King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Peter 4

The consideration of Christ’s sufferings is urged for purity and holiness. (1-6) And the approaching end of the Jewish state, as a reason for sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer. (7-11) Believers encouraged to rejoice and glory in reproaches and sufferings for Christ, and to commit their souls to the care of a faithful God. (12-19)

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The consideration of Christ’s sufferings is urged for purity and holiness

1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

And the approaching end of the Jewish state, as a reason for sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Believers encouraged to rejoice and glory in reproaches and sufferings for Christ, and to commit their souls to the care of a faithful God

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. He that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sins. Some expound these words of Christ; but he never had committed the least sin. The true sense is, that every one who suffers by Christ’s example, leaves off a sinful life, so as not to fall into great sins. Wi.

Ver. 3. For the time past is sufficient, &c. As if he said, you who were Gentiles, have already lived too long in vices before your conversion; so that they who are not yet converted, admire[1] at the change they see in you, make a jest of you, talk against you for your not running on with them in the same wicked and shameful disorders: but they shall render an exact account of all to the just Judge of the living and the dead. For as I told you before, in the last chap. (v. 19.) for this cause (i.e. because Christ is judge of all) he descended to the place where the souls of the dead were, and preached to them, shewing himself, their Redeemer, who judgeth and condemneth those who had lived according to the flesh, but gave life to those who had lived well, or done penance according to the spirit of God. Wi.

Ver. 8. Charity covereth a multitude of sins. It is a great means to atone for them; or it may signify, that a charitable mind excuses many sins in others. Wi.

Ver. 10. As good stewards of the manifold grace of God. An admonition to the ministers of the gospel, to employ well their talents and the graces received to the honour and glory of God. Wi.

Ver. 12. Think not strange, &c. Be not surprised, nor discouraged that a hot and sharp persecution is come upon you at this time, as if it were a new and an extraordinary thing. It is what you must expect and be ready to receive with patience, and even with joy, when you suffer as Christ did before you, and for his sake: this is the way to eternal happiness in heaven. Wi.

Ver. 14. Which is of the honour, glory, &c. He gives them the reason why they must rejoice and look upon themselves happy to suffer for the name of Christ, because to suffer for God’s sake is glorious, is a mark that the glorious, the honourable, and the powerful spirit of God rests upon them: for as Paul said, (Heb. xii. 6.) “For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Nothing then is more honourable, nothing more advantageous, than to suffer for being a Christian. This word is only found here, and Acts xi. 26. Wi.

Ver. 15. Or a railer.[2] The Greek here signifies one that does evil, or a malefactor. — Or as coveting the goods of others.[3] The Greek rather signifies one curiously prying into the affairs of others, which Protestants translate a busy body. Wi.

Ver. 17. The time is that judgment should begin at the house of God. By judgment seems to be here understood afflictions, persecutions, and trials in this world; and the sense is, that the time of this life is a time of suffering. — And if first at us. That is, if the justice of God deal in this manner with his friends whom he loves, much greater will be hereafter the punishments of sinners, and of those who have refused to believe in Christ. Wi.

Ver. 18. Scarcely. That is, not without much labour and difficulty. Ch.

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[1] V. 3. In quo admirantur, xenizontai, from xenos, hospes, peregrinus. The same word is used v. 12, nolite peregrinari in fervore, me xenizesthe te en umin purosei: in ustione, meaning the heat of persecutions.

[2] V. 15. Maledicus, kakopoios, malefactor.

[3] Ibid. Alienorum appetitor, allotrioepiskopos, aliorum inspector.