1 Peter 1:14-2:3 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Stated first in negative terms, what does it mean to live as “obedient children?” See 1 Peter 1:14 (printed below)

As obedient children, no longer conform to the passions you formerly had when you lived in ignorance. (1 Peter 1:14)

What it means to be “obedient children” is first defined in negative terms: do not allow yourself to any longer be guided by and conformed to your former lusts. Prior to conversion there was the casual, careless indulgence—sometimes the intense pursuit—of the lusts of the world. But now, having become a child of God, we must no longer allow our lives to be brought into conformity with the lifestyle and the attitudes of a pagan world: self-centered, defiant of authority, unrestrained, irresponsible.

2. How does Peter sum up in positive terms what it means to live as “obedient children?” See 1 Peter 1:15-16 (printed below)

But just as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)

Summing up in positive terms what it means to be “obedient children,” Peter declares, “Be holy.” Note that this is a process, Peter’s command may more accurately be rendered, “Become holy”—it is the spiritual process that the Bible defines as sanctification. This process of sanctification extends to every part of life; Peter urges us to “become holy in all your conduct:” business and recreation, social and intellectual pursuits (note 2 Corinthians 10:5).

3. How are we as Christians to spend the remainder of our time on earth and why are we to live in this way? See 1 Peter 1:17-19 (printed below)

And if you call upon the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, live your remaining time on earth in fear, (18) knowing that you were redeemed from your futile way of life handed down from your forefathers—not by perishable things, such as silver or gold, (19) but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish or defect, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:17-19)

The call to holy living is followed by the command to “live your remaining time on earth in fear.” That is to say, during the remainder of our life on earth we are to consciously entertain a holy, reverential fear of God. A reverential fear of God, a holy fear that restrains us from sin, is appropriate in this present age until that time when the love for God has been perfected in us. Note that Scripture does not set the fear of God in opposition to the love of God; on the contrary, the very One towards whom the Christian is to entertain a reverential fear is the One whom he may lovingly and confidently address as “Father.” It is the heavenly Father who is also the divine Judge; and the righteous Father carries out that divine work of judgment without favoritism. This causes the Christian to respect his heavenly Father with a deep and sacred fear, as opposed to taking an unholy advantage of his position as a child of God.

4. What is one reason for which we have been redeemed? In order to fulfill this purpose, what are we as Christians commanded to do? See 1 Peter 1:22-23 (printed below)

Since you have, by obedience to the truth, purified your souls for a sincere love of your brothers, earnestly love one another from the heart, (23) having been born again. Your rebirth was not by means of perishable seed, but by one that is imperishable: the living and enduring word of God (1 Peter 1:22-23)

Peter informs us that one of the reasons we have been redeemed is for the purpose of practicing brotherly love towards fellow believers in Christ. Furthermore, the fact that we have been born again by the Spirit of God is what creates a spiritual affinity between believers and the ability to express brotherly love for them. Although it is the redeeming grace of God that creates the ability to love our Christian brothers and sisters, we need to be exhorted to actually practice this brotherly love, so it is that Peter exhorts us, “Since you have…purified your souls for a sincere love of your brothers, earnestly love one another from the heart.”

5. To what does Peter compare the Christian in 1 Peter 2:2 (printed below?) What does he exhort us to do?

…earnestly desire the pure spiritual milk, like new born infants, so that by it you may grow in your salvation (1 Peter 2:2)

The apostle Peter compares the Christian to a newborn babe. One characteristic of an infant is his desire for the nourishment of his mother’s milk. In a similar way, we as Christians are instructed to desire “the pure spiritual milk” (i.e.; the Word of God.) We are to avail ourselves of this pure spiritual milk “so that by it you may grow in your salvation.” The infant naturally desires his mother’s milk, and that milk becomes the nourishment that sustains his life and furthers his growth. The same holds true for us as Christians: we are to sustain and cultivate our spiritual life, and we do so by means of the Word of God.