Do we need a New Covenant Study Bible?
Conduct yourselves in fear (1 Peter 1:17)
The Bible contains the most beautiful, life-giving words. Yet many don’t see them because they’re reading scripture through the wrong lens. Consider the following verse:
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth… (1 Peter 1:17)
What does that verse mean? Many people have no idea. Or rather, they have the wrong idea because they have been raised with a mindset that says you have to perform and produce to please the Father.
Do you know what that verse means? Maybe you see three words – judges, work, and fear – and come to all sorts of scary conclusions.
“It sounds like there’s some kind of judgment coming so I’d better work hard and be afraid for as long as I live.”
Which sounds horrible. That can’t be right. Can it?
You reach for your nearest study Bible or commentary and find that, no, you’re on the money.
“God is scary, so watch yourself.”
No, no, no! Change your lens. Stop reading the Bible through an old covenant lens of rules and behavior, and put on your new covenant glasses.
If there was such a thing as a new covenant study Bible, it would highlight one word in the passage above: Father.
If you address as Father…
Do you address God as Father? I hope so because God is your heavenly Father. Jesus said so.
But do you believe it? Do you actually call God Father?
Perhaps you don’t think of God in such familiar terms. If you have been raised with an old covenant emphasis on performance, you might see God as a bookkeeper recording your sins or a judge condemning your failures.
In the old covenant, no one addressed the Almighty as Father. But after Jesus, every New Testament writer did.
Calling God Father is what makes the new covenant new.
“But what about the part where it says we are judged for our work?”
Jesus said the only work that impresses God the Father is the “work” of believing in the One he sent (John 6:29). We are judged by our response to Jesus. Did we trust him? Did we rest in his finished work or rely on our own dead works? That sort of thing.
“But if God is our Father, why do we need to conduct ourselves in fear?”
In the new covenant, the fear of God means living in reverence and awe of God. To fear the Lord is to worship him.
Put it altogether and Peter is saying, “If you know God as your heavenly Father, let your conduct on earth be your spiritual act of worship.”
In other words, live in response to the goodness of God. Which is so much better than that scary interpretation.
Read Peter’s letter from cover to cover and you will find that it is full of reasons for worshipping the God we know as Father. We worship the Lord because:
- he redeemed us from bondage with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18–19)
- he has given us rebirth through imperishable seed into new life (1 Pet. 1:23)
- he has sanctified us by his Spirit (1 Pet. 1:2)
- he is reserving for us an eternal inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4)
- he protects us with his mighty power (1 Pet. 1:5)
And that’s just chapter 1! Peter’s two epistles ring with praise to the Lord and all that he has done for us.
If you liked this, you will love The Grace Bible: 1–2 Peter. It’s just been released. Check out the Grace Bible website for details.
Hi Paul can we buy this 1 and 2 peter book in nz or direct of you ? seems crazy to have to buy it from USA or UK ? kind regards and new covenant blessings alan jones
Well I was just about to say the Book Depository is the best option for Kiwis, but I have just learned they are closing down. Which is a major bummer, since I buy 90% of my books from them. You can also order my books through Fishpond or Amazon Australia. We don’t keep any stock ourselves as it’s not remotaly economical. All our printing is done overseas (in the US, UK, and Australia).
So exciting! Thank you so much for doing this.
What a beautiful translation! Thanks Paul.
I discovered it was all about Jesus 30 years ago and my understanding of life changed forever. Thanks for being a ministry that talks about the New Covenant!!
Jesus plus nothing!!!
Hi there Paul and the rest of the Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Indeed we need Jesus’ lens rather than from any other source. We have a dearth or scarcity of Spirit led teachers like you and E2R inspired contributors no wonder why we perish!
”My people perish for lack of wisdom…’
God help us in our prayers to be willingly sent to enlighten our friends, relatives, neighbours and friends!