1 Peter 2:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

New Living Translation
Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

English Standard Version
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Berean Study Bible
Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

Berean Literal Bible
keeping your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that wherein which they speak against you as evildoers, through having witnessed the good deeds, they may glorify God in the day of visitation.

New American Standard Bible
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

King James Bible
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

International Standard Version
Continue to live such upright lives among the gentiles that, when they slander you as practicers of evil, they may see your good actions and glorify God when he visits them.

NET Bible
and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.

New Heart English Bible
having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And let your way of life be beautiful before all children of men, those who speak wicked words of you, that they may see your beautiful works and praise God in the day of examination.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Live decent lives among unbelievers. Then, although they ridicule you as if you were doing wrong while they are watching you do good things, they will praise God on the day he comes to help you.

New American Standard 1977
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Jubilee Bible 2000
and have your honest conversation among the Gentiles, so that, in that which they murmur about you as of evildoers, having witnessed your good works, they may glorify God in the day of visitation.

King James 2000 Bible
Having your conduct honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

American King James Version
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

American Standard Version
having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Darby Bible Translation
having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that [as to that] in which they speak against you as evildoers, they may through [your] good works, [themselves] witnessing [them], glorify God in [the] day of visitation.

English Revised Version
having your behaviour seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Webster's Bible Translation
Having your manner of life honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Weymouth New Testament
Live honourable lives among the Gentiles, in order that, although they now speak against you as evil-doers, they may yet witness your good conduct, and may glorify God on the day of reward and retribution.

World English Bible
having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Young's Literal Translation
having your behaviour among the nations right, that in that which they speak against you as evil-doers, of the good works having beheld, they may glorify God in a day of inspection.
Study Bible
The Living Stone
11Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul. 12Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. 13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to the king as the supreme authority,…
Cross References
Isaiah 10:3
Now what will you do in the day of punishment, And in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth?

Daniel 6:4
Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 9:8
When the crowds saw this, they were filled with awe and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Luke 19:44
They will level you to the ground--you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God."

John 13:31
When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.

Acts 28:22
But we consider your views worth hearing, because we know that people everywhere are speaking against this sect."

Romans 14:18
For whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

2 Corinthians 8:21
For we are taking great care to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord, but also in the eyes of men.

Philippians 2:15
so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world
Treasury of Scripture

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

your conversation.

1 Peter 3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

Psalm 37:14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to …

Psalm 50:23 Whoever offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation …

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that …

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the …

Ephesians 4:22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, …

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: …

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise your youth; but be you an example of the believers, …

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with …

James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show …

2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner …

honest.

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the …

Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, …

2 Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but …

2 Corinthians 13:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear …

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are …

1 Thessalonians 4:12 That you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that …

1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a …

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things …

among.

Genesis 13:7,8 And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and …

Philippians 2:15,16 That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without …

that.

1 Peter 3:1,16 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, …

1 Peter 4:14-16 If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the …

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and …

Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant …

Luke 6:22 Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate …

Acts 24:5,6,13 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition …

Acts 25:7 And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood …

whereas. or, wherein. they may.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, …

Titus 2:7,8 In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine …

glorify.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man …

Psalm 50:23 Whoever offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation …

Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, …

1 Corinthians 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling …

the day.

Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people,

Luke 19:44 And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within …

Acts 15:14 Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, …

(12) Conversation.--A favourite word with St. Peter, occurring (substantive and verb) seven times in this Epistle, and thrice in the second--i.e., as often as in all the other New Testament writings put together. It means the visible conduct of the daily walk in life. This, as among Gentiles--i.e., heathen (the words are synonymous, though St. Paul generally says "those without" when he means heathen as opposed to Christian)--is to be "honest." We have no word adequate to represent this charming adjective. It is rendered "good" immediately below and in John 10:11 ("the Good Shepherd"), "worthy" in James 2:7, "goodly" in Luke 21:5. But it is the ordinary Greek word for "beautiful," and implies the attractiveness of the sight, the satisfaction afforded by an approach to ideal excellence.

That whereas.--The marginal version is more literal, and in sense perhaps preferable, "wherein." It means that the very fact of the heathen having slandered them will make their testimony "in the day of visitation" all the more striking, as (by way of illustration) the doubts of St. Thomas tend to "the more confirmation of the faith." So in Romans 2:1, "wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself;" or Hebrews 2:18 (lit.), "wherein He Himself hath suffered, being tempted."

They speak against you as evildoers.--A significant phrase. St. Peter asserts distinctly that calumnies were really rife, about some particulars of the Christian morality, at the time that this letter was written. It is a mark of a late date, for at first the Christians had not attracted sufficient notice, as a body, to be talked of either in praise or blame. The heathen at first regarded them as merely a Jewish sect (Acts 18:15; Acts 25:18-20), and as such they received from the Roman Government a contemptuous toleration. The first state recognition of Christianity as a separate religion, with characteristics of its own, was the Persecution of Nero in the year 64. Now, it so happens that we have almost contemporary heathen documents which bring out the force of this passage. Suetonius, in his life of Nero (chap. 16), calls the Christians by the very name St. Peter uses, "the Christians, a kind of men of a new and malefic superstition." Only about forty years later, we have Pliny's famous letter to Trajan, written actually from the country in which St. Peter's correspondents lived, and referring to some of the very persons (probably) who received the Epistle as having apostatised at the time of the persecution under Nero; in which letter Pliny asks whether it is the profession of being a Christian which is itself to be punished, or "the crimes which attach to that profession!" The Apologists of the second century are full of refutations of the lies current about the immorality of the Christian assemblies. The Christians were a secret society, and held their meetings before daylight; and the heathen, partly from natural suspicion, partly from consciousness of what passed in their own secret religious festivals, imagined all kinds of horrors in connection with our mysteries. From what transpired about the Lord's Supper, they believed that the Christians used to kill children and drink their blood and eat their flesh. Here, however, the context points to a different scandal. They are warned against the fleshly lusts, in order that the heathen may find that the Christians' great glory lies in the very point wherein they are slandered. "Evildoers," therefore, must mean chiefly offences on that score. It is historically certain that such charges against Christian purity were extremely common. Even as late as the persecution under Maximin II., in the year 312, it was reported that these meetings before light were a school for the vilest of arts.

By your good works which they shall behold.--More literally, they may, in consequence of your beautiful works, being eye-witnesses thereof--The "good works" are not what are commonly so called--i.e., acts of benevolence, &c. Rather, their "works" are contrasted with the current report, and mean scarcely more than the "conversation" mentioned already. The present passage is, no doubt, a reminiscence of Matthew 5:16, where the word has the same force.

Glorify God in the day of visitation.--This "glorification" of God will be like that of Achan in the book of Joshua (Joshua 7:19), an acknowledgment how far they had been from the glorious truth. Some commentators understand the day of visitation to mean the day when the heathen themselves come really to look into the matter. This is possible; and it came true when Pliny tortured the Christian deaconesses and acquitted the poor fanatics, as he thought them, of all immoral practices. But from the ordinary use of the words, it would more naturally mean the day when God visits. And this will not mean only the great last day, but on whatever occasion God brings matters to a crisis. The visitation is a visitation of the Christians and the heathen alike, and it brings both grace and vengeance, according as men choose to receive it. (See Luke 19:44, and comp. Luke 1:78.)

Verse 12. - Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles. If we read ἀπέχεσθαι, in ver. 11 (some ancient manuscripts have ἀπέχεσθε), there is a slight irregularity in the construction, as the participle ἔνοντες is nominative; it gives more force and vividness to the sentence (comp. in the Greek, Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:16). The conversation (ἀναστροφή, mode of life or behavior) of the unconverted is described as "vain" in 1 Peter 1:18; the conversation of Christians must be seemly (καλή), exhibiting the beauty of holiness. The Churches to which St. Peter wrote were in Gentile countries; they must be careful, for the honor of their religion, to set a good example among the heathen - a warning, alas! too often neglected in modern as well as in ancient times. That, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers; literally, wherein, in the matter in which they speak, i.e. in reference to manner of life. Christians were commonly accused of "turning the world upside down;" of doing "contrary to the decrees of Caesar," as at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6, 7); of being atheists and blasphemers of the popular idolatry, as at Ephesus (Acts 19:37). Suetonius calls them a "genus hominum superstitionis novae et maleficse" ('Vit. Neron.,' 1 Peter 16.). Probably the grosser accusations of Thyestean banquets, etc., came later. They may by your good works, which they shall be hold, glorify God in the day of visitation. The word rendered, "which they shall be bold" (ἐποπτεύσαντες, or, according to some of the older manuscripts, ἐποπτεύοντες, beholding), occurs only here and in 1 Peter 3:2. It implies close attention; the Gentiles watched the conduct of the Christians, narrowly scrutinizing it to discover faults and inconsistencies. The use of the corresponding substantive, ἐπόπτης, in 2 Peter 1:16 is a coincidence to be noticed. It is not probable that there is any reference to the heathen use of the word in connection with the Eleusinian Mysteries. St. Peter hopes that this close observation of the lives of Christian people would lead the Gentiles to glorify God; he was thinking, perhaps, of our Lord's words in the sermon on the mount: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' Perhaps in the following clause also we may trace an echo of the Savior's words in Luke 19:44, "Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (ἐπισκοπῆς, as here). St. Peter hopes that the holy lives of Christians may be made the means of saving many Gentile souls in the time of visitation; that is, when God should visit the heathen with his converting grace, seeking to draw them to himself, whether by gracious chastisement or by the preaching of his servants. This seems more natural than to understand the words of God's visitation of the Christians in the persecutions which were impending; though it is true that many Gentiles were won to Christ by the calm and holy bearing of suffering Christians. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles,.... To have the conversation honest, is to provide things honest in the sight of men; to live and walk honestly before all; to do those things which are right and honest in the sight of God, and among men; to order the conversation aright, according to the law of God, which is a rule of walk and conversation, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ; and which was the more, and rather to be attended to, because these converted Jews were "among the Gentiles", that knew not God; idolaters, and unbelievers, profane sinners, who were watching for their halting, and that they might take an advantage against them, and the Gospel, and the religion they professed, from their conversations:

that whereas they speak against you as evildoers: charging them with the grossest immoralities, as the Heathens did the Christians in the first ages; which appears evidently from the apologies of Tertullian, Jnstin Martyr, and others; though it seems that the Jewish converts are here intended, who were accused by the Gentiles of seditious principles and practices, and of acting contrary to the laws of civil government, refusing to yield subjection to Gentile magistrates, and obedience to Heathen masters; and hence the apostle, in some following verses, enlarges on those duties, and which he exhorts them to attend unto, that they might put to silence the ignorance of such foolish accusers: and

that they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation; or "trial", or "examination", as the Syriac version renders it; which may be understood either of human or divine visitation; if of the former, then the sense is, let the saints attend to all the duties of civil life, that when Heathen magistrates come to visit their several districts, and inquire and examine into the conduct of men, and seeing and finding that the Christians behave well and orderly, instead of persecuting them, they will bless God that they are such good subjects; if of divine visitation, which seems most likely, this must either design a visitation by way of judgment, or of mercy; for as the Jews say (d), there is "a visitation", for good, and a visitation for evil: God sometimes visits in a way of punishment for sin, and sometimes in away of grace, for the good and welfare of men; and then the sense is, that when wicked men take notice of and observe the good works of the saints, their civil, honest, and orderly conversation, they shall glorify God on that account, who has enabled them to perform them; and acknowledge the goodness of them, and the wrong judgment they have passed upon them, and the ill measure they have measured out to them; and this will be, either when God visits them in a way of wrath, as at the day of judgment, or at the time of some temporal calamity before, or when he visits them in a way of mercy, calls them by his grace, and effectually works upon them by his Spirit: the same argument for the performance of good works is used by Christ, in Matthew 5:16.

(d) Zohar in Gen. fol. 93. 3.12. conversation—"behavior"; "conduct." There are two things in which "strangers and pilgrims" ought to bear themselves well: (1) the conversation or conduct, as subjects (1Pe 2:13), servants (1Pe 2:18), wives (1Pe 3:1), husbands (1Pe 3:7), all persons under all circumstances (1Pe 2:8); (2) confession of the faith (1Pe 3:15, 16). Each of the two is derived from the will of God. Our conversation should correspond to our Saviour's condition; this is in heaven, so ought that to be.

honest—honorable, becoming, proper (1Pe 3:16). Contrast "vain conversation," 1Pe 1:18. A good walk does not make us pious, but we must first be pious and believe before we attempt to lead a good course. Faith first receives from God, then love gives to our neighbor [Luther].

whereas they speak against you—now (1Pe 2:15), that they may, nevertheless, at some time or other hereafter glorify God. The Greek may be rendered, "Wherein they speak against you … that (herein) they may, by your good works, which on a closer inspection they shall behold, glorify God." The very works "which on more careful consideration, must move the heathen to praise God, are at first the object of hatred and raillery" [Steiger].

evildoers—Because as Christians they could not conform to heathenish customs, they were accused of disobedience to all legal authority; in order to rebut this charge, they are told to submit to every ordinance of man (not sinful in itself).

by—owing to.

they shall behold—Greek, "they shall be eye-witnesses of"; "shall behold on close inspection"; as opposed to their "ignorance" (1Pe 2:15) of the true character of Christians and Christianity, by judging on mere hearsay. The same Greek verb occurs in a similar sense in 1Pe 3:2. "Other men narrowly look at (so the Greek implies) the actions of the righteous" [Bengel]. Tertullian contrasts the early Christians and the heathen: these delighted in the bloody gladiatorial spectacles of the amphitheater, whereas a Christian was excommunicated if he went to it at all. No Christian was found in prison for crime, but only for the faith. The heathen excluded slaves from some of their religious services, whereas Christians had some of their presbyters of the class of slaves. Slavery silently and gradually disappeared by the power of the Christian law of love, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." When the pagans deserted their nearest relatives in a plague, Christians ministered to the sick and dying. When the Gentiles left their dead unburied after a battle and cast their wounded into the streets, the disciples hastened to relieve the suffering.

glorify—forming a high estimate of the God whom Christians worship, from the exemplary conduct of Christians themselves. We must do good, not with a view to our own glory, but to the glory of God.

the day of visitation—of God's grace; when God shall visit them in mercy.2:11,12 Even the best of men, the chosen generation, the people of God, need to be exhorted to keep from the worst sins. And fleshly lusts are most destructive to man's soul. It is a sore judgment to be given up to them. There is a day of visitation coming, wherein God may call to repentance by his word and his grace; then many will glorify God, and the holy lives of his people will have promoted the happy change.
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