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Now it was for this very purpose[a] that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead,[b] so that though[c] they were judged in the flesh[d] by human standards[e] they may live spiritually[f] by God’s standards.[g]

Service, Suffering, and Judgment

For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer.[h] Above all keep[i] your love for one another fervent,[j] because love covers a multitude of sins.[k]

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  1. 1 Peter 4:6 tn Grk “since for this purpose the gospel was preached even to the dead,” referring to the purpose described in the clause to follow in v. 6b.
  2. 1 Peter 4:6 sn In context the phrase those who are dead refers to those now dead who had accepted the gospel while they were still living and had suffered persecution for their faith. Though they “suffered judgment” in this earthly life (i.e., they died, in the midst of physical abuse from the ungodly), they will enjoy life from God in the spiritual, heavenly realm because of the gospel (v. 6b). It clearly does not assume a second chance for conversion offered to unbelievers who had died; why would Peter urge people to suffer in this life for the sake of the gospel if he believed that mercy would be extended to all the dead in the hereafter (cf. 2:7-8; 4:1-5, 12-19)?
  3. 1 Peter 4:6 tn Grk “so that they may be judged…but may live.” Greek emphasizes the contrast between these two clauses more than can be easily expressed in English.
  4. 1 Peter 4:6 tn Or “in their earthly lives,” since “flesh” here denotes the physical, earthly life. The phrase “in the flesh” is retained to preserve the links with 3:18 and 4:1 which use the same wording.
  5. 1 Peter 4:6 tn Grk “according to men.”
  6. 1 Peter 4:6 tn Grk “in spirit,” referring to the heavenly, eternal realm of existence (cf. 3:18).
  7. 1 Peter 4:6 tn Grk “according to God.”
  8. 1 Peter 4:7 tn Grk “for prayers.”
  9. 1 Peter 4:8 tn The primary verb of v. 8 is a participle (“having”) but it continues the sense of command from v. 7.
  10. 1 Peter 4:8 tn Or “constant.”
  11. 1 Peter 4:8 sn The statement of v. 8b, love covers a multitude of sins, is proverbial: It is quoted from Prov 10:12 (cf. Jas 5:20). It speaks of the forbearance that comes with love: Christian love is patient and forgiving toward the offenses of a fellow Christian (Matt 18:21-22; 1 Cor 13:4-7).

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