1 Peter 4:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 4:15, NIV: If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.

1 Peter 4:15, ESV: But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.

1 Peter 4:15, KJV: 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.

1 Peter 4:15, NASB: Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;

1 Peter 4:15, NLT: If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people's affairs.

1 Peter 4:15, CSB: Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler.

What does 1 Peter 4:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verses, Peter urged Christians to rejoice in the face of persecution. Believers should see themselves as blessed, to the extent that they experience suffering for the sake of Jesus. It is one way that our place with Christ is confirmed now, and it will result in more rejoicing and glory when Christ's glory is revealed later.

Peter is quick to say, though, that not all suffering is equally honorable. A Christian who experiences the natural consequence of sinful choices, including being punished by the state for criminal activity, should not make the mistake of thinking he or she is suffering for Christ. No Christian is obligated to suffer as a murderer or thief or meddler. No Christian is required by God to suffer for doing anything immoral or evil. This is for a simple, logical reason: no Christian is ever told by God to do such things. Even if they themselves are being wrongfully persecuted, insulted, or falsely accused, Christians are called to good and moral conduct.

It can be easy to justify retaliating against those who kill other Christians, or who confiscate our property. But hurting ourselves by doing evil is not something we can boast about in Christ. Peter says we should not confuse well-deserved penalties for crimes with genuine suffering for Jesus' sake.