1 Peter 2:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 2:20, NIV: But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

1 Peter 2:20, ESV: For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

1 Peter 2:20, KJV: For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

1 Peter 2:20, NASB: For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

1 Peter 2:20, NLT: Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

1 Peter 2:20, CSB: For what credit is there if when you do wrong and are beaten, you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God.

What does 1 Peter 2:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter continues with the topic of Christian slaves submitting to masters that he began in verse 18. In the previous verse, he called it commendable, or a "gracious thing," when a believing slave endures unjust suffering from a harsh master. Commentary for verse 18 helps to explain how biblical "slavery" is not the institution most modern readers think of.

In this verse, Peter clarifies that a Christian—slave or otherwise—receives no credit or commendation for pain that comes as a result of doing wrong. In other words, if a Christian slave is beaten for something that would be in rebellion to God's will, that's not commendable.

We have to be careful here. As defined from a modern perspective, slavery itself is an evil thing. And certainly, beating a slave, even for wrongdoing, is also an evil thing. Again, these verses are not endorsing slavery or the beating of slaves. Instead, Peter is giving practical direction to Christians who are themselves slaves and who may be beaten by their masters. If that beating comes as a result of theft or rebellion, for instance, the Christian slave should not think of him or herself as suffering in the same way Jesus did (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus never suffered for wrongdoing; suffering for sin is never "favored" by God even if that suffering seems overly harsh or out of proportion with the sin.

Suffering for doing what is right, though, is commendable before God. In fact, the next verse will tell us it is exactly what we are called to do.