, in a community where the gospel was already favorably heard, could not fail of good results. (26) “And it came to pass, that during a whole year they were associated together in the Church, and taught a great multitude; and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” There has been much dispute as to whether this new name was given by Barnabas and Saul under divine authority, or by the Gentiles of Antioch, or by the disciples themselves. It would serve no practical purpose to decide between the latter two suppositions, for, with whichever party it originated, it was subsequently accepted by the disciples in general.
As to the supposition that the name was given by direct revelation through Barnabas and Saul, a thorough discussion of its merits would require more verbal criticism than is suited to the design of this work, and, at the same time, be less decisive in reference to the authority of the name in question, than the course of investigation which we prefer to institute.
If the New Testament furnishes any names for the people of God, its authority in reference to their use is not less imperative than in reference to any other use of language. We can have no more right, in this case, to substitute other names for them, or to add others to them, than to do the same in reference to the names of the apostles, of the Holy Spirit, or of Christ.
When the disciples assumed a new relation to their teacher, it necessarily brought them into a new relation to one another. From the nature of the moral lessons which they were learning, and which they were required to put into immediate practice, this relation became very intimate and very affectionate. It gave rise to their designation as “the brethren.” They were so styled first by Jesus, saying to them: “Be not called Rabbi; for one is your teacher, and all you are brethren” [Matthew 23:8]. This term, however, as a distinctive appellation of the whole body, is used only once in the gospel narratives, where John says of the report that he would not die: “This saying went abroad among the brethren” [John ].
In Acts it frequently occurs in this sense; but still more frequently in the Epistles. The latter being addressed to the brethren, and treating of their mutual obligations, this term most naturally takes precedence in them, and the term disciple, which is used in speaking of a brother rather than to him, is as naturally omitted. This accounts for the fact that the latter term is not once found in the Epistles.
This increasing currency of the term brethren in the later apostolic age is intimately associated with the introduction of another name which came into use in the same period. Jesus frequently called the disciples his own brethren, and taught them, in praying to say, “Our Father, who art in heaven;” but the title, “children of God,” which grew out of the relation thus indicated, was not applied to them during this early period.
It is not so applied in any of the gospels but John's, and in this only in two instances, where it is evident that he is using the phraseology of the time in which he writes rather than of the period of which he writes [; ]. This appellation, as a current and cotemporaneous title, is found only in the Epistles, being brought into use after the disciples had obtained more exalted conceptions of the blessed privileges and high honors which God had conferred upon them. It extorted an admiring comment from John, in his old age: “Behold, what manner of love the Father bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” [1 John 3:1.]
By this time the disciples exhibited to the world a
well-defined character. It was such as
identified them with those who, in the Old Testament, were called saints,
and this suggested the use of this term as one of their appellations. The persecutions which they were enduring
still further identified them with the holy “prophets who were before
them.” This name occurs first on the
lips of Ananias when he objected to approaching Saul
of Tarsus. He says to the Lord, “I have
heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints in
All of the names we have now considered are well adapted to their specific purposes; but all of them presuppose some knowledge of the people whom they are intended to distinguish. An entire stranger would not at first know who was meant by the disciples, or the brethren; but would ask, Disciples of whom? brethren of whom? Nor would he know who were the children of God, or the saints, until you had informed him to what certain characters these terms apply.
There was need, therefore, of a name less ambiguous
to those who had the least information on the subject--one better adapted to
the great world. This, like all the
others, originated from circumstances which demanded it for immediate use. When a Church was established in
From this fact, when strangers came to
This name, whether given by divine or by human authority, was not designed as an exclusive appellation, seeing that the others were continued in use after its introduction. It merely took its proper place among the other names, to answer its own special purpose.
The names now enumerated are all that are furnished by the New Testament. We have assumed above that it would be subversive of divine authority for disciples to adopt any other names. The truth of this assumption is demonstrated by the rebuke which Paul administers to the Corinthians for this very sin. He says to them: “It has been declared to me, my brethren, by them who are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul?” [1 Corinthians 1:11-13.] Now, if it was sinful for these brethren to assume the names of men, how can it be innocent in us to do the very same thing?
The name Christian embodies within itself, in a more generic form, all the obligations specifically expressed by the other names [describing his status]. When the servant of Christ remembers that all these names belong to him; that, because he is supposed to be learning of Christ, he is called a disciple; because he is one of the happy and loving family of equals, they call him brother; because the Father of that family, whose character he strives to imitate, is God himself, he is called a child of God; that, because he is presumed to be holy, he is called a saint; and that, for all these reasons, he wears the name of him who by his mediation and intercession enables him to be all that he is, how powerful the incentive to every virtue, constantly yet silently pressing upon his conscience, and how stern the rebuke to every vice!
WEB: For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who don't obey the Good News of God?
Young’s: because it is the time of the beginning of the judgment from the house of God, and if first from us, what the end of those disobedient to the good news of God?
Conte (RC): For it is time that judgment begin
at the house of God. And if it is first from us, what
shall be the end of those who do not believe the
Gospel of God?
For the time is come that judgment. By judgment seems to be here understood afflictions, persecutions, and trials in this world; and the sense is, that the time of this life is a time of suffering.  More properly, if this approach is taken: has periods of extreme persecution and trial. He approaches this as a period distinct from the one in which they are already enduring injustice--as if what was to come would make the current situation almost seem tranquil and quiet in comparison. [rw]
must begin at the house of God. With the people of God. 
God first visits his church, and that both in justice and mercy. 
Schoettgen here aptly quotes a passage from the writings of the Rabbis: “Punishments never come into the world unless the wicked are in it; but they do not begin unless they commence first with the righteous.” 
In Ezekiel 9:6 judgment begins at the house of God, and in Jeremiah 25:29
at the city of
and if it first begin at us. The à fortiori
argument reminds us in some measure of that of Paul, “If God spared not the
natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee” (Romans ).
There, however, the contrast lay between
Scripture very clearly teaches that judgment begins with the Church (Jeremiah 25:29; xlix. 12; Hebrews 12:6), but to true believers it is a judgment of mercy, while to unbelievers it is a judgment, revealing the wrath of God and His punitive justice (Matthew 25:34, 41; Romans 2:3-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 6:15-17; 20:11-15). The judgment of believers leads to eternal life, that of unbelievers to perdition (Philippians 1:28; 3:19; Revelation 17:8, 11), even unto eternal death (Matthew 18:8; 25:41, 46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Jude, verse 7). 
what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? The “end” is meant in the literal sense of the conclusion which shall come to them, or the goal they shall be brought to, not in the metaphorical sense of the recompense. Peter seems to have in his mind the sense, if not the very terms, of the solemn declarations of the prophets, e.g. Jeremiah 25:15, 25:29, 49:12; Ezekiel 3:16; Amos 3:3. The judgment of God works its searching course out of the Church into the world of heathenism. And if it visits even the household of faith as a refining fire, what end can it portend for those who withstand the Gospel of Him whose prerogative judgment is? The question is like Christ’s in Luke 23:31. The answer, most eloquent of awe, to the question about the “end” is the answer left untold. “There is no speaking of it: a curtain is drawn; silent wonder expresses it best, telling it cannot be expressed. How then shall it be endured?” (Leighton). 
Interpretation of the text with the time of the physical return of Jesus being in mind--linkage of the argument in verses 17 and 18: I take these two verses as propounding two objections to the Christian’s position in his persecuted state, and the answers to the two, thus: “For, say your enemies, the time of beginning judgment with the house of God is come. Granted that it has. There is a beginning there, but it is merely temporary and an affliction of the flesh. But what will the end be with the unbelievers, for the final judgments of God upon them shall be permanent and inflicted upon their souls. Again, say your enemies, the righteous has a hard task to save himself from death now-a-days. Granted that he has; but where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear when their persecution from God arrives? Can they save themselves from eternal death?” 
An interpretation based upon the premise that Peter has in mind the events at roughly the fall of Jerusalem : The words, who obey not the gospel of God, properly describe the unbelieving Jews: they were not chargeable with idolatry; they acknowledged, and in a sense worshipped, the true God; but they rejected the gospel which God had revealed by his Son, and therefore the divine wrath was executed upon them in so dreadful a manner. See 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16. Whoever compares the accounts in the Scriptures, or ancient fathers, concerning the persecutions which befell the Christians about this time, with the sufferings of the Jews, as related by Josephus, will easily see that the distress only began with the Christians, and was light compared with what afterward fell upon the Jews: for when Jerusalem was destroyed, the Christians escaped with their lives, and enjoyed more peace and tranquility than they had done before.
WEB: "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will happen to the ungodly and the sinner?"
Young’s: And if the righteous man is scarcely saved, the ungodly and sinner -- where shall he appear?
Conte (RC): And if the just man will scarcely
be saved, where will the impious and the sinner
And if the righteous scarcely be saved. Once more we have a passage from the Old Testament (Proverbs ) without any formula of quotation. In this instance the Apostle quotes from the LXX version, though it is hardly more than an inaccurate paraphrase of the Hebrew, which runs “the righteous shall be requited” (the word may mean “punished”) “upon earth, much more the ungodly and the sinner.” Peter, following the LXX, omits the words “upon earth,” which limit the application of the proverb to temporal chastisements; but it is obvious, as he is speaking primarily of the fiery trial of persecution, that he includes these as well as the issue of the final judgment. 
Or: This is a literal quotation, word for word, of Proverbs 11:31, according to the LXX. The quotation proves to us Peter’s perfect familiarity with both the Hebrew original and the Greek version. We have seen how he rejects the LXX. version when it does not suit his meaning (e.g., 1 Peter 2:8): here it suits him (though it differs from the Hebrew), and he accepts it. 
scarcely. The word implies that there is some difficulty, or obstruction, so that the thing came very near not to happen, or so that there was much risk about it. By the question which he employs, he admits that the righteous are saved with difficulty, or that there are perils which jeopardize their salvation, and which are of such a kind as to make it very near not to happen. They would indeed be saved, but it would be in such a manner as to show that the circumstances were such as to render it, to human appearances, doubtful and problematical. 
Doubtless, when the best of us looks back, in the light of the last day, upon all that he has been through, he will be amazed that he ever could be saved at all. Yet Bengel well calls us to see the other side of the picture in 2 Peter 1:11. 
where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? The meaning is, that they would certainly perish; and the doctrine in the passage is, that the fact that the righteous are saved with so much difficulty is proof that the wicked will not be saved at all. 
[“Ungodly:”] Having no regard for God; negative description. “Sinner:” loving sin; the same man is at once God-forgetting and sin-loving. 
The “un-godly” and the “sinner” correspond to “those that obey not” in the previous verse, the former pointing to sins against God, the latter to sins against man. 
Essentially synonymous terms? Not two classes, but one; he who is utterly the opposite of God in character and life, and a regardless transgressor of his law, making no effort to be saved. The question implies a strong denial that he will be saved at all. 
These two are
presented either as de facto synonyms (cf. GW:
“godless sinners”) or as marking a thin line of distinction between the
Has the unbelieving Gentiles specifically in mind rather than encompassing both Jew and Gentile? “Sinners” was almost a synonym for “Gentiles.” (See, e.g., Luke 6:32; Luke 24:7; Galatians 2:15.) The question “Where shall he appear?” imagines some scene such as that of Matthew 25:32 : “Where shall we see him? where will he have to stand?” 
the ungodly. “Ungodly” denotes open irreligion—contempt of God and all that belongs to His worship. 
and the sinner appear? “Sinner” goes more to the moral side of the nature, pointing most of all to sins of the flesh. (Compare, for instance, Luke 7:37.) 
Again the question is left to suggest its own solemn answer,—an answer which is given in Psalms 1:5. 
In depth: Does “where will the ungodly and the sinner appear” imply that they won’t “appear” because they won’t exist ? There is no reference here to the doctrine of annihilation, as if this verse simply meant that there would be no existence for the wicked after the judgment.
Those who hold what is known as the doctrine of conditional immortality or annihilationism, maintain that man is not naturally immortal, but that immortality is the gift of Christ to believers, and that therefore believers only attain to an immortal life or unceasing existence, and that all unbelievers are annihilated. The advocates of this view (Olshausen, Nitzsch, Rothe, etc., among the German theologians; Locke, Coleridge, Watts, Whately, Dale of Birmingham, Edward White, and others of England), are by no means agreed as to the time of this annihilation, some maintaining that the unbeliever is blotted out of existence at death, while others maintain that the annihilation of the wicked takes place at the judgment.
It is true, as our Lord taught (John 17:3), that life eternal, immortality in its supreme and perfect sense, can be enjoyed only by those who spiritually know God and believe in Christ—it is a gift of grace enjoyed by saints alone—yet unending existence is in multiplied passages asserted of the sinner and the wicked as truly as of those who are eternally saved through faith. Nothing short of absolute immortality and unending existence for the wicked as truly as for the righteous will adequately interpret such solemn declarations as Matthew 25:41, 46; Mark 3:29; 9:48; John 3:36; 5:28-29; Romans 2:7-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Jude verse 7; Revelation 14:11; 20:10.
There is no foundation whatever in the Bible for the doctrine of the annihilation of the unbeliever. It is a wild speculation of perverted reason, not able even to stand the test of a true philosophy.
WEB: Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.
Young’s: so that also those suffering according to the will of god, as to a stedfast Creator, let them commit their own souls in good doing.
Conte (RC): Therefore, too, let those who suffer
according to the will of God commend their souls
by good deeds to the faithful Creator.
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God. That is, who endure the kind of sufferings that he, by his providence, shall appoint. 
Here, also, we can scarcely doubt the example of the Great Sufferer was present to the Apostle’s mind, and his words were therefore echoes of those spoken on the Cross, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke ). 
commit the keeping of their souls. Compare Psalms 37:5. [?]
commit the keeping of. The
beautiful verb rendered “commit the keeping of” is a technical term for
depositing a deed, or sum of money, or other valuable, with any one in
trust. In the literal sense it occurs in
Luke 12:48; 2 Timothy 1:12; in a metaphorical sense, of doctrines committed in
trust to the safe keeping of the Episcopate, in 1 Timothy 1:18, 6:20; 2 Timothy
1:14, 2:2; of leaving persons whom you love in trust, in Acts 14:23,
20:32. But the words which
their souls. The word “souls” here (ψυχὰς psuchas) is equivalent to themselves. They were to leave everything in his hand, faithfully performing every duty, and not being anxious for the result. 
“Their souls” might, perhaps, with propriety, be here translated their lives. The connection will then be: “Consider the mildness of these trials compared with the terrors overhanging the sinful. Even if the worst should come to the worst, and you must die a martyr’s death, it is but the execution of God’s plan for you. View your life as a deposit: lay it confidently in His hands, to be returned to you again when the time comes: and you will find Him faithful to what a Creator ought to be.” 
to him in well doing. Constantly doing good, or seeking to perform every duty in a proper manner. Their business was always to do right; the result was to be left with God. 
as unto a faithful Creator. One who, as Creator, is able to keep what they commit to him; and being faithful to his promises, certainly will do it. 
God may be trusted, or confided in, in all His attributes, and in all the relations which He sustains as Creator, Redeemer, Moral Governor, and Judge. In these, and in all other respects, we may come before Him with confidence, and put unwavering trust in Him. 
Gerhard: “As the most faithful Creator, God will preserve His saints; as the most mighty, He can do it.” 
BOOKS/COMMENTARIES UTILIZED IN THIS STUDY:
1 [Anonymous]. Teacher’s Testament/Nelson’s Explanatory Testament
Nelson & Sons;
2 Marvin R. Vincent, D.D. Word Studies in the New Testament. Charles
3 Robert Young. Commentary on the Holy Bible. A. Fullarton & Co;
4 Daniel Whitby, D.D. and Moses Lowman. A Critical Commentary and
on the New Testament. Carey Hart,
Henry. Vol. IV: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.
6 Rev. Dr
C. G. Barth. The Bible Manual.
R. Erdman. The
8 Joh. Ed. Huther, Th. D., Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the
General Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude [Meyer’s Commentary
on the New Testament].
Bernhard Weiss, D.D. A
Commentary of the New Testament Vol. IV.
Simeon, M.A. Horae
Homileticae Vol. XX.
and Ball, 1833.
11 Rev. S. T. Bloomfield, M.A. Recensio Symoptica Annotations Sacrae
12 George Leo Haydock. Haydock’s Catholic Family Bible and Commentary
13 Howard Crosby, D.D. New Testament, With Brief Explanatory Notes. New
14 Anonymous [Justin
Edwards]. The New
Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This edition has more notes, but Edwards’ name is attached to a shorter
edition of the
same material at UTS,
Wesley, M.A. Explanatory Notes upon
the New Testament.
16 Orello Cone, D.D. International Handbooks to the N.T. Vol. 3: The Epistles. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons / Knickerbocker Press, 1901.
17 Philip Doddridge, D.D. The Family Expositor (Paraphrase and Version of
the New Testament [American edition]). Amherst, Ms.: J. S. & C. Adams,
and L. Boltwood;
18 Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., etc. The New Testament of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ Vol. VI.
Fraser, M.A., D.D. Synoptical
Lectures of the Books of Holy Scripture Vol.
Robert Jamieson, D.D. Rev. A. R. Fausset, A.M. Rev. David Brown D.D. A
Commentary, Critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments Vol. II The S. S. Scranton Company
21 Martin Luther. The Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude Preached and
22 Barton W. Johnson. People’s New Testament. Internet Edition. 1891.
23 Arno Gaebelein. Annotated Bible. Internet Edition. 1920s.
24 John R. Dummelow. Dummelow’s Commentary on the Bible. Internet Edition. 1909.
25 Robert Hawker. Poor Man’s Commentary. Internet Edition. 1828.
26 Johann A. Bengel. Gnomon of the New Testament. Internet Edition. 1742.
27 Alexander MacLaren. Exposition of the Holy Scriptures. Internet Edition.
28 Matthew Poole. English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Internet Edition.
29 John Trapp. Complete Commentary. Internet Edition. Written 1600s;
30 Joseph Sutcliffe. Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. Internet
31 Albert Barnes. Notes on the New Testament. Internet Edition. 1870.
32 James Gray. Concise Bible Commentary. Internet Edition. 1897-1910.
33 F. B. Meyer. Thru The Bible (Commentary). Internet Edition. 1914 edition.
34 John and Jacob Abbott. Abbott’s Illustrated New Testament. Internet
35 John Calvin. Commentaries. Internet Edition. Written in 1500s. Printing:
36 William R. Nicoll, editor. Expositor’s Greek Testament. Internet
E. M. Plumptre. Internet Edition. 1890.
39 D. D. Whedon. Commentary on the New Testament; volume 5: Titus to
Revelation. Internet Edition.
40 Ariel A. Livermore. The Epistles to the Hebrews, the Epistles of James,
Peter, John, and Jude and the Revelation of John the Divine[:] Commentary
and Essays. Internet Edition.
41 M[ichael] F. Sadler. The General Epistles of SS. James, Peter, John, and
42 Robert S. Hunt. The Epistle to the Hebrews and the General Epistles. In
the Cottage Commentary series.
43 A. T. Robertson. New Testament Interpretation (Matthew to Revelation):
Notes on Lectures. Taken stenographically. Revised Edition by William M.
Fouts and Alice M. Fouts.
44 William G. Humphry. A Commentary on the Revised Version of the New
45 W. H. Bennett. The General Epistles: James, Peter, John and Jude. In the
Century Bible series.
46 A. J. Mason. “First Epistle of Peter” in Ellicott’s New Testament
Commentary for English Readers. Internet Edition. 1884.
47 Joseph Benson. Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. Internet
48 William B. Godbey. Commentary on the New Testament. Internet Edition.
49 James Nisbett, editor. Church Pulpit Commentary. Internet Edition. 1876.
[Note: this is not “The Pulpit Commentary.”]
50 Revere F. Weidner. Annotations on the General Epistles of James, Peter,
and Jude. In the Lutheran
Literature Company, 1897.
51 Schaff’s Popular Commentary on the New Testament. Internet Edition.