1 Therefore, you should put out of your lives all malice [i.e., bad attitudes], and all deceit and hypocrisy, and all envy and unwholesome talk. 2 [So], like newly born babies, you should desire the genuine, spiritual milk [i.e., God's word. See Heb. 5:12-13], so that by it you may grow toward [final] salvation, 3 since you have experienced the goodness of the Lord [i.e., that the Lord is good]. 4 You should come to Him, who is a living stone, rejected by people, but chosen as precious in God's sight. 5 And you yourselves are also like living stones, being constructed into a spiritual house. For you are like holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it says in the Scripture [Isa. 28:16], "Look, I am placing a stone in [the city of] Zion [i.e., Jerusalem]. It is a specially selected, very valuable cornerstone. And the person who trusts in the Him [i.e., the One represented by this stone] will never have to suffer shame [i.e., because of unforgiven sin being brought up against him]."
7 To those of you who believe in Him then, this "Stone" is [very] precious. But to those who do not believe [Psa. 118:22 says], "The stone which those in charge of the building project have rejected has been made the principal stone for aligning the whole structure."
8 [And it also says, Isa. 8:14, that He would be], "A stone that people would stumble over and a rock over which they would trip and fall." The way they stumble is by disobeying the Gospel message. They were destined [though not forced] to do this.
9 But you people are especially chosen [by God]; you are a royal body of priests; you are a nation especially set apart for God's use; you are a people who belong exclusively to God, that you may express the virtues of the One who called you out of darkness [i.e., of sin and error], and into His marvelous light [i.e., righteousness and truth]. 10 At one time you [Gentiles] were not a [chosen] people, but now you are God's [special] people. Once you had not received [His] mercy, but now you have received it.
11 My dearly loved ones, I urge you, as a people who are foreigners and strangers [in this world], do not give in to sinful desires, which wage war against the soul. 12 You should live such good lives before [unconverted] Gentiles, so that even though they accuse you of being evildoers, by seeing your good deeds, they will [be led to] honor God [for you] on the day He visits us again [i.e., to bring judgment].
13 Submit yourselves to every authority set up by people for the Lord's sake. [Submit to] a king as the [highest] authority, 14 or to governors who are appointed by him to punish wrongdoers, and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that, by doing good, you should put to silence the ignorant [talk and actions] of foolish people. 16 As servants of God, you should live as free people, but do not use this freedom to cover up your wrongdoing. 17 Show [proper] respect for everyone. Love your [Christian] brothers [and sisters]. Have an awe-inspiring respect for God. Show honor to the king.
18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters and show them respect, not just the ones who are good [to you] and treat you well, but also to those who are harsh toward you. 19 For those of you who put up with such suffering unjustly, because of your close relationship to God, are to be commended. 20 But it is no credit to you if you put up with a beating you deserve. But if you patiently tolerate suffering for doing good, this is pleasing to God.
21 [After all], this is what you were called to do, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps. 22 [For] He neither sinned nor used deceitful words. 23 When He was spoken to with harsh insults, He did not reply in the same way. When He was made to suffer, He did not threaten [His tormentors], but instead entrusted Himself to God, [whom He knew] would make a righteous judgment [in the matter]. 24 Jesus took upon Himself our sins [when] His body was placed upon the cross so that we, [through] dying to [i.e., giving up] the sinful life, would live for righteousness. You were healed [from your sins] by His being brutally treated. 25 For you people were wandering away like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.