Q: What does Peter mean by “trial”, and what is the nature of it?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:3-7‬

I am super confused about “trials”… “testing” by God seems more easy for me to understand. What does a “trial” look like? Who can be involved? Did Job go through trials? Etc. (Main question is bolded up top^)

1 Answer 1


The pertinent word in 1 Peter 1:6 is πειρασμός (peirasmos) for which BDAG has the following entry of two meanings:

  1. an attempt to learn the nature of character of something, test, trial, eg, 1 Peter 4:12, 1:6, James 1:2, Heb 3:8
  2. an attempt to make one do something wrong, temptation, enticement to sin, eg, Luke 4:13, Matt 6:13, Luke 11:4, etc.

Obviously, the first meaning is what we need in 1 Peter 1:6. That is, the "trials" that peter alludes to do what Peter is saying they are used for - to test and prove the character of the individual through the fire-refining process

1 Peter 1:7 - so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Barnes offers this comment:

Through many kinds of trials, ... The meaning here is, that they now endured many things which were suited to try or test their faith. These might have consisted of poverty, persecution, sickness, or the efforts of others to lead them to renounce their religion, and to go back to their former state of unbelief. Anyone or all of these would try them, and would show whether their religion was genuine. On the various ways which God has of trying his people, compare the notes at Isaiah 28:23-29.

Note a parallel piece of advice from James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

If Christians never endured trials and hardships, no character would be developed.

  • That certainly clears things up, +1.
    – Cork88
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 14:53

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