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

1 Peter 4:4, NIV: They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.

1 Peter 4:4, ESV: With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;

1 Peter 4:4, KJV: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

1 Peter 4:4, NASB: In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them in the same excesses of debauchery, and they slander you;

1 Peter 4:4, NLT: Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you.

1 Peter 4:4, CSB: They are surprised that you don't join them in the same flood of wild living--and they slander you.

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

In the previous verses, Peter wrote that Christians must take on Christ's attitude toward persecution. That is, we should expect it as a normal part of doing God's will here on earth. Having made the choice to live for God's will, to willingly endure what suffering that may bring, we no longer live to bring ourselves pleasure and comfort. Thus we no longer live for sensual experiences, sexual pleasure, drunkenness, partying, orgies, or idolatry. In Peter's time, non-Christian religious rituals often involved all of those things. In this verse, Peter writes that the Christian choice, to not be depraved, actually provokes those who live for pleasure. Non-believers who indulge in sinful lifestyles will "malign" or "heap abuse" on us. They're surprised, even offended, that we don't join in. The believer's choice to not participate in a wild, reckless, and excessive lifestyle of hedonistic partying and escapism actually insults them.

As in chapter 3, Peter's comments assume that the world will notice the change which commitment to Christ makes in us. In 1 Peter 3:1–2, he pointed out that unbelieving husbands might be won when recognizing the Christ-motivated change in their wives. In 1 Peter 3:15, he says others will notice and ask about the surprising hopefulness of suffering Christians. Here, those living for sinful pleasures will notice—resentfully—that suffering Christians don't join in the pleasure-seeking.

God intends for the world to see Christ in us. That's part of the purpose He has for us as His holy, set-apart people.