1 Peter 4:5 ESV "but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead".

"apodo" occurs some 47 times in the N.T. and having gone through these the meaning always appears to me to involve an exchange. It is the second part of the exchange that is the apodo. All ESV:

e.g. Mat 20:8 apodo is "pay" the context is pay back what is owed.

1 Peter 3:9 apodo is "repay" evil for evil.

But in 1 Peter 4:5 the context is less clearly an exchange. So if apodo here is not translated "give back" then the "give back" is not perhaps overtly stated.

Translating apodo as in 1 Peter 4:5 as "gve back" may raise qestions e.g. What was first given? or; What is an account, is it a story or a debt?

This question seeks to focus on one thing- Is the sense of apodo here "give" or "give back"?

[If apodo is "give back" then possibly there is a sense in which we have to "come clean" about what we were first given].

1 Answer 1


To "give back" appears to be the correct rendering of "apodo" in 1 Pet 4v5.
However, I suggest, the meaning of "give back" is not necessarily immediately obvious. Here are two sorts of give back:

  1. God gives a person a life [Romans 11v36 all things are from Him] and people will have to tell the story/admit/give an account of what God gave them in the first place.
    2.Because of the previous two verses the people who give an account to God owe Him something. Whether they are ultimately responsible, or not, due to their instrumental responsibility the punishment for their disobedience is death.
    In Mat 12v36, 18v23, Luke 16v2 and Romans 14v12 "logon" is a statement of transactions leading to an outstanding balance that has to be paid and not just "telling the story of".
    Giving back in the second sense will never finish unless what is owed is paid for by Christ's perfect sacrifice. Unless death is defeated it carries on being death.

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