1 Peter 4
1 Christ had trouble and pain while he lived in his human body. So you should prepare yourselves to have trouble and pain too. Think about it in the same way that Christ did. If someone has trouble and pain in his body, he stops doing wrong things. 2 As a result, that person will want to do what God wants him to do. In his life in this world, he will not want to do the bad things that people think are good.
3 You have already had enough time in your life to do bad things. Those are the kinds of things that people who do not know God like to do. You did many evil things that your bodies wanted to do. You had sex in a wrong way. You often became drunk. You went to wild parties where you drank too much alcohol. You also worshipped useless idols.
4:3There is only one true God. He is the only one that we should worship.
4 But now you no longer live in the same wicked way as those people do. They continue to enjoy those wrong things all the time. But you do not join with them. So they insult you. 5 But those people will have to explain to God what they have done. He is ready to judge every person, whether they are alive now or they have already died. 6 That is why even dead people needed to hear the good news about Christ. Their bodies had to die, as all people must die. But they heard the good news so that their spirits could live, as God wants them to live.
4:6The ‘dead people’ may mean all the believers who had died during the time that the New Testament describes. Or, the ‘dead people’ may mean all the people who died before Christ came to live on earth. They had no chance to hear the good news about Christ while they lived on earth. So this may mean that Christ went to tell them about what he had done on their behalf. Then they had the chance to believe in him, as we do.
We must use God's gifts properly
7 All things in this world will soon come to an end. So you must think clearly. Then you will be able to pray in a serious way. 8 Continue to love each other very much. That is more important than anything else. If you love people, you will forgive them for any wrong things that they have done. 9 Always be happy to have other believers as visitors in your homes.
10 God has helped each of you in a certain way. Think carefully about how to use that gift from God well. Remember that God has given many different gifts to his people so that they can help each other. 11 Has God helped you to speak well? Then speak God's messages to people. Or has God helped you to serve other people? Then let God make you strong to do that. Do everything so that people will praise God. They will say that God is great, because of Jesus Christ. He is the one who has all authority and power for ever. Everyone should praise him! Amen! This is true!
Christians must be ready to have trouble and pain
12 My friends, I know that people are causing you to have bad trouble. It is like a fire that is burning you. Do not be surprised about that. These things are happening to you, to show whether you really trust God. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. 13 Instead, be happy when you have trouble. Remember that Christ also received much trouble and pain. If you have trouble like he did, then you will be happy when he returns. At that time, everyone will see how great Christ really is. Then you will be very happy with a great joy. 14 People may insult you because you belong to Christ. But God will bless you when that happens. It shows that the Holy Spirit is with you. He is God's great Spirit.
15 Do not murder anyone. Do not rob anyone. Do not do evil things. Do not try to cause trouble for other people. If you do those things, you deserve to have trouble. 16 But if you receive trouble because you are a Christian, do not be ashamed about that. Instead, you should praise God that you belong to Christ.
17 The time has come when God will start to judge people. He will first judge the people who belong to him. If he will start with his own people, what will happen to other people? They have refused to obey God's good news, so it will surely be very bad for them. 18 The Bible says:
‘When God saves righteous people, that is a difficult thing.
It will surely be much worse for people who turn away from God and who do bad things.’
19 So remember this. If you receive trouble because that is what God wants, you should continue to trust him. God made you and he always does what he has promised. So you should continue to do what is good.