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1 Peter 4:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 With respect to this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
This verse is part of a larger section of the letter in which the author, Peter, is encouraging Christians to live holy and godly lives, even when they are surrounded by people who do not share their values.
In this particular verse, Peter addresses the fact that Christians may be viewed as strange or peculiar by others because they do not participate in the same types of activities or behaviors. The phrase “flood of debauchery” refers to a lifestyle that is characterized by immorality, excess, and lack of restraint, and Peter is saying that Christians should not be drawn into this type of lifestyle. Instead, they should live in a way that is consistent with their faith and values, even if it makes them seem different or unusual to those around them. The verse also mentions that these people may “malign” or speak badly about the Christians because of their refusal to join in their lifestyle.
(a.) “They think it strange.” In a world of sin, Christians are strangers, especially if they were formerly part of that world. They do not feel at home anymore in an environment that is alien to them. The consequence is that the world is shocked by the strange behavior of the Christians (compare Acts 17:20). Because of the Christians’ conduct, the world reacts and takes offense.
(b.) “You do not plunge with them.” The Greek has the verb form you do not run, which in the New International Version is translated “plunge.” This translation hinges on the phrase into the same flood that completes the sentence. The text expresses the thought of associating with bad companions (see the parallel in Ps. 50:18). The Greek verb in this clause is in the present tense, which indicates that the readers are not going along with the world. They seek to do God’s will.
(c.) “Flood of dissipation.” The word flood indicates an overflowing or pouring out of a substance that springs up and flows down as lava from the crater of a volcano. The term translated “dissipation” actually means “incorrigibility.”
(d.) “They heap abuse on you.” The estrangement between the people of the world and the Christian results in a campaign of insult and slander against the believer. As Peter comments, “[They] speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ” (3:16; also compare James 2:7). Friendships that Christians had enjoyed before their conversion now have turned into fierce hatred directed against them. Christians, however, take comfort in Jesus’ word: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).
By Simon J. Kistemaker, William Hendriksen and Edward D. Andrews