1 Peter 2:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves.

New Living Translation
For you are free, yet you are God's slaves, so don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.

English Standard Version
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Berean Study Bible
Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.

Berean Literal Bible
as free, and not having the freedom as a cover-up for evil, but as servants of God.

New American Standard Bible
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

King James Bible
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
As God's slaves, live as free people, but don't use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.

International Standard Version
Live like free people, and do not use your freedom as an excuse for doing evil. Instead, be God's servants.

NET Bible
Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God's slaves.

New Heart English Bible
as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
As free children, and not as persons who make their liberty a cloak for their evil, but as Servants of God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Live as free people, but don't hide behind your freedom when you do evil. Instead, use your freedom to serve God.

New American Standard 1977
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
as being free, yet not using your liberty to cover maliciousness, but as slaves of God.

King James 2000 Bible
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

American King James Version
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

American Standard Version
as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God.

Darby Bible Translation
as free, and not as having liberty as a cloak of malice, but as God's bondmen.

English Revised Version
as free, and not using your freedom for a cloke of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.

Webster's Bible Translation
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

Weymouth New Testament
Be free men, and yet do not make your freedom an excuse for base conduct, but be God's bondservants.

World English Bible
as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.

Young's Literal Translation
as free, and not having the freedom as the cloak of the evil, but as servants of God;
Study Bible
Submission to Authorities
15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16Live in freedom, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Treat everyone with high regard: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.…
Cross References
John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you reap leads to holiness, and the outcome is eternal life.

1 Corinthians 7:22
For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman. Conversely, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave.

Galatians 5:13
For you, brothers, were called to freedom; but do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Rather, serve one another in love.

James 1:25
But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so--not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer--he will be blessed in what he does.
Treasury of Scripture

As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

free.

John 8:32-36 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…

Romans 6:18,22 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness…

1 Corinthians 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's …

Galatians 5:1,13 Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us …

James 1:25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues …

James 2:12 So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants …

and.

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old …

using. Gr. having. a cloke.

Matthew 23:14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' …

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now …

1 Thessalonians 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you know, nor …

but.

Ephesians 6:6 Not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, …

Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: …

(16) As free.--This points at once to what was the gist of the accusation. The Christian took up a position of complete independence within, and professed himself in a certain sense to be above the laws, by virtue of being a member of Christ's kingdom. This position of independence the heathen state resented, and looked upon the Christian Church as a dangerous organisation. Here, therefore, St. Peter both insists upon, and defines that independent position. "This the Apostle adds," says Leighton, "lest any should so far mistake the nature of their Christian liberty as to dream of an exemption from obedience either to God or to man for His sake, and according to His appointment. Their freedom he grants, but would have them understand aright what it is."

And not using.--The word "as" in the Greek attaches better to the participle instead of to the word "cloke," so that the sentence will run, As free (i.e., as men who are really free), and not as using freedom for a curtain of vice. In this way the true and the false freedom are more forcibly contrasted.

For a cloke of maliciousness.--The uncommon word here used means any kind of covering, but not in the sense of a garment, so that we must not insist on the metaphor of the word "cloke." The same Greek word is used in Exodus 26:14 to express the second covering of the tabernacle there mentioned, i.e., the uppermost, outermost covering. Grimm quotes a fragment of the comic poet Menander, "Wealth is a covering of many a bad thing;" this helps us to see that what St. Peter means is not ordinary hypocrisy. The man does not profess to be better than he is, but loudly asserts that he is not a slave. Men admire such freedom of speech, and excuse his vices just because of their openness.

But as the servants of God.--Such freedom as has been mentioned is no freedom. It is moral slavery. The only true freedom lies in being "servants" (or rather slaves) "of God," whose will it is that you should be good subjects (1Peter 2:13; 1Peter 2:15). For a slightly different turn of thought, see Galatians 5:13.

Verse 16. - As free. This verse is not to be taken with what follows, for it does not well cohere with the contents of ver. 17; but either with ver. 14 (Ver. 15 being regarded as parenthetical) or with ver. 15, notwithstanding the change of case in the original, which presents no real difficulty; the meaning being that Christian freedom must show itself, not in license, but in willing obedience to constituted authorities: "Not only for wrath, but for conscience' sake" (Romans 13:5). Those whom the truth makes free are free indeed, but true freedom implies submission to legitimate authority. And not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness; literally, not having your liberty as a cloak. The word rendered "cloak" (ἐπικάλυμμα) is used in the Septuagint (Exodus 26:14) for the covering of the tabernacle. The pretence of Christian liberty must not be made a covering, a concealment, of wickedness. But as the servants of God. The truest liberty is that of the servants of God; his service is perfect freedom (comp. Romans 6:16-23). As free,.... These converted Jews might value themselves on their freedom, partly as the descendants of Abraham, and so freeborn, and not to be brought into bondage to other people; and chiefly because of their liberty which they had in and by Christ Jews. The apostle allows that they were freemen, that they were Christ's freemen, were free from sin, its damning and domineering power, and from the curses and condemnation of the law, and had freedom of access to God, and a right to all the privileges and immunities of the house of God; but then they were not free to sin, and to live in the contempt of the laws of God and men, to despise government, speak evil of dignities, and break in upon the rules of civil society:

and not using your liberty as a cloak of maliciousness; under a pretence of Christian liberty, to hurt the persons, properties, and estates of men, without looking upon themselves accountable for their conduct to their superiors: some think the apostle alludes to the ancient custom of servants, who, when they were made free, walked with a cap, or covering on their heads, in token of it: it follows,

but as the servants of God; for they that are free are the servants of God and Christ, and show themselves to be so by submitting to and obeying those that are under them, and ordained by them; and which is no ways inconsistent with, and contrary to their Christian liberty, which never was designed to thwart and subvert the principles of natural religion, laws of a moral nature, or the rules of civil government; some instances of which are next mentioned. 16. As free—as "the Lord's freemen," connected with 1Pe 2:15, doing well as being free. "Well-doing" (1Pe 2:15) is the natural fruit of being freemen of Christ, made free by "the truth" from the bondage of sin. Duty is enforced on us to guard against licentiousness, but the way in which it is to be fulfilled, is by love and the holy instincts of Christian liberty. We are given principles, not details.

not using—Greek, "not as having your liberty for a veil (cloak) of badness, but as the servants of God," and therefore bound to submit to every ordinance of man (1Pe 2:13) which is of God's appointment.2:13-17 A Christian conversation must be honest; which it cannot be, if there is not a just and careful discharge of all relative duties: the apostle here treats of these distinctly. Regard to those duties is the will of God, consequently, the Christian's duty, and the way to silence the base slanders of ignorant and foolish men. Christians must endeavour, in all relations, to behave aright, that they do not make their liberty a cloak or covering for any wickedness, or for the neglect of duty; but they must remember that they are servants of God.
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