1 Peter 1:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 1:18, NIV: For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,

1 Peter 1:18, ESV: knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,

1 Peter 1:18, KJV: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

1 Peter 1:18, NASB: knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,

1 Peter 1:18, NLT: For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.

1 Peter 1:18, CSB: For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,

What does 1 Peter 1:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verse 17, Peter has revealed that our loving Father God judges the actions of His saved children. This is not to decide our eternal fate, but to weigh whether our choices are those of a holy, set-apart people. Peter writes that we should live out our lives on earth as foreigners and with "fear," meaning "reverence."

Why fear? In part, the idea is that we should carry solemn awareness of the great worth God has placed on our lives. We should appreciate the great expectation He has to make use of us, as His children, for His plans and for His glory (Philippians 2:12–13). That awareness should motivate us to be cautious about making worthless choices.

Peter demonstrates the value God has placed on us by showing the price He paid for us. He didn't pay mere cash: "silver or gold." He didn't pay temporary currency for an eternal transaction. Verse 19 will reveal that He paid for us with the blood of His own Son, a currency of limitless value. We cannot overestimate our worth in our Father's eyes.

And what did He redeem us from? Worthlessness. He didn't just save us from hell; he bought us out of the futility of human existence that we had inherited from our ancestors. He bought us out of an empty, meaningless waste of time—all that the world can truly offer us. Peter's point in all of this may be that our choices now, after that transaction, truly matter. As people of great value to God—holy people—we should be terrified that we will squander our days continuing to invest ourselves in worthless things.