Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 3: Living in the Light of Christ’s Return: An Exposition of 1 Peter 4:7-11 -- By: D. Edmond Hiebert

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 139:555 (Jul 1982)
Article: Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 3: Living in the Light of Christ’s Return: An Exposition of 1 Peter 4:7-11
Author: D. Edmond Hiebert


Selected Studies from 1 Peter
Part 3:
Living in the Light of Christ’s Return:
An Exposition of 1 Peter 4:7-11

D. Edmond Hiebert

[D. Edmond Hiebert, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California]

The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Pet 4:7–11, NASB).

The hope of Christ’s return is an essential part of the believer’s equipment for fruitful Christian living. In this passage Peter discusses aggressive Christian service in the light of the impending end. The anticipation of the Lord’s return must have an impact on present Christian conduct.

In the face of persecution from without, believers, inspired by their hope of the future, must band together in loving service to each other to the glory of God. Peter here asserts that the end is near (v. 7a), he delineates Christian living in view of the end (vv. 7b–11a), and he points to the true goal of all Christian service (v. 11b).

The Assertion concerning the End

“The end of all things is at hand” (v. 7a) summarizes the Christian anticipation concerning the future. “Of all things”

(Πάντων), standing emphatically forward, underlines the comprehensive nature of the end in view. The genitive “all” could be taken as masculine, “all men, all people”; in 4:17 reference is made to “the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel.” But here this comprehensive term is best taken as neuter, “all things” depicting the eschatological end. “The end” (τὸ τέλος), the consummation of the present course of history, implies not merely cessation but also the goal toward which this present age is moving. It is the prophetic message of Christ’s return.

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