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1 Peter 4:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it for serving one another, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.

This verse is urging believers to use their gifts, which could refer to their talents, abilities, or resources, to serve others. The emphasis is on using these gifts faithfully, or responsibly and diligently, as stewards, or caretakers, of God’s grace. This grace, which is a gift from God, can take many forms, including physical blessings, spiritual gifts, or opportunities for service.

The overall message of this verse is that believers should use their gifts to serve others in a way that reflects their gratitude for the grace they have received from God.

Within the fellowship of the church, earnest love for one another (v. 8) will find expression in the use of spiritual gifts, not for self-advancement or to draw attention to ourselves, but for the benefit of others: As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Each implies that every person in the fellowship of believers—in every church to which Peter was writing—had received a ‘spiritual gift’ (charisma) for use in the life of the church (Paul teaches this explicitly: 1 Cor. 12:7–11). The word as might mean ‘to the extent to which’, ‘to the degree that’ (BAGD, p. 391, 2), but the idea of ‘receiving’ a gift does not fit well with the idea of different degrees (either one has received a gift or one has not). It is better to take it to mean ‘in the same way in which’ each person has received a gift (i.e. freely, out of grace, not merit), ‘employ it for one another’. This sense certainly fits the context of love for one another (v. 8) and stewardship of God’s gracious gifts.

The expression a gift is indefinite and implies ‘at least one gift’, but it should not be taken to mean that each person receives one and only one gift (cf. 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1, 13, 39). A spiritual gift (charisma, the same word used in 1 Cor. 12–14 for ‘spiritual gifts’) is any talent or ability which is empowered by the Holy Spirit and able to be used in the ministry of the church. There are five different lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:7–11; 12:28–30; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:10). Since the lists are all different (no one gift is on every list, and no list includes all the gifts), and since 1 Corinthians 7:7 indicates two gifts not on any list (marriage and celibacy, which Paul calls charismata), it is legitimate to conclude that they are not exhaustive. In fact, since there are various types within any one gift (people with the gift of evangelism may differ in the kinds of evangelism they do best; similarly with teaching, helping, etc.), one could say there is an almost limitless variety of different spiritual gifts, all manifestations of the richly varied and abundant grace of God.

Varied (poikilos) means ‘many faceted, having many different aspects or differing kinds’ (note its use in Matt. 4:24, ‘various diseases’; 1 Pet. 1:6, ‘various trials’). As God’s grace is richly varied, so are the gifts flowing from his grace. Yet if all these various gifts are to be used ‘for one another’, then churches should be willing to welcome a great variety of ministries and ways of using gifts.

Good stewards of God’s gift will not hide it, but employ it for the benefit of others (cf. the parable of the talents, Matt. 25:14–30; similarly, Luke 19:11–27). God’s rule for our gifts is that we use them, with the confidence that resources expended in faithful stewardship will be replenished by a faithful Master.[1]

By Wayne A. Grudem and Edward D. Andrews

[1] Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 182–183.

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