1Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
2like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
3if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
As Living Stones
4And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6For [this] is contained in Scripture: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER [stone], AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER [stone],"
8and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this [doom] they were also appointed.
9But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR [God's] OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
11Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
12Keep 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.
13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
16[Act] as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but [use it] as bondslaves of God.
17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
19For this [finds] favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
20For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer [for it] you patiently endure it, this [finds] favor with God.
Christ Is Our Example
21For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
23and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting [Himself] to Him who judges righteously;
24and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
25For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.