First in a series of studies of 1 Peter 2:1-5
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking” (1 Peter 2:1).
Having just described for these Jewish converts what they have done in coming to Christ, Peter here begins an explanation of some particulars about which they are to be careful as they continue on this new spiritual journey. They have “purified their souls” in obeying the gospel; so, their behavior must give evidence of change in their lives.
They are to “lay aside” all “malice” from their lives, meaning eliminate it completely. Malice is wickedness and evil that is intended to injure another person. As well, they are to remove “all deceit,” thus removing sly and underhanded dealings with others.
These new Christians are never to be guilty of the evil practice of “hypocrisy”; that is, they cannot pretend to live a certain lifestyle when they do not nor can they pretend to have certain beliefs when, in reality, they neither believe nor practice them.
“Envy” causes people to be displeased when hearing about the good fortune of others and wishing it had happened to them instead. “Evil speaking” includes making slanderous statements about others, looking down on others, and backbiting in order to cause bad feelings toward others.
This great apostle teaches that, as one begins the Christian journey, he or she must root out these evils and replace them with the good qualities he is about to describe.