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Growing in Holiness

So abandon[a] every form of evil, deceit, hypocrisy,[b] feelings of jealousy and slander. In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure[c] spiritual milk of God’s Word.[d] For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life[e] especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness.[f]

So keep coming to him who is the Living Stone[g]—though he was rejected and discarded by men but chosen by God and is priceless in God’s sight. Come and be his “living stones”[h] who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God. For now you serve as holy priests,[i] offering up spiritual sacrifices that he readily accepts through Jesus Christ. For it says in Scripture:

Look! I lay a cornerstone in Zion,[j]
    a chosen and priceless stone!
    And whoever believes in him
    will certainly not be disappointed.[k]

As believers you know his great worth—indeed, his preciousness is imparted to you.[l] But for those who do not believe:

The stone that the builders rejected and discarded
    has now become the cornerstone[m]


A stone that makes them stumble
    and a rock to trip over.[n]

They keep stumbling over the message because they refuse to believe it. And this they were destined to do. But you are God’s chosen treasure[o]—priests who are kings,[p] a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world.[q] 10 For at one time you were not God’s people, but now you are. At one time you knew nothing of God’s mercy, because you hadn’t received it yet, but now you are drenched with it![r]

Living Godly Lives

11 My divinely loved friends, since you are resident aliens and foreigners in this world, I appeal to you to divorce yourselves from the evil desires that wage war within you.[s] 12 Live honorable lives as you mix with unbelievers, even though they accuse you of being evildoers. For they will see your beautiful works and have a reason to glorify God in the day he visits us.[t]

13 In order to honor the Lord, you must respect and defer to the authority of every human institution,[u] whether it be the highest ruler[v] 14 or the governors he puts in place to punish lawbreakers and to praise those who do what’s right. 15 For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people[w] by doing what is right.

16 As God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. 17 Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers.

The Example of Christ’s Sufferings

18 Those who are servants,[x] submit to[y] the authority of those who are your masters—not only to those who are kind and gentle but even to those who are hard and difficult. 19 You find God’s favor by deciding to please God even when you endure hardships because of unjust suffering. 20 For what merit is it to endure mistreatment for wrongdoing? Yet if you are mistreated when you do what is right, and you faithfully endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 In fact, you were called to live this way, because Christ also suffered in your place, leaving you his example for you to follow.

22 He never sinned
    and he never spoke deceitfully.[z]

23 When he was verbally abused, he did not return with an insult; when he suffered, he would not threaten retaliation.[aa] Jesus faithfully entrusted himself into the hands of God, who judges righteously. 24 He himself carried our sins[ab] in his body on the cross[ac] so that we would be dead to sin[ad] and live for righteousness. Our instant healing flowed from his wounding.[ae] 25 You were like sheep that continually wandered away,[af] but now you have returned to the true Shepherd of your lives—the kind Guardian who lovingly watches over your souls.


  1. 1 Peter 2:1 Or “rid yourselves.” The Aramaic uses an interesting word that could be translated “oasis rest.” The thought is that we must be completely free from evil and be at rest within. Purity is an oasis rest for the people of God.
  2. 1 Peter 2:1 The Greek word hupokrisis (the behavior of a hypocrite) can also be translated “a hypercritical attitude of pulling things apart for judgmental analysis.” The Aramaic can be translated “wearing a face mask.”
  3. 1 Peter 2:2 Or “unadulterated, guileless milk.” The nourishment contained in the milk of the Word is like an antibiotic for guile. This milk contains an element that can eliminate our guile. Therefore, the Word is guileless, unadulterated milk.
  4. 1 Peter 2:2 Implied by the Greek word for “spiritual” (logikos), which seems to be a play on words with what Peter says in 1:23–25 concerning the living Word (logos) of God. The “pure spiritual milk” is the sustaining power of God’s Word coming from his very breast, as it were, to nourish and strengthen our inner being. From v. 3 we can see that this “milk” is the Lord himself dispensed to us in the Word of God. Our craving for this “milk” is not only because of necessity but of delight. He is the Seed, the Word, the Milk, the Lord, and the Living Stone.
  5. 1 Peter 2:2 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “grow into salvation.”
  6. 1 Peter 2:3 See Ps. 34:8; Luke 1:53.
  7. 1 Peter 2:4 The church is built on Christ, “the Living Stone.” See Ps. 118:22; Isa. 28:16.
  8. 1 Peter 2:5 To be identified as Christ’s living stones means that we are in union with him and share his nature, for he is the Living Stone.
  9. 1 Peter 2:5 Or “priesthood” (or “community of priests”). See Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:4–6.
  10. 1 Peter 2:6 Mount Zion was once a Jebusite stronghold conquered by David (2 Sam. 5:6-9), who made it the capital for his kingdom. This is inside the walls of present-day Jerusalem. Zion is used in both the Old and New Testaments as more than a location. Zion is referred to as the place of God’s dwelling (Pss. 9:11; 48:1–2; 74:2; Isa. 8:18). God’s people are called “Zion maidens” (Song. 3:11; Zech. 9:9) or “people of Zion” (John 12:15). Zion is the heavenly realm where God is manifest (Pss. 84:7; 102:16; 110:1–2; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 14:1).
  11. 1 Peter 2:6 Or “put to shame.” See Isa. 28:16.
  12. 1 Peter 2:7 Or “Unto you who believe is the preciousness.” That is, all that Jesus is before the Father has now been transferred into our account. We stand before the Father in the “preciousness” of the Son. You are as precious to God as Jesus Christ is.
  13. 1 Peter 2:7 Or “capstone.” See Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11.
  14. 1 Peter 2:8 Or “a rock of scandal.” The Greek word skandalon means “a trap stick.” See Isa. 8:14.
  15. 1 Peter 2:9 This is taken from Ex. 19:5-6 and Mal. 3:17. The Hebrew word is ségulla, which means “a special treasure” (possession). It is used to describe “guarded wealth,” indicating the placement of the king’s jewels, treasures, etc., in a safe, protected place because of their extraordinary value. God says that each believer is a priest and king, his unique and special treasure of great importance—a treasure above all other treasures. See also Titus 2:14.
  16. 1 Peter 2:9 The nouns are in apposition (“a group of kings, a priesthood” or “a king’s household, a priesthood”). There are other possible ways to translate this, such as “a priesthood of kings” or “a kingdom of priests.”
  17. 1 Peter 2:9 See Isa. 42:12 (LXX) and 43:20–21 (LXX), where it is translated as “praises” or “worship.” The Greek can also be translated “God’s excellences” (virtues) or “wonders.”
  18. 1 Peter 2:10 Or in Aramaic, “mercies cascade over you.” See Hos. 1:6, 9; 2:23. Both Israel and the church have been divinely chosen and showered with mercy.
  19. 1 Peter 2:11 Or “that wage war against your soul.”
  20. 1 Peter 2:12 See Matt. 5:16; 18:20.
  21. 1 Peter 2:13 Or “every authority instituted by men.”
  22. 1 Peter 2:13 Or “emperor.” At the time Peter wrote this letter, the Roman emperor was the infamous Nero, known for his tyranny and corruption.
  23. 1 Peter 2:15 That is, the unbelievers. The Aramaic makes it even more explicit: “the foolish who do not know God.”
  24. 1 Peter 2:18 Or “slaves.”
  25. 1 Peter 2:18 The Greek word hupotasso means “to support, uphold, be under (authority).”
  26. 1 Peter 2:22 See Isa. 53:9.
  27. 1 Peter 2:23 See Isa. 53:7.
  28. 1 Peter 2:24 See Isa. 53:4, 12.
  29. 1 Peter 2:24 Or “the tree.”
  30. 1 Peter 2:24 The Greek word apoginomai, a hapax legomenon, means “to die” or “die to something.” Although not the usual word for “to die,” Peter is using this metaphorically for “dying to sin.”
  31. 1 Peter 2:24 This healing includes the body, soul, and emotions. It was fulfilled in two ways: first, by the healing ministry of Jesus, and second, by the blood of Christ’s wounds. See Matt. 8:16-17; Isa. 53:5.
  32. 1 Peter 2:25 See Isa. 53:6.

Therefore, rid yourselves(A) of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander(B) of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,(C) so that by it you may grow up(D) in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.(E)

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

As you come to him, the living Stone(F)—rejected by humans but chosen by God(G) and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built(H) into a spiritual house[a](I) to be a holy priesthood,(J) offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(K) For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,(L)
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”[b](M)

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,(N)

“The stone the builders rejected(O)
    has become the cornerstone,”[c](P)


“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”[d](Q)

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.(R)

But you are a chosen people,(S) a royal priesthood,(T) a holy nation,(U) God’s special possession,(V) that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.(W) 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;(X) once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society

11 Dear friends,(Y) I urge you, as foreigners and exiles,(Z) to abstain from sinful desires,(AA) which wage war against your soul.(AB) 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds(AC) and glorify God(AD) on the day he visits us.

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:(AE) whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong(AF) and to commend those who do right.(AG) 15 For it is God’s will(AH) that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.(AI) 16 Live as free people,(AJ) but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil;(AK) live as God’s slaves.(AL) 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers,(AM) fear God, honor the emperor.(AN)

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters,(AO) not only to those who are good and considerate,(AP) but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.(AQ) 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.(AR) 21 To this(AS) you were called,(AT) because Christ suffered for you,(AU) leaving you an example,(AV) that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,(AW)
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e](AX)

23 When they hurled their insults at him,(AY) he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.(AZ) Instead, he entrusted himself(BA) to him who judges justly.(BB) 24 “He himself bore our sins”(BC) in his body on the cross,(BD) so that we might die to sins(BE) and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”(BF) 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[f](BG) but now you have returned to the Shepherd(BH) and Overseer of your souls.(BI)


  1. 1 Peter 2:5 Or into a temple of the Spirit
  2. 1 Peter 2:6 Isaiah 28:16
  3. 1 Peter 2:7 Psalm 118:22
  4. 1 Peter 2:8 Isaiah 8:14
  5. 1 Peter 2:22 Isaiah 53:9
  6. 1 Peter 2:25 Isaiah 53:4,5,6 (see Septuagint)

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