1 Peter 4

Chapter four picks up immediately with the practical application for Christians because of Christ’s suffering: stay focused on God’s will rather than fleshly desires. Peter’s audience had been saved long enough that their lifestyles should have reflected the life change (1 Peter 4:3-6). Another reason to life in a godly manner is that Jesus’ return is imminent. This lifestyle should include prayer, hospitality, and Christian service.

1 Peter 4:11 ends with a benediction leading many scholars to believe that this was the original closing of the letter. The final paragraph of chapter four and the entirety of chapter five could mean that 1) Peter came back and added it later, 2) he began closing the letter at 1 Peter 4:11, or 3) someone else added everything after 1 Peter 4:11. Either of the first two options are acceptable, neither affecting the interpretation or intent of the letter.

The final paragraph, 1 Peter 4:12-19, contains an encouragement to all who were and are suffering trial of some kind because of their faith. Peter’s encouragement was three-fold: 1) his readers were not alone (1 Peter 4:12); 2) their reward will be proportionate to their suffering when Christ comes (1 Peter 4:13); and 3) suffering for Christ is proof of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (1 Peter 4:14).

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Daniel Goepfrich

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