Can You Please Explain 1st Peter 4:18?

By David J. Stewart | May 2018

1st Peter 4:17-18, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the
end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

       We just read the often misunderstood phrase, “IF THE RIGHTEOUS SCARCELY BE SAVED.” This is a commonly misinterpreted passage of Scripture, which Calvinists attempt to use to bolster their heretical strawman argument of “falling from grace” (i.e., losing one's salvation). My I say confidently on the authority of God's Word, the believer who sins (and we all do daily) only falls “IN GRACE,” never “FROM GRACE,” which would be totally impossible. Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” What an awesome Savior!!!

The Satanic modern Bible versions, like the NIV, translate the word “scarcely” wrongly as “hard” to be saved. It is not HARD to be saved. For example: Here is the NIV and the ERV versions...

NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV) - 1st Peter 4:18, “And, 'If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'”

EASY-TO-READ VERSION (ERV) - 1st Peter 4:18, “If it is hard for even a good person to be saved, what will happen to the one who is against God and full of sin?”

It is NOT “HARD” to be saved, it is “IMPOSSIBLE.” That is exactly what Jesus said:

Mark 10:25-27, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Ah, but notice that WITH GOD, all things ARE POSSIBLE! Is there anything too hard for the Lord? As Jonah exclaimed in the belly of the whale in Jonah 2:9, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” I love that! After running away from God, now Jonah is thinking about soul-winning, and carefully notice that Jonah also gave “thanksgiving” unto the Lord! Wow! Jonah is in the belly of a whale and he's thanking God for the blessings in his life. THAT'S AMAZING!!! Jonah exclaims that SALVATION IS OF THE LORD!!! A man cannot save anyone, not even himself! John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” God can and will save you, if you will place your complete trust in His risen only begotten Son, receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins. It is that simple.

Notice carefully in 1st Peter 4:18 (our text verse) that the beloved and inspired King James Bible properly uses the word “scarcely,” not “hard” or “difficult” concerning salvation. It is neither hard, complicated or difficult to be saved. In fact, the Word of God plainly calls it “SIMPLE” to be saved. 2nd Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” It is so simple that all you have to do is BELIEVE. 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Did you read that last part of the verse, “TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE”! Why do foolish men make everything so hard and difficult, when God has made salvation so free, simple and easy to obtain? Perhaps you say, “Surely it cannot be that easy!” Yes, it is that easy my dear friend, just as the Word of God teaches!!!

Jesus said in John 10:9 that getting saved is as easy as entering through a door. John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Jesus said getting saved is as easy as drinking a cup of water. John 4:13-14, “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” These are not “hard” things to do! If there is one thing in this world that is easy to do, it is to get saved!!! John 11:25, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Isn't that simple? Even a small child can believe (trust) upon the Lord. Even you my fine non-feathered friend, can BELIEVE, if you so choose! Please don't reject the free gift of God, which is eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In fact, the ONLY thing that God requires you to do to be saved is to admit you are a guilty sinner and BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, Who died on the cross in your place, to pay for your sins; and if you'll place your trust (full confidence) in the risen Son of God, you'll be saved immediately, irrevocably and forever!!! The only “catch” is that you cannot trust in anything else besides Christ, for to do so means you are only partially trusting the Lord, which is no trust at all. Partial faith in Christ plus works equals damnation! We are saved by BELIEVING the Good News (Gospel) of Christ crucified for our sins, buried and bodily risen! (1st Corinthians 15:1-6).

Getting saved is NOT “hard”! That is why I strongly reject the New King James Bible (NKJV), which changes the word “narrow” instead to “hard” to be saved in Matthew 7:14. Again, it is not “hard” to be saved, but the Bible says that only a “few” people ever find the Gospel. The reason why is because Satan is the god of this world and he has “blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2nd Corinthians 4:4). Thus, very few people (scarcely) ever get saved. 

Satan blinds people with false religion, counterfeit Bible versions, money, fame, pleasures, evolution, philosophy, tradition, et cetera. Jesus plainly told the Pharisees that they had rejected the commandments of God in favor of their own manmade traditions (Mark 7:9). They were blinded by the law, and Christ became a stumbling-block unto them, instead of the foundation, as Jesus is for every Christian believer (1st Corinthians 3:11). Jesus is the very foundation of Christianity!!!

I did find some excellent exegesis on this Scripture passage (and I encourage you to use this website for other Scriptures as well)...

It is only by God's wondrous grace that any of us are saved. The chance of getting saved is not good in this world. Less than 4% of people over age 70 ever get saved. Over 80% of believers got saved before the age of 18, and the odds decrease rapidly after that age if they don't get saved. So if we are extremely blessed to be among the very few, who have entered in at the strait gate (which is Christ according to John 10:9), then what shall be the end of the wicked who know not God and die in their sins? It is horrifying to say the least (Hebrews 10:31).

It is a marvel that any of us are saved, not because it is hard to be saved; but rather, because the Gospel (Good News) is obscured and hindered in this world by so many deceptions, love for sin, lies and human pride. Judgment will begin with believers, that is, the Church, for we are all sinners, each and every one of us! Proverbs 20:9, “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” The answer is NO ONE!!! Thank God for the precious redeeming blood of Jesus Christ!!!!!!! Yet, what shall be the end of the ungodly, Christ-rejecters, who have heard the saving-Gospel of free grace, but for one reason or another chose some other false way instead?

So the meaning of 1st Peter 4:18, as regards the word “scarcely” is not that it is difficult to be saved; but rather, it is very unlikely. I hope and pray that you will be one of the blessed few, whose sins have been washed away by the precious blood of the Lamb. Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”


“It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” —Horace Greeley (1811-1872)

“The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.” —Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

“That book [King James Bible], sir, is the rock on which on republic rests.” —U.S. President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)

“The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and oppressed. The human race is not in a position to dispense with it.” —Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)

“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of
society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible every year.” —U.S. President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. ” —U.S. President George Washington (1732-1799)

Souls Are Dying!

Precious Christian Testimonies

How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)

“The mark of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!