1 Peter 4 English Standard Version (ESV)
Stewards of God's Grace
4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Suffering as a Christian
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
1 Peter 4 The Voice (VOICE)
4 Since the Anointed suffered in the flesh, prepare yourselves to do the same—anyone who has suffered in the flesh for the Lord is no longer in the grip of sin— 2 so that you may live the rest of your life on earth controlled not by earthly desires but by the will of God.
The reality of suffering in the world causes many to question the existence of an all-powerful and all-loving God. A God of power and love is expected to be both able and willing to remove suffering from our lives. Ultimately, God will make all things new and end suffering, but for now God allows it and calls us to rejoice in the midst of it. Though we may not understand it, pain and suffering have a purpose in God’s plan, and our Creator is not immune to it. Through Jesus God enters into our suffering; now we are called to enter into His.
3 You have already wasted enough time living like those outsiders in the society around you: losing yourselves in sex, in addictions and desires, in drinking and lawless idolatry, in giving your time and allegiance to things that are not godly. 4 When you don’t play the same games they do, they notice that you are living by different rules. That’s why they say such terrible things about you. 5 Someday they, too, will have to give an account of themselves to the One who judges the living and the dead. 6 (This is why the good news had to be brought to those who are dead so that although they are judged in the flesh, they might live in the spirit in the way that pleases God.)
7 We are coming to the end of all things, so be serious and keep your wits about you in order to pray more forcefully. 8 Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. 9 Show hospitality to each other without complaint. 10 Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. 11 If you’re called upon to talk, speak as though God put the words in your mouth; if you’re called upon to serve others, serve as though you had the strength of God behind you. In these ways, God may be glorified in all you do through Jesus the Anointed, to whom belongs glory and power, now and forever. Amen.
12 Dear ones, don’t be surprised when you experience your trial by fire. It is not something strange and unusual, 13 but it is something you should rejoice in. In it you share the Anointed’s sufferings, and you will be that much more joyful when His glory is revealed. 14 If anyone condemns you for following Jesus as the Anointed One, consider yourself blessed. The glorious Spirit of God rests on you. 15 But none of you should ever merit suffering like those who have murdered or stolen, meddled in the affairs of others or done evil things. 16 But if you should suffer for being a Christian, don’t think of it as a disgrace, as it would be if you had done wrong. Praise God that you’re permitted to carry this name.
People often suffer because of poor decisions that result in shame, but the people of God face persecution for their faithfulness that leads to honor and glory.
17 For the time for judgment has come, and it is beginning with the household of God. If it is starting with us, what will happen to those who have rejected God’s good news? 18 It is written in Proverbs,
If it is hard for the righteous ones to be saved,
19 So even if you should suffer now for doing God’s will, continue doing good and trust your futures to the judgment and mercy of a faithful Creator.