1 [This is being written by] Jesus' apostle Peter, to God's people who are scattered throughout the countries of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. [Note: These places are located in present-day Turkey]. 2 These people have been [specially] selected, and [their acceptance was] pre-planned by God the Father, and they were set apart through [the work of] the Holy Spirit. This resulted in their obedience and sprinkling [Note: This is a figurative reference to the Old Testament practice of cleansing, See Exodus 24:7-8] by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God's unearned favor and peace be continually upon you.
3 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to be praised for being so merciful as to have given us a new birth, which provides for us a hope of never ending life through the means of Jesus Christ's return from the dead. 4 Through Him we have an inheritance that cannot be corrupted or contaminated, and will never disappear; it is reserved in heaven for you. 5 Through God's power you are protected by [your] faith, so that you can expect to be saved in the end. 6 Because of this you can be very joyous, even though it is necessary for you to have suffered many trials for a little while. 7 But these will only test your faith, which is more valuable than gold which, though refined by fire, eventually perishes. Your faith, [however], will [endure and eventually] prove to be praiseworthy and honorable when Jesus returns. 8 Although you have not seen Jesus, you [still] love Him and believe in Him, and this causes you to have an indescribable, glorious joy. 9 Your faith will [finally] bring about the salvation of your souls.
10 The prophets [of old], who spoke of this salvation, asked about and searched diligently concerning the unearned favor [God provided] for you people. 11 They studied [their own prophecies] to learn what, or which, [person or] time the Holy Spirit in them pointed to, in predicting the sufferings of Christ and the glories yet to come. 12 It was revealed to these prophets that you people, not they, were the ones being ministered to in the matters now being announced to you by those who preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. [This message contained] things which angels would like to look into.
13 So, gather your thoughts together for action, take control of yourselves and focus your hope completely on God's unearned favor, which will be brought to you by Jesus Christ when He returns. 14 As obedient children, do not pattern your lives after the evil desires you formerly had when you were ignorant, 15 but according to the Holy One, who called you [i.e., God], you people also should become holy [i.e., separated for God's service] in all your conduct, 16 because it is written [Lev. 11:44f], "You shall be holy [i.e., separated from sin] even as I am holy."
17 And if you call upon [God as] your Father, who judges each person's work impartially, [then] conduct yourselves during the time you spend in this life showing reverence [to God]. 18 You [should] know that you were bought back [from Satan], from your useless way of life, inherited from your forefathers, not with such perishable things as silver and gold, 19 but with [the] precious blood of Christ, who represents an unblemished lamb, without defect. 20 For Christ was previously known [by God, even] before the world was created, yet was not fully revealed for your benefit until [these] final times. 21 [It is] through Christ, whom God raised from the dead and honored, that you people have become believers in God, so that your faith and hope could rest in God.
22 [Since] you have purified your souls by [your] obedience to the truth [i.e., the Gospel message], which produces a genuine love for your brothers, [now] you should have this kind of fervent, heartfelt love for one another. 23 You have experienced new birth, not from seed that can decay, but from seed that cannot decay, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For all forms of flesh are similar to grass, and all the splendor of [a person's] flesh is like the flower [which blossoms] from the grass. [But as with] grass, [a person's flesh] withers, and its flower [i.e., his splendor] falls off. 25 But the word of the Lord continues to live on and on [forever]. And this word is the good news that was preached to you people.