1 Peter 4:7-9 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

1 Peter: Trials, Holy Living & The Lord's Coming
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Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
See Another Chart from Charles Swindoll 

Source: Borrow Ryrie Study Bible 
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Salvation of
the Believer
1 Pe 1:1-2:12
Submission of
the Believer
1 Pe 2:13-3:12
Suffering of
the Believer
1 Pe 3:13-5:14
1Pe 1:1-1:12
1Pe 1:13-2:12
Submit to
1Pe 2:13-17
Submit in Business
1Pe 2:18-25
Submit in Marriage
1Pe 3:1-8
Submit in all of life
1Pe 3:9-12

Conduct in Suffering

1Pe 3:13-17

Christ's Example of Suffering
1Pe 3:18-4:6
Commands in Suffering
1Pe 4:7-19
Minister in Suffering
1Pe 5:1-14
Belief of Christians Behavior of Christians Buffeting of Christians
Holiness Harmony Humility

Adapted from Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa's Talk Thru the Bible (borrow)

1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Panton de to telos eggiken. (3SRAI) sophronesate (2PAAM) oun kai nepsate (2PAAM) eis proseuchas;

Amplified: But the end and culmination of all things has now come near; keep sound minded and self-restrained and alert therefore for [the practice of] prayer. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: The end of all things is near. Be, therefore, steady and sober in mind so that you will really be able to pray as you ought. (Westminster Press)

Phillips: We are near the end of all things now, and you should therefore be calm, self-controlled men of prayer. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: But of all things the end has come near. Be of sound mind therefore, and be calm and collected in spirit with a view to [giving yourselves to] prayer; (Eerdmans Publishing

Young's Literal: The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.

THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND: Panton de to telos eggiken (3SRAI):

See discussion below

Related resources: 

The end (5056) (telos) means an end, a completion, a consummation. The word termination is close but misses the essence of the meaning, because a process can be terminated without reaching completion or consummation, which is the essence of the meaning of telos. The idea of telos is that the various stages that are reached to go on to full development (eternal significance).  Accordingly "Christ is the end (consummation or telos) of the Law" (Ro 10:4), for Christ brought all the components of the OT to their complete fulfillment by His perfect life and death, and yet the law was not terminated (e.g., it is written on the hearts of believers (Heb 8:10+, Heb 10:16+) and God's Spirit still uses the Law to bring souls to Christ Who is the consummation of the Law! - see Law as a "tutor" in Gal 3:19-25+, cf the Law's effect to make sin exceedingly sinful, to make it come alive in Ro 7:8-12+, Ro 3:19+ gives law's purpose = "to keep people from having excuses." See discussion of Purpose of the Law).

Telos refers to a goal achieved, a result attained, a realization, an end-goal, a purpose fulfilled. The root tel- means reaching the end (aim) and is illustrated by an old pirate's telescope (pictures) which unfolds or extends one stage at a time to reach full-capacity (effectiveness).

This term does not refer to annihilation (although indeed this present earth and heavens will be burned with intense heat - see discussion 2 Pe 3:12-note) but is used in Scripture to refer to the end of the age. Jesus Himself used the term in this way (e.g., Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9+). The sense of “end” as a point in time appears also. The kingdom of Messiah has no “end” (Luke 1:33+). Telos as the “outcome” of something is the idea in Luke 18:5+, and in Luke 22:37+ it denotes the “fulfillment” of prophecy about Jesus.

Click here for list below of all uses of telos in NT and in the Septuagint (Lxx)

Telos - 40x in 39v - NAS Usage: continually*(1), custom(2), customs(1), end(24), ends(2), finished(1), fulfillment(1), goal(1), outcome(6), sum(1), utmost(1).

In Heb 7:25KJV we see God is able to save to the uttermost which is the translation of panteles which is made up of pas = “all,” and telos = “end, termination.” By reason of Messiah’s eternal ministry as High Priest, He is able to save the believer in his totality of being, body, soul, and spirit, and do all that to the point of termination, an unending state of salvation in eternity.

Richards - The Greek word group (teleō [verb], telos [noun]) has two basic emphases. The primary concept of “end” is that of achievement of an intended goal. Particularly in eschatological passages the NT picks up the thought of process implicit in the OT. But the NT draws our attention to the conclusion of the process. That end is an extremity, but it is an extremity infused by purpose. Nothing is random; nothing is purposeless. When the end comes, it will bring the achievement of all of God’s purposes. The end will be marked by the consummation of God’s plans. The other concept implicit in the Greek words indicating “end” draws our attention to persons or to things that have reached an intended goal. In a limited but real sense, achieving a goal means that a thing or person is completed, or perfect. Thus “perfect” in the NT does not suggest sinlessness or flawlessness; rather, it is a mature stage of development in which one’s potentials are achieved.

Gilbrant on telos in classical Greek - From the stem tel-, “to turn round,” telos “originally meant the turning point, hinge, the culminating point at which one stage ends and another begins; later goal” (Schippers, “Goal,” Colin Brown, 2:59). Delling reduces the major meanings of telos to five: (1) “achievement”; (2) “completion”; (3) “obligation” (such as taxes); (4) “offering” (religious); (5) “detachment, group” (“telos,” Kittel, 8:49-51). These, of course, are oversimplified; the term is extremely diverse in meaning in classical Greek (see Liddell-Scott). Essentially telos indicates “fulfillment, execution of an act, consummation” or a state, such as “complete, perfect, total.” In philosophy telos was particularly linked to “goal,” such as the goal of an ethical life (Schippers, “Goal,” Colin Brown, 2:60). (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Telos is commonly used for the end of this life (Mt 10:22; Lk 18:5; 1Co 1:8; Php 3:19; Heb 3:14; 6:11; 7:3; Rev 2:26) or for events related to the end times (Mt 24:6,13,14; Mk 13:7,13; Lk 1:33; 21:9; 1Co 10:11; 15:24; 2Co 11:15; 1Pe 4:7,17). In Revelation telos occurs twice in the formula "the Beginning and the End" as a title for deity (Rev 21:6; 22:13). In Romans 10:4 telos refers to Christ as "the end of the law," which is similar to Paul's statement that believers are no longer "under the law" (Ro 6:14). Christians do not relate to God through the old covenant God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai through Moses, but through the new covenant He made at the cross through Christ's blood (see Jer 31:31-34; Lk 22:20; Heb 8:8-12). (HCSB Study Bible)

Friberg on telos - 1) as an action achievement, carrying out, fulfillment (Lk 22.37); (2) as a closing act end, termination, cessation (2Cor 3.13; 1Pet 4.7), opposite arche (beginning); (3) as a goal toward which movement is being directed outcome, end (result), purpose (1Ti 1.5); (4) as civic payment of what is owed tribute, tax, customs (duties) (Ro 13.7); (5) in adverbial expressions; (a) accusative (to telos) =. finally (1Pe 3.8); (b) eis telso = with either a temporal or quantitative sense according to the context to the end (Mk 13.13), finally, at last (possibly 1Th 2.16), in full measure, fully, completely (Jn 13.1; possibly 1Th 2.16); (c) with eos, mechri, achr - to the end, to the last or fully, altogether, depending on the context. (Analytical Lexicon)

BDAG summarized - (1) a point of time marking the end of a duration = end, termination, cessation Lk 1:33 (2) the last part of a process = close, conclusion, esp. of the last things, the final act in the cosmic drama - (a) Mt 24:6, 14; Mk 13:7; Lk 21:9. (b) Adverbial expressions - to telos = finally (1Pe 3:8, 1Cor 15:24); to the end, to the last - achri telous - Heb 6:11, Rev 2:26, 1Cor 1:8, eis telos = in the end, finally (Lk 18:5, Mt 10:22, 24:13, Mk 13:13) (3) the goal toward which a movement is being directed = end, goal, outcome (Mt 26:58, James 5:11, 1Ti 1:5) (4) last in a series = rest, remainder (1 Cor 15:24) (5) revenue obligation = (indirect) tax, toll-tax, customs duties (Ro 13:7b)

Swanson on telos - 1. end, point of time marking the end (Mt 24:14; Rev 1:8 v.r.); 2. result of an event or process (Mt 26:58; Ro 6:21); 3. purpose, intent, goal (1Ti 1:5); 4. completely, wholly, entirely (2Co 1:13; Heb 3:6 v.r. NA26); 5. tax, revenue, duty (Mt 17:25); 6. to telos, finally; 7. eis telos, completely (1Th 2:16) (Semantic Domains)

Vine - telos (5056) signifies (a) “the limit,” either at which a person or thing ceases to be what he or it was up to that point, or at which previous activities were ceased, 2Cor. 3:13; 1 Pet. 4:7; (b) “the final issue or result” of a state or process, e.g., Luke 1:33; in Rom. 10:4, Christ is described as “the end of the Law unto righteousness to everyone that believeth”; this is best explained by Gal. 3:23-26; cf. Jas. 5:11; the following more especially point to the issue or fate of a thing, Matt. 26:58; Rom. 6:21; 2 Cor. 11:15; Phil. 3:19; Heb. 6:8; 1 Pet. 1:9; (c) “a fulfillment,” Luke 22:37, KJV, “(have) an end”; (d) “the utmost degree” of an act, as of the love of Christ towards His disciples, John 13:1; (e) “the aim or purpose” of a thing, 1 Tim. 1:5; (f) “the last” in a succession or series Rev. 1:8 (KJV, only, “ending”); 21:6; 22:13. Note: The following phrases contain telos (the word itself coming under one or other of the above): eis telos, “unto the end,” e.g., Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Luke 18:5, “continual”; John 13:1 (see above); 2 Cor. 3:13, “on the end” (RV); heos telous, “unto the end,” 1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Cor. 1:13; achri telous, “even to the end” (a stronger expression than the preceding); Heb. 6:11; Rev. 2:26 (where “even” might well have been added); mechri telous, with much the same meaning as achri telous, Heb. 3:6, 14… telos (5056), “an end,” is rendered “the uttermost” in 1Th. 2:16, said of divine wrath upon the Jews, referring to the prophecy of Deut. 28:15-68; the nation as such, will yet, however, be delivered (Rom. 11:26; cf. Jer. 30:4-11). The full phrase is eis telos, “to the uttermost,” which is probably the meaning in John 13:1, “to the end.”… telos (5056) “an end, termination,” whether of time or purpose, denotes, in its secondary significance, “what is paid for public ends, a toll, tax, custom,” Matt. 17:25 (RV, “toll”); Rom. 13:7 (RV and KJV, “custom”). In Palestine the Herods of Galilee and Perea received the “custom”; in Judea it was paid to the procurator for the Roman government… telos (5056), “an end,” most frequently of the termination of something, is used with the article adverbially, meaning “finally” or “as to the end,” i.e., as to the last detail, 1 Pet. 3:8… .eis telos, lit., “unto (the) end,” signifies “continual,” in Luke 18:5, of the importunate widow’s applications to the unrighteous judge; see also Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; John 13:1; 1 Thess. 2:16. (End, Ending - A1 - Telos)

Telos in the Septuagint - Nu 17:13 = Are we to perish completely?" (Heb = tamam - to be finished, Lxx = telos); levy (telos) = Nu 31:28, 37-41; of Moses writing the law = Dt 31:24 (cf Dt 31:30) = "until they were complete" (Heb = tamam; Lxx = telos); Jdg 11:39 (cf 2Ki 8:3, 18:10) = "At the end (H = qets = end; Lxx = telos) of two months"; in numerous psalms telos used to translate "for the choir director", the English being "for the end" (Ps 4:1, etc); Da 7:26 = "his (Antichrist's) dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever (H=soph = an end; Lxx = eos telous = "until the end"); Da 9:26 = "even to the end (H = qets = end; Lxx = telos) there will be war"; Eccl 12:13 = "The conclusion (H=soph=an end; Lxx =telos)";

Wayne Detzler on telos - is seen in such English combinations as "telegraph" (literally distance writing), "teleology" (the evidences for purpose, or an end in nature), and "telescope" (an instrument which sees faraway objects). In ancient Greek literature telos meant several things. It referred to achievement of one's ends, or carrying a plan to its conclusion or end. Along the same lines telos was used to identify the power to carry out a task, or to determine the outcome of circumstances. Another aspect of the word was perfection or completion of a process, such as the maturity of a person, or the fulfillment of an obligation, or the consummation of a marriage. The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, used the word to speak of the fulfillment of God's plan for human history. Thus it referred to the end times or the latter days. Then the goals of God will have been accomplished in human history.

BIBLE USAGE - In the New Testament there are many facets of meaning in the word telos, but they can be reduced to two. First, the word refers to the end of a process or event. All human kingdoms have an end, but God's kingdom knows no ending (Luke 1:33). The splendor of Moses, after he came down from Mount Sinai, ended (2 Cor. 3:13). Another side to this more general use of the word telos is that of fulfillment. Death fulfills the process initiated by sin (Rom. 6:21). Christ was the fulfillment, or the end, of the Mosaic Law (Ro 10:4; Gal. 3:24). The end or goal of apostolic teaching is the propagation of love among Christians (1Ti 1:5). The removal of Christians from Satan's realm is the end or object of their salvation. The greatest example is the crucifixion of Christ, when He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30). The first aspect of telos is an end or a termination. Some event, process, or institution comes to an end. The other side to our word is even more common in New Testament writings. For it is also used to describe the end of human history. In this connection the Bible speaks of the "end times" or the "latter days." In His Olivet Discourse Jesus devoted a large block of teaching to the end times (Mt. 24:6-25:46). The parallel passages are Mk 13:7-37; Luke 21:9-38. Here Jesus described in detail the events which would occur before His coming. Paul, in writing to his problem children, the Corinthians, referred to the end times. At the end even Corinthians would be fully sanctified (1Cor. 1:8). The cataclysmic events of the last days should be a warning to Christians (1Cor 10:11). Paul hoped that the Corinthians would finally, at "the end," understand his teaching (2 Cor. 1:13). At the end times those who have rejected the Lord will experience a full and final (telos) judgment (1Th. 2:16 = "wrath has come upon them to the utmost"). By the same token Christians' hopes will be fulfilled in the end times (Heb. 6:11 = "the full assurance of hope until the end,"). The resurrected Christ revealed Himself to the Apostle John, and in so doing He expressed a special reward for those who endure until the end (Rev. 2:26 - Comment = For the believer, the end arrives when either we step through the doorway from this life into the presence of God 2Cor 5:8 or we remain alive until the coming of the Lord John 14:3; 1Th. 4:15). The implicit teaching of the word "end" is this: our Lord is in absolute control of human history. As believers we may also trust Him for all our future, right up to and including the end. Even our world will have its ending in the plan of God. The word telos speaks of the total control and perfect purposes of God in our lives, our families, our church, and our world. (New Testament words in today's language)

In the end of Daniel's prophecy, the angel tells Daniel "as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end (Lxx uses the related word sunteleia [derived ultimately from telos] = entire completion, consummation) of the age (which is the age we are still in and which will be succeeded by the 1000 year kingdom or "Messianic Age")." (Da 12:13-note)

The end is used here in chapter 4 by Peter in a similar way to refer to the end of this present church age which will be brought about by the return of Christ in glory.

There will also be another "end" after the 1000 year reign of Christ (Millennium) and Peter refers to this unique period of time in his second letter writing that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief (no warning), in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (see discussion of "the day of the Lord" 2Pe 3:10-note)

This TRUTH should TRANSFORM our hearts and produce within us increasing desire to flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, disciplining ourselves for godliness. (2Ti 2:22)

This truth of Christ's imminent return is struck consistently throughout the NT should be a summons to every believer that it is time to wake up from spiritual dozing, for the night is far spent and the day is at hand. Toward the end of his letter to the saints in Rome Paul wrote…

And this do (love), knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation (glorification = future tense salvation) is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Ro 13:11-14-see notes Romans 13:11; 12;13;14)

John in the last book of the Bible puts his exclamation point on this important truth recording our Lord Jesus' warning and encouragement - Behold (this means pay attention - this is important!), I am coming quickly, and My reward (wages or pay for service, whether good or bad) is with Me, to render (pay back) to every man according to what he has done. (Rev 22:12-notes)

John Piper writes that "Interpreters with less confidence in the Scriptures have sometimes concluded that the apostles simply made a mistake when they said things like this -- the end of all things at hand. The end is near, they said, but the end was over two thousand years away. So they made a mistake -- the argument goes. (Bolding added)

When a man realizes the nearness of Jesus Christ, he is bound to commit himself to a certain kind of life. If you knew that when you arise tomorrow morning you would see Jesus face to face in the evening, would it not affect the way you conducted yourself during the day!

Martin Luther (1483-1546) had this to say about imminency - Christ designed that the day of His coming should be hid from us, that being in suspense, we might be, as it were, upon the watch.

I love Archbishop Richard Trench's (1807-1886) description of imminency "The Second Advent is possible any day, impossible no day."

David Platt makes a number of observations related to the Lord's return - During Paul’s short stay in Thessalonica, he taught the people extensively about the return of Christ (2Th 2:5). He clearly wanted them to live their lives in light of the imminent return of the Lord and their promised future with Him… Yet, even in their confusion, the imminent return of Christ served to remind them of three significant truths: • Jesus would come to meet His Church face to face. • All believers would give an account of their lives to God. Therefore, how they lived really did matter. • God would ultimately judge this world according to His perfect justice and righteousness. These truths were not only important to the early church; they also have significant implications for how you and I live today. Notice three ways that the promise of His coming should impact us. We do not have to allow the troubles of life to discourage us… We will be accountable to Him when He comes… His imminent return is not meant to be a doctrine to confuse us but a promise that motivates us. When He comes we will be accountable for what we did with Jesus and how we lived for Jesus… We don’t have to right every wrong that is done to us because we have the promise that God will exercise His righteous judgment at Christ’s coming. God is more than capable to balance the books… The centerpiece of Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians concerned the imminent return of Christ (1Th 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:14-17; 5:23; 2 Thess 1:7; 2:5,8). The context of both letters reveals the Thessalonians’ belief that Christ would come in their lifetime. This conviction had positive and negative impacts on their church. Positively, the promise of His imminent return brought them strength to persevere in trials and gave them courage to endure persecution (1Th 1:10; 3:13; 5:9,23). Negatively, the expectation of His imminent return provided some with an excuse to quit their jobs and cease doing any meaningful activity while waiting for His arrival (1Th 4:11-12; 5:14; 2Th 3:6-12). Without question, the return of Christ was anything but an afterthought for the Thessalonians; it was their preoccupation. For this they were to be commended. Apart from the lazy believers who refused to work, the majority of the Thessalonians were serving faithfully and living expectantly. In fact, this is exactly what Jesus taught His disciples to do. The promise that His return could come at any moment was intended to create a sense of expectancy, urgency, and obligation for the church to be busy with things that mattered. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus gave four parables to teach His disciples about His coming (Mt 24:42-44,45-51; 25:1-13,14-30). In each case His point was inescapable: be prepared and be busy. In the final chapter of the book of Revelation Jesus Himself drives this truth home in three separate verses by warning that He is coming quickly (Mt 22:7,12,20). The promise of Jesus’ coming then is a reason to be hopeful and a call to be fruitful… Without question the Bible teaches that Jesus is coming again. For instance, 23 of the 27 books in the New Testament state that He is coming. One out of every 30 verses in the New Testament either speaks directly of His coming or of the end times surrounding His coming. For every biblical reference to Jesus’ first coming there are eight that point to His return. Clearly the biblical writers did not want their readers to miss this truth. From the perspective of the biblical authors, Jesus’ coming was never intended to be a subject for speculation; it was always intended to be a reason for anticipation and motivation. Such an awareness of Christ’s imminent return is vividly portrayed in the Thessalonian letters. In the Greek of this passage, he refers to Christ’s return as the parousia (1Th 4:15). The word points to the arrival of an important person or dignitary. The Thessalonians were to be watching, waiting, and expecting the day when Christ Himself would come for them. (Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) (Bolding added)

Comments regarding the end:

Alford: "This was the constant expectation of the Apostolic age."

Huther: "That the Apostle, without fixing the time or the hour of it, looked upon the advent of Christ and the end of the age therewith connected, as near at hand must be simply admitted."

Salmon: "The vivid realization of the nearness of the end, which appears in all the Apostolic writings, is especially characteristic of Peter; to him the close of the present dispensation was so near that nothing seemed to stand between him and it."

Fronmuller: "Peter in common with the other Disciples expected that the second advent of Christ and the end of the whole present dispensation were nearly impending."

John Calvin: "It ought to be the chief concern of the believer to fix his mind constantly on Christ's second advent."

Peter speaks of the idea of imminency in this passage, an important doctrine for the church to cling to. If we really believe He is returning and could return at any time, it will radically effect our lifestyle and our interaction with the lost world. Since Jesus may come at any time, we must be ready all the time.

One dictionary defines imminent as "ready to take place; especially hanging threateningly over one’s head" (Ed note: Such could be said of all scoffers and rejecters of Jesus.) (Merriam-Webster). The idea is impending. Overhanging. About to happen. Just around the corner. In the pipeline.

Dwight Edwards writes that "The first century church was gripped by the reality that Christ could invade their timetable at any second. Though history proved them wrong in their estimation of Christ's return, they proved beyond question the immense value of possessing this perspective. No other generation has come close to having the same impact on their world… No wonder they were called, "These that have turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). May we each regain this purifying perspective of the first century church.

Alexander Maclaren described the perspective of the early church writing "The primitive Church thought more about the second coming of Jesus Christ than about death or heaven. They were not looking for a cleft in the ground called "the grave," but for a cleavage in the sky called "glory." They were not watching for the "undertaker" but for the "Uppertaker." They felt man's chief end was to get right with God or be left behind when Christ returned.

Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching,
In His glory they shall share;
If He shall come at the dawn or midnight,
Will He find us watching there?--Crosby

Tony Garland writes that Imminence is “The quality or condition of being about to occur.” In Scripture, the coming of Jesus Christ is portrayed as an imminent event. This means that Jesus can come at any moment: there is no event which must transpire before He comes. Imminency makes it impossible to know when He might come so the believer must remain constantly on the lookout in case the Lord were to return and find him unprepared (Mt. 24:43; Luke 12:37, 38, 39; 1Th 4:15, 16, 17; Re 3:3). Many passages which teach the imminency of events utilize phrases such as “soon,” “quickly,” and “is near.” These events are described from the perspective of God Who “declares the end from the beginning” (Is 46:10). From His perspective, these events are certain but their timing is unspecified. They are “imminent”: (Quoting Thomas Ice) Just as (the word) “quickly” is used in Revelation to teach imminence, so also is “near” or “at hand” (eggus) used to mean imminency and thus its usage does not support a first-century fulfillment. Philip E. Hughes rightly says, “The time is near, that is to say, the time of fulfillment is imminent. This interval between the comings of Christ is the time of the last days, and the last of these last days is always impending.” … It is better to see eggus as a term that teaches the imminency of a period of time that could begin to happen without the warning of signs. (Thomas Ice, “Preterist ‘Time Texts’,” in Tim LaHaye, and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003, 106.) (See Notes on Revelation)

John MacArthur writes that…

Since Jesus could rapture His church at any moment, triggering all the end-time events culminating in His return, believers (and unbelievers) need to be ready.

A natural reading of the New Testament yields the truth that to the early church Jesus’ coming was imminent; that is, that it could happen at any time. They believed that He could come back for them in their lifetime. For the early church, imminence contained elements both of certainty and uncertainty. They were certain that Jesus would one day return, but (unlike numerous modern date setters) were uncertain when. Not knowing when He might return, they wisely lived prepared for and hoping for Jesus to return at any moment.

There are a number of New Testament texts that reflect the early church’s belief in imminence. Paul commended the Corinthians because they were “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co 1:7). He further exhorted them, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1Co 4:5). The apostle included the untranslated Aramaic word Maranatha (“O Lord, come”) in a letter to the Greek-speaking Corinthians (1Co 16:22). That word had evidently become a familiar byword, expressing believers’ longing for Christ’s imminent return. To the Philippians Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Php 3:20-note). He commended the Thessalonians because they “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven” (1Th 1:9-note; 1Th 1:10-note). Later in that same epistle, Paul expressed his own hope that he might be alive at the Lord’s return: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep” (1Th 4:15-note). The apostle rebuked those believers at Thessalonica who were so preoccupied with the Second Coming that they were not working:

For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. (2Th 3:10, 11, 12)

Though they drew improper conclusions from it, they nonetheless believed in Christ’s imminent return. Paul reminded Titus that Christians are to be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13-note). James encouraged his readers to “be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (Jas 5:7). In his first epistle the apostle John exhorted his readers, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming… Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1John 2:28; 3:2). These passages demonstrate the early believers’ anticipation of their Savior’s coming again. (Macarthur J. Revelation 1-11. and Revelation 12-22. Moody)

In Outlines of Theology written in 1879 by A. Hodge we read the pertinent application question - What should be the moral effect of the Scripture doctrine of Christ’s second advent ? Christians ought thereby to be comforted when in sorrow, and always stimulated to duty.— Php 3:20-note; Col 3:4-note; Col 3:5-note; Jas 5:7; 1Jn 3:2, 3. It is their duty also to love, watch, wait for, and hasten unto the coming of their Lord.––Luke 12:35, 37; 1Co 1:7, 8 1Th 1:9, 10-1Th 1:9; 10; 2Ti 4:8-note 2Pe 3:12-note; Re 22:20-note. Unbelievers should be filled with fearful apprehension, and with all their might they should seek place Cor. immediate repentance.—Mark 13:35, 37; 2Pe 3:9-note, 2Pe 3:10-note; Jude 14, 15.

Gene Getz - The Doctrine of Imminency - Paul clearly taught that Jesus Christ could come to call Christians out of this world at any moment and that the "day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night." When he wrote the first letter to the Corinthians, he personally believed he would be alive when he was "changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye" (1Cor 15:51-52). It appears that he did not know he would personally die before this incredible moment happened until he faced physical death in Rome. It was then Paul wrote his last letter. Writing to Timothy, he stated that the time had "come for my departure" and that he would become a Christian martyr at the hands of the wicked Roman Emperor Nero (2 Tim. 4:6-8). But all through Paul's life as a Christian, he lived so as to be ready to be "caught up" at any moment. Paul's expectancy in itself demonstrates that there are no major signs or events yet future that will signal the rapture. Even the great apostle Paul, who had received wisdom directly from the Lord regarding this wonderful doctrine, did not know when it would happen. He too didn't comprehend the great span of church history we now know has transpired… Again, the most important question you must ask yourself is, Are you ready to meet Jesus Christ? (Daniel Standing Firm With God)

William Culbertson - In the Word of God the doctrine of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ has a bearing not only on the particular outward manifestation of our life and conduct, but it reaches into the inner being and has to do with the motivation of our life. Let me briefly mention four areas. The second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Word of God has an appeal to our sense of urgency. Our motivation is accelerated because we know that the Lord may come. I am forced to action if I believe He's coming. I am speaking here particularly of the imminency of His coming. However the term "imminency" is defined, I find that by far the largest group of evangelical Christians whom I know, whatever their eschatological view, is looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's what I'm talking about here; let's not argue at this point. (From sermon entitled "The Relationship of the Doctrine of the Return of Christ to Practical Holiness")

ILLUSTRATION - Steven Cole has an intriguing illustration regarding the practical impact that the imminency of Christ's appearing should have in our lives - "If your focus is set on the hope of Christ’s return, you will purify your life from every known sin (1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note). During his time in the White House, President Carter did something that no other President (that I know of) has done: on several occasions, he stayed in the homes of common Americans. I don’t know how he picked them, but he wanted to convey that he was in tune with the needs of average Americans. If you got a call this week from the White House, announcing that the President would like to stay in your home sometime next month (meaning that your living room and kitchen would be on national television), I predict that you would do some housecleaning! Your home would sparkle because you knew that the President was coming. Someone far greater than the President is coming! Paul calls Him, “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” (How Grace Works)

Joe Wall (Going for the Gold) - The Bible reveals a number of notable purposes for prophecy. Prophecy authenticates divine revelation. It stabilizes believers in the face of disturbing events. It provides comfort. And it motivates the believer to live life in purity and faithfulness to the Lord. The latter is probably the most important. Prophecy is meant to draw our attention to the reality and the imminency of our Lord's return and our subsequent evaluation at the bema. As we see signs pointing to Jesus' coming, we should have a bema mentality, an expectant attitude that drives us to prepare to meet and be evaluated by Jesus imminently. A bema mentality encourages and cheers the informed believer; it continually impels him to a life of faithfulness, purity, and godly tolerance; and it produces an overpowering ambition to please Jesus. I once heard of a duck who somehow had broken his wing on his way south for the winter. A farmer picked him up and took him home. The children of the house petted and coddied him, feeding him from the table and taking him along as they did their daily chores. They were heartbroken that next fall as they watched him struggle to join the ducks who were flying south. His wing just wasn't that strong yet. Longingly, he looked up every time a flock flew over. The second year his wing was much stronger. But the children had fed him so well that as he attempted to take off, he was too fat to get airborne. He tried once or twice, then failed and turned back to the children to play. The third year as the other ducks quacked their call to go south, he never even looked up as they flew over. When life is comfortable it is easy to disregard who we are and where we are destined to be. We fall into a fat-duck mentality, lazy and content, forgetting that the Lord wants us to live with a bema mentality, always watching and longing to "fly away" to meet Jesus. Be alert: Keep your life pure! Be sober: Make your life count! Be expectant: Look forward to His coming! And join with those who share the expectation expressed in H. L Minter's Christ Returneth!

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight thru darkness and shadow is breaking
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory
To receive from the world His own.
It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives His own.
O joy! O delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying,
Caught up thru the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives His own.
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song:
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! Amen.

If we are to be looking for Christ to return at any time, living in light of its imminency, such an "uplook outlook" should be a powerful incentive to spur us on to fight the good fight necessary for godly living and bold witnessing. Note the emphasis is that we are to be looking for the Christ and not for the Antichrist, for a one world government or for any other supernatural sign. Beloved, our Bridegroom's coming is imminent, and no prophetic event is required to precede His sure return. Maranatha (Our Lord, come! 1Cor 16:22). Is that my mindset? Do my day to day choices reflect the reality of an expectant attitude?

Expectant Looking
Is the "Antidote" for
Apathetic Living

Hudson Taylor put it this way…
Since he may come any day, it is well to be ready every day.
The watchers on the mountain
Proclaim the Bridegroom near,
Go, meet Him as He comes,
With Hallelujahs clear!

The marriage feast is waiting,
The gates wide open stand
Up, up! ye heirs of glory,
The Bridegroom is at hand!"

May we be like the Psalmist who cried "My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning." (Ps 130:6)

Quite Suddenly

Quite suddenly—it may at the turning of a lane,
Where I stand to watch a skylark soar from out the swelling grain,
That the trump of God shall thrill me, with its call so loud and clear,
And I’m called away to meet Him, whom of all I hold most dear.

Quite suddenly—it may be in His house I bend my knee,
When the Kingly voice, long-hoped-for, comes at last to summon me,
And the fellowship of earth-life that has seemed so passing sweet,
Proves nothing but the shadow of our meeting round His feet.

Quite suddenly—it may be as I tread the busy street,
Strong to endure life’s stress and strain, its every call to meet,
That through the roar of traffic, a trumpet silvery clear,
Shall stir my startled senses and proclaim His coming near.

Quite suddenly—it may be as I lie in dreamless sleep,
God’s gift to many a sorrowing heart, with no more tears to weep,
That a call shall break my slumber and a Voice sound in my ear;
Rise up, My love, and come away! Behold, the Bridegroom’s here! (from Phil Keaggy)

Related Resources:

See also the studies of several related Greek verbs (click on each for word study) that speak of waiting with expectation or anticipation and are often used in the setting of the doctrine of imminency

Anemeno (362) conveys the meaning of expectant waiting—sustained, patient, trusting waiting. It pictures an eager looking forward to the coming of one whose arrival was anticipated at any time, waiting for one whose coming is expected.

Apekdechomai (553) means waiting in great anticipation but with patience (compare our English expression "wait it out"). To expect fully. To look (wait) for assiduously (marked by careful unremitting attention) and patiently. Awaiting eagerly and expectantly for some future event and so to look forward eagerly. Marvin Vincent writes that…

the compounded preposition apo denotes the withdrawal of attention from inferior objects. The word is habitually used in the New Testament with reference to a future manifestation of the glory of Christ or of His people. (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament Vol. 3, Page 1-453)

Prosdechomai (4327) means to accept favorably, to receive one into intercourse/companionship, to give access to oneself or receive to oneself. It can also mean to wait for with a sense of expectancy. It is used of things future, in the sense of expecting and with the meaning of accepting.

Prosdokao (4328) - means literally to look forward toward, to wait for, to look for, to anticipate. It means to give thought to something that is in the future and the context indicates whether one does this looking/waiting in a hopeful sense, with a longing, with fear (wait with anxiety, live in suspense), or in a neutral state of mind. It describes the attitude saints should have as anticipating, waiting with watchfulness, being in expectation.

Vance Havner has a number of pithy quotes on the Lord's return

The church missed the road centuries ago when it stopped looking for the King to come back and began building the kingdom down here. The early church went forth with the proclamation of Christ come, living in the prospect of Christ coming by the power of Christ contemporary . "lo, I am with you .(Matt. 28:20).

We are bypassing the Lord's return. Any doctrine as prominent in the New Testament as this cannot be disregarded completely. Years ago Dr. Hinson of Portland preached a great sermon one Sunday on the Second Coming. Some students spoke to him after the service and one said, "We just can't get this out of the New Testament the way you preached it today." "Of course not," replied the great preacher, "it's in there to stay!"

We bypass the Lord's return because the belief that He may come at any time, and that God is not converting the world but taking out a people for His name, does not fit our grandiose plans for building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth… It is about time we got around to God's program, not of Christianizing society but of evangelizing the world, taking out a remnant from a doomed civilization.

It is the day of the bypass. It will be a great day for the church when we get off our detours and onto the King's Highway!

The New Testament Christians were not only ready, they were expectant, hilariously anticipating the Lord's return.

And we are bidden not only to prepare but to look for our Lord. "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord"; "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." "Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." It is one thing to be ready for someone to come; it is another thing eagerly to expect and await the coming of someone.

Let us visualize a small‑town railroad station at train time. Inside the little ticket office is the station agent. He is an authority on the train schedule, he has read up on that, he knows when the train is due. Out in the station yard is a young bride‑to‑be who is looking for her lover to come on the next train. She does not know a great deal about the train schedules and the only reason why she is interested in this schedule is because of him who is coming. The station agent may be an authority and yet he may be very dull today, because he is not eagerly expecting anyone on the train. The girl in the station yard may not be an authority on the schedule but she is so happy that she can hardly live. If I had to choose between them, I'd rather be the girl in the yard. But I don't have to choose between them, for the old station master also may have dear ones coming in on the train, loved ones whose advent turns the time‑table from prose into poetry. And yet it is possible, in this matter of our Lord's coming, to study the time‑table and miss the Visitor!

With regard to our Lord's return, we emphasize preparation without expectation.

Of course, all too generally nothing is said of His return at all. Bringing in the Kingdom is preached, but not bringing back the King. One wonders how many today love his appearing. (2Ti 4:8-note). The precious doctrine is like an unwanted stepchild, ignored as though it were beneath the dignity of some even to mention it.

The early believers were not looking for something to happen, they are looking for Someone to come. Looking for the train to arrive is one thing, but looking for someone we love to come on that train is another matter. I fail to find in all our vast religious activities, our plans and projects to build a better world, our complicated machinery with wheels within wheels‑in all this I fail to find much of that simple warmhearted longing for the personal return of our Lord.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

There is one more glorious possibility tomorrow, but I do not like to say "tomorrow" for I like to think of it always as possible today. Our Lord may return. That is an absolute certainty some tomorrow. I like the story of the gardener who kept his master's garden immaculate. The owner of the garden was away and no one knew when he might return. Someone said, "You keep this place as though the master might return tomorrow." "Not tomorrow," the gardener replied, "today!"

It has been said that Paul had only two days on his calendar, "Today" and "That Day." He who is ready for today is ready for that day and he who is ready for that day is ready for today. He is ready for all five tomorrows and for the Great Tomorrow that may be today!

When General MacArthur was driven out of the Philippines by the Japanese invasion, he said, "I shall return," and return he did. Before our Lord left this earth He said, "I will return … (Acts 15:16), and return He will. (Quotes are from a variety of sources)

DEVOTIONAL - Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. --Matthew 25:13 - As a teenager, Jim Tait wanted to make maple syrup, so he purchased some catch buckets and a boiling pan. Then he tapped the trees and collected the sap. His father told him what to watch for after he began boiling the sap. But instead of keeping his eye on the steaming liquid, Jim left it for a few moments to consult with his father. While he was gone, the sap became milky and began to bubble. Moments later Jim returned, but it was too late. The sap had turned to syrup, and the syrup had crystallized and burned. In the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus was instructing His followers to be ready at all times to meet the bridegroom, whose coming represented Christ's any-moment return to this earth. They were to live so that the Lord would find them as ready as if they had known the exact moment of His appearing.

DEVOTIONAL - CHRIST'S COMING FORETOLD REPEATEDLY - Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ’s first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ—an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second! - Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27

ILLUSTRATION - During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. One day in 1789, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought.” Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we’re to be lights as we watch and wait. - Harry Heintz

Is at hand (is near) (1448) (eggizo from eggus [or engus] = near) indicates imminency and not immediacy. The perfect tense indicates that the imminency of the end of everything is an irreversible fact. The New Living translation paraphrases it "The end of the world is coming soon… "

Peter's use of the perfect tense stresses the absolute certainty of this event in man’s history. Christ's return became an imminent certainty when He ascended into heaven and His return is still imminent today. In light of this truth live like those who are spiritually sane (see below), in soberness and with an attitude of prayer.

Eggizo is the word constantly used of the coming of Christ and His kingdom. Jesus begin His ministry sounding the alarm on the imminency of His return! - And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand (eggizo - imminent); repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14, 15)

Eggizo - 42x in 41v - NAS Usage: approached(10), approaching(7), came(1), came close(1), came near(1), come near(2), comes near(2), coming near(1), draw near(3), drawing near(2), hand(7), near(5). Matt 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; 21:1, 34; 26:45f; Mark 1:15; 11:1; 14:42; Luke 7:12; 10:9, 11; 12:33; 15:1, 25; 18:35, 40; 19:29, 37, 41; 21:8, 20, 28; 22:1, 47; 24:15, 28; Acts 7:17; 9:3; 10:9; 21:33; 22:6; 23:15; Rom 13:12; Phil 2:30; Heb 7:19; 10:25; Jas 4:8; 5:8; 1 Pet 4:7

THEREFORE BE OF SOUND JUDGMENT: oun sophronesate (2PAAM) oun:

Therefore (oun) is a term of conclusion which should prompt a pause and ponder the text asking what is being concluded? (Why?, etc) In the context of the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ, leads Peter to issue some definitive commands. Indeed, the approach and suddenness of Christ’s return should challenge believers to be watchful and morally upright. It is only when we see the affairs of earth in the light of eternity that we see them in their proper proportions. It is when God is given His proper place that everything else takes its proper place.

Be of sound judgment (4993) (sophroneo from sozo = to save {from sos = sound} + phren = mind, which would then literally describe a "saved mind"!) (Click studies on the related words sophron and sophronismos) means literally to be of sound mind. The idea is to to keep one’s mind safe and sound or to be in one's right mind. To think of one's self soberly. To put a moderate estimate on one's self. To curb one's passions. It means to be able to reason and think properly and in a sane manner. It means to have understanding about practical matters and thus be able to act sensibly.

Peter uses the aorist imperative (command) calling for his readers to do this now, even with a sense of urgency in light of the dawning of the new day. (see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey)

Wuest commenting on sophroneo in Mk 5:15 writes that it means "to be of sound mind, to exercise self-control, to curb one’s passions. This last meaning was in classical Greek, as it is in New Testament Greek, the predominating usage of the word. Trench speaks of the word as habitual self-government with its constant rein on all the passions and desires. Not only is sanity returned to the demoniac, but self-control (in Mk 5:15). A wild man became the docile, quiet, self-possessed individual whom the people were viewing with a critical eye. (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Sophroneo is used 6 times…

Mark 5:15 And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the "legion"; and they became frightened.

Luke 8:35 And the people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; (sophroneo = sane) and they became frightened.

Romans 12:3-note For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Comment: The "sane" believer is to avoid excess so that he can see things clearly, and that clarity of thought should lead to an orderly, disciplined life. Such a man or woman knows how to order their priorities. A T Robertson says "Self-conceit is here treated as a species of insanity"

2Co 5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.

Titus 2:6-note Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;

1Pe 4:7-note The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

This description of the man, in contrast with his previous behavior, suggests that any person in his or her "right mind" will also be fully clothed and, as it were, sitting at the feet of Jesus, a good place to maintain a sane outlook!

John MacArthur comments on sophroneo in this verse in Romans writing that "To think of ourselves with sound judgment leads us to recognize that, in ourselves, we are nothing at all, but that, in Christ, we can be used to the glory of God through the gift of the Spirit bestowed on us. We must realize that from ourselves, from our fleshly humanness, nothing eternal can be produced, but that in the power of the Spirit we can be used to build the kingdom and honor the King. (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)

William Barclay has a note on the related words sophron and sophrosune which helps us understand the meaning of the verb sophroneo:

The corresponding noun is sophrosune, and the Greeks wrote and thought much about it. It is the opposite of intemperance and lack of self-control.

Plato defined it as “the mastery of pleasure and desire.”

Aristotle defined it as “that power by which the pleasures of the body are used as law commands.”

Philo defined it as “a certain limiting and ordering of the desires, which eliminates those which are external and excessive, and which adorns those which are necessary with timeless and moderation.”

Pythagoras said that it was “the foundation on which the soul rests.”

Lamblichus said that “it is the safeguard of the most excellent habits in life.”

Euripides said that it was “the fairest gift of God.”

Jeremy Taylor called it “reason’s girdle and passion’s bridle.”

Trench describes sophrosune as “the condition of entire command over the passions and desires, so that they receive no further allowance than that which law and right reason admit and approve.”

Gilbert Murray wrote of sophron: “There is a way of thinking which destroys and a way which saves. The man or woman who is sophron walks among the beauties and perils of the world, feeling love, joy, anger, and the rest; and through all he has that in his mind which saves. Whom does it save? Not him only, but, as we should say, the whole situation. It saves the imminent evil from coming to be.”

E. F. Brown quotes in illustration of sophrosune a prayer of Thomas Aquiwhich asks for “a quieting of all our impulses, fleshly and spiritual.”

The man who is sophron has every part of his nature under perfect control, which is to say that the man who is sophron is the man in whose heart Christ reigns supreme." (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press)

Unless we are sober in mind (not drunk on the sensual intoxicants of this present world system) true vigilance or watchfulness is impossible. Anything we do that is purely temporal (including that believers do in the power of their flesh rather than the power of the Spirit) is doomed to extinction, but all good deeds in the power of the Spirit will yield eternal treasure. Be sensible! If you are regenerate, to ignore this basic law of sowing and reaping is tragic.

John Piper warns that "The end is near indeed. If anyone dallies with sin and the world, thinking, "I have lots of time," he plays the fool. The Judge is at the door (James 5:9). And the time remaining should be spent in earnest prayer that we not be made drunk and hard by the cares and pleasures of this world." (God in Everything at the End of the Age)

AND SOBER [SPIRIT] kai nepsate (2PAAM):

Be sober (3525) (nepho [word study]) literally means to be free of intoxicants and thus sober or not drunk. In the physical sense nepho literally was used to refer to either complete abstinence or in a relative sense to refer to temperance (drinking but not to the point of intoxication). It calls for one to behave with restraint and moderation, not permitting excess. Be self-controlled and restrained, moderate in your behavior.

Nepho - 6x in 6v (with 3 by Peter)- 1Th 5:6, 8; 2Ti 4:5; 1Pe 1:13; 4:7; 5:8

Take things seriously, being aware of their real importance and be ever mindful of their consequences in time and in eternity. The sober saint approaches life, not as a jest, but as a serious matter for which he is answerable to God. Let us not become intoxicated by Satan's three vintage wines - the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the boastful pride of life (1John 2:15-note, 1Jn 2:16-note).

In the NT nepho is used only figuratively meaning to be free from every form of mental and spiritual "intoxication". The idea then is to be calm and collected in spirit, circumspect, self-controlled, well-balanced, clear headed. Be self-possessed (for believers a more accurate description would be "Spirit" possessed) under all circumstances. It speaks of exercising self-restraint (enabled by the Spirit) and being free from excess, from evil passion, from rashness, etc.

An expectant attitude toward Christ’s return involves a serious, balanced mind and an alert, awake prayer life. The test of our commitment to the doctrine of Christ’s return is not our ability to draw charts or discern signs, but our thinking and praying. If our thinking and praying are right, our living should be right.

Hiebert writes that nepho "denotes a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes of the 'reckless irresponsibility of self indulgence on the one hand, and of religious ecstasy on the other.' It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such 'level headedness' is a constant Christian need." ( First Peter. page 91. Moody, 1984, 1992)

As Clowney wrote "Christian living needs order as well as ardour. (E. P. Clowney. The Message of 1 Peter. page 63)

FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER: eis [with a view to] proseuchas:

In other words prayer should have in it that anticipation, that expectation of the coming of Christ. Our prayer meetings are dead today because we are not looking for Him (or to Him). This admonition had special meaning to Peter, because he went to sleep when he should have been “watching unto prayer” Mk 14:37, 38, 39, 40

If we really believe that we live in the last days, it is all the more appropriate that we give ourselves to prayer

A calm and collected spirit is conducive to the act of praying. It results in prayer. The Christian who is always on a tear, whose mind is crowded with fears and worries, who is never at rest in his heart, does not do much praying. If we are sober-minded, we will “watch unto prayer.” If our prayer life is confused, it is because the mind is confused.

Prayer (4335) (proseuche [word study] from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer and is used only of prayer to God. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before Him and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence.

Lawrence Richards writes that proseuche (and the verb form Proseuchomai) "In classical Greek was the technical term for calling on a deity. The NT transforms the classical stiffness into the warmth of genuine conversation. Such entreaty in the NT is addressed to God or Jesus and typically is both personal and specific. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

Wuest picks up on this meaning translating it "by prayer whose essence is that of worship and devotion." (Wuest)

The idea is setting one's focus on God (Read Hezekiah's response to a potentially "big" anxiety producing problem) and so of exhibiting a worshipful attitude.

Edwards comments that "This is an area which Satan attacks relentlessly because it is such a great weapon. In James we read, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (Jas 5:16) the word for "avails" (ischuo) is used in Acts 19:16 to describe the man with an evil spirit who "overcame" the seven sons of Sceva and caused then to flee. There is tremendous power in prayer yet we neglect it because it requires work. Yet of all the work we do, prayer is the work which supports and undergirds all our other work (Ro 15:30-note; Ep 6:18-note; Col 4:2-note; 1Th 1:2-note; 1Th 3:10-note; 2T 1:3-note; Re 8:3-note).

Telos - NT Uses

Telos (See main definition above) - 40x in 39v - NAS Usage: continually*(1), custom(2), customs(1), end(24), ends(2), finished(1), fulfillment(1), goal(1), outcome(6), sum(1), utmost(1).

Matthew 10:22 "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

Matthew 17:25 He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?"

Matthew 24:6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.

13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Comment - This uses refer primarily to an eschatological end (or better a consummation, a reaching of the goal God intended), the end of this present evil age, which will come to pass when Christ returns. Mt 24:13 could be either the end of one's life or the end of the age which ever comes first. And the only way one can endure is by the power of the Spirit, so that failure to endure is an indication that one does not possess the Spirit (is not saved). Enduring to the end does not save anyone (as if salvation could be merited), but it does prove one is genuinely saved.

Matthew 26:58 But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.

Mark 3:26 "If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!

Mark 13:7 "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.

13 "You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Comment - The only way one could endure to the end is that God's Spirit enables them. Thus this is a clear indicator that they possess God's Spirit.

Luke 1:33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."

Luke 18:5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'"

Luke 21:9 "When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately."

Luke 22:37 "For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, 'AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS'; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment."

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (cp Jesus accomplishing His purpose - Jn 17:4)

Romans 6:21-note Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.

22-note But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Romans 10:4-note For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Wuest - “End” is telos, “the termination or limit at which a thing ceases to be.” Christ is the termination or limit at which law ceases to be. Denney explains; “The sense required—a sense which the words very naturally yield—is that with Christ in the field, law as a means of attaining righteousness has ceased. The moment a man sees Christ and understands what He is and what He has done, he feels that legal religion is a thing of the past, the way to righteousness is not the observance of statutes, no matter though they have been promulgated by God Himself; it is faith, the abandonment of the soul to the redeeming judgment and mercy of God in His Son.” (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Fruchtenbaum - The Greek word translated end is telos. It can mean two things. First, it could mean “termination,” that the Messiah is the termination of the Law. Secondly, the word telos can also mean “goal,” that goal of the Law, then, was the Messiah Himself. The Law was not an end in itself, but it was intended to bring one to faith in the Messiah. From other passages, it is clear that both are true. The Messiah was the goal of the Law to bring one to faith (Gal. 3:10–4:7). The death of Yeshua also brought the Law to an end (2 Cor. 3:1–18; Heb. 7:11–18). In either case, Israel as a Whole failed on both counts; Israel failed to realize that the goal of the Law was faith in the Messiah and that the Law has ended as a rule of life. The Law was never a means of salvation. They also failed to realize that the Law was rendered inoperative and that Jesus was to be seen as the One through whom man attains righteousness, not by the works of the Law. (Messianic Bible Study Collection)

Romans 13:7-note Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

1 Corinthians 1:8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

1 Corinthians 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

MacArthur - Telos (end) not only can refer to that which is final but also to that which is completed, consummated, or fulfilled. In the final culmination of the ages, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, all things will be restored as they were originally designed and created by God to be. In the end it will be as it was in the beginning. Sin will be no more, and God will reign supremely, without enemy and without challenge. That gives us great insight into the divine redemptive plan. Here is the culmination: Christ turns over the restored world to God His Father, who sent Him to recover it.

2 Corinthians 1:13 For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end;

2 Corinthians 3:13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.

2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Philippians 3:19-note whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

1 Thessalonians 2:16-note hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Wuest - says telos or goal is "that which the charge contemplates, the object aimed at by the charge." (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Hebrews 3:14-note For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

Hebrews 6:8-note but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

Hebrews 6:11-note And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

Hebrews 7:3-note Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.

James 5:11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

1 Peter 1:9-note obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 3:8-note To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;

Comment - In Greek, this is the phrase to telos, which lets us know that he is coming to the final conclusion of what he has been saying to husbands and wives. The words to telos serve as an exclamation mark, letting the reader know that Peter is wrapping up and concluding this subject with some very important final remarks.

1 Peter 4:7-note The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

MacArthur Comment - The word rendered end (telos) does not necessarily indicate cessation, termination, or chronological conclusion. Rather here it means “consummation,” “fulfillment,” “a purpose attained,” or “a goal achieved.” In this context, it refers to Christ’s second coming. The end in view here is not the consummation of persecution for Peter’s readers. Neither did the apostle have in mind an imminent change in government that would result in more benevolent treatment for believers. His reference to the fulfillment of all things indicates he is speaking of the Lord’s return (cf. Acts 3:21; Col. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 20:11–13).

1 Peter 4:17-note For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Revelation 2:26-note 'He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;

Revelation 21:6-note Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

Revelation 22:13-note "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."


Telos - 132v in the Septuagint -

Gen 46:4; Lev 27:23; Num 17:13; 31:28, 37ff; Deut 31:24, 30; Josh 3:16; 8:24; 10:13, 20; Judg 11:39; 2 Sam 15:7; 24:8; 2 Kgs 8:3; 18:10; 19:23; 1 Chr 28:9; 29:19; 2 Chr 12:12; 18:2; 31:1; Neh 13:6; Esth 3:13; 10:1; Job 6:9; 14:20; 20:7, 28; 23:3, 7; Ps 4:1; 5:1; 6:1; 8:1; 9:1, 6, 18; 10:11; 11:1; 12:1; 13:1; 14:1; 16:11; 18:1, 35; 19:1; 20:1; 21:1; 22:1; 30:1; 31:1; 36:1; 38:6; 39:1; 40:1; 41:1; 42:1; 44:1, 23; 45:1; 46:1; 47:1; 49:1, 8; 51:1; 52:1, 5; 53:1; 54:1; 55:1; 56:1; 57:1; 58:1; 59:1; 60:1; 61:1; 62:1; 64:1; 65:1; 66:1; 67:1; 68:1, 16; 69:1; 70:1; 74:1, 3, 10f, 19; 75:1; 76:1; 77:1, 8; 79:5; 80:1; 81:1; 84:1; 85:1; 88:1; 89:46; 103:9; 109:1; 139:1; 140:1; Eccl 3:11; 7:2; 12:13; Isa 19:15; 62:6; Ezek 15:4f; 20:40; 22:30; 36:10; Dan 1:15, 18; 2:34; 3:19; 4:34; 6:26; 7:26; 9:25f; 11:13; Amos 9:8; Hab 1:4;

Gilbrant on telos in the Septuagint - "The complexity of telos is further accented by its occurrences in the Septuagint which uses it in place of 7 Hebrew terms as well as 12 cognate forms within those 7. Curiously eis to telos, literally “for ever,” appears in the title of over 50 psalms. Elsewhere telos refers to a “tribute” (offering) to the Lord (Numbers 31:28,37,38ff.). And in the temporal sense telos is “for ever” (1 Chronicles 28:9; cf. Job 20:7) or the end of a series of events (2 Chronicles 31:1; cf. Daniel 11:13). “Completeness” is implied in Job 14:20 (NIV, “once for all”). (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: pro panton thn eis heautous agaphen ektene echontes, (PAPMPN) hoti agaphe kaluptei (3SPAI) plethos hamarition

Amplified: Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and ydisregards the offenses of others]. [Prov. 10:12.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: Above all cherish for each other a love that is constant and intense, because love hides a multitude of sins. (Westminster Press)

Phillips: Above everything else be sure that you have real deep love for each other, remembering how 'love will cover a multitude of sins'. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: before all things in order of importance, having fervent love among yourselves, because love hides a multitude of sins. (Eerdmans Publishing

Young's Literal: Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

ABOVE ALL KEEP FERVENT IN YOUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER : pro panton ten eis heautous agaphen ektene (be stretched or strained) echontes (PAPMPN) :

"before all things in order of importance" (Wuest)

Above all - This phrase reminds them of the primacy of love among God's people. Love is a prerequisite to all proper exercises of Christian duty. Courtesy without love is a cold thing. Generosity without love is a harsh thing. Love makes all the other virtues what they should be. Love is the badge of a believer in this world (Jn 13:34,35). Especially in times of testing and persecution, Christians need to love one another and be united in heart.

Love (26) (agape [word study]) describes that quality of love bestowed by God and does not refer to an easy, sentimental reaction. Instead agape love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Ga 5:22-note) in a yielded believer, who is then enable to do the supernatural not the natural. Then the believer can love the unlovely and the unlovable, love in spite of insult and injury and love when love is not returned.

Keep (2192) (echo) means to have, hold, possess, etc. In the present context Peter says keep holding fast (present tense) and then modifies it with the word fervent. The present tense calls for this to be our habitual practice.

Fervent (1618) (ektenes from ek = out + teíno = stretch; English = tension, etc) (see study of related word ektenos) is literally the picture of one who is stretched out. It pictures "an intense strain" and unceasing activity which normally involving a degree of intensity and/or perseverance. Ektenes was used to describe a horse whose legs are fully extended while galloping. Ektenes, was used as a medical term describing the stretching of a muscle to its limits and in Grecian athletics described a runner with the taut muscles moving at maximum output, straining and stretching to the limit in order to win the race! It pictures one "stretching out" to love others!

The only other NT use of ektenes is Luke 22:44

And being in agony (Greek = agona = speaks of combat, giving prominence to the pain and labor of the conflict and in classic Greek referred to fear but not a phobos fear but the fear that shrinks and would flee, but the fear that trembles as to the issue, an emotion which spurs on to the uttermost) He was praying very fervently (ektenes); and His sweat became like drops of blood (a condition known as hematidrosis., the effusion of blood in one’s perspiration), falling down upon the ground.

In Acts Luke uses the adverb ektenos describing the prayers of the church for Peter who was imprisoned ("prayer for him was being made fervent by the church to God" in Acts 12:5).

John Macarthur has an insightful note on this use of ektenos in Acts writing that the church "knew only God had the power to release Peter… The church poured the maximum effort they were capable of into their prayers for Peter. They knew the truth James was later to express, that “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). The ektenes word group describes three essential elements of the Christian life: love (1Peter 4:8), service (Acts 26:7), and, in the present passage (Acts 12:5), prayer." (MacArthur, J: Acts 1-12; Acts 13-28 Moody Press) (Bolding and Greek word notes added)

Peter calls us to a love which is "fully stretched out” or manifested “in an all-out manner, with an intense strain”.

Wuest writes that the picture of ektenes is "of a love that is extended to reach the one loved. It is the act of one who, instead of living a self-centered life, gives of himself to others." (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

W E Vine adds that "the thought is of the runner with outstretched head and hand, the mind’s concentration on the goal imparting energy to the whole body." (Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Like an old television commercial used to say "Reach out and touch someone!"

William Barclay adds that ektenes "means outstretching in the sense of consistent; our love must be the love that never fails. It also means stretching out as a runner stretches out. As C. E. B. Cranfield reminds us it describes a horse at full gallop and denotes “the taut muscle of strenuous and sustained effort, as of an athlete.” Our love must be energetic. Here is a fundamental Christian truth. Christian love is not an easy, sentimental reaction. It demands everything a man has of mental and spiritual energy. It means loving the unlovely and the unlovable; it means loving in spite of insult and injury; it means loving when love is not returned. Bengel translates ektenes by the Latin vehemens, vehement. Christian love is the love which never fails and into which every atom of man’s strength is directed. (Daily Study Bible)

This type of love is the act of one who, instead of living a self-centered life, gives of himself or herself to others.

Christian love is something we have to work at, just the way an athlete works on his skills. It is not a matter of emotional feeling, though that is included, but of dedicated will. Christian love means that we treat others the way God treats us, obeying His commandments in the Word. It is even possible to love people that we do not like!

This kind of love requires the Christian to put another’s spiritual good ahead of his own desires in spite of being treated unkindly, ungraciously, or even with hostility. This kind of love is not blind to a brother or sister's faults but sees them and accepts them. Such a love will not publicize the faults and failings of other believers, but will protect them from public view.

Someone has said "Hatred makes the worst of everything. Love is entitled to bury things out of sight."

BECAUSE LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS: hoti agaphe kaluptei (3SPAI) plethos hamartion:

Because - see discussion of terms of explanation.

Love (26)(agape) is unconditional, sacrificial love, selfless, giving expecting nothing in return and Biblically refers to a love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16), that God shows (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9) and that God enables in His children (see note on fruit of the Spirit - Gal 5:22-note).

It is not surprising that Greek literature throws little light on its distinctive NT meaning. Biblical agape love is the love of choice, the love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. Agape is not based on pleasant emotions or good feelings that might result from a physical attraction or a familial bond. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. From all of the descriptions of agape love, it is clear that true agape love is a sure mark of salvation.

Agape is volitional
Phileo is emotional

In 1 Corinthians one aspect of love is that it "bears all things , believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ." (1Co 13:7+) Although the verb is not the same as used by Peter, the verb bears in 1 Corinthians 13:7+ conveys a similar dynamic of Biblical love. The Greek verb bears is stego which is derived from stege (a thatch or roof or covering of a building) and conveys the idea of covering closely, of protecting by covering and of concealing by covering. Note that the core meaning stego denotes an activity or state which blocks entry from without or exit from within.

F F Bruce - Love covers unworthy things rather than bringing them to the light and magnifying them. It puts up with everything. It is always eager to believe the best and to "put the most favorable construction on ambiguous actions." (Bruce, F. F. 1 and 2 Corinthians. New Century Bible Series. 1971)

Robertson and Plummer offer the caveat that even though agape love covers others faults and sins this does not mean "that a Christian is to allow himself to be fooled by every rogue, or to pretend that he believes that white is black. But in doubtful cases he will prefer being too generous in his conclusions to suspecting another unjustly. (1 Corinthians 15 Commentary)

Love is that beautiful virtue that throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person. From this meaning one derives the picture of covering things with the cloak of love.

Spurgeon explains that "It covers them sometimes by not seeing them; for, where there is much love, we are blind to many faults which, otherwise, we might see; we do not exercise the sharpness of criticism which malice would be sure to exercise. Besides that, when love applies herself to prayer, and when, in addition to prayer, she kindly gives admonition to a beloved friend, it often happens that true Christian love does really prevent a multitude of sins. The apostle does not mean that, by loving another person, I shall cover my own sin; nor does he mean that the exercise of charity, in the common acceptation of that word, can cover my sin. But if I have much love to others, I may be the instrument, in the hand of God, for covering many of their sins in one or other of the senses I have mentioned.  (Exposition)

Grudem - Where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones, are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts about - to Satan’s perverse delight.

Covers (2572) (kalupto akin to kalube = hut, cabin) means to cause something to be covered over literally (as with a lamp, Lk 8:16, dirt, Lk 23:30, water of waves, Mt 8:24) and hence not be visible. Figuratively, kalupto means to to cause something not to be known and thus means to hide, conceal, keep secret (Mt 10:26, 2Cor 4:3, Jas 5:20, 1Pe 4:8).

The idea in this verse is that love covers so as not to harshly condemn or expose faults but to forbear and bear the other's burdens, forgiving and forgetting past offenses.

Peter is quoting Solomon's proverb…

Hatred stirs up strife, but love (Lxx = philia = friendship, affection) covers (Lxx = kalupto = present tense = continually) all transgressions (Pr 10:12)

The covering of sins is the ability that Spirit filled and empowered believers have to forgive one another because Christ has forgiven them.

There are 8 uses of kalupto in the NT…

Matthew 8:24+ And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep.

Matthew 10:26 "Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Luke 8:16 "Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, in order that those who come in may see the light.

Luke 23:30 "Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

James 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

There are 74 uses of kalupto in the non-apocryphal Septuagint

Exod. 8:6; 10:5, 15; 14:28; 15:5, 10; 16:13; 21:33; 24:15f; 26:13; 27:2; 28:42; 40:34; Lev. 13:12f; 16:13; 17:13; Num. 4:8f, 11f, 15; 9:15f; 16:33, 42; 22:11; Deut. 23:13; Jos. 24:7; 1 Sam. 19:13; 1 Ki. 7:41; Neh. 4:5; Job 15:27; 21:26; 22:11; 23:17; 36:30, 32; Ps. 32:5; 44:15; 55:5; 69:7; 78:53; 80:10; 85:2; 104:9; 106:11, 17; 140:9; Prov. 10:6, 11f, 18; 26:23; Eccl. 6:4; Isa. 60:2, 6; Ezek. 7:18; 16:8; 24:7f; 30:18; 32:7; 38:16; 40:43; 44:20; Dan. 12:4; Hos. 2:9; 10:8; Obad. 1:10; Hab. 2:17; 3:3; Mal. 2:13, 16 

Here are some representative uses…

Exodus 8:6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.

Exodus 14:28 And the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.

Exodus 15:5 "The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone.

Exodus 16:13 So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.

Exodus 21:33 "And if a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it,

Exodus 24:15 Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.

Exodus 24:16 And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.

Leviticus 13:12 "And if the leprosy breaks out farther on the skin, and the leprosy covers all the skin of him who has the infection from his head even to his feet, as far as the priest can see

Numbers 9:15 Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. 16 So it (the tabernacle) was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide (Lxx = kalupto); I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah.

Psalm 44:15 All day long my dishonor is before me, And my humiliation has overwhelmed (Lxx = kalupto = covered) me,

Psalm 69:7 Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; Dishonor has covered my face.

Psalm 85:2 Thou didst forgive the iniquity of Thy people; Thou didst cover all their sin. Selah.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals (Lxx = kalupto) violence.

Proverbs 10:18 He who conceals (Lxx = kalupto) hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool.

Isaiah 60:2 "For behold, darkness will cover the earth, And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you, And His glory will appear upon you.

Ezekiel 16:8 "Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine," declares the Lord God.

Ezekiel 38:16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days that I shall bring you against My land, in order that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog."

Habakkuk 3:3 God comes from Teman, And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise.

Barton remarks that such a "Love works as a shock absorber, cushioning and smoothing out the bumps and irritations caused by fellow believers. (Barton, B, et al: The NIV Life Application Commentary Series: Tyndale)

Don't misunderstand Peter's exhortation. He is not advocating that our love condones or approves of another's sin. In fact if we really love someone, we will be grieved (even as the Spirit is grieved) to see them commit sins which ultimately hurt themselves and others.

Albert Barnes comments that…

For the truth of it we have only to appeal to the experience of everyone: (a) True love to another makes us kind to his imperfections, charitable toward his faults, and often blind even to the existence of faults. We would not see the imperfections of those whom we love; and our attachment for what we esteem their real excellencies, makes us insensible to their errors. (b) If we love them we are ready to cover over their faults, even those which we may see in them. Of love the Christian poet says:

“Tis gentle, delicate, and kind,

To faults compassionate or blind. (Barnes' Notes on the Bible)

Genesis 9:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 gives us a beautiful illustration of this principle. Noah got drunk and shamefully uncovered himself. His son Ham saw his father’s shame and told the matter to the family. In loving concern, Ham’s two brothers covered their father and his shame. It should not be too difficult for us to cover the sins of others, for after all, Jesus Christ died that our sins might be washed away.

John MacArthur - It is the nature of true spiritual love, whether from God to man or Christian to Christian, to cover sins (cf. Romans 5:8). This teaching does not preclude the discipline of a sinning, unrepentant church member (cf. Mt18:15, 16, 17, 18; 1Cor 5:1ff). It means specifically that a Christian should overlook sins against him if possible, and always be ready to forgive insults and unkindnesses." (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word)

John Piper writes that "our love needs to be the kind that covers each others sins. In other words the focus is on the effect of love that enables fellowship in spite of sins. Isn't that remarkable?… Peter is saying that bona fide, authentic love and fellowship is based, in part, on the covering of many sins. This is not sweeping things under the rug. It's not endorsing keeping skeletons in the closet. It's not renouncing church discipline. It's saying at least this -- probably more: When we've done all the confrontation -- when we've done all the argumentation and exhortation -- we cover it. Whatever side we are on we cover it; we give it up; we bury it as a cause of murmuring. (Read the full message)

William Barclay -- It may mean that our love can overlook many sins. "Love covers all offences," says Pr 10:12. If we love a person, it is easy to forgive. It is not that love is blind, but that it loves a person just as he is. Love makes patience easy. It is much easier to be patient with our own children than with the children of strangers. If we really love our fellow-men, we can accept their faults, and bear with their foolishness, and even endure their unkindness. Love indeed can cover a multitude of sins. (Daily Study Bible)

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: philoxenoi eis allelous aneu goggusmou;

Amplified: Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Phillips: Be hospitable to each other without secretly wishing you hadn't got to be! (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Show hospitality to one another without murmuring. (Eerdmans Publishing

Young's Literal: Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

BE HOSPITABLE TO ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT COMPLAINT: philoxenoi eis allelous aneu goggusmou:

Be hospitable is not an imperative (as NASB suggests), but an adjectival phrase further defining the ‘constant love’ just commanded. The Greek text has no verb in this verse.

You might be surprised at how much the Scriptures talk about hospitality. For more study here are some other resources: Naves Topic, Torrey's Topic, Smith's Bible Dictionary, ISBE article (in depth), Holman Bible Dictionary,

Hospitable (5382) (philoxenos from phílos = friend, to be friendly to one or to wish him well, beloved, dear + xenos = stranger, unknown, foreign or foreigner, alien, guest) literally means stranger loving or “friendly to strangers".

Hospitable is from Medieval Latin hospitāre = to receive as a guest which in turn is from Latin hospes = guest.

Practically philoxenos means fond of guests and so hospitable or given to (lover of) hospitality. It describes one who is given to generous, welcoming and cordial reception of visitors, guests or strangers. It means to give practical help to anyone who is in need (friend or stranger, believer or unbeliever) Hospitality was a highly valued Greek and Jewish virtue. It was absolutely necessary for the expansion of the gospel and necessary for the maintenance of the fellowship within the church as well as the image of the church from without.

Philoxenos is used 3 times in the NT (no uses in the Septuagint), in this verse and in…

1Timothy 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Titus 1:8 (note) but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled

The persecutions which some of these Christians were enduring deprived them often of the necessities of life, and such an exhortation as this was needed. Furthermore, the lack of a readily available Holiday Inns, Motel 6's, etc for ordinary people had the result that the quality of being ready to provide board and lodging for friends and other suitably sponsored travelers was even more highly esteemed that it is today.

Persecuted saints in particular would need places to stay where they could be assisted and encouraged.

Someone has said that hospitality is the supernatural ability to entertain strangers and friends so that they feel welcome and edified.

By the way if you need some added motivation, remember the exhortation from the writer of Hebrews …

Do not neglect (stop completely forgetting) to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels (“angel” can simply mean “messenger” but it is still notable for how often have had guests in our home who have turned out to be messengers of God’s blessings) without knowing it." (see note Hebrews 13:2)

God would have believers to have the same attitude He commanded of Israel in Isaiah 60:11…

Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night; that men may bring unto you the forces of the Gentiles

Erwin Lutzer  - Hospitality is a test for godliness because those who are selfish do not like strangers (especially needy ones) to intrude upon their private lives. They prefer their own friends who share their lifestyle. Only the humble have the necessary resources to give of themselves to those who could never give of themselves in return." (Erwin W. Lutzer) (Ed note: Beloved, are you as convicted as I am?)

William Barclay writes that "The Christian is to be given to hospitality. Over and over again the New Testament insists on this duty of the open door. Tyndale used a magnificent word when he translated it that the Christian should have a harborous disposition. A home can never be happy when it is selfish. Christianity is the religion of the open hand, the open heart, and the open door. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press)

Barclay has an interesting note on hospitality writing that…

"The ancient world loved and honoured hospitality. The Jews had a saying: “There are six things the fruit of which a man eats in this world and by which his horn is raised in the world to come.” And the list begins: “Hospitality to the stranger and visiting the sick. The Greeks gave Zeus, as one of his favourite titles, the title Zeus Xenios, which means Zeus, the god of strangers. The wayfaring man and the stranger were under the protection of the king of the gods. Hospitality, as Moffatt says, was an article of ancient religion. Inns were filthy, ruinously expensive, and of low repute. The Greek had always a shrinking from hospitality given for money; inn-keeping seemed to him an unnatural affair. In The Frogs of Aristophanes, Dionysus asks Heracles, when they are discussing finding a lodging, if he knows where there are fewest fleas. Plato in The Laws speaks of the inn-keeper holding travellers to ransom (He compared them to pirates who hold their guests to ransom before they allow them to escape). It is not without significance that Josephus says that Rahab, the harlot who harboured Joshua’s scouts in Jericho, kept an inn. When Theophrastus wrote his character sketch of the reckless man, he said that he was fit to keep an inn or run a brothel; he put both occupations on the same level.

In the ancient world there was a rather wonderful system of what were called “guest friendships.” Throughout the years families, even when they had lost active touch with each other, had an arrangement that at any time needful they would make accommodation available for each other… This connection between families lasted throughout the generations and when it was claimed the claimant brought with him a sumbolon, or token, which identified him to his hosts. Some cities kept an official called the Proxenos in the larger cities to whom their citizens, when traveling, might appeal for shelter and for help.

If the heathen world accepted the obligation of hospitality, it was only to be expected that the Christians would take it even more seriously.

Slaves had no home of their own to which to go. Wandering preachers and prophets were always on the roads. On the ordinary business of life, Christians had journeys to make. Both their price and their moral atmosphere made the public inns impossible. There must in those days have been many isolated Christians fighting a lonely battle. Christianity was, and still should be, the religion of the open door. (There is the home of the shut door and there is the home of the open door. The shut door is the door of selfishness; the open door is the door of Christian welcome and Christian love. It is a great thing to have a door from which the stranger and the one in trouble know that they will never be turned away) The writer to the Hebrews says that those who have given hospitality to strangers have sometimes, all unaware, entertained the angels of God. He is thinking of the time when the angel came to Abraham and Sarah to tell them of the coming of a son (Genesis 18:1ff.) and of the day when the angel came to Manoah to tell him that he would have a son (Judges 13:3ff.)." (Daily Study Bible - Commentary on Hebrews) (Bolding added)

Although I don't usually utilize humorous quotes on this website, the following are mentioned as they each have an element of truth that we can probably all identify with…

Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were. - Arnold H. Glasow

Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day, give him a hoe. - Swahili proverb

Fish and visitors smell in three days. - Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

Hospitality is threefold: for one’s family, this of necessity; for strangers, this of courtesy; for the poor, this is charity. - Thomas Fuller

Great boast and small roast makes unsavory mouths. - Henry Smith

Without complaint - This is the ultimate test of sincere hospitality. Is your hospitality "without grudging or murmuring"? If not it is hypocritical hospitality (and God sees our heart and judges our motives - see 1Cor 4:5+). Paul gives this same call for sincerity declaring…

Let love be without hypocrisy (without a mask) (Ro 12:9-note)

Beloved, if our hospitality is mixed with complaints, murmuring, grumbling or feelings of resentment, then we need to check our motives for providing hospitality!

Complaint (1112) (goggusmos) is an onomatopoeic word derived from the sound made when murmuring or muttering in a low and indistinct voice with the idea of complaint. Our words murmur and grumble are similar in sound. And so this "sound" refers to audible expression of an unwarranted dissatisfaction or an expression of our discontent.

This prohibition by Peter unfortunately has a sharp twang of realism about it for then as now, guests could overstay or otherwise abuse their host's welcome. This word emphasizes that the one showing hospitality needs to stand firm in the true grace of God to carry out what could turn out to be an exasperating chore that might result in grumbling.

Paul instructed the saints at Philippi to…

Do (present imperative   see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) all things (HOW MANY? DON'T TRY TO DO THIS BY RELYING ON YOUR FLESHLY STRENGTH - FUTILITY AND FAILURE WILL SURELY FOLLOW) without grumbling (goggusmos) or disputing that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world" (Php 2:14, 15-note; 2:15) (but see the preceding verses for how this is even possible - Php 2:12+, Php 2:13NLT+)

You Can't Beat The Price - Would you wait in line for 13-cents-a-gallon gasoline? Many drivers in Massachusetts did. More than 100 cars lined up along Route 12 a couple of hours before one gas station opened. The owner had advertised his gasoline at a price that was almost an outright gift. He said he was trying to give his customers a break.

In 1 Peter 4, the apostle wrote about another kind of gift that shows the generosity of the giver. It is the “manifold grace of God” (1Peter 4:10). Grace is undeserved favor—the free kindness that comes from the Lord. We experience His grace not only as the favor of His forgiveness but also as the energy and ability He gives to help us live the way He wants us to.

Accepting and using this gift has some far-reaching effects. It brings blessing to us and to others. But above all, it honors the name and kindness of the Giver. Peter urged his readers to use and express God’s grace by being watchful in their prayers, showing love, being hospitable, and ministering through the spoken word (1Peter 4:7-11).

Gasoline for 13 cents a gallon—that’s almost a giveaway! But the grace God gives us to serve Him is absolutely free! It surpasses anything this world has to offer—and it’s ours for the asking. — by Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God freely gives His grace to all
Who on His Word rely,
For they have learned the secret of
His infinite supply.

The only limit to God's grace is the limit we put on it.