1 Peter 4:7-19

If you have not recently done so, this might be a good time to review the notes on judgement which appeared in the previous commentary on 1 Peter 4:1-6.

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

[The end of all things is at hand] Time is short. The apostle James, in his epistle, joins Peter in warning that, "The judge standeth before the door." James 5:7-9.

[Be ye sober, unto prayer] Keep your mind clear, be focused upon reality, pray for the supporting hand of God to be upon you.

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

[Have fervent charity] Intense love among the Christian community. A loving disposition shall cause us to not dwell upon the faults of others but to be forgiving toward them. God's great love covers our sins against him. So shall our love for fellow Christians cover their slights against us.

9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

[Hospitality] Be ever ready to divide your bread with the hungry or in other ways help meet their needs. Do nothing because it is required, but do it from love to God and man.

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.

[Hath received the gift] Whatever gifts or endowments any man may possess, they are, properly speaking, not his own. They are the Lord's property, to be employed in his work and to his glory.

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.

[If any man speak] If one would explain or teach God's word, let him do it in the same manner as those did to whom the living oracles of God were committed. Study the word. Teach it accurately and with authority.

[If any man minister.] If one would in other ways meet the needs of others, let him minister faithfully with all the ability God has given him.

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.

[Think it not strange] The Apostle Peter returns to what he has touched upon before in this epistle, namely to exhort the Christians to behave with patience and integrity, even when under severe persecution.
In this modern day, after a long period of relative freedom from persecution, Christians are encountering increasing persecution and, in many corners, are reacting with cries of surprise and distress. We should do what we can, within the laws of the land, to reduce persecution but should not expect to eliminate it. Read what Jesus said in John 15:18-19.

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.

[Happy are ye] It is an honor for a Christian to be reproached for being like his master. God is glorified.
However, if a Christian is punished for being NOT Christ-like, there is no reason to rejoice, God is dishonored.

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

[Let him not be ashamed] An attitude. Be not intimidated by the ones who wrongfully abuse you, but maintain a steady faith and confidence.

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?

[Judgement must begin at the house of God] The family of God. The world, with God's permission, will judge us by its standards and may harshly treat us, but in reality they are storing up judgement against themselves.

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.

[Commit the keeping of their souls] 2 Timothy 1:12.

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 02/20/2007

Copyright (C) 1999,2003,2006,2007 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved