Here is my rendering of the next passage in my journey to translate and teach my way through the Book of 1 Peter:
Now, the end of everything has now drawn near, so be sensible and self-controlled for the sake of [your] prayers. Above all else, always keep [your] love for one another constant, because love always covers many sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. To the degree that each [of you] has received a gift, use it to serve one another, like good servants of God’s multifaceted grace. If someone speaks, [do it like he’s speaking] God’s [very] words. If someone serves, [he must do so] from the strength that God always supplies, so that God will be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him [belongs] the glory and sovereignty for ever and ever! Amen (1 Peter 4:7-11).
These is some very good advice! Actually they’re a series of commands, which flow from that enigmatic statement at the very beginning:
Here are some questions to consider from the passage:
- What is the “end of all things?” What is Peter referring to? How does this relate to the list of commands in this passage?
- Why should Christians be sensible and self-controlled? Where else in this letter did Peter say something similar about how your behavior is linked to how God hears your prayers?
- What does Peter mean when he says “love always covers many sins?”
- What did “hospitality” look in Peter’s day, in his culture? What does it look like, today, in our culture?
- Why does Peter call God’s grace of bestowing gifts to Christians as “multifaceted,” or “manifold” or “varied?”
- What are some of the gifts the New Testament identifies believers have?
- Who does Peter want you to use your gifts for? What does this tell us about the congregation being a local community of believers?
- What does Peter suggest about how gifted you are in a particular area?
- What kind of “speaking” is Peter referring to?
- Where does the strength come from to serve others in the church? What does this tell us about motivation for service?
- What is the reason and motivation for Christians to use their spiritual gifts for each other?
I’m looking forward to going through this passage over the next few weeks.