1 Free yourselves, therefore, from all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of any kind, 2 and like new-born babes crave the pure spiritual milk that will make you grow up to salvation, 3 since you have tasted the Lord's kindness. 4 Come to him, as to a living stone rejected by men, but chosen and prized in the sight of God, 5 and build yourselves up as living stones into a spiritual house for a consecrated priesthood, so as to offer spiritual sacrifices that through Jesus Christ will be acceptable to God. 6 For it says in Scripture, "Here I lay a choice stone in Zion, a costly cornerstone; No one who believes in it will ever be disappointed!"
7 It is you, therefore, who believe who see its value, but for men who do not believe, "The stone which the builders refused has been made a cornerstone,"
8 and "A stone to stumble over, and a rock to trip them up." They stumble over the message because they will not obey it; that is their destiny.
9 But you are the chosen race, the royal priesthood, the consecrated nation, his own people, so that you may declare the virtues of him who has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light; 10 you who were once "no people" but are now "God's people"; once "unpitied" but now "pitied indeed."
11 Dear friends, I beg you, as aliens and exiles here, not to indulge the physical cravings that are at war with the soul. 12 Live upright lives among the heathen, so that even if they charge you with being evil-doers, they may from observing the uprightness of your conduct come to praise God on the Day of Judgment.
13 Submit to all human authority, for the Master's sake; to the emperor, as supreme, 14 and to governors, as sent by him to punish evil-doers, and to encourage those who do right. 15 For it is the will of God that by doing right you should silence the ignorant charges of foolish people. 16 Live like free men, only do not make your freedom an excuse for doing wrong, but be slaves of God. 17 Treat everyone with respect. Love the brotherhood, be reverent to God, respect the emperor.
18 You servants must be submissive to your masters and perfectly respectful to them; not only to those who are kind and considerate, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For God approves a man if from a sense of duty he endures suffering unjustly inflicted??20 for what credit is there in your enduring being beaten for doing wrong? But if you endure suffering for doing what is right, you have God's approval.
21 That is the life to which you have been called, for Christ himself suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you might follow his footsteps. 22 He committed no sin, and deceit was never on his lips. 23 He was abused but he did not retort. He suffered but he did not threaten, but committed his case to him who judges justly. 24 He carried the burden of our sins in his own body on the cross, in order that we might die to sin and live for uprightness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.