1 Peter 4:7-11 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. Of what does Peter inform the church in verse 7a (printed below?) Since Peter is writing in the first century, how would you explain this?

The end of all things is near; so then, let your mind be alert and be spiritually sober for prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

Peter informs the church that “the end of all things is near.” Yet, as we all know, nearly 2000 years have passed since these words were written by the apostle. Was he mistaken? Certainly not! But how are we to understand these words, The end is near? Actually, the translation, “The end of all things is near (or, “at hand”)” is a bit inaccurate. A more accurate rendering of these words proves to be very awkward when translated into English: “The end of all things is in the state of approaching;” or, “The end of all things is in the approaching mode.” By way of illustration: the spacecraft is ready for take off, all systems are go, it is in the launching mode. Another way of expressing the truth of these words would be to say that we have entered the last chapter of world history. Regardless of how men may chose to divide history, God, the sovereign Creator and Lord of history, has chosen to divide it into two great periods (note Hebrews 1:1-2). “The past” refers to the days of history prior to the coming of Jesus the Messiah; “these last days” refers to the time of Christ’s coming and the years that precede His return in glory. Scripture indicates that the only thing that prolongs this last chapter of history is the patience of God (note 2 Peter 3:9).

2. What exhortation does Peter give in verse 7b (printed above under question #1?) How would you explain the meaning of this?

To “let your mind be alert and be spiritually sober” means to be aware of the fact that Christ will return (note Acts 1:10-11). It means to be aware of the fact that Christ’s return will take the world by surprise (note Matthew 24:37-39). Furthermore, it means being aware of the fact that Christ’s return will be of monumental and eternal consequence (note Matthew 25:31-33).

3. According to the apostle Peter, what is the most important thing we can do to prepare for Christ’s return? See 1 Peter 4:8 (printed below)

Above all else, maintain a fervent love for each other, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

“Above all else,” writes Peter, “maintain a fervent love for each other.” The thing that is of greatest importance is the practice of Christian love. We are to maintain such love, guarding it and not allowing it to lapse among us; where it has been neglected, we must make the necessary repairs.

4. What else does Peter exhort us as Christians to do (see verse 9 printed below?) What benefits can be derived from heeding this exhortation?

Offer hospitality to one another without complaining. (1 Peter 4:9)

One expression of Christian love, brotherly love, one specifically presented in this passage by the apostle Peter, is the practice of hospitality. Hospitality has the effect of building up Christian fellowship, combating the view that we are each independent and isolated individuals in our relationship with God (note 1 John 1:3). Hospitality was not merely a matter of entertaining guests during the first century of the Christian era; it was primarily a means of ministering to one another.

5. For what purpose are we to use our spiritual gifts? As we use our gifts, what are we doing? See 1 Peter 4:10 (printed below)

Just as each one has received a spiritual gift, so use it, ministering to each other as good stewards the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

We are to use our spiritual gifts in ministry to one another. We are to use them to serve and build up the body of Christ, first ministering to those Christians with whom God has brought us into immediate contact and then further expanding our ministry as God sees fit to open doors of greater usefulness and opportunity. We are to use our spiritual gifts as good stewards of the grace of God. We must recognize that our spiritual gift(s) is entrusted to us by God and the particular gift entrusted to us is a part of God’s multifaceted grace. When we use our gift(s) we are actually ministering the very grace of God to one another.