Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation—
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight, and
like living stones, let yourselves be built a into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it stands in scripture: "See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him b will not be put to shame."
To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,"
and "A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, c in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul.
Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. d13
For the Lord's sake accept the authority of every human institution, e whether of the emperor as supreme,
or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.
For it is God's will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish.
As servants f of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.
Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. g Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh.
For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly.
If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."
When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, h so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds i you have been healed.
For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard w/ Apocrypha)