1 Peter 3:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 3:9, NIV: Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9, ESV: Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9, KJV: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9, NASB: not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you would inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9, NLT: Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

1 Peter 3:9, CSB: not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.

What does 1 Peter 3:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

For Christians, revenge is never the right option. Period. Peter echoes the teaching of Jesus, as well as that of Paul, in making it perfectly clear that those in Christ—those set apart to a new purpose—are not allowed to "get even." Peter is writing to believers who were likely experiencing both physical harms and "reviling" (or insults) for their faith in Christ. The way of the world and our normal human impulse is to strike back with the same hurtful treatment we receive. Peter commands us to completely refuse that instinct.

Instead of repaying evil with evil or insult with insult, Peter commands those in Christ to "bless," or give a blessing. A blessing is a positive statement. For a Christian, it's a request that God would help another person to succeed in some way, that he or she would experience God's favor. Why would we ever do such a thing for someone who has hurt or insulted us? Peter answered that question in 1 Peter 2:21–25. We respond with a blessing when given evil, because that's what Jesus did for us, and He is the one we follow. We're walking in His steps.

Peter adds two ideas here. First, as Christians, we are called to this work of giving blessings in exchange for evil and insults. That's part of our purpose as God's set-apart people on earth. This is a powerful tool for social change, since only forgiveness can break the cycle of revenge.

Second and more mysteriously, as we give blessings for insults and evil, we will obtain or "inherit" a blessing for ourselves. This blessing may mean the eternal life that we've already been promised in Christ or, more likely, this blessing points to additional rewards from God in this life and/or in the life to come.