1 So off with all malice, all guile and insincerity and envy and slander of every kind! 2 Like newly-born children, thirst for the pure, spiritual milk to make you grow up to salvation. 3 You have had a taste of the kindness of the Lord: 4 come to him then ??come to that living Stone which men have rejected and God holds choice and precious, 5 come and, like living stones yourselves, be built into a spiritual house, to form a consecrated priesthood for the offering of those spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For thus it stands in the scripture: Here I lay a Stone in Sion, a choice, a precious cornerstone: he who believes in him will never be disappointed.
7 Now you believe, you hold him 'precious,' but as for the unbelieving ??the very stone the builders rejected is now the cornerstone,
8 a stone over which men stumble and a rock of offence; they stumble over it in their disobedience to God's word. Such is their appointed doom.
9 But you are the elect race, the royal priesthood, the consecrated nation, the People who belong to Him, that you may proclaim the wondrous deeds of Him who has called you from darkness to his wonderful light ??10 you who once were no people and now are God's people, you who once were unpitied and now are pitied.
11 Beloved, as sojourners and exiles I appeal to you to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war upon the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves properly before pagans; so that for all their slander of you as bad characters, they may come to glorify God when you are put upon your trial, by what they see of your good deeds.
13 Submit for the Lord's sake to any human authority; submit to the emperor as supreme, 14 and to governors as deputed by him for the punishment of wrongdoers and the encouragement of honest people ??15 for it is the will of God that by your honest lives you should silence the ignorant charges of foolish persons. 16 Live like free men, only do not make your freedom a pretext for misconduct; live like servants of God. 17 Do honour to all, love the brotherhood, reverence God, honour the emperor.
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with perfect respect, not simply to those who are kind and reasonable but to the surly as well ??19 for it is a merit when from a sense of God one bears the pain of unjust suffering. 20 Where is the credit in standing punishment for having done wrong? No, if you stand suffering for having done right, that is what God counts a merit.
21 It is your vocation; for when Christ suffered for you, he left you an example, and you must follow his footsteps. 22 He committed no sin, no guile was ever found upon his lips; 23 he was reviled and made no retort, he suffered and never threatened, but left everything to Him who judges justly; 24 he bore our sins in his own body on the gibbet, that we might break with sin and live for righteousness; and by his wounds you have been healed. 25 You were astray like sheep, but you have come back now to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.