1 Peter 4 Study Notes


4:1-6 Peter commanded believers as temporary residents who looked to Christ as their example to suffer and separate themselves from the practices of those who slandered them. God will condemn the slanderers and vindicate believers in heaven’s court.

4:1 The one who suffers in the flesh is finished with sin. Suffering doesn’t result in sinless perfection. But to resolve to embrace suffering as a follower of Christ is clear evidence that one has turned from a life of sin.

4:5 The living and the dead means anyone who has ever lived, or people of all generations.

4:6 Those who are now dead seems to refer to deceased believers in Christ. When they were alive, the gospel was preached to them. While on earth they were judged in the flesh according to human standards, or condemned and martyred on account of the gospel. But they now live in the spirit according to God’s standards.

4:7-11 Peter encouraged believers to maintain their unity while doing everything to God’s glory.

4:8 The phrase love covers a multitude of sins means that love repeatedly forgives (Pr 10:12).

4:9 When being persecuted, it is easy to snipe and complain even at other believers; thus Peter’s command to be hospitable to one another.

4:10 The gift that each one has received refers to a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are divine endowments that God entrusts to believers as stewards.

4:11 Christians should manage and use their spiritual gifts to God’s glory, just as God intends.

4:12-19 Believers are to rejoice in the test that suffering brings for being members of God’s household. Suffering for Christ in this world characterizes believers as strangers, with heaven as their future place of eternal residence.

4:15-16 Peter encouraged his readers to live in such a way that their sufferings were caused by their devotion to Christ and not by any evil acts; they would glorify God by doing so.

4:17 If even believers in Christ will be judged, then what terrible punishment must surely await unbelievers, who pay no heed to the gospel of Christ?

4:18 Because Christians suffer (v. 16) and will be judged (v. 17), they live out their salvation with difficulty (cp. Pr 11:31).

4:19 By suffering according to God’s will and doing what is good, believers can trust that God is faithful to keep his promises.