What does 1 Peter 2:14 mean?
ESV: or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
NIV: or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
NASB: or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
CSB: or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good.
NLT: or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
KJV: Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
NKJV: or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
Verse Commentary:
This verse finishes the sentence begun in verse 13. Peter tells Christians to submit to every human authority, starting with the emperor: the very highest human authority. He continues that we should also submit to those under the highest human authority, namely those who enforce the law. In Peter's time, it was a Roman governor's role to punish those who do wrong—according to the government—and give praise to those who do right. When a governor did this, he was fulfilling his God-given purpose (Romans 13:4).

As Peter has already suggested in previous verses, though, some were falsely accusing Christians of wrongdoing. Still, Peter insists on submission to government authorities. He encourages Christians to make their defense by leading good lives, making right choices, and trusting God to care for them. Believers are not to fight back by rebelling against those in authority, even if wrongfully accused or unfairly treated.

This is hard for some Christians to accept, but it is the clear teaching of Scripture. Jesus taught and demonstrated such submission to human authority Himself, as did Paul (Romans 13:1–7). In the following verses, Peter will show why God wants us to live this way.
Verse Context:
1 Peter 2:13–25 reveals God’s will for those who are free in Christ: to willingly submit to every human authority for God’s sake. This includes emperors, governors, kings, and even slave masters. Peter does not endorse slavery, but he does instruct Christian slaves to endure unjust suffering, as Jesus did for our sake on the cross. He does not expect us to ''obey'' when the instructions are sinful. Rather, Christians are called to imitate Christ by suffering for doing good. Because Jesus was willing to do so, we lost sheep are now under the protection of our shepherd.
Chapter Summary:
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.
Chapter Context:
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.
Book Summary:
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.
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