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If the righteous is scarcely saved… What Does 1 Peter 4:17-18 Mean?. A Puzzling Passage. Does 1 Peter 4:17-18 teach that a righteous person will barely be saved in the judgment day?

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if the righteous is scarcely saved what does 1 peter 4 17 18 mean
If the righteous is scarcely

saved…

What Does

1 Peter 4:17-18 Mean?

a puzzling passage
A Puzzling Passage
  • Does 1 Peter 4:17-18 teach that a righteous person will barely be saved in the judgment day?
  • This lesson will help us to understand this puzzling passage and to learn some good Bible study habits along the way
judgment in this context
“Judgment” in this context
  • The word “judgment” can refer to different kinds / occasions of judgment. What does it mean in 1 Peter 4:17-18?
  • “Judgment” can refer to judgment upon a nation (Rev. 17:1; 18:10,20), the judgment day (Rom. 2:5), or judgment by discipline (1 Cor. 11:31-32)
judgment in this context1
“Judgment” in this context
  • “Judgment” in this context refers to the judgment (discipline, testing) of suffering / persecution / fiery trial (see 4:12-16,19; consider the rest of the book; 1:6,11; 2:19,20,21,23; 3:14,17,18; 4:13,15,16,19; 5:1,9,10)
  • Note that Peter writes, “for the time is come…” – a form of judgment already in his day, not the end of time
saved in this context
“Saved” in this context
  • The word “saved” can refer to different kinds / occasions of salvation. What does it mean in 1 Peter 4:17-18?
  • “Saved” can refer to salvation from sin (Mt. 1:21), a storm (Mt. 8:25), God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9), death (Heb. 5:7), Egypt (Jude 5), etc.
saved in this context1
“Saved” in this context
  • Saved” in this context refers to salvation from suffering / persecution (compare Mt. 10:21-22; 24:13,22)
what does scarcely mean
What does “scarcely” mean?
  • What is the Greek word behind “scarcely”? The Gr. word molis translated “scarcely” means “hard”, “with much work”, “not easily”, “with great difficulty” (Lk. 9:39; Acts 14:18; 27:8,16; Rom. 5:7; 1 Pet. 4:18)
  • The English word “scarcely” can mean “barely”, but it’s other meaning is “difficulty”
what does scarcely mean1
What does “scarcely” mean?
  • What do other English translations say?
    • “if it is with difficulty that the righteous are saved” (NASV)
    • “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved (NIV)
    • “If the righteous are barely saved” (NLT, AMP, CEV, CEB)
good bible study habits
Good Bible Study Habits
  • Judgment and saved: study Bible words in their immediate context
  • Scarcely: study English words in light of 1) their original Greek / Hebrew meaning (lexicon), 2) their original English meaning (Webster’s), and 3) their use in other translations
putting it all together
Putting it all together
  • Note that Peter uses two rhetorical questions (two contrasts):
    • the house of God (us) and “them that obey not the gospel (v. 17)
    • the righteous and the ungodly and sinner (v.18)
putting it all together1
Putting it all together
  • This is an “a fortiori” argument – an argument from the lesser to the great (see also Rom. 11:21)
  • If difficult suffering is happening to the good people by God’s will, what more can the bad people expect from God? The answer is found elsewhere in the NT such as 2 Thess. 1:7-10 or Mt. 25:46
putting it all together2
Putting it all together
  • Peter is saying that the Lord’s church is going through difficult judgment in the form of suffering, persecution, trial (lit. and if it begin from us…) – comp. Ezek. 9:5-6
  • How much more greater must be the misery and wretchedness of the ungodly who are experiencing the same thing – comp. Prov. 11:31
putting it all together3
Putting it all together
  • If the righteous experience difficult disciplinary judgment, how much more will the disobedient merit the wrath of God whose offer of righteousness they have rejected
  • The disobedient will not have a good end; they have no hope of appearing with God’s approval
lessons for today
Lessons for Today
  • The reward of the righteous in the last day is not something that is barely gained, rather it is “richly supplied” (2 Peter 1:10-11)
  • Suffering is God’s test (1 Pet. 4:12)
  • Suffering for Christ’s sake can be a very difficult experience, but it leads to glory (1 Pet. 4:13; 5:1,10)
lessons for today1
Lessons for Today
  • Christians who suffer are blessed having the Spirit of glory / God resting upon them (1 Pet. 4:14)
  • Christians who suffer are to live clean and pure lives (1 Pet. 4:15-16; see 1:15)
  • Christians who suffer should commit their souls to God (1 Pet. 4:19; 3:12; 2:21-23)