What does 1 Peter 2:12 mean?
ESV: Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
NIV: Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
NASB: Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God on the day of visitation.
CSB: Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits.
NLT: Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
KJV: Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
In the previous verse, Peter urged his readers, all Christians, to abstain from the sin they want to do. One reason for that is found in this verse: the world is watching. Although Peter has described Christians as aliens and strangers in the world, he says that we still live among the people of the world. We are not isolated. We see them, and they see how we live.
He also notes that those in the world will accuse Christians of doing wrong things. Jesus had told Peter and the other disciples that the world would hate them because, in part, they would not belong to the world (John 15:18–25). We should not be surprised, then, when we are falsely accused by unbelievers.
However, we do have a powerful defense: we can focus on leading good lives, making good choices. Peter insists that our choice to do good deeds in the world now truly matters. One reason is that those in the world around us will notice our good works. This will trigger them to give glory to God on the day He visits us. Even as those in the world resent Christians for our refusal to participate in the sinful practices they enjoy (1 Peter 4:3–4), our good works will attract them to our Father.
1 Peter 2:1–12 describes the spiritual house God is building. Jesus is the perfect foundation stone God has chosen for the house. Those who trust in Him are also living stones used to build the house. In addition, we individually serve as both the priests and the spiritual sacrifices, our lives offered to the builder. Thus we must live good lives, as strangers in the world preparing to go home to be with our Father, engaged in battle against our desire to sin.
Peter gets specific about what it means to live as God’s set-apart people. Christ is the foundation stone of the spiritual house God is building. We must engage in battle with our selfishness and desire to sin. This includes submitting to human authorities, no matter how evil or harsh. It means enduring suffering, as Christ did for our sake when He died on the cross. Our role is not to fight a physical war for justice here; we will be going home soon.
First Peter 1 described the glorious reality of our present and future as God’s children, by His grace and through our faith in Jesus. He called us a holy people redeemed by God for new purposes. That means believers must live differently than those in the world around us. In this chapter, Peter narrows down exactly what it means to lead a holy life, including doing battle with our own desire to sin. This also means suffering under human authorities, even unjust ones.
Some 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus, Christians are facing greater persecution for their faith. How should they respond? How should we respond to suffering today? The apostle Peter writes this letter both to comfort believers and to encourage them to stay strong. He urges them to put all their hope in their perfect future with Christ, and to obey and trust Him in the present, even in their suffering. Christ suffered greatly; now the Christ-followers have the opportunity to follow Him even in this, showing His grace and power in their hopefulness, obedience, and faith.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:01:11 AM
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