As Newborn Babes
1So put aside every trace of malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander and hateful speech; 2 like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfillment], 3 if in fact you have [already] tasted [a]the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord.
As Living Stones
4 Come to Him [the risen Lord] as to a living Stone which men rejected and threw away, but which is choice and precious in the sight of God. 5 You [believers], like living stones, are [b]being built up into a spiritual house for a holy and dedicated priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a chosen stone, a precious (honored) Cornerstone,
And he who believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will never be disappointed [in his expectations].”
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe [in Him as God’s only Son—the Source of salvation]; but for those who disbelieve,
“The [very] stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief Cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they disobey the word [of God], and to this they [who reject Him as Savior] were also appointed.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges [those dishonorable desires] that wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved] Gentiles [conduct yourself honorably, with graciousness and integrity], so that [c]for whatever reason they may slander you as evildoers, yet by observing your good deeds they may [instead come to] glorify God [d]in the day of visitation [when He looks upon them with mercy].
13 Submit yourselves to [the authority of] every human institution for the sake of the Lord [to honor His name], whether it is to a king as one in a position of power, 14 or to governors as sent by him to bring punishment to those who do wrong, and to praise and encourage those who do right. 15 For it is the will of God that by doing right you may silence (muzzle, gag) the [culpable] ignorance and irresponsible criticisms of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover or pretext for evil, but [use it and live] as bond-servants of God. 17 Show respect for all people [treat them honorably], love the brotherhood [of believers], fear God, honor the king.
18 [e]Servants, be submissive to your masters with all [proper] respect, not only to those who are good and kind, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if a person endures the sorrow of suffering unjustly because of an [f]awareness of [the will of] God. 20 After all, what kind of credit is there if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you endure it patiently? But if when you do what is right and patiently bear [undeserved] suffering, this finds favor with God.
Christ Is Our Example
21 For [as a believer] you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps. 22 He committed no sin, nor was deceit ever found in His mouth. 23 While being reviled and insulted, He did not revile or insult in return; while suffering, He made no threats [of vengeance], but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in His body on the [g]cross [willingly offering Himself on it, as on an altar of sacrifice], so that we might die to sin [becoming immune from the penalty and power of sin] and live for righteousness; for by His wounds you [who believe] have been [h]healed. 25 For you were continually wandering like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.