↑ 1.Salutation 65ce
apostle of Jesus Christ,
to those of God's scattered people who lodge for a while in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia— 2chosen of old in the purpose of God the Father, hallowed to his service by the Spirit, and consecrated with the sprinkled blood of Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace to you in fullest measure.
A Living Hope
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us new birth into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! 4The inheritance to which we are born is one that nothing can destroy or spoil or wither. It is kept for you in heaven, and you, 5because you put your faith in God, are under the protection of his power until salvation comes—the salvation which is even now in readiness and will be revealed at the end of time.
6This is cause for great joy, even though now you smart for a little while, if need be, under trials of many kinds. 7Even gold passes through the assayer's fire, and more precious than perishable gold is faith which has stood the test. These trials come so that your faith may prove itself worthy of all praise, glory, and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.
8You have not seen him, yet you love him; and trusting in him now without seeing him, you are transported with a joy too great for words, 9while you reap the harvest of your faith, that is, salvation for your souls. 10This salvation was the theme which the prophets pondered and explored, those who prophesied about the grace of God awaiting you. 11They tried to find out what was the time, and what the circumstances, to which the spirit of Christ in them pointed, foretelling the sufferings in store for Christ and the splendours to follow; 12and it was disclosed to them that the matter they treated of was not for their time but for yours. And now it has been openly announced to you through preachers who brought you the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. These are things that angels long to see into.
A Call to Holy Living
13You must therefore be mentally stripped for action, perfectly self-controlled. Fix your hopes on the gift of grace which is to be yours when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not let your characters be shaped any longer by the desires you cherished in your days of ignorance. 15The One who called you is holy; like him, be holy in all your behaviour, 16 [ Lv.11.44. ] because Scripture says, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'
17If you say 'our Father' to the One who judges every man impartially on the record of his deeds, you must stand in awe of him while you live out your time on earth. 18Well you know that it was no perishable stuff, like gold or silver, that bought your freedom from the empty folly of your traditional ways. 19The price was paid in precious blood, as it were of a lamb without mark or blemish-the blood of Christ. 20Predestined before the foundation of the world, he was made manifest in this last period of time for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, and so your faith and hope are fixed on God.
22Now that by obedience to the truth you have purified your souls until you feel sincere affection towards your brother Christians, love one another whole-heartedly with all your strength. 23You have been born anew, not of mortal parentage but of immortal, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 [ Is.40.6-8. ] For (as Scripture says)
↑ 2.The Living Stone and the Holy Nation
1Then away with all malice and deceit, away with all pretence and jealousy and recrimination of every kind! 2Like the new-born infants you are, you must crave for pure milk (spiritual milk, I mean), so that you may thrive upon it to your souls' health. 3 [ Ps.34.8. ] Surely you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4So come to him, our living Stone—the stone rejected by men but choice and precious in the sight of God. 5Come, and let yourselves be built, as living stones, into a spiritual temple; become a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 [ Is.28.16. ] For it stands written:
9 [ Is.43.20. ] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, and a people claimed by God for his own, to proclaim the triumphs of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 [ Hs.2.23. ] You are now the people of God, who once were not his people; outside his mercy once, you have now received his mercy.
Live as Servants of God
11DEAR FRIENDS, I beg you, as aliens in a foreign land, to abstain from the lusts of the flesh which are at war with the soul. 12Let all your behaviour be such as even pagans can recognize as good, and then, whereas they malign you as criminals now, they will come to see for themselves that you live good lives, and will give glory to God on the day when he comes to hold assize.
13Submit yourselves to every human institution for the sake of the Lord, whether to the sovereign as supreme, 14or to the governor as his deputy for the punishment of criminals and the commendation of those who do right. 15For it is the will of God that by your good conduct you should put ignorance and stupidity to silence.
16Live as free men; not however as though your freedom were there to provide a screen for wrongdoing, but as slaves in God's service. 17Give due honour to everyone: love to the brotherhood, reverence to God, honour to the sovereign.
The Example of Christ's Suffering
18Servants, accept the authority of your masters with all due submission, not only when they are kind and considerate, but even when they are perverse. 19For it is a fine thing if a man endure the pain of undeserved suffering because God is in his thoughts. 20What credit is there in fortitude when you have done wrong and are beaten for it? But when you have behaved well and suffer for it, your fortitude is a fine thing in the sight of God. 21To that you were called, because Christ suffered on your behalf, and thereby left you an example; it is for you to follow in his steps. 22 [ Is.53.9. ] He committed no sin, he was convicted of no falsehood; 23when he was abused he did not retort with abuse, when he suffered he uttered no threats, but committed his cause to the One who judges justly. 24 [ Is.53.4. ] In his own person he carried our sins to the gibbet, so that we might cease to live for sin and begin to live for righteousness. 25 [ Is.54.5. ] By his wounds you have been healed. You were straying like sheep, but now you have turned towards the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
↑ 3.Wives and Husbands
1In the same way you women must accept the authority of your husbands, so that if there are any of them who disbelieve the Gospel they may be won over, without a word being said, 2by observing the chaste and reverent behaviour of their wives. 3Your beauty should reside, not in outward adornment—the braiding of the hair, or jewellery, or dress— 4but in the inmost centre of your being, with its imperishable ornament, a gentle, quiet spirit, which is of high value in the sight of God. 5Thus it was among God's people in days of old: the women who fixed their hopes on him adorned themselves by submission to their husbands. 6Such was Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him 'my master'. Her children you have now become, if you do good and show no fear.
7In the same way, you husbands must conduct your married life with understanding: pay honour to the woman's body, not only because it is weaker, but also because you share together in the grace of God which gives you life. Then your prayers will not be hindered.
Suffering for Righteousness Sake
8To sum up: be one in thought and feeling, all of you; be full of brotherly affection, kindly and humble-minded. 9Do not repay wrong with wrong, or abuse with abuse; on the contrary, retaliate with blessing, for a blessing is the inheritance to which you yourselves have been called.
13WHO IS GOlNG to do you wrong if you are devoted to what is good? 14 [ Is.8.12-13. ] And yet if you should suffer for your virtues, you may count yourselves happy. Have no fear of them: do not be perturbed, 15but hold the Lord Christ in reverence in your hearts. Be always ready with your defence whenever you are called to account for the hope that is in you, but make that defence with modesty and respect. 16Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are abused, those who malign your Christian conduct may be put to shame. 17It is better to suffer for well-doing, if such should be the will of God, than for doing wrong. 18For Christ also died for our sins once and for all. He, the just, suffered for the unjust, to bring us to God.
In the body he was put to death; in the spirit he was brought to life. 19And in the spirit he went and made his proclamation to the imprisoned spirits. 20They had refused obedience long ago, while God waited patiently in the days of Noah and the building of the ark, and in the ark a few persons, eight in all, were brought to safety through the water. 21This water prefigured the water of baptism through which you are now brought to safety. Baptism is not the washing away of bodily pollution, but the appeal made to God by a good conscience; and it brings salvation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who entered heaven after receiving the submission of angelic authorities and powers, and is now at the right hand of God.
↑ 4.Good Stewards of God's Grace
1Remembering that Christ endured bodily suffering, you must arm yourselves with a temper of mind like his. When a man has thus endured bodily suffering he has finished with sin, 2and for the rest of his days on earth he may live, not for the things that men desire, but for what God wills. 3You had time enough in the past to do all the things that men want to do in the pagan world. Then you lived in licence and debauchery, drunkenness, revelry, and tippling, and the forbidden worship of idols. 4Now, when you no longer plunge with them into all this reckless dissipation, they cannot understand it, and they vilify you accordingly; 5but they shall answer for it to him who stands ready to pass judgement on the living and the dead. 6Why was the Gospel preached to those who are dead? In order that, although in the body they received the sentence common to men, they might in the spirit be alive with the life of God.
7The end of all things is upon us, so you must lead an ordered and sober life, given to prayer. 8Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, because love cancels innumerable sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10Whatever gift each of you may have received, use it in service to one another, like good stewards dispensing the grace of God in its varied forms. 11Are you a speaker? Speak as if you uttered oracles of God. Do you give service? Give it as in the strength which God supplies.
In all things so act that the glory may be God's through Jesus Christ;
to him belong glory and power for ever and ever.
Suffering as a Christian
12MY DEAR FRIENDS, do not be bewildered by the fiery ordeal that is upon you, as though it were something extraordinary. 13It gives you a share in Christ's sufferings, and that is cause for joy; and when his glory is revealed, your joy will be triumphant. 14If Christ's name is flung in your teeth as an insult, count yourselves happy, because then that glorious Spirit which is the Spirit of God is resting upon you. 15If you suffer, it must not be for murder, theft, or sorcery, nor for infringing the rights of others. 16But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he should feel it no disgrace, but confess that name to the honour of God.
17The time has come for the judgement to begin; it is beginning with God's own household. And if it is starting with you, how will it end for those who refuse to obey the gospel of God? 18 [ Pr.11.31. ] It is hard enough is for the righteous to be saved; what then will become of the impious and sinful? 19So even those who suffer, if it be according to God's will, should commit their souls to him-by doing good; their Maker will not fail them.
↑ 5.Tending the Flock of God
1And now I appeal to the elders of your community, as a fellow-elder and a witness of Christ's sufferings, and also a partaker in the splendour that is to be revealed. 2Tend that flock of God whose shepherds you are, and do it, not under compulsion, but of your own free will, as God would have it; not for gain but out of sheer devotion; 3not tyrannizing over those who are allotted to your care, but setting an example to the flock. 4And then, when the Head Shepherd appears, you will receive for your own the unfading garland of glory.
5 [ Pr.3.34. ] In the same way you younger men must be subordinate to your elders. Indeed, all of you should wrap yourselves in the garment of humility towards each other, because God sets his face against the arrogant but favours the humble. 6Humble yourselves then under God's mighty hand, and he will lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your cares on him, for you are his charge.
8Awake! be on the alert! Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, prowls round looking for someone to devour. 9Stand up to him, firm in faith, and remember that your brother Christians are going through the same kinds of suffering while they are in the world. 10And the God of all grace, who called you into his eternal glory in Christ, will himself, after your brief suffering, restore, establish, and strengthen you on a firm foundation. 11He holds dominion for ever and ever; Amen.
12I write you this brief appeal through Silvanus, our trusty brother as I hold him, adding my testimony that this is the true grace of God. In this stand fast.
13Greetings from her who dwells in Babylon, chosen by God like you, and from my son Mark. 14Greet one another with the kiss of love.
Peace to you all who belong to Christ!