1 Peter 4:3
For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
(3) For the time past of our life.—There are two words in the English here which do not stand in the true text, and sadly impede the sense. They are “of our life,” and “us.” The first is added by some scribe to point the contrast with “the rest of his time.” The second—which should be “you,” if anything at all—is simply put to fill the gap after the word “suffice.” If “our life” and “us” were right, we should have St. Peter, quite unlike his wont, identifying himself with the bad life here described, as though he himself had shared in it.

May suffice.—It is the same word as in Matthew 6:34; Matthew 10:25, and would be, literally, For sufficient is the past. There is an irony in the word similar to that in 1Peter 3:17, “it is better.”

To have wrought.—Rather, to have perpetrated. The Greek word denotes the accomplishment of a criminal purpose, as in Romans 2:9; 1Corinthians 5:3; and one passage more horrid still.

The will of the Gentiles.—Just as, in 1Peter 4:2, there was a contrast between man’s manifold and conflicting lusts and God’s unity of will, so there is a contrast now between God’s “will” and (for the Greek word is quite different) the heathen’s “wish.” “To have perpetrated the heathen’s wish” means to have done the bad things which the heathen wanted them to be guilty of. The heathen were fain to catch them at malpractices. (See Note on 1Peter 2:12, and the word “speaking evil” below.)

When we walked.—A participle in Greek, which gives no support to the use of “we,” but means simply having proceeded. Thus it does not directly state that they had so proceeded, for the participle explains the foregoing verb: “The past is sufficient to have done what the heathen want you to have done—viz., to have walked.”

Lasciviousness.—It should be plural, expressing the repeated acts of sin. The word in Greek means any outrageous debauchery, so that it may be said to include all the words that follow.

Excess of wine, in like manner, should be plural. It is a contemptuous word (wine-swillings), and differs from the word translated “banquetings”, below, because the latter is more refined, and also implies company, which the first need not. The “revellings” might mean any roystering parties, but contains more of the notion of making a pretext of a meal than “banquetings,” which consist solely of drinking.

Abominable idolatries.—It is not as idolatries that they are called abominable, but because of the abominable adjuncts of the idol-festivals. This clause is the main support of those who think that the Letter was written to converts from heathenism and not from Judaism. How, it is urged, could St. Peter have said to persons who had been brought up as Jews, “The time past is long enough for you to have proceeded in abominable idolatries”? The argument is most convincing as it stands. If they had been living in idolatry, it is incredible that they were of Hebrew race: if they were of Hebrew race, it is incredible that they should have lived in idolatry. But, as a matter of fact, St. Peter does not say that they ever had lived in those sins. Quite on the contrary, he says, in 1Peter 4:4, that the heathen found, to their surprise, that the Christians would not go with them in these things; and that, finding it to be so, they “blasphemed” or slandered them in this very respect. It may, perhaps, be answered that the Apostle is alluding to a period long past, and contrasting it with the present which so puzzled the Gentiles. But there is no ground for taking “the time past” to mean the time up to the date of their conversion to Christianity. It is simply “your past time” (i.e., the whole up to the date of the Letter), in contrast with “the rest of your time” (1Peter 4:2, literally, your remaining time), i.e., the whole subsequent to the date of the Letter; so that it cannot mean, “The heathen think it strange that you do not join their profligate courses as you used in old days,” in which case we should naturally have expected him to say, “They think it strange that ye no longer run with them.” Besides, it seems plain, from 1Peter 4:2, that. whatever may be meant by “perpetrating the wish of the Gentiles,” it was still a present danger when St. Peter wrote, or there would be little point in mentioning it at all. But if he means that, up to the date of the Letter, some of the recipients of it had been living in “abominable idolatries,” how could he continue that the Gentiles were astonished that they did not do so? for if the idolatries meant were the heathen’s own idolatries, the heathen would have been aware of their joining them, and it would have been no “slander” to say so. The conclusion is, that neither before nor after their conversion had they been really proceeding thus. St. Peter is, in fact, only putting in words the slander of the Gentiles, at which he had hinted in 1Peter 2:12-15; 1Peter 3:16. “For the future,” says he, “live to the will of God, not to the lusts of men. The past is long enough (without invading the future) to have perpetrated what the heathen want you to have perpetrated—viz., to have been proceeding in debaucheries and abominable idolatries—slandering you in that very point wherein they are puzzled if you do not run with them to the same excess of riot.” As an historical fact, these are the very calumnies which we find to have been brought against the early Christians—idolatries and all. The filthy idolatry ascribed to the Christians by the heathen may be found recorded in Tertullian’s Apology, and (so it is said) on the walls of Pompeii. But what, then, does St. Peter mean when he says that the past is sufficient to have perpetrated what the heathen wanted? It certainly implies that some of them had, even since their conversion, been doing what the malicious heathen would be glad to see them do. But we have already noticed that he is speaking ironically in using the word “sufficient,” and the irony continues through the rest of the clause. “Some of you have been living, up to the present time, more or less to human lusts (1Peter 4:2). You have done so quite long enough now. You have quite sufficiently gratified the Gentiles, who long to prove that you are no better than themselves.” The argument is like that which Nestor, in Homer, addresses to the wrangling Greek captains:—

“Sure Priam would rejoice, and Priam’s sons,

Could they but learn this feud betwixt you twain.”

We may observe, further, that all through the Epistle St. Peter appears to have dread of a doctrine which was fast beginning to rise among the Asiatic Christians—that such sins as fornication and idolatry, being but bodily, were venial, especially in time of persecution. (See 1Peter 1:4; 1Peter 1:15; 1Peter 2:11; 1Peter 5:8.) Such pernicious doctrine was probably founded on a “wresting” of St. Paul’s teaching (2Peter 3:16) on eating things offered to idols; from which it was concluded that the accompanying impurities were innocent likewise. This doctrine becomes very prominent in the Second Epistle; and in the Apocalypse there is even some reason to connect it specially with the Jewish element in the Church. (Comp. together 2Peter 2:15; Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:14-15, with Revelation 2:9.)

1 Peter 4:3-5. For the time past of our life may suffice us Αρκετος ημιν, is sufficient for us; to have wrought the will of the Gentiles — The expression is soft, but conveys a very strong meaning, namely, that in no period of our lives ought we to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; and that whatever time we spent in so doing was too much. When we walked in lasciviousness — In various kinds and degrees of it; lusts — Inordinate desires; excess of wine Οινοφλυγιαις, being inflamed with wine; revellings Κωμοις, luxurious feastings; see on Romans 13:13; banquetings Ποτοις, drunken entertainments; and abominable idolatries — With all the shameful vices connected therewith. Wherein they think it strange, &c. — The word ξενιζονται, thus rendered, was used by the Greeks to express that admiration and wonder with which a stranger is struck, who beholds anything uncommon or new. The meaning here is, On account of your former manner of life, they wonder that you now shun their company, and run not with them to the same excess of riot you formerly ran into; speaking evil of you — As proud, singular, silly, wicked, and the like; who shall give account — Of this as well as all their other ways; to him that is ready — So faith represents him now; to judge the quick and the dead — Those who are now alive, and those who shall be found alive at his coming to judgment.

4:1-6 The strongest and best arguments against sin, are taken from the sufferings of Christ. He died to destroy sin; and though he cheerfully submitted to the worst sufferings, yet he never gave way to the least sin. Temptations could not prevail, were it not for man's own corruption; but true Christians make the will of God, not their own lust or desires, the rule of their lives and actions. And true conversion makes a marvellous change in the heart and life. It alters the mind, judgment, affections, and conversation. When a man is truly converted, it is very grievous to him to think how the time past of his life has been spent. One sin draws on another. Six sins are here mentioned which have dependence one upon another. It is a Christian's duty, not only to keep from gross wickedness, but also from things that lead to sin, or appear evil. The gospel had been preached to those since dead, who by the proud and carnal judgment of wicked men were condemned as evil-doers, some even suffering death. But being quickened to Divine life by the Holy Spirit, they lived to God as his devoted servants. Let not believers care, though the world scorns and reproaches them.For the time past of our life may suffice us - "We have spent sufficient time in indulging ourselves, and following our wicked propensities, and we should hereafter live in a different manner." This does not mean that it was ever proper thus to live, but that, as we would say, "we have had enough of these things; we have tried them; there is no reason why we should indulge in them any more." An expression quite similar to this occurs in Horace - Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti. Tempus abire tibi est, etc. Epis. ii.213.

To have wrought the will of the Gentiles - This does not mean to be subservient to their will, but to have done what they willed to do; that is, to live as they did. That the Gentiles or pagan lived in the manner immediately specified, see demonstrated in the notes at Romans 1:21-32.

When we walked in lasciviousness - When we lived in the indulgence of corrupt passions - the word walk being often used in the Scriptures to denote the manner of life. On the word "lasciviousness," see the notes at Romans 13:13. The apostle says we, not as meaning that he himself had been addicted to these vices, but as speaking of those who were Christians in general. It is common to say that we lived so and so, when speaking of a collection of persons, without meaning that each one was guilty of all the practices enumerated. See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, for a similar use of the word we. The use of the word we in this place would show that the apostle did not mean to set himself up as better than they were, but was willing to be identified with them.

Lusts - The indulgence of unlawful desires. See the notes at Romans 1:24.

Excess of wine - The word used here (οἰνοφλυγία oinophlugia) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means "overflowing of wine," (οἶνος oinos, "wine," and φλύω phluō, "to overflow";) then wine-drinking; drunkenness. That this was a common vice need not be proved. Multitudes of those who became Christians had been drunkards, for intemperance abounded in all the pagan world. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. It should not be inferred here from the English translation, "excess of wine," that wine is improper only when used to excess, or that the moderate use of wine is proper. Whatever may be true on that point, nothing can be determined in regard to it from the use of this word. The apostle had his eye on one thing - on such a use of wine as led to intoxication; such as they had indulged in before their conversion. About the impropriety of that, there could be no doubt. Whether any use of wine, by Christians or other persons, was lawful, was another question. It should be added, moreover, that the phrase "excess of wine" does not precisely convey the meaning of the original. The word excess would naturally imply something more than was needful; or something beyond the proper limit or measure; but no such idea is in the original word. That refers merely to the abundance of wine, without any reference to the inquiry whether there was more than was proper or not. Tyndale renders it, somewhat better: "drunkenness." So Luther, "Trunkenheit."

Revellings - Rendered rioting in Romans 13:13. See the notes at that verse. The Greek word (κῶμος kōmos) occurs only here, and in Romans 13:13, and Galatians 5:21. It means feasting, revel; "a carousing or merrymaking after supper, the guests often sallying into the streets, and going through the city with torches, music, and songs in honor of Bacchus," etc. Robinson, Lexicon. The word would apply to all such noisy and boisterous processions now - scenes wholly inappropriate to the Christian.

Banquetings - The word used here (πότος potos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly drinking; an act of drinking; then a drinking bout; drinking together. The thing forbidden by it is an assembling together for the purpose of drinking. There is nothing in this word referring to eating, or to banqueting, as the term is now commonly employed. The idea in the passage is, that it is improper for Christians to meet together for the purpose of drinking - as wine, toasts, etc. The prohibition would apply to all those assemblages where this is understood to be the main object. It would forbid, therefore, an attendance on all those celebrations in which drinking toasts is understood to be an essential part of the festivities, and all those where hilarity and joyfulness are sought to be produced by the intoxicating bowl Such are not proper places for Christians.

And abominable idolatries - Literally, unlawful idolatries; that is, unlawful to the Jews, or forbidden by their laws. Then the expression is used in the sense of wicked, impious, since what is unlawful is impious and wrong. That the vices here referred to were practiced by the pagan world is well known. See the notes at Romans 1:26-31. That many who became Christians were guilty of them before their conversion is clear from this passage. The fact that they were thus converted shows the power of the gospel, and also that we should not despair in regard to those who are indulging in these vices now. They seem indeed almost to be hopeless, but we should remember that many who became Christians when the gospel was first preached, as well as since, were of this character. If they were reclaimed; if those who had been addicted to the gross and debasing vices referred to here, were brought into the kingdom of God, we should believe that those who are living in the same manner now may also be recovered. From the statement made in this verse, that "the time past of our lives may suffice to have worked the will of the Gentiles," we may remark that the same may be said by all Christians of themselves; the same thing is true of all who are living in sin:

(1) It is true of all who are Christians, and they feel it, that they lived long enough in sin:

(a) They made a fair trial - many of them with ample opportunities; with abundant wealth; with all that the fashionable world can furnish; with all that can be derived from low and gross indulgences. Many who are now Christians had opportunities of living in splendor and ease; many moved in joyful and brilliant circles; many occupied stations of influence, or had brilliant prospects of distinction; many gave indulgence to gross propensities; many were the companions of the vile and the abandoned. Those who are now Christians, take the church at large, have had ample opportunity of making the fullest trial of what sin and the world can furnish.

(b) They all feel that the past is enough for this manner of living. It is "sufficient" to satisfy them that the world cannot furnish what the soul demands. They need a better portion; and they can now see that there is no reason why they should desire to continue the experiment in regard to what the world can furnish. On that unwise and wicked experiment they have expended time enough; and satisfied with that, they desire to return to it no more.

(2) the same thing is true of the wicked - of all who are living for the world. The time past should be regarded as sufficient to make an experiment in sinful indulgences; for:

(a) the experiment has been made by millions before them, and has always failed; and they can hope to find in sin only what has always been found - disappointment, mortification, and despair.


3. may suffice—Greek, "is sufficient." Peter takes the lowest ground: for not even the past time ought to have been wasted in lust; but since you cannot recall it, at least lay out the future to better account.

us—omitted in oldest manuscripts.

wrought—Greek, "wrought out."

Gentiles—heathen: which many of you were.

when, &c.—"walking as ye have done [Alford] in lasciviousness"; the Greek means petulant, immodest, wantonness, unbridled conduct: not so much filthy lust.

excess of wine—"wine-bibbings" [Alford].

abominable—"nefarious," "lawless idolatries," violating God's most sacred law; not that all Peter's readers (see on [2620]1Pe 1:1) walked in these, but many, namely, the Gentile portion of them.

For the time past of our be may see: the apostle doth not mean by this expression merely that they should forbear their former lusts out of a satiety and weariness, as having had their fill of them, but to stir them up to holiness by minding them of their former sinful life; q.d. Ye are concerned to run well now, when ye have for so great a part of your time run wrong. It is a figure whereby he mitigates and lenifies the sharpness of his reproof for their former sinful life: see the like, Ezekiel 44:6 45:9 Mark 14:41.

Us; some copies read, ye, and that agrees with the following verse, where the second person is made use of: or if we read, according to our translation, us, it is a figure called anacoenosis, whereby Peter assumes to himself in common with them what yet, in his own person, he was never guilty of, as Isaiah 64:6,7 Da 9:5, &c.; or else it may be an analogy of the person, whereby the first is put for the second.

To have wrought the will of the Gentiles; viz. those that were profane and ignorant of God and Christ, and so it is the same as the lusts of men, 1 Peter 4:2.

When we walked; had our conversation, as Ephesians 2:3, walking being taken for the course of man’s life; and sometimes in an evil way, as 2 Peter 2:10 3:3 Judges 1:16,18; and sometimes in a good, as Luke 1:6.

In lasciviousness; especially outward acts, here set in distinction from lusts, which implies those inward motions from which those outward defilements proceed.

Excess of wine, revellings; unseasonable and luxurious feasting, Romans 13:13 Galatians 5:21.

Banquetings: compotations, or meetings for drinking, Proverbs 23:30 Isaiah 5:11,12.

And abominable idolatries:

Question. Why doth Peter charge the Jews with idolatry, who generally kept themselves from it after the Babylonish captivity?


1. Though most did, yet all might not.

2. It is a sort of idolatry to eat things sacrificed to idols, which many of the Jews, being dispersed among the idolatrous Gentiles, and being invited by them to their idol feasts, might possibly do; and, being under the temptation of poverty, might too far conform themselves to the customs of the nations among which they were.

3. Probably this idolatry might be the worship of angels, frequent among the Gentiles, particularly the Colossians, inhabiting a city of Phrygia, which was a part of Asia where many Jews were, 1 Peter 1:1.

4. The churches to which he wrote might be made up of Jews and Gentiles, and the apostle may, by a synecdoche, ascribe that to all in common, which yet is to be understood only of a part.

For the time past of our life may suffice us,.... The word "our" is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions. The Arabic version reads, "the time of your past life"; and to the same purpose the Ethiopic version; and which seems to be the more agreeable reading, since it can hardly be thought that the apostle would put himself among the Jews dispersed among the Gentiles, who had walked with them in their unregeneracy, in all the sins hereafter mentioned, and best agrees with the following verse:

to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; or "when ye wrought", as the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions;

when we walked, or "were walking in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries". These converted persons, in the past time of their life, before conversion, "walked" in sin; which denotes a series and course of sinning, a persisting and progress in it, with delight and pleasure, promising themselves security and impunity: the particular sins they walked in are reducible to these three heads, unchastity, intemperance, and idolatry:

in lasciviousness, lusts; which belong to the head of uncleanness, and take in all kinds of it; as fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts:

excess of wine, revellings, banquetings; which refer to intemperance of every sort, by eating or drinking: as gluttony, drunkenness, surfeitings, and all luxurious feasts and entertainments, attended with riotings, revellings, and obscene songs; and which are here mentioned in the Syriac and Arabic versions, and which lead to lasciviousness, and every unclean lust:

and abominable idolatries; which some understand of worshipping of angels; but they seem rather to intend the idolatries the Jews were led into by the feasts of the Gentiles, either at their own houses, or in the idol's temple; by which means they were gradually brought to idolatry, and to all the wickedness and abominations committed by them at such times: and it is easy to observe, that the two former, uncleanness and intemperance, often lead men into idolatry; see Exodus 32:6. Now when they walked in these things, they "wrought the will of the Gentiles"; they did the things which the sinners of the Gentiles, the worst of men, that knew not God, took pleasure in, and what they would have others do; and therefore, since the past time of their life had been spent in such a way, it was sufficient, and more than sufficient; see Ezekiel 44:6, for no time is allowable for sin; and therefore it became them for the future, and in the remaining part of life, to behave in another manner; not to do the will of the Gentiles, but the will of God; to which that grace of God obliged them, that had made a difference between what they were themselves formerly, and themselves now, and between themselves, and others.

{2} For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the {b} will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

(2) By putting us in mind of the dishonesty of our former life led in the filth of sin, he calls us to earnest repentance.

(b) Wickedly and licentiously after the manner of the Gentiles.

1 Peter 4:3. A fuller explanation is now given of the thought expressed in the previous verse, that the Christians should no longer live after the lusts of men, but according to the will of God; hence γάρ.

ἀρκετός] Matthew 6:34; Matthew 10:25; correctly Wiesinger: “the expression is here a μείωσις.” Gerhard: in eo quod ait “sufficit” est quidam asterismus sive liptotes, qua mitigat Ap. exprobrationis asperitatem. Schott introduces a foreign application when he explains: “in it you have enough to repent of and to make amends for.” The construction as in Isocrates (in Panegyr.): ἱκανὸς γὰρ ὁ παρεληλυθὼς χρόνος, ἐν ᾧ τι τῶν δεινῶν οὐ γέγονε; comp. ἰκανούσθω, Ezekiel 44:6; Ezekiel 45:9. ἐστι simply is to be supplied, not, with Steiger, “should be.”

ὁ παρεληλυθὼς χρόνος] points back to μηκέτι; in contrast to τὸν ἐπίλοιπονχρόνον.

τὸ βούλημα τῶν ἐθνῶν κατείργασθαι] The infinitive is, in free construction, dependent on ἀρκετός, as it also stands with ἀρκεῖ; cf. Winer, p. 298 f. [E. T. 401 ff.]. The inf. perf. is selected “to designate the former life of sin, which has once for all been brought to a close” (Schott).

τῶν ἐθνῶν] is not evidence that the epistle was addressed to aforetime Jews. When Jachmann says: “the apostle could never say of the heathen, that they lived according to the will of the heathen,” it must be observed, that if the readers were formerly heathen, the βούλημα τῶν ἐθνῶν was undoubtedly their own βούλημα, but that ἐθνῶν is explained by the fact, that they were now heathen no longer (as opposed to Weiss).

πεπορευμένους] must be referred to ὑμᾶς, to be supplied in thought to κατειργάσθαι. If the right reading be ἡμῖν after ἀρκετὸς γάρ, Peter would include himself, and ἡμὰς would have to be supplied. The Vulg. is indefinite: his qui ambulaverunt. Beza’s view is inappropriate, that Peter refers here not only to the readers of the epistle (whom he considers to have been Jewish-Christians), but also to their ancestors, i.e. the former ten tribes of Israel. With πορεύεσθαι ἐν, cf. Luke 1:6; 2 Peter 2:10.

ἀσελγείαις] “excesses of every kind,” embracing specially unchastity; cf. Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; 3Ma 2:26, etc.; Buddeus considers it to mean nothing else than: obscoenitas et stuprorum flagitiosa consuetudo; Lucian has the expression: ἀσελγέστεροι τῶν ὄνων.

ἐπιθυμίαις] in the plural denotes fleshly lusts in themselves; although not limited to sensual desires only, it yet includes these chiefly.

οἰνοφλυγίαις] ἅπ. λεγ. in the N. T.; the verb οἰνοφλυγεῖν, LXX. Deuteronomy 21:20, Heb. סָכָא; Luther: “intoxication;” better: “drunkenness.” Andronicus Rhodus, lib. περὶ παθῶν, p. 6: οἰνοφλυγία ἐστὶν ἐπιθυμία οἴνου ἄπληστος. Philo (V.M. 1, § 22) calls οἰνοφλυγία an ἀπλήρωτος ἐπιθυμία.

κώμοις] besides here, only in Romans 13:13, Galatians 5:21, where, as here with πότοις, it is joined with μέθαι: commissationes, properly: “carousals;” cf. Pape, s.v.

πότοις] ἅπ. λεγ.; chiefly applied to social drinking at the banquet; Appian, B. C. I. p. 700: ὁ δὲ Σερτώριοςτὰ πολλὰ ἦν ἐπὶ τρυφῆς, γυναίξι καὶ κώμοις καὶ πότοις σχολάζων.

καὶ ἀθεμίτοις εἰδωλολατρείαις] designates heathen idolatrous practices specially. ἀθέμιτος, in the N. T. occurring, besides in this passage, only in Acts 10:28, gives marked prominence to that in the nature of εἰδωλ. which is antagonistic to the divine law. Bengel: quibus sanctissimum Dei jus violatur.[235] This description is only applicable to such persons as were formerly heathen, not to the Jews; to the latter only in the days before the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Weiss (p. 113), in opposition to this, wrongly appeals to Romans 2:17 ff.; for the reproach there made against the Jews bears an impress entirely different from the description here given; nor is the ἱεροσυλεῖν in that passage identical with the practice of idolatry. It is altogether arbitrary to take the expression εἰδωλολατρείαι here in a wider sense, so as to exclude from it idolatry proper; and it is further opposed by the expression ἀθεμίτοις.

[235] Schott unjustifiably maintains that the εἰδωλολατρείαι are termed ἀθέμιτοι not in themselves, but on account of the immoral, voluptuous ceremonies connected with them. The adject. is added because they form an antithesis, in the strictest sense, to God’s holy prerogative. It is unwarrantable to assert that εἰδωλολατρεία could only be termed ἀθέμιτος when practised by the Jews, not when by the heathen.

1 Peter 4:3. The use of the rare ἀρκετός indicates the saying which St. Peter here applies, sufficient unto the day [that is past] its evil. Compare Ezekiel 44:6, ἱκανούσθω ὑμῖν ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν ὑμῶν. The detailed description of the evil follows the traditional redaction of the simple picture of absorption in the ordinary concerns of life which Jesus is content to repeat (Matthew 24:37, etc.). Eating, drinking, marrying were interpreted in the worst sense to account for the visitation and become gluttony, drunkenness and all conceivable perversions of marriage; see Sap. 14:21–27, followed by Romans 1:29, etc.—τὸπεπορευμένους, from 2 Kings 17:8, ἐπορεύθησαν τοῖς δικαιώμασιν τῶν ἐθνῶν. The construction is broken (for the will … to have been accomplishe … for you walking) unless κατ. be taken as if middle to πεπορ. as subject.—ἀσελγείαις, acts of licentiousness (as in Polybius); so Sap. 14:26. Earlier of wanton violence arising out of drunkenness (Demosthenes).—οἰνοφλυγίαις, wine-bibbings, Deuteronomy 21:20, οἰνοφλυγεῖ = סבא. Noun occurs in Philo coupled with ἀπλήρωτοι ἐπίθυμίαι.—κώμοις, revellings associated with alien rites, Sap. 14:26. For πότοις cf. ποτήριον δαιμόνων, 1 Corinthians 10:14 ff.—ἀθεμίτοις εἰδωλολατρίαις, a Jew’s description of current Pagan cults, which were often illicit according to Roman law. For . cf. Acts 10:28, it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a foreigner, and 2Ma 4:5; 2Ma 7:1 (of swine flesh).

3. For the time past of our life may suffice] The language is that of grave irony. Enough time, and more than enough, had been already given to the world. Was it not well to give some time now to God? The general line of thought runs parallel to that of Romans 13:11-12.

to have wrought the will of the Gentiles] The question meets us whether these words imply that the writer was, here at least, contemplating converts from heathenism, or still thinking only of the Jews of the dispersion. On the one hand, it may be said that it was more natural for a Jew writing to Jews to speak of “the heathen” or “the Gentiles.” If the reading “may suffice us” be the right one, the fact that the Apostle joins himself with those to whom he writes strengthens that conclusion. The better MSS., however, omit the pronoun. The “abominable idolatries,” on the other hand, may seem decisive in favour of the supposition that this part of the Epistle was intended for Gentile readers: but here also the word of warning would be as applicable to lax and licentious Jews, or to those who had been proselytes to Judaism, and who had not given up their attendance at idol-feasts or eating things sacrificed to idols (comp. 1 Corinthians 8:10, Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20).

lasciviousness] The Greek word is in the plural as expressing the manifold forms or acts of impurity. The word is always applied to the darker forms of evil (Mark 7:22; Romans 13:13; 2 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 2:7; 2 Peter 2:18).

excess of wine] The Greek word is found in the LXX. of Deuteronomy 21:20, Isaiah 56:12, but not elsewhere in the New Testament.

banquetings] Literally, drinking-parties. The word went naturally as in other Greek writers with “revellings.”

abominable idolatries] The Greek adjective means, as in Acts 10:28, simply “unlawful:” but as in the Latin nefas, nefanda, nefarius, the idea of that which is at variance not merely with human but with natural law tends to pass into that of a guilt which makes men shudder. It has been suggested above that even here the Apostle may have present to his thoughts the lives of licentious Jews falling into heathen ways rather than of Gentiles pure and simple. The Books of Maccabees (1Ma 1:13-14; 2Ma 4:13-14) shew that there had been a strong drift to apostasy of this kind under the Syrian Monarchy. The Temples, Gymnasia and Theatres built by the Herods had recently shewed a like tendency. At the very time when St Peter wrote there were Jews hanging about the court of Nero and Poppæa, taking part as actors in the imperial orgies (Joseph. Life, c. 3). It has been suggested that St Peter may have meant to refer to the old worship of Baal and Moloch and Ashtoreth and the groves and the calves which had prevailed in the history of Israel and Judah, so that the words “the time past may suffice” call on them to turn over a new leaf in their national existence, but the explanation of the words just given seems more natural and adequate.

1 Peter 4:3. Ἀρκετὸς, sufficeth) A lowering of expression [MEIOSIS. See Append.]: for not even ought the past times to have been wasted in sins. At the same time a loathing of sin is expressed on the part of those who repent.—κατεργάσασθαι, to have wrought) namely, for you[36] to have wrought. This is shortly afterwards explained.—πεπορευμένους, when ye walked) advanced madly. The antithesis to this word is πορευθεὶς, He went and, is gone and, ch. 1 Peter 3:19; 1 Peter 3:22.—οἰνοφλυγίαις, κώμοις, πότοις, in excess of wine, revellings, and banquetings) Those before mentioned are practised by individuals, these by clubs.—ἀθεμίτοις, in abominations) by which the most sacred law of God is violated: Romans 1:23-24.—εἰδωλολατρείαις, idolatries) of various kinds. So, in the antithesis, the word manifold or various, 1 Peter 4:10.

[36] Rec. Text reads ἡμῖν after ἀρκετὸς γάρ, with C alone of the oldest authorities But AB Vulg. and both Syr. omit ἡμῖν. So Beng. understands the “you.”—E.

Verse 3. - For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles; rather, as in the Revised Version, the time past may suffice. The words, "of our life" and "us," are not found in the best manuscripts. St. Peter could not include himself among those who wrought the will of the Gentiles. The Greek word for "will" here is, according to the best manuscripts, βούλημα; in ver. 2 "the will of God" is θέλημα. The general distinction is that θέλω implies choice and purpose, βούλομαι merely inclination (compare, in the Greek, Philemon 1:13, 14). The change of word seems to point to such a distinction here. God's will is a fixed, holy purpose; the will, or rather wish, of the Gentiles was uncertain inclination, turned this way or that way by changeful lusts. The perfect infinitive, "to have wrought," implies that that part of life ought to be regarded as a thing wholly past and gone. The whole sentence has a tone of solemn irony. "Fastidium peccati apud resipiscentes" (Bengel); comp. Romans 6:21. St. Peter is here addressing Gentile Christians. Fronmüller's objection is peculiar: "Suppose that the readers of Peter's Epistle had formerly been heathens, his reproaching them with having formerly done the will of the Gentiles would surely be singular." They had done the will of the Gentiles; they were now, as Christians, to do the will of God. When we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries; better, as in the Revised Version, and to have walked. There is no pronoun. Lusts are the hidden sins of unclean thought, which lead to outbreaks of lasciviousness. The Greek word for "revellings" (κῶμοι) is one often used of drunken youths parading the streets, or of festal processions in honor of Bacchus. The word translated "banquetings" means rather "drinking-bouts." The word for "abominable" is ἀθεμίτοις, unlawful, nefarious, contrary to the eternal principles of the Divine Law; "quibus sanctissimum Dei jus violatur" (Bengel). St. Peter is probably referring, not only to the sin of idolatry in itself, but also to the many licentious practices connected with it. After the persecution of Nero, in which St. Peter perished, Christianity was regarded by the state as a religio illicita. Christianity was condemned by the law of Rome; idolatry is opposed to the eternal Law of God. This verse could not have been addressed to Hebrew Christians. 1 Peter 4:3For the time past, etc

Compare Romans 13:13.

Us (ἡμῖν)

The best texts omit.

Of our life (τοῦ βίου)

The best texts omit.

Will (βούλημα, the better reading for θέλημα)

Desire, inclination. See on Matthew 1:19.

When we walked (πεπορευμένους)

Rev., rightly, ye walked. Construe with to have wrought. The time past may suffice for you to have wrought the desire, etc., walking as ye have done; the perfect participle having an inferential reference to a course of life now done with.

Lasciviousness (ἀσελγείαις)

The following enumeration of vices is characteristic of Peter's style in its fulness and condensation. He enumerates six forms of sensuality, three personal and three social: (1) Ἀσελγείαις, wantonness. See on Mark 7:22. Excesses of all kinds, with possibly an emphasis on sins of uncleanness. (2) Ἐπιθυμίαις, lusts. See on Mark 4:19. Pointing especially to fleshly lusts, "the inner principles of licentiousness" (Cook). (3) Οἰνοφλυγίαις, excess of wine. Only here in New Testament. The kindred verb occurs in the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 21:20; Isaiah 56:12. From οἶνος, wine, and φλέω or φλύω, to teem with abundance; thence to boil over or bubble up, overflow. It is the excessive, insatiate desire for drink, from which comes the use of the word for the indulgence of the desire - debauch. So Rev., wine-bibbings. The remaining three are revellings, banquetings, and idolatries.

Revellings (κώμοις)

The word originally signifies merely a merry-making; most probably a village festival, from κώμη, a village. In the cities such entertainments grew into carouses, in which the party of revellers paraded the streets with torches, singing, dancing, and all kinds of frolics. These revels also entered into religious observances, especially in the worship of Bacchus, Demeter, and the Idaeau Zeus in Crete. The fanatic and orgiastic rites of Egypt, Asia Minor, and Thrace became engrafted on the old religion. Socrates, in the introduction to "The Republic," pictures himself as having gone down to the Piraeus to see the celebration of the festival of Bendis, the Thracian Artemis (Diana); and as being told by one of his companions that, in the evening, there is to be a torch-race with horses in honor of the goddess. The rites grew furious and ecstatic. "Crowds of women, clothed with fawns' skins, and bearing the sanctified thyrsus (a staff wreathed with vine-leaves) flocked to the solitudes of Parnassus, Kithaeron, or Taygetus during the consecrated triennial period, and abandoned themselves to demonstrations of frantic excitement, with dancing and clamorous invocation of the god. They were said to tear animals limb from limb, to devour the raw flesh, and to cut themselves without feeling the wound. The men yielded to a similar impulse by noisy revels in the streets, sounding the cymbals and tambourine, and carrying the image of the god in procession" (Grote, "History of Greece"). Peter, in his introduction, addresses the sojourners in Galatia, where the Phrygian worship of Cybele, the great mother of the gods, prevailed, with its wild orgies and hideous mutilations. Lucretius thus describes the rites:


1 Peter 4:3 Interlinear
1 Peter 4:3 Parallel Texts

1 Peter 4:3 NIV
1 Peter 4:3 NLT
1 Peter 4:3 ESV
1 Peter 4:3 NASB
1 Peter 4:3 KJV

1 Peter 4:3 Bible Apps
1 Peter 4:3 Parallel
1 Peter 4:3 Biblia Paralela
1 Peter 4:3 Chinese Bible
1 Peter 4:3 French Bible
1 Peter 4:3 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 Peter 4:2
Top of Page
Top of Page