THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN UNDERSTANDABLE VERSION Table of Contents
1) [This is being written by] Jesus=apostle Peter, to God=s people who are scattered throughout the countries of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. [Note: These places are located in present-day Turkey]. 2) These people have been [specially] selected, and [their acceptance was] pre-planned by God the Father, and they were set apart through [the work of] the Holy Spirit. This resulted in their obedience and sprinkling [Note: This is a figurative reference to the Old Testament practice of cleansing, See Exodus 24:7-8] by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God=s unearned favor and peace be continually upon you.
3) God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to be praised for being so merciful as to have given us a new birth, which provides for us a hope of never ending life through the means of Jesus Christ=s return from the dead. 4) Through Him we have an inheritance that cannot be corrupted or contaminated, and will never disappear; it is reserved in heaven for you. 5) Through God=s power you are protected by [your] faith, so that you can expect to be saved in the end. 6) Because of this you can be very joyous, even though it is necessary for you to have suffered many trials for a little while. 7) But these will only test your faith, which is more valuable than gold which, though refined by fire, eventually perishes. Your faith, [however], will [endure and eventually] prove to be praiseworthy and honorable when Jesus returns. 8) Although you have not seen Jesus, you [still] love Him and believe in Him, and this causes you to have an indescribable, glorious joy. 9) Your faith will [finally] bring about the salvation of your souls. 10) The prophets [of old], who spoke of this salvation, asked about and searched diligently concerning the unearned favor [God provided] for you people. 11) They studied [their own prophecies] to learn what, or which [person or] time the Holy Spirit in them pointed to, in predicting the sufferings of Christ and the glories yet to come. 12) It was revealed to these prophets that you people, not they, were the ones being ministered to in the matters now being announced to you by those who preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. [This message contained] things which angels would like to look into.
13) So, gather your thoughts together for action, take control of yourselves and focus your hope completely on God=s unearned favor, which will be brought to you by Jesus Christ when He returns. 14) As obedient children, do not pattern your lives after the evil desires you formerly had when you were ignorant, 15) but according to the Holy One, who called you [i.e., God], you people also should become holy [i.e., separated for God=s service] in all your conduct, 16) because it is written [Lev. 11:44f], AYou shall be holy [i.e., separated from sin] even as I am holy.@ 17) And if you call upon [God as] your Father, who judges each person=s work impartially, [then] conduct yourselves during the time you spend in this life showing reverence [to God]. 18) You [should] know that you were bought back [from Satan], from your useless way of life, inherited from your forefathers, not with such perishable things as silver and gold, 19) but with [the] precious blood of Christ, who represents an unblemished lamb, without defect. 20) For Christ was previously known [by God, even] before the world was created, yet was not fully revealed for your benefit until [these] final times. 21) [It is] through Christ, whom God raised from the dead and honored, that you people have become believers in God, so that your faith and hope could rest in God.
22) [Since] you have purified your souls by [your] obedience to the truth [i.e., the Gospel message], which produces a genuine love for your brothers, [now] you should have this kind of fervent, heartfelt love for one another. 23) You have experienced new birth, not from seed that can decay, but from seed that cannot decay, through the living and enduring word of God. 24) For all forms of flesh are similar to grass, and all the splendor of [a person=s] flesh is like the flower [which blossoms] from the grass. [But as with] grass, [a person=s flesh] withers, and its flower [i.e., his splendor] falls off. 25) But the word of the Lord continues to live on and on [forever]. And this word is the good news that was preached to you people.
1) Therefore, you should put out of your lives all malice [i.e., bad attitudes], and all deceit and hypocrisy, and all envy and unwholesome talk. 2) [So], like newly born babies, you should desire the genuine, spiritual milk [i.e., God=s word. See Heb. 5:12-13], so that by it you may grow toward [final] salvation, 3) since you have experienced the goodness of the Lord [i.e., that the Lord is good].
4) You should come to Him, who is a living stone, rejected by people, but chosen as precious in God=s sight. 5) And you yourselves are also like living stones, being constructed into a spiritual house. For you are like holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6) For it says in the Scripture [Isa. 28:16], ALook, I am placing a stone in [the city of] Zion [i.e., Jerusalem]. It is a specially selected, very valuable cornerstone. And the person who trusts in the Him [i.e., the One represented by this stone] will never have to suffer shame [i.e., because of unforgiven sin being brought up against him].@ 7) To those of you who believe in Him then, this AStone@ is [very] precious. But to those who do not believe [Psa. 118:22 says], AThe stone which those in charge of the building project have rejected has been made the principal stone for aligning the whole structure.@ 8) [And it also says, Isa. 8:14, that He would be], AA stone that people would stumble over and a rock over which they would trip and fall.@ The way they stumble is by disobeying the Gospel message. They were destined [though not forced] to do this.
9) But you people are especially chosen [by God]; you are a royal body of priests; you are a nation especially set apart for God=s use; you are a people who belong exclusively to God, that you may express the virtues of the One who called you out of darkness [i.e., of sin and error], and into His marvelous light [i.e., righteousness and truth]. 10) At one time you [Gentiles] were not a [chosen] people, but now you are God=s [special] people. Once you had not received [His] mercy, but now you have received it.
11) My dearly loved ones, I urge you, as a people who are foreigners and strangers [in this world], do not give in to sinful desires, which wage war against the soul. 12) You should live such good lives before [unconverted] Gentiles, so that even though they accuse you of being evildoers, by seeing your good deeds, they will [be led to] honor God [for you] on the day He visits us again [i.e., to bring judgment].
13) Submit yourselves to every authority set up by people for the Lord=s sake. [Submit to] a king as the [highest] authority, 14) or to governors who are appointed by him to punish wrongdoers, and to commend those who do right. 15) For it is God=s will that, by doing good, you should put to silence the ignorant [talk and actions] of foolish people. 16) As servants of God, you should live as free people, but do not use this freedom to cover up your wrongdoing. 17) Show [proper] respect for everyone. Love your [Christian] brothers [and sisters]. Have an awe-inspiring respect for God. Show honor to the king.
18) Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters and show them respect, not just the ones who are good [to you] and treat you well, but also to those who are harsh toward you. 19) For those of you who put up with such suffering unjustly, because of your close relationship to God, are to be commended. 20) But it is no credit to you if you put up with a beating you deserve. But if you patiently tolerate suffering for doing good [things], this is pleasing to God. 21) [After all], this is what you were called to do, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps. 22) [For] He neither sinned nor used deceitful words. 23) When He was spoken to with harsh insults, He did not reply in the same way. When He was made to suffer, He did not threaten [His tormentors], but instead entrusted Himself to God, [whom He knew] would make a righteous judgment [in the matter]. 24) Jesus took upon Himself our sins [when] His body was placed upon the cross so that we, [through] dying to [i.e., giving up] the sinful life, would live for righteousness. You were healed [from your sins] by His being brutally treated. 25) For you people were wandering away like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1) In the same way [that Jesus was submissive], you wives should submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even though they may not obey the [Gospel] message [they have heard] they may, without your talking [to them about it], 2) be won by observing your godly and respectful behavior. 3) Do not let your [adornment] be [the decorations] of the physical body, such as elaborate hair-dos, the wearing of golden [jewelry] and the wearing of [stunning] outfits. 4) But [the kind of adornment you should display is] that of the inner person, with its enduring qualities of a meek and calm spirit, which are extremely valuable in God=s eyes. 5) For this is the way holy women in ancient times decorated themselves. Their hope was in God and they were known for being in subjection to their own husbands. 6) Sarah obeyed her husband Abraham, even referring to him [in respectful terms such] as Asir.@ You [wives] are her [spiritual] descendants if you also do what is right and are not fearful [that things in life will turn out badly].
7) [You] husbands, in the same way, should live with your wives in an understanding way, recognizing their feminine nature as being physically weaker than yours, and showing special honor to them because of it. [Realize] that sharing your lives together is a gracious gift [from God]. [If you have the right relationship with them] it will help avoid problems in your prayer lives.
8) Now to summarize: All of you should think alike. Be sympathetically understanding [toward one another]. Be loving toward [your] brothers [and sisters]. Be tender-hearted and humble-minded. 9) Do not repay a wrong action with [another] wrong action, nor abusive [language] with [additional] abuse, but rather be a blessing [to one another]. For the purpose of your being called [by God] was so that you could receive a blessing [from Him eventually]. 10) For [Psalm 39:12 says], AThe person who loves [his] life and wants to have happy days, should avoid saying anything bad or deceptive. 11) He should turn away from wrong living and do what is good. He should desire peace and do whatever it takes to maintain it. 12) For the Lord=s eyes see what the righteous person does and He hears their [earnest] prayers, but the Lord looks with disapproval on the person who does wrong.@
13) And who do you think would [try to] hurt you if you become enthusiastic for doing what is right? 14) But even if you have to suffer for doing what was right, you still have [God=s] blessing. So, do not be afraid of the threats [of your persecutors], and do not let it worry you. 15) But instead, set aside a place in your hearts where Christ is [in full control as] Lord, and be prepared always to give a suitable reply to every person who asks you for a reason why you have an inner hope. But [be sure you do it] in a meek and respectful way, however. 16) May your conscience be able to so approve of your conduct that, even if you are ridiculed, those doing it will [eventually] have to be ashamed [of themselves] for criticizing your Christian behavior. 17) For, if it is God=s will that you should suffer, it is better [for you] that it be on account of doing right than doing wrong. 18) For Christ suffered once for people=s sins [to be forgiven]. [It was the case of] a righteous Man suffering for unrighteous people, so that He could bring you [or, Aus@] to God [for salvation]. [Though] He [i.e., Jesus] was put to death physically, He was brought back to life by the Holy Spirit [Note: Some translations say Ain spirit@]. 19) It was by the Holy Spirit that He went to preach [See Eph. 2:17] to the [now departed] spirits [of pre-Flood people who are now] in prison [i.e., Hades]. 20) These people had disobeyed [Noah=s preaching, See II Pet. 2:5] back when God=s patience waited [for them to repent, See Gen. 6:3], during the days of Noah, when the ship was being constructed. It was by that means [i.e., the ship floating them to safety through the Flood waters] that a few persons, eight of them, were saved [from destruction] through water. 21) This water prefigured immersion [into Christ], which now also saves you, not by removing dirt from the [physical] body, but [by serving] as an appeal [or, Apledge@] to God for a clear conscience through the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead. 22) He has [now] gone to heaven, and is [seated] at the right side of God, where the angels and [other] authorities and powers have been subjected to Him.
1) Therefore, since Christ has suffered physically, you people should fortify yourselves with the same attitude He had. For the person who has suffered physically [i.e., in standing for Christ] has quit sinning. 2) So then, you should no longer live the rest of your lives [to satisfy] the sinful desires of your body, but to do what God wants. 3) For the time you have [already] spent in the past [i.e., as Gentile unbelievers] was long enough to have practiced unrestrained, indecent conduct, improper sexual cravings, riotous living, wild parties, drunken orgies and disgusting idol worship. 4) Now, those people you used to run around with cannot understand why you have stopped living such wasteful lives, so they just Abadmouth@ you. 5) But, they will have to answer to God, who will judge both those who are now alive and those who have already died, [for the way they have lived]. 6) This is the purpose that the Gospel was preached to those who have died physically [for the faith]: It was so that, even though they had been judged physically [i.e., by suffering death at the hands of men], they could still live spiritually in the presence of God.
7) But the end of everything [as far as your lives are concerned] is near, so be sensible, and sober [so as to be] prayerful. 8) Above everything else, have a warm love for one another, for such a love keeps many sins from occurring [between you]. 9) Extend hospitality to one another without complaining [that you have to]. 10) As each of you has received a gift [from God], you should make use of it [in the body], so that you will be [good] caretakers of the many unearned ways that God favors you. 11) If someone=s gift is speaking, he should [be sure to] say only what God wants him to. If a person=s gift is serving, he should do so by the strength provided by God [who supplies all such gifts]. This is so that, in using all gifts, God may be honored through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs honor and power forever and ever. May it be so.
12) Loved ones, do not be surprised that you people are undergoing extremely difficult trials, as though something strange were happening to you, for it is [only] a test [of your faith]. 13) You should rejoice that you are sharing some of what Christ has suffered, so that you will get to rejoice all the more when He returns in His splendor. 14) If you are spoken against for being Christians, you have God=s blessing, because His glorious Holy Spirit rests upon you [to provide comfort, See John 14:16]. 15) [However], you should not have to suffer for murdering, stealing, doing evil or interfering in the affairs of others. 16) But if a person should have to suffer because he is a Christian, he should not be ashamed [of it], but instead, he should bring honor to God by [wearing] the name [of Christ]. 17) For the time has [now] come for the house of God [the church, See I Tim. 3:15] to begin receiving judgment [i.e., by undergoing persecution], and if it starts with us [Christians], what will be the [ultimate] end of people who do not obey the Gospel of God? 18) And if people who are trying to do right [i.e., Christians] are saved through [suffering] such difficulties, where will the ungodly and sinful person end up, [if not in hell]? 19) Therefore, those who [are allowed to] suffer in harmony with God=s [permissive] will, should commit their souls to a trustworthy Creator, [who will take everything into account], while they go on [trying] to do what is right.
1) So, the elders in the various places where you live, are to receive the following exhortation. (I too, am an elder and have witnessed the sufferings of Christ, and am also assured of partaking of the glorious [salvation, 1:5] that will someday be revealed). 2) You should serve as shepherds of God=s flock [i.e., the church], among whom you minister, providing careful oversight [of the people], not because you feel forced to, but because you want to, as this is in accordance with the way God wants it to be. Do not [serve as elders] simply out of a desire for the income you receive, but because your heart is in it. 3) Do not act as dictators over the people you are assigned to care for, but [rather] serve as examples of how they ought to live. 4) And when the Supreme Shepherd [i.e., Jesus] comes back, you will receive [for your effort] a glorious crown [of reward] that will never fade away [Note: The idea of Afading away@ is suggested by the laurel wreath bestowed on the winner of an athletic contest].
5) And in the same way, you younger [Christians] should be [respectfully] submissive to the older ones. And all of you should [be willing to] humbly serve one another, for God stands opposed to [the efforts of] proud people, but extends His unearned favor to those [who serve] with humility. 6) Therefore, be humble [in your actions] before God=s powerful authority, so that you may be exalted [by Him] at the proper time. 7) Place all your anxious cares upon God [in prayer], because He genuinely cares about you. 8) Be sensible and alert; your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring [i.e., hungry] lion looking for someone to [kill and] eat. 9) You should withstand his efforts by maintaining a strong faith [in God], remembering that your [Christian] brothers in [the rest of] the world are experiencing [and enduring] suffering similar to yours.
10) And the God who bestows every unearned favor [upon His people], who invited you to partake of His eternal splendor through Christ Jesus, will restore, confirm, strengthen and stabilize you people [in the faith], after you have gone through a brief time of suffering. 11) May God have total authority over everything [including your circumstances] forever. May it be so.
12) This brief message is being inscribed [or delivered] by Silvanus, whom I consider to be a faithful brother. [In it] I am exhorting you and giving testimony that it is a message about God=s genuine unearned favor upon you. So, continue to follow [and obey] what it says. 13) Your sister [church] here in Babylon, [also] chosen [by God], as you have been, sends her greetings along with my [spiritual] son Mark. 14) Greet one another lovingly, [expressing it] with a kiss [of brotherly affection].
May there be peace [of heart] to all those [there] who are in [the fellowship of] Christ.
Table of Contents
Copyright © 1994 by William E. Paul.
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