1 Peter Lesson Five

1 Peter 2:18-25 Submission of Slaves

18 Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. 19 For it brings favor if, mindful of God’s will, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if you sin and are punished, and you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.

21 For you were called to this,

because Christ also suffered for you,

leaving you an example,

so that you should follow in His steps.

22 He did not commit sin,

and no deceit was found in His mouth;

23 when He was reviled,

He did not revile in return;

when He was suffering,

He did not threaten

but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.

24 He Himself bore our sins

in His body on the tree,

so that, having died to sins,

we might live for righteousness;

you have been healed by His wounds.

25 For you were like sheep going astray,

but you have now returned

to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (HCSB)

Because of the potentially sensitive nature of the central theme at the beginning of this passage, slaves and slavery, it is essential that we have a correct understanding of slavery in the 1st century, as in many ways it is significantly different from modern slavery, especially the issue of slavery in American history.

Characteristics of slaves/slavery in the ancient Greco-Roman World.

  • Many slaves lived a miserable existence, especially those who worked in mines.
  • However, many slaves served in what would today be considered a professional occupation.
    • Doctors.
    • Teachers.
    • Managers.
    • Musicians.
    • Artisans.
  • It was not unknown for a slave to have a higher education than their master.
  • Many household slaves were loved and trusted by the family they worked for.
  • Some slaves owned their own slaves.
  • Slavery was not based on race.
  • Slaves could suffer brutal treatment from cruel masters.
  • Children born in slavery belonged to the master.
  • They were subject to any form of abuse one could imagine.
  • Manumission – the process of purchasing their freedom.
    • Required help from their master.
    • Usually only available for urban slaves.
    • Most slaves had no hope of this possibility.

Now that we have an understanding of what Greco-Roman slavery looked like, it is important to discuss the New Testament’s position on slavery.

  • It is not commanded to be part of the social structure.
  • It is regulated as part of the social fabric.
  • The argument that the early church should have vigorously fought against slavery ignores the fact that the early church had little power, and slavery was such a normal and accepted practice that the church would have been doomed to failure.
  • Instead, the early church’s focus was on the believer’s relationship to God, and they focused on the sin and rebellion of individuals against their Creator.
  • New Testament writer’s concentrated on a godly response of believers to their mistreatment.

As we move through this study, it will be essential for us to bring the underlying principle from the Greco-Roman world to our modern world. That principle is submitting to our boss, supervisor, or workplace requirements.

Verse 18

  • Believers are called to obey their masters, even if they are wicked.
  • However, there is a fine line implied in this command.
    • Peter is not saying that Christian slaves should participate in or follow a wicked master in the execution of evil.
    • Peter is saying that completing non-evil tasks are commanded even if their master is an evil person.
    • Let’s look at a modern example.
      • A Christian secretary’s evil boss asks them to type a letter that doesn’t contain any evil actions. That is ok to complete.
      • A Christian secretary’s evil boss asks them to type a letter that encourages and promotes abortion and gives details on how to get an abortion. In that case, it is ok for the secretary to refuse the command.

Verse 19

Peter now explains why believers are to submit, even if their master is evil.

  • It brings favor. The literal Greek word here means “grace.”
  • This same term concludes verse 20, indicating that the two verses should be viewed together in context.
  • Although Peter is addressing slaves here, it is also a model for how believers are to respond to social injustice.
  • Slaves who endure unjust suffering because of their relationship/obedience to God will be rewarded by God.
  • In the same way, believers today will receive a reward for unjust suffering because of their relationship and obedience to God.

Verse 20

This verse expands upon the previous, explaining under what circumstances believers can expect a reward.

  • Doing wrong (sin) that results in punishment will not result in a reward from God since they received what they deserved.
  • On the other hand, if the believer does what is good and receives punishment, they will receive favor (grace) from God.

Verses 21-23

These verses show the example of Jesus and how He lived His life. They also tie back into verses 19-20. We are to endure suffering for doing good because Jesus suffered at the hands of the authorities even though He lived a sinless life.

Verse 21

Christ is the example.

  • Jesus’s suffering serves as an example to all believers.
  • We are called to suffer through righteous living because Jesus set the example.
  • At the same time, we will never experience suffering to the level Jesus did.
    • Being crucified.
    • Bearing the sins of the world.
  • Godly living displayed by believers can win the lost to a life of faith.
  • Only Jesus’ suffering and death atone for sin.

Verse 22

Peter directly references Isaiah 53:9 and the suffering servant.

  • He committed no sin involves wrong actions in a general sense.
  • No deceit was found in His mouth involves not sinning with words or speech.

Verse 23

The sinless life that Jesus led was anything but easy.

  • He faced insults and severe suffering.
  • His silence in the face of persecution and suffering is an extraordinary example of His nonretaliatory spirit. This is especially true when we consider the events surrounding His trial and crucifixion.
    • The urge for revenge can be overwhelming when we feel wrongly accused or mistreated.
    • In the ancient world, people would demonstrate their innocence by arguing zealously against those accusing them.
    • Jesus’ silence demonstrated complete confidence in God vindicating Him.
    • Jesus’ lifestyle matched His teaching, love of enemies, and a spirit of nonretaliation found in Matthew 5:38-48.
  • Believers triumph over evil because they trust God will vindicate them and judge their enemies, righting all the wrongs found in Romans 12:19-20.
  • Jesus is proof that a person could be completely in God’s will and suffer unjustly.
  • Churches/pastors that teach believers they will not suffer if they are in God’s will are preaching a false message.

Verse 24

The unmistakable difference in the suffering between Jesus and His followers is now clarified.

  • The suffering and death of Jesus are unique and the foundation for our salvation.
    • He bore the sins of all who would place their faith in Him.
    • His sacrificial blood cleansed us.
  • The purpose of Jesus’ death was not merely to provide forgiveness.
    • It was also to provide His followers the power to live for righteousness.
    • Living for righteousness results in dying to sin.
    • We would experience freedom from the power of sin.
  • The idea of being healed does not refer to physical healing. Peter is talking about healing from the penalty of eternal separation from God because of sin.
  • Believers now live a new life.

Verse 25

We have to be honest and admit that living this way through adversity and persecution is not easy. Unfortunately, there are those who drift away from the faith when life gets hard, and they feel that they can’t cope anymore. However, there is safety and support by staying under the care of the shepherd instead of leaving.

This verse connects back to verse 24, with the idea of being healed in verse 24.

  • Healing involves the forgiveness of sins.
  • Believers are no longer lost sheep, following the ways of the world.
  • Believers have submitted to the care of the Shepherd and Guardian of their souls, Jesus.
  • Peter reminds the reader that their ruler is not the emperor or their master; it is Jesus.
  • There is also an implied reference to the church of Jesus.
    • Peter is illustrating Jesus’ authority here.
    • The word “Guardian” in the original Greek is episkopos. This term is used for those who had authority in the early church and is found in Acts 20:28, Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:2, and Titus 1:7.
    • Christ is the ultimate authority in the church.
  • The truth that Peter wants us to understand is the following.
    • As we live godly lives and submit in times of suffering, we follow Jesus’ example and become more like Him.
    • We submit and obey for the following reasons.
      • As an example to the lost around us.
      • To show our love for Jesus.
      • So that we may grow spiritually and become more like Jesus.


  • Do we respect and follow the requests of our boss, workplace, and organization as long as it doesn’t go against the commands of Scripture? There may be tasks or requirements that we don’t like, but we must do them. There may be bosses or co-workers we don’t like, but we must still treat them with respect. The only time we can go against the instructions of our boss or organization is when they go against God’s commands.
  • We should expect to suffer as we live our Christian lives. It is never fun, but we still need to persevere through those times by holding fast to Jesus. Suffering for doing good will be rewarded. Suffering for sinful behavior will receive its just punishment.
  • Our one and only loyalty is to Jesus. Anyone or anything that redirects our loyalty needs to be removed or adjusted. We will answer to Jesus on judgment day, not a person.

1 Peter Lesson Four

1 Peter 2:11-17 A Call to Good Works

11 Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

13 Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority 14 or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. 15 For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 16 As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor. (HCSB)

In this passage, Peter exhorts the believers in the church in Asia Minor to live godly lives, shine their light to the unbelievers around them, respect authority, and use their freedom for good.

Verses 11-12

In these two verses, Peter characterizes the identity of the recipients of his letter in four ways.

  • Peter has Christian affection for the recipients, addressing them with the term “dear friends.” Peter is invested in their spiritual growth and wellbeing.
  • In the first chapter, Peter had already identified the recipients as sojourners or aliens. By joining the two words, Peter reinforces the fact that as believers in a fallen world, this is not their permanent home, and to the lost around them, their behavior would make them stand out as being different (strangers) in comparison to them.
  • At first, it may appear peculiar that Peter would tell the believers living in Asia Minor to act in a Christ-like manner among the unbelievers around them. To the Jews, anyone who was not a Jew was considered a Gentile. However, Peter is making the point that believers are grafted into Yahweh’s chosen people. They are now different from those around them.
  • The recipients of the letter are facing persecution in the form of slander from non-believers around them. This is the first explicit mention of hostility directed at believers in the letter. Let’s consider several factors here:
    • What qualifies as “evil” is often subjective and depends on the person viewing the action. Because of Christian resistance to Roman traditions/laws, they were viewed as criminal or evil in their behavior.
      • Acts 16:20-21  20 Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews 21 and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice.”
      • Acts 17:6-7  When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too, and Jason has received them as guests! They are all acting contrary to Caesar’s decrees,  saying that there is another king—Jesus!”
      • Acts 19:24-27  24 For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis,  provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. 25 When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. 26 You both see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods!  27 So not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin—the very one all of Asia and the world adore.”
    • They are to resist the cravings of the world by Christ-like living.
      • The cravings that believers experience can often be strong as the enemy desires us to stumble or fall.
      • Believers are at war with the powers of darkness.
      • We should never underestimate the powers of darkness and do all we can to resist the temptations of the world.
      • Do we desire holiness or pleasure? The one we feed is the one that will take control.
      • Fleshly desires are motivated by a spirit of selfishness.
      • They make us spiritually weak and ineffective.
    • These verses start a section that is a call to missions.
      • They are to live among the Gentiles, engaging them and being a living witness to the power of Jesus.
      • They are not to withdraw and live a life of isolation.
      • Their incarnational living will draw the lost to submit their lives to Jesus.
    • Believers are not to retaliate or engage in self-defense against those persecuting them.
      • They are to pursue virtue and goodness.
      • By doing this, it would contradict the false accusations being placed against them.
    • The day of visitation is the moment of salvation for the Gentiles around them who submit to Jesus because of the witness of the believers.
      • Peter is convinced that some will convert because of their behavior.
      • The unbelievers may persecute the believers, but some will join Yahweh’s spiritual family because of their faithful lives.
      • God is glorified when this happens.

The summary of these two verses is this. Live holy lives in the middle of secular chaos, and let God take care of everything else. Peter is calling the churches in Asia Minor to live radically different from the surrounding culture to please God and cope with their circumstances. Peter’s point is a timeless point. In today’s world, the church also needs a call to holiness as the modern church, especially the Western church, is under heavy influence from the culture around us.

Verses 13-17

This section is challenging, if for no other reason, that in today’s world, there is an overall element of government/leader bashing. As we look at this section, there is an important divergent point in the discussion. Does the government/leader position go against Scripture, or does it go against your personal preference? The answer to that question is important both in how we understand this passage, and how it should affect our behavior. Now, let’s understand what Peter is saying.

  • Believers should submit to governing authorities.
  • It’s God’s will for believers to submit to authority.
  • Believers don’t submit to human authority with a subservient spirit but as one who is free in Christ.
  • Freedom doesn’t give license for evil.
    • Creating political chaos.
    • Moral irresponsibility.
    • Christians should choose to be orderly citizens.

Verse 15

By submitting to authorities, believers demonstrate the following characteristics.

  • They are good citizens.
  • They are not anarchists.
  • Unbelievers can’t criticize them for their disobedience.

Peter is not saying that authorities will always be on the side of believers or even recognize and reward them for good behavior. He is saying that such behavior will reduce the slanderous attacks on believers.

Verse 16

Peter is focusing on what motivates the behavior of submission. He uses three phrases to explain how Christians should live when subordinating them to governing authorities.

  • As free people:
    • The blood of Jesus has redeemed them.
      • Freedom from the power of sin over our lives.
      • Freedom from the guilt of our sins.
      • Freedom from the impossibility of earning God’s favor through obedience.
    • They no longer are subject to the futile lifestyle of the lost.
    • Their submission is not out of a position of weakness but strength.
  • Not engaging in evil.
    • Genuine freedom allows believers to do what is good.
    • Engaging in evil shows they were never free in the first place.
    • Wickedness is the definition of slavery.
  • Submit as slaves of God.
    • Believers are not given unrestricted freedom.
    • Freedom is exercised under the authority of Yahweh.
    • The understanding of New Testament liberty is the freedom to do what is right.
    • Only slaves of God are truly free.

Let’s draw some conclusions to the concepts of subservience and freedom, as is discussed in this passage.

  • Our ultimate submission is to God.
    • Governments don’t get a blank check pass in our submission to them.
    • Peter never intended his words to mean that we blindly follow governments.
    • As believers, we must weigh what governments are telling us against Scripture.
    • When those two sources of authority over us are in conflict, we must choose what is contained in Scripture.
    • Our ultimate loyalty is to God, not Caesar or any of our current leaders.
    • As believers, we are free from fearing our earthly leaders.
  • Under normal circumstances, governments will punish evil and reward good, as understood through Scripture.
    • At these times, believers can follow the dictates of their government with a good conscience. This is important to avoid unnecessary civil unrest.
    • However, Peter is saying that when governments propose what is evil of demand that believers can’t worship God, then we must not obey the dictates of the government.
    • Practical examples.
      • Abortion clinics – it is ok to protest peacefully against them.
      • Civil rights – again, peacefully demonstrate.
    • Tragically, most of the examples we see today of protests are violent and destructive in nature.

Verse 17

Peter concludes with four commands for the believers in Asia Minor.

  • Honor everyone – treat everyone with dignity and respect since we are all created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-27 26 Then God said, “Let Us  make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.  They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth,  and the creatures that crawl  on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.
  • Love the brotherhood – we should show love to all members of our spiritual family.
  • Fear God – only God is deserving of our fear (respect) in our actions. Matthew 10:28 Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
  • Honor the Emperor – we are to honor our leaders and show respect to the position they hold.

The famous preacher, Jonathan Edwards, had six points that follow Peter’s teaching on how the church should operate today.

  • Christians have a responsibility to society beyond the walls of the church. We must not engage in isolationism.
  • We shouldn’t hesitate to join hands with non-Christians in working towards common moral grounds. At the same time, we must not compromise our Christian beliefs in cooperative endeavors.
  • Christians should support their government but be ready to criticize when the circumstances dictate that.
  • Politics are not important in the long run. Our first responsibility is to Jesus and only then to our government. No matter how much we do or want to respect our government, we should respect the church of Jesus more.
  • Christians should be aware of nationalistic pride. In the history of the church, there’s never been a truly Christian nation. As a Christian, our identity is in Jesus…period.
  • Christians must display an attitude of mercy for those less fortunate. If our God is a God of compassion and mercy, then we as Christians need to display those same characteristics.

Three main points in summary before I list some applications.

  • As the church, we can’t isolate ourselves from the world. The early church didn’t do that; they engaged the world, often leading to martyrdom.
    • The early church faced mostly physical persecution.
    • In most parts of the world today, the threat isn’t overt physical violence; it’s a slipping away from correct teaching and doctrine, leading to weak or false Christians.
  • Holiness means in all areas of our lives.
    • It isn’t restricted to spiritual disciplines; Bible reading, prayer, attending church, bringing our offering to God.
    • It includes all aspects of our lives.
      • Sexual practices.
      • The words we speak/don’t speak, write/don’t write.
      • How we spend our money.
      • Recreational pursuits.
      • Vocation.
      • Theological decisions.
  • The church needs to call all of its members to holiness. They should collectively fight against the sin in our society.
    • Casual sex.
    • Drugs.
    • Alcohol abuse.
    • Discrimination of any kind.
    • Gambling.
    • Oppression.
    • There’s a multitude more, and they vary in different locations around the world, choose those that fit your context.


  • First, no matter our circumstances, we must remember that our lives on earth are temporary. When we go through difficult times, face persecution, or just resentment for being a Christian, we must not forget that we weren’t the first, nor will we be the last. Rest in the assurance that Jesus is our strong tower, and He has already overcome the world.
  • We must resist the temptations that the world throws at us and seek holiness in our lives. If we struggle in an area, do we put up safeguards? Do we have an accountability partner?
  • Do we engage the lost world around us with the truth of the Gospel message? Jesus didn’t tell us to avoid the world; He told us to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world.
  • Do we respect our leaders both in action and word (spoken/printed/social media)? Disagreeing with our leaders does not give us the freedom or right to disrespect or slander them. If their words or actions are in conflict with Scripture, we have the freedom and responsibility to disagree with them in a respectful manner and/or peacefully demonstrate against whatever they do contrary to Scripture. Acting in accordance with Scripture goes against everything the world would tell us. However, we must remember application point one above, we are temporary residents here, and our identity is Jesus. If we act like the world, nobody will confuse us with the description of a Christian in the Bible.
  • Do we treat everyone with honor and respect?
  • Do you demonstrate love to your spiritual family?

1 Peter Lesson Three

1 Peter 2:1-10 – Living Stones

2 So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good. Coming to Him, a living stone—rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God— you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it is contained in Scripture:

Look! I lay a stone in Zion,

a chosen and honored  cornerstone,

and the one who believes in Him

will never be put to shame!

So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving,

The stone that the builders rejected—

this One has become the cornerstone,


A stone to stumble over,

and a rock to trip over.

They stumble because they disobey the message; they were destined for this.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,

a holy nation, a people for His possession,

so that you may proclaim the praises 

of the One who called you out of darkness

into His marvelous light.

10 Once you were not a people,

but now you are God’s people;

you had not received mercy,

but now you have received mercy. (HCSB)

The focus of Peter’s message in these verses is on community relationships. The previous passage focused on the need for love among fellow Christians. In chapter two, Peter begins with a call to get rid of actions that disrupt the community of believers.

Verse 1

  • The sins listed in the first verse tear at the social fabric of the church, ripping away the love that binds them together.
    • Malice – an attitude similar to hatred with a desire to inflict pain, harm, or injury to another person. It includes holding and acting on grudges.
    • Deceit – refers to deliberate dishonesty. Anything less than speaking the full and honest truth from the heart is deceit. This is a selfish, two-faced attitude that deceives and hurts others for personal gain.
    • Hypocrisy – a person who is acting out a part and concealing their true motives.
    • Envy – a desire to possess what belongs to someone else and a feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others.
    • Slander – to speak against someone, to run others down verbally, assaults the character of a person, speech that harms another person’s status or reputation.

Verse 2

The central theme of the paragraph is in this verse, “desire the pure spiritual milk.” There are several themes associated with the “spiritual milk” theme.

  • Consuming spiritual milk results in growth.
  • Newborn babies crave milk; believers should have just as strong a craving for spiritual milk.
  • Milk is the very substance of life that enables Christians to grow spiritually.
  • The need for spiritual milk is not an indicator that they are new believers.
  • The milk believers are to long for contain two characteristics.
    • Pure – unadulterated and uncontaminated. Contaminated milk can produce sickness or death.
    • Spiritual – the root of the Greek word used for spiritual is logos, which means word.
  • The spiritual milk here is nothing less than the Word of God. But an underlying warning is contained here.
    • Pure milk leads to healthiness and growth.
    • Contaminated mild would lead to sickness or even death.
    • Correct teaching/preaching leads to spiritual growth. False or heretical teaching leads to sickness or death. False or heretical preachers are sickening or killing their congregation with tainted Scripture interpretation. As believers, we must be careful that those we listen to are not tainting the message.

Verse 3

Those who have truly experienced the love, mercy, and grace of Yahweh should, as a result, actively pursue Him in worship and obedience. The desire to grow spiritually comes from experiencing the Lord’s kindness. The believer is filled with a desire for more, never fully satisfied that they have enough of the Word and Yahweh. This shouldn’t be interpreted as a sense of frustration but rather as desiring more of God.

Verses 4-10 The Living Stones

This next section focuses on the concept of living stones, both Jesus as the living stone and those who make up the church as living stones. This is an amazing and beautiful picture, which I’ll unpack, hopefully giving you a better sense of its full meaning.

Verse 4

This verse is a little tricky as there are connections to the Old Testament from verse 3, Lord, but in this verse called the “living stone” as well as references to the Old Testament in the following verses. The use of the Old Testament term being linked to the living stone is important from a Christological standpoint as it infers that what is true of Yahweh is also true of Jesus.

Jesus is the living stone.

  • Living because of His resurrection.
  • Rejected by man.
    • Psalm 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
    • Isaiah 28:16 Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakeable.”
    • Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone.
    • Romans 9:33 As it is written: Look! I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over and a rock to trip over, yet the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame.
  • Chosen by Yahweh.
    • This contrasts with the rejection by man.
    • He is exalted through His resurrection.
  • These two ideas follow the situation of the Christians Peter is writing to.
    • They were despised by the unbelievers around them.
    • They were chosen and honored in Yahweh’s eyes.
    • They are destined for vindication after their earthly suffering.

Verse 5

In verse 4, Peter identified Jesus as the living stone. In verse 5, he calls followers of Jesus “living stones.” Why does Peter use the phrase “living stones?”

  • Because of their faith in the resurrected Christ.
    • When we place our faith in Jesus, we are buried and resurrected into the resurrected life of Jesus in the present.
    • We also wait for our new body at the end of the age.
  • This is the only place in the New Testament that believers are called living stones.
    • In other places, believers are called God’s temple or house.
      • 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
      • Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
      • Hebrews 3:6 But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.
      • The illustration is of a house in which believers make up the stones of the building.
    • The house (believer) is spiritual because it is animated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
  • Peter is identifying the New Testament church as the new temple, replacing the concept of the Old Testament temple.
    • Believers, as living stones comprising a spiritual house, are being built up through the teaching and discipleship that occurs in the New Testament church.
    • The function of the “building” (believers) is to function as a holy priesthood.
  • The idea of a holy priesthood should not be viewed in an individualistic context. Instead, Peter views this as the corporate church whose members are a holy priesthood.
    • Western society tends to view the concept of priesthood in an individualistic mindset.
    • Under the New Covenant, all believers have a priestly identity.
    • All believers have direct access to God through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus.
    • However, we should focus on the corporate body of Christ rather than individual members.
  • Priests offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.
    • Prayer.
    • Thanksgiving.
    • Praise.
    • Repentance.
    • Offering our bodies to God for His service.
    • Offering of financial gifts.
    • Loving service to others.

Verse 6

This verse is taken from Isaiah 28:16 Therefore the Lord God said: Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakeable.

The context of Isaiah 28 is a judgment on Ephraim for disobedience and unbelief. The theme that Isaiah emphasized throughout the book is captured here, those who trust in the Lord will escape judgment, those who don’t will perish.

  • Isaiah 28:16 is fulfilled with the coming of Jesus.
  • A cornerstone establishes the design and structure of a building.
  • Jesus is the fortress, refuge, and stronghold.
  • Those who believe in Jesus will never be put to shame.
  • Just as Jesus is chosen and honored by God, believers will also be vindicated on the last day.
  • Believers will not experience the embarrassment of judgment but the glory of approval.

Verse 7

Depending on the translation you use verse 7 could have the word honor, as in the HCSB, or precious. The correct understanding of the original Greek is honor.

  • Honor for believers on the day of judgment.
  • Eschatological honor for Jesus.
  • The stone (Jesus) rejected by the builders (unbelievers) is the stone that believers rest their faith on.
  • Unbelievers reject the Gospel, which is the cause of their stumbling or tripping. This should be interpreted as judgment and eternity in hell.

Verse 8

The ideas in this verse are the Gospel message, Jesus, and unbelievers.

  • Jesus and His message, the Gospel, is offensive to many.
  • When unbelievers choose not to believe the Gospel and place their faith in Jesus, the very message that could bring them life instead causes them to stumble.
  • Disobedience is the cause, and all disobedience is because they fail to trust in God.
  • The stumbling mentioned in these verses is not accidental tripping; it is a willful rebellion by refusing to submit to the lordship of Yahweh.
  • The same thing led to the crucifixion of Jesus, refusing to submit and fulfilling their own desires.

Verse 9

There’s a lot going on in this verse, which contains three main themes; a royal priesthood, holy nation, and purpose of God’s people.

  • Royal priesthood.
    • God has chosen them.
    • A reminder that we serve royalty.
    • It is predominately corporate in nature.
      • But it doesn’t deny the fact that individuals serve priestly functions.
      • A proper understanding is that believers have priestly functions but always as members of a group who exercise priestly functions.
    • Both Israel as a nation and the church of Jesus are identified as a royal priesthood.
      • Exodus 19:6 “And you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.” These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.
      • Revelation 1:6 And made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.
  • Holy nation.
    • Holy means to be set apart.
    • Both Israel and Jesus’ church are to be different than the world around them. They will be set apart by their holiness in obedience to Yahweh.
    • A people for His possession.
    • Individual believers all make a valuable contribution to Jesus’ church.
    • Christians are the true people of God, continuing His purpose that began with Abraham and Moses.
  • Purpose of God’s people.
    • To proclaim the praises of Yahweh.
      • They were called out of darkness (death).
      • They now live in marvelous light (life).
      • 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
      • Conversion is an illustration of moving from darkness to light.
        • Acts 26:18 To open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.
        • Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
    • Isaiah 43:21 The people I formed for Myself will declare My praise.
    • Isaiah 43:7a Everyone called by My name and created for My glory.
    • Components of praising God.
      • Worship.
      • Evangelism.

Verse 10

The verse presents an amazing picture of God’s grace and mercy. There is also a connection to Hosea 2:23 I will sow her in the land for Myself, and I will have compassion on No Compassion; I will say to Not My People: You are My people, and he will say, “You are my God.”

  • This was a renouncing of Israel as God’s chosen people because of continuous sin. Yet, Yahweh vows to have mercy on them and restore them as His chosen people.
  • It is also the experience of the church of Jesus and Gentiles.
    • Gentiles once lived in darkness but have now been restored by the light.
    • Gentiles are now grafted into God’s chosen people.
  • Gentiles are the recipients of God’s grace and mercy through faith in Jesus.


  • Take the list of sins that is in verse one and do a self-assessment on whether or not you stumble in any of these areas. Even better, ask your spouse or close friends/co-workers. If you have sinned against anyone, you should apologize and ask for forgiveness. They may or may not give it, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are to ask forgiveness.
  • Do you desire spiritual milk for growth? With our busy lives, it can be challenging, but we should be reading Scripture every day. We should read through the entire Bible each year. The only way to know God, be obedient to His Word, and defeat the spiritual powers of darkness is by being immersed in Scripture. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He quoted Scripture.
  • Do our lives reflect being a member of a holy priesthood? Are we any different than the world around us? If not, we need to confess our sins and do a course correction.
  • Do we rest in the security of the fortress of Jesus? There is nothing in this world bigger than Jesus. If we really trust Him, we will be secure no matter what the world throws at us.