The specific sins in 1 Peter 2:1 are the most frequent barriers to mutual support, so they deserve a closer look.
Malice: The Greek word kakia is a general word for “evil.”1 In this passage, it characterizes those who are entrenched in the world system.
Deceit: The Greek word dolos means “cunning” or “treachery.”2 It involves more than just lying to a person’s face but means acting in ways that are disingenuous or two-faced.
Hypocrisy: The Greek word hupokrisis refers to one who acts a part, “being one thing inside and another thing outside.”3
Envy: Commenting on Peter’s use of this word, Edward Selwyn describes envy as “a constant plague of all voluntary organizations, not least religious organizations, and to which even the Twelve themselves were subject at the very crisis of our Lord’s ministry.”4
Slander: Literally the word means “evil speech”5 and is especially prevalent when a rumor is passed around. This disparaging gossip destroys our confidence in an individual and weakens that person’s reputation.
1. Walter Bauer and others, eds., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 2d rev. ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), 397.
2. Bauer and others, eds., A Greek-English Lexicon, 203.
3. Stuart Briscoe, 1 Peter: Holy Living in a Hostile World, rev. ed., Understanding the Book Series (Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw, 1993), 73.
4. Edward Gordon Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter, 2d ed. (New York: St. Martin’s, 1961), 153.
5. Bauer and others, eds., A Greek-English Lexicon, 412.
Taken from Mike Svigel, “Sins that Stifle Love and Unity,” in Hope Again: When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade Workbook (Plano, Tex.: IFL Publishing House, 2005), 44–45. Copyright © 1990, 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.