1 Peter 3-5 The Voice (VOICE)
Peter calls all believers to humility, submission, and service: everyone to God, citizens to rulers, slaves to masters, wives to husbands, and younger to elders.
3 1-2 In the same way, wives, you should patiently accept the authority of your husbands. This is so that even if they don’t obey God’s word, as they observe your pure respectful behavior, they may be persuaded without a word by the way you live. 3 Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; 4 let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. 5 This is how, long ago, holy women who put their hope in God made themselves beautiful: by respecting the authority of their husbands. 6 Consider how Sarah, our mother, obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him “lord,” and you will be her daughters as long as you boldly do what is right without fear and without anxiety.
7 In the same way, husbands, as you live with your wives, understand the situations women face as the weaker vessel. Each of you should respect your wife and value her as an equal heir in the gracious gift of life. Do this so that nothing will get in the way of your prayers.
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other— 9 not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing. 10 It is written in the psalms,
If you love life
13 Why would anyone harm you if you eagerly do good? 14 Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, 15-16 but exalt Him as Lord in your heart. Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. Keep your conscience clear so that those who ridicule your good conduct in the Anointed and say bad things about you will be put to shame.
Peter urges us always to be ready to give a reason for the hope that lives within us. But it is important that it be done not with arrogance and contempt, but with gentle ness and love—the same virtues that should guide our responses to any hostile challenge. This is one way we can glorify Jesus as King over all our lives—by exalting Him with both our emotions and our intellect.
17 For if it is the will of God that you suffer, then it is better to suffer for doing what is right than for doing what is wrong. 18 The Anointed One suffered for sins once for all time—the righteous suffering for the unrighteous—so that He might bring us to God. Though He died in the flesh, He was made alive again through the Spirit. 19 And in the Spirit, He went and preached to those spirits held captive. 20 It was these who long ago lived in disobedience while God waited patiently as Noah was building the ark. At that time, only a tiny band—eight people—was spared from the flood.
21 The water through which the ark safely passed symbolizes now the ceremonial washing through baptism[b] that initiates you into salvation. You are saved not because it cleanses your body of filth but because of your appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King. 22 Now He has entered heaven and sits at the right hand of God as heavenly messengers and authorities and powers submit to His supremacy.
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.
5 Now for the elders of the church. I want to encourage you. As you know, I am an elder, too, like you. I have witnessed firsthand the sufferings of the Anointed One as well as shared in the glories which are soon to be revealed. 2 When you shepherd the flock God has given you, watch over them not because you have to but because you want to. For this is how God would want it not because you’re being compensated somehow but because you are eager to watch over them. 3 Don’t lead them as if you were a dictator, but lead your flock by example; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will be crowned with honor that will shine brightly forever. 5 You who are younger in the faith: do as your elders and leaders ask. All of you should treat each other with humility, for as it says in Proverbs,
God opposes the proud
6 So bow down under God’s strong hand; then when the time comes, God will lift you up. 7 Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries.
Humility is rarely a virtue that our culture values. We’re trained from an early age to show our strengths and hide our weaknesses. This type of thinking also spills over into our models of leadership, as we learn to dictate to others how they should perform. Peter, however, says that we should be humble in our relationships with one another and not lead as dictators. In fact, this humility before one another and God is actually the position of the greatest strength. Our enemy desires to consume us, but we find strength to resist him when we are dependent upon God for His strength.
8 Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone. 9 Resist him and be strong in your faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are fellow sufferers with you. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of grace who has called you [to His everlasting presence][e] through Jesus the Anointed will restore you, support you, strengthen you, and ground you. 11 For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.
12 Silvanus,[f] whom I consider a trustworthy and faithful brother, is carrying this brief letter to encourage you and to testify that here is the true grace of God. Hold on to it.
13 The church here in Babylon[g] chosen by God together with you, sends you greetings. So does my son in the faith Mark.
14 Greet each other with a kiss of love, and may peace come to all who follow Jesus the Anointed.
2 Peter 1-2 The Voice (VOICE)
1 Simon Peter, a servant and emissary[a] of Jesus the Anointed One, to those who have received the same precious faith we share through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed. 2 I wish you a full measure of grace and peace as you grow in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue. 4 Through these things, we have received God’s great and valuable promises, so we might escape the corruption of worldly desires and share in the divine nature.
God took the first step to rescue us from this corrupt world. He has granted us His power, revealed to us true knowledge, and spoken to us great promises. He has done all this for a reason: that we might participate in His own nature and reflect His own life. But we are not passive observers of God’s saving actions. We must receive His grace, grow in knowledge, and join Him in this work of redemption.
5 To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; 6 to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; 7 to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. 8 For if you possess these traits and multiply them, then you will never be ineffective or unproductive in your relationship with our Lord Jesus the Anointed; 9 but if you don’t have these qualities, then you will be nearsighted and blind, forgetting that your past sins have been washed away. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, work that much harder to confirm that God has called you and claimed you. If you do this, then you will never fall along the way; 11 and you can be sure that you will be richly welcomed into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.
12 That is why I will keep reminding you of these things, even though I know that you believe them and have made these truths a part of your lives; 13 as long as I draw breath, I know it is right for me to keep on stirring you up with these reminders. 14 I know that soon I must die and lay down this old body that’s been my home—our Lord Jesus the Anointed has told me so. 15 But before my exodus from this life, I want to be certain you will be able to call these things to mind anytime you need them even after I am gone.
Faith does not rest upon cleverly devised fables invented by creative minds; it rests upon the testimonies of eyewitnesses who faithfully pass down what they see and hear to others.
16 For I want to remind you that when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, we were relying on what our eyes had seen of His glorious majesty, not on cleverly told fables. 17 You see, God the Father lavished honor and glory upon Jesus when the voice of the Majestic Glory echoed from heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son, and My favor rests on Him.”[b] 18 We witnessed this—we ourselves heard this voice from heaven—when we were with Jesus on that holy mountain. 19 We have a fuller confirmation of the message of the prophets. You would do well to pay close attention to this word; it is like a light that shines for you in the darkness of night until the day dawns when the morning star rises in your own hearts.
Peter and two other disciples see Jesus transfigured. This event and the heavenly voice confirm Jesus’ true identity and are a prelude to the greatest miracle of all—the resurrection.
20 But notice first that no prophecy found in Scripture is a matter of the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 Prophecy has never been a product of human initiative, but it comes when men and women are moved to speak on behalf of God by the Holy Spirit.
2 Just as false prophets rose up in the past among God’s people, false teachers will rise up in the future among you. They will slip in with their destructive opinions, denying the very Master who bought their freedom and dooming themselves to destruction swiftly, 2 but not before they attract others by their unbridled and immoral behavior. Because of them and their ways, others will criticize and condemn the path of truth we walk as seedy and disreputable. 3 These false teachers will follow their greed and exploit you with their fabrications, but be assured that their judgment was pronounced long ago and their destruction does not sleep.
New Testament writers warn the church to watch out for false teachers. Peter faults them primarily for their immoral lifestyles rather than for doctrinal differences.
4 For God did not spare the heavenly beings who sinned, but He cast them into the dark pits[c] of hell[d] to be kept until the time of judgment; 5 and He did not spare the ancient world, but He sent a flood swirling over the ungodly (although He did save Noah, God’s herald for what is right, with seven other members of his family); 6 and God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to ash as a lesson of what He will do with the ungodly in the days to come 7-8 (although again He did rescue Lot, a person who did what was right in God’s eyes and who was distressed by the immorality and the lawlessness of the society around him. Day after day, the sights and sounds of their lawlessness were like daggers into that good man’s soul). 9 If all this happened in the past, it shows clearly the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials and how to hold the wicked in punishment until the day of judgment.
Is God different in the New Testament from what He is in the First Testament? In the First Testament, God seems prone to judgment; but some feel God is more concerned about love in the New Testament. However, the central and most repeated affirmation about God’s character in the First Testament is that He is gracious and compassionate (Exodus 34:6–7). And the New Testament clearly does not ignore the idea of God’s judgment, as this text shows. His judgment will come, but it is delayed by God’s patient mercy.
10 And above all, it shows He will punish those who let the desires of their bodies rule them and who have no respect for authority. People like this are so bold and willful that they aren’t even afraid of offending heavenly beings, 11 although the heavenly messengers—in spite of the fact that they have greater strength and power—make no such accusations against these people before the Lord. 12 These people who speak ill of what they do not understand are no different from animals—without sense, operating only on their instincts, born to be captured and killed—and they will be destroyed just like those animals, 13 receiving the penalty for their evil acts. They waste their days in parties and carousing. As they feast with you, these stains and blemishes on your community are feasting on their deceptions.[e] 14 Their eyes are always looking for their next adulterous conquests; their appetites for sin cannot be satisfied. They seduce the unwary soul, and greed is the only lesson they have learned by heart. God’s curse lies upon them. 15 They have veered off the right road and gotten lost, following in the steps of Balaam, the son of Beor, the false prophet. Balaam loved the reward he could get by doing evil, 16 but he was rebuked for crossing the line into sin; his own speechless donkey scolded him in a human voice, an amazing miracle that reined in the prophet’s insanity.[f]
17 These people I’m talking about are nothing but dried-up springs, mists driven by fierce winds; the deepest darkness has been set aside for them. 18 They speak in loud voices empty and arrogant. They exploit the desires of the flesh, take advantage of sensual natures, to entangle people who have just escaped from those who live by deception. 19 They claim to offer them freedom, but they themselves are enslaved by corruption because whatever a person gives in to soon becomes his master. 20 Those who have been pulled out of the cesspool of worldly desires through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Anointed One, yet have found themselves mired in it again are worse off than they were before. 21 They would have been better off never knowing the way of righteousness than to have known it and then abandoned the sacred commandment they had previously received and dived back into the muck! 22 In their cases, the words from Proverbs hold true: “The dog goes back to his own vomit,”[g] and as the Greeks say, “The sow is washed to wallow in the mud.”
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