THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER Commentary by A. R. Faussett
Its genuineness is attested by 2Pe 3:1. On the authority of Second Peter, see the Introduction. Also by Polycarp (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 4.14]), who, in writing to the Philippians, quotes many passages: in the second chapter he quotes 1Pe 1:13, 21; 3:9; in the fifth chapter, 1Pe 2:11. Eusebius says of Papias [Ecclesiastical History, 3.39] that he, too, quotes Peter’s First Epistle. Irenæus [Against Heresies, 4.9.2] expressly mentions it; and in [4.16.5], 1Pe 2:16. Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 1.3, p. 544], quotes 1Pe 2:11, 12, 15, 16; and [p. 562], 1Pe 1:21, 22; and [4, p. 584], 1Pe 3:14-17; and [p. 585], 1Pe 4:12-14. Origen (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.25]) mentions this Epistle; in [Homily 7, on Joshua, vol. 2, p. 63], he mentions both Epistles; and [Commentary on Psalm 3 and on John], he mentions 1Pe 3:18-21. Tertullian [Antidote to the Scorpion’s Sting, 12], quotes expressly 1Pe 2:20, 21; and [Antidote to the Scorpion’s Sting, 14], 1Pe 2:13, 17. Eusebius states it as the opinion of those before him that this was among the universally acknowledged Epistles. The Peschito Syriac Version contains it. The fragment of the canon called Muratori’s omits it. Excepting this, and the Paulician heretics, who rejected it, all ancient testimony is on its side. The internal evidence is equally strong. The author calls himself the apostle Peter, 1Pe 1:1, and “a witness of Christ’s sufferings,” and an “elder,” 1Pe 5:1. The energy of the style harmonizes with the warmth of Peter’s character; and, as Erasmus says, this Epistle is full of apostolic dignity and authority and is worthy of the leader among the apostles.
Peter’s personal history.–Simon, Or Simeon, was a native of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, son of Jonas or John. With his father and his brother Andrew he carried on trade as a fisherman at Capernaum, his subsequent place of abode. He was a married man, and tradition represents his wife’s name as Concordia or Perpetua. Clement of Alexandria says that she suffered martyrdom, her husband encouraging her to be faithful unto death, “Remember, dear, our Lord.” His wife’s mother was restored from a fever by Christ. He was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist, but was pointed to the Saviour as “the Lamb of God” by his master (Joh 1:29). Jesus, on first beholding him, gave him the name by which chiefly he is known, indicative of his subsequent character and work in the Church, “Peter” (Greek) or “Cephas” (Aramaic), a stone (Mt 4:18). He did not join our Lord finally until a subsequent period. The leading incidents in his apostolic life are well known: his walking on the troubled waters to meet Jesus, but sinking through doubting (Mt 14:30); his bold and clear acknowledgment of the divine person and office of Jesus (Mt 16:16; Mr 8:29; Joh 11:27), notwithstanding the difficulties in the way of such belief, whence he was then also designated as the stone, or rock (Mt 16:18); but his rebuke of his Lord when announcing what was so unpalatable to carnal prejudices, Christ’s coming passion and death (Mt 16:22); his passing from one extreme to the opposite, in reference to Christ’s offer to wash his feet (Joh 13:8, 9); his self-confident assertion that he would never forsake his Lord, whatever others might do (Mt 26:33), followed by his base denial of Christ thrice with curses (Mt 26:75); his deep penitence; Christ’s full forgiveness and prophecy of his faithfulness unto death, after he had received from him a profession of “love” as often repeated as his previous denial (Joh 21:15-17). These incidents illustrate his character as zealous, pious, and ardently attached to the Lord, but at the same time impulsive in feeling, rather than calmly and continuously steadfast. Prompt in action and ready to avow his convictions boldly, he was hasty in judgment, precipitate, and too self-confident in the assertion of his own steadfastness; the result was that, though he abounded in animal courage, his moral courage was too easily overcome by fear of man’s opinion. A wonderful change was wrought in him by his restoration after his fall, through the grace of his risen Lord. His zeal and ardor became sanctified, being chastened by a spirit of unaffected humility. His love to the Lord was, if possible, increased, while his mode of manifesting it now was in doing and suffering for His name, rather than in loud protestations. Thus, when imprisoned and tried before the Sanhedrim for preaching Christ, he boldly avowed his determination to continue to do so. He is well called “the mouth of the apostles.” His faithfulness led to his apprehension by Herod Agrippa, with a view to his execution, from which, however, he was delivered by the angel of the Lord.
After the ascension he took the lead in the Church; and on the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he exercised the designed power of “the keys” of Christ’s kingdom, by opening the door of the Church, in preaching, for the admission of thousands of Israelites; and still more so in opening (in obedience to a special revelation) an entrance to the “devout” (that is, Jewish proselyte from heathendom) Gentile, Cornelius: the forerunner of the harvest gathered in from idolatrous Gentiles at Antioch. This explains in what sense Christ used as to him the words, “Upon this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18), namely, on the preaching of Christ, the true “Rock,” by connection with whom only he was given the designation: a title shared in common on the same grounds by the rest of the apostles, as the first founders of the Church on Christ, “the chief corner-stone” (Eph 2:20). A name is often given in Hebrew, not that the person is actually the thing itself, but has some special relation to it; as Elijah means Mighty Jehovah, so Simon is called Peter “the rock,” not that he is so, save by connection with Jesus, the only true Rock (Isa 28:16; 1Co 3:11). As subsequently he identified himself with “Satan,” and is therefore called so (Mt 16:23), in the same way, by his clear confession of Christ, the Rock, he became identified with Him, and is accordingly so called (Mt 16:18). It is certain that there is no instance on record of Peter’s having ever claimed or exercised supremacy; on the contrary, he is represented as sent by the apostles at Jerusalem to confirm the Samaritans baptized by Philip the deacon; again at the council of Jerusalem, not he, but James the president, or leading bishop in the Church of that city, pronounced the authoritative decision: Ac 15:19, “My sentence is,” &c. A kind of primacy, doubtless (though certainly not supremacy), was given him on the ground of his age, and prominent earnestness, and boldness in taking the lead on many important occasions. Hence he is called “first” in enumerating the apostles. Hence, too, arise the phrases, “Peter and the Eleven,” “Peter and the rest of the apostles”; and Paul, in going up to Jerusalem after his conversion, went to see Peter in particular.
Once only he again betrayed the same spirit of vacillation through fear of man’s reproach which had caused his denial of his Lord. Though at the Jerusalem council he advocated the exemption of Gentile converts from the ceremonial observances of the law, yet he, after having associated in closest intercourse with the Gentiles at Antioch, withdrew from them, through dread of the prejudices of his Jewish brethren who came from James, and timidly dissembled his conviction of the religious equality of Jew and Gentile; for this Paul openly withstood and rebuked him: a plain refutation of his alleged supremacy and infallibility (except where specially inspired, as in writing his Epistles). In all other cases he showed himself to be, indeed, as Paul calls him, “a pillar” (Ga 2:9). Subsequently we find him in “Babylon,” whence he wrote this First Epistle to the Israelite believers of the dispersion, and the Gentile Christians united in Christ, in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
Jerome [On Illustrious Men, 1] states that “Peter, after having been bishop of Antioch, and after having preached to the believers of the circumcision in Pontus, &c. [plainly inferred from 1Pe 1:1], in the second year of Claudius went to Rome to refute Simon Magus, and for twenty-five years there held the episcopal chair, down to the last year of Nero, that is, the fourteenth, by whom he was crucified with his head downwards, declaring himself unworthy to be crucified as his Lord, and was buried in the Vatican, near the triumphal way.” Eusebius [Chronicles, Anno 3], also asserts his episcopate at Antioch; his assertion that Peter founded that Church contradicts Ac 11:19-22. His journey to Rome to oppose Simon Magus arose from Justin’s story of the statue found at Rome (really the statue of the Sabine god, Semo Sanctus, or Hercules, mistaken as if Simon Magus were worshipped by that name, “Simoni Deo Sancto”; found in the Tiber in 1574, or on an island in the Tiber in 1662), combined with the account in Ac 8:9-24. The twenty-five years’ bishopric is chronologically impossible, as it would make Peter, at the interview with Paul at Antioch, to have been then for some years bishop of Rome! His crucifixion is certain from Christ’s prophecy, Joh 21:18, 19. Dionysius of Corinth (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25]) asserted in an epistle to the Romans, that Paul and Peter planted both the Roman and Corinthian churches, and endured martyrdom in Italy at the same time. So Tertullian [Against Marcion, 4.5, and The Prescription Against Heretics, 36, 38]. Also Caius, the presbyter of Rome, in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25] asserts that some memorials of their martyrdom were to be seen at Rome on the road to Ostia. So Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 2.25, and Demonstration of the Gospel, 3.116]. So Lactantius [Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, 2]. Many of the details are palpably false; whether the whole be so or not is dubious, considering the tendency to concentrate at Rome events of interest [Alford]. What is certain is, that Peter was not there before the writing of the Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58), otherwise he would have been mentioned in it; nor during Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome, otherwise he would have been mentioned in some one of Paul’s many other Epistles written from Rome; nor during Paul’s second imprisonment, at least when he was writing the Second Epistle to Timothy, just before his martyrdom. He may have gone to Rome after Paul’s death, and, as common tradition represents, been imprisoned in the Mamertine dungeon, and crucified on the Janiculum, on the eminence of St. Pietro in Montorio, and his remains deposited under the great altar in the center of the famous basilica of St. Peter. Ambrose [Epistles, 33 (Edition Paris, 1586), p. 1022] relates that St. Peter, not long before his death, being overcome by the solicitations of his fellow Christians to save himself, was fleeing from Rome when he was met by our Lord, and on asking, “Lord, whither goest Thou?” received the answer, “I go to be crucified afresh.” On this he returned and joyfully went to martyrdom. The church called “Domine quo vadis” on the Appian Way, commemorates the legend. It is not unlikely that the whole tradition is built on the connection which existed between Paul and Peter. As Paul, “the apostle of the uncircumcision,” wrote Epistles to Galatia, Ephesus, and Colosse, and to Philemon at Colosse, making the Gentile Christians the persons prominently addressed, and the Jewish Christians subordinately so; so, vice versa, Peter, “the apostle of the circumcision,” addressed the same churches, the Jewish Christians in them primarily, and the Gentile Christians also, secondarily.
To whom he addresses this epistle.–The heading, 1Pe 1:1, “to the elect strangers (spiritually pilgrims) of the dispersion” (Greek), clearly marks the Christians of the Jewish dispersion as prominently addressed, but still including also Gentile Christians as grafted into the Christian Jewish stock by adoption and faith, and so being part of the true Israel. 1Pe 1:14; 2:9, 10; 3:6; 4:3 clearly prove this. Thus he, the apostle of the circumcision, sought to unite in one Christ Jew and Gentile, promoting thereby the same work and doctrine as Paul the apostle of the uncircumcision. The provinces are named by Peter in the heading in the order proceeding from northeast to south and west. Pontus was the country of the Christian Jew Aquila. To Galatia Paul paid two visits, founding and confirming churches. Crescens, his companion, went there about the time of Paul’s last imprisonment, just before his martyrdom. Ancyra was subsequently its ecclesiastical metropolis. Men of Cappadocia, as well as of “Pontus” and “Asia,” were among the hearers of Peter’s effective sermon on the Pentecost whereon the Spirit decended on the Church; these probably brought home to their native land the first tidings of the Gospel. Proconsular “Asia” included Mysia, Lydia, Caria, Phrygia, Pisidia, and Lyaconia. In Lycaonia were the churches of Iconium, founded by Paul and Barnabas; of Lystra, Timothy’s birthplace, where Paul was stoned at the instigation of the Jews; and of Derbe, the birthplace of Gaius, or Caius. In Pisidia was Antioch, where Paul was the instrument of converting many, but was driven out by the Jews. In Caria was Miletus, containing doubtless a Christian Church. In Phrygia, Paul preached both times when visiting Galatia in its neighborhood, and in it were the churches of Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colosse, of which last Church Philemon and Onesimus were members, and Archippus and Epaphras leaders. In Lydia was the Philadelphian Church, favorably noticed in Re 3:7, &c.; that of Sardis, the capital, and of Thyatira, and of Ephesus, founded by Paul, and a scene of the labors of Aquila and Priscilla and Apollos, and subsequently of more than two whole years’ labor of Paul again, and subsequently censured for falling from its first love in Re 2:4. Smyrna of Ionia was in the same quarter, and as one of the seven churches receives unqualified praise. In Mysia was Pergamos. Troas, too, is known as the scene of Paul’s preaching and raising Eutychus to life (Ac 20:6-10), and of his subsequently staying for a time with Carpus (2Ti 4:13). Of “Bithynia,” no Church is expressly named in Scripture elsewhere. When Paul at an earlier period “assayed to go into Bithynia” (Ac 16:7), the Spirit suffered him not. But afterwards, we infer from 1Pe 1:1, the Spirit did impart the Gospel to that country, possibly by Peter’s ministry, In government, these several churches, it appears from this Epistle (1Pe 5:1, 2, “Feed,” &c.), were much in the same states as when Paul addressed the Ephesian “elders” at Miletus (Ac 20:17, 28, “feed”) in very similar language; elders or presbyter-bishops ruled, while the apostles exercised the general superintendence. They were exposed to persecutions, though apparently not systematic, but rather annoyances and reproach arising from their not joining their heathen neighbors in riotous living, into which, however, some of them were in danger of falling. The evils which existed among themselves, and which are therefore reproved, were ambition and lucre-seeking on the part of the presbyters (1Pe 5:2, 3), evil thoughts and words among the members in general, and a want of sympathy and generosity towards one another.
His object seems to be, by the prospect of their heavenly portion and by Christ’s example, to afford consolation to the persecuted, and prepare them for a greater approaching ordeal, and to exhort all, husbands, wives, servants, presbyters, and people, to a due discharge of relative duties, so as to give no handle to the enemy to reproach Christianity, but rather to win them to it, and so to establish them in “the true grace of God wherein they stand” (1Pe 5:12). However, see on 1Pe 5:12, on the oldest reading. Alford rightly argues that “exhorting and testifying” there, refer to Peter’s exhortations throughout the Epistle grounded on testimony which he bears to the Gospel truth, already well known to his readers by the teaching of Paul in those churches. They were already introduced “into” (so the Greek, 1Pe 5:12) this grace of God as their safe standing-ground. Compare 1Co 15:1, “I declare unto you the Gospel wherein ye stand.” Therefore he does not, in this Epistle, set forth a complete statement of this Gospel doctrine of grace, but falls back on it as already known. Compare 1Pe 1:8, 18, “ye know”; 1Pe 3:15; 2Pe 3:1. Not that Peter servilely copies the style and mode of teaching of Paul, but as an independent witness in his own style attests the same truths. We may divide the Epistle into: (I) The inscription (1Pe 1:1, 2). (II) The stirring-up of a pure feeling in believers as born again of God. By the motive of hope to which God has regenerated us (1Pe 1:3-12); bringing forth the fruit of faith, considering the costly price paid for our redemption from sin (1Pe 1:14-21). Being purified by the Spirit unto love of the brethren as begotten of God’s eternal word, as spiritual priest-kings, to whom alone Christ is precious (1Pe 1:22; 2:10); after Christ’s example in suffering, maintaining a good conversation in every relation (1Pe 2:10; 3:14), and a good profession of faith as having in view Christ’s once-offered sacrifice, and His future coming to judgment (1Pe 3:15; 4:11); and exhibiting patience in adversity, as looking for future glorification with Christ, (1) in general as Christians, 1Pe 4:12-19; (2) each in his own sphere, 1Pe 5:1-11. “The title “Beloved” marks the separation of the second part from the first, 1Pe 2:11; and of the third part from the second, 1Pe 4:12″ [Bengel]. (III). The conclusion.
Time and place of writing.–It was plainly before the open and systematic persecution of the later years of Nero had begun. That this Epistle was written after Paul’s Epistles, even those written during his imprisonment at Rome, ending in A.D. 63, appears from the acquaintance which Peter in this Epistle shows he has with them. Compare 1Pe 2:13 with 1Ti 2:2-4; 1Pe 2:18 with Eph 6:5; 1Pe 1:2 with Eph 1:4-7; 1Pe 1:3 with Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:14 with Ro 12:2; 1Pe 2:6-10 with Ro 9:32, 33; 1Pe 2:13 with Ro 13:1-4; 1Pe 2:16 with Ga 5:13; 1Pe 2:18 with Eph 6:5; 1Pe 3:1 with Eph 5:22; 1Pe 3:9 with Ro 12:17; 1Pe 4:9 with Php 2:14; Ro 12:13 and Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:10 with Ro 12:6-8; 1Pe 5:1 with Ro 8:18; 1Pe 5:5 with Eph 5:21; Php 2:3, 5-8; 1Pe 5:8 with 1Th 5:6; 1Pe 5:14 with 1Co 16:20. Moreover, in 1Pe 5:13, Mark is mentioned as with Peter in Babylon. This must have been after Col 4:10 (A.D. 61-63), when Mark was with Paul at Rome, but intending to go to Asia Minor. Again, in 2Ti 4:11 (A.D. 67 or 68), Mark was in or near Ephesus, in Asia Minor, and Timothy is told to bring him to Rome. So that it is likely it was after this, namely, after Paul’s martyrdom, that Mark joined Peter, and consequently that this Epistle was written. It is not likely that Peter would have entrenched on Paul’s field of labor, the churches of Asia Minor, during Paul’s lifetime. The death of the apostle of the uncircumcision, and the consequent need of someone to follow up his teachings, probably gave occasion to the testimony given by Peter to the same churches, collectively addressed, in behalf of the same truth. The relation in which the Pauline Gentile churches stood towards the apostles at Jerusalem favors this view. Even the Gentile Christians would naturally look to the spiritual fathers of the Church at Jerusalem, the center whence the Gospel had emanated to them, for counsel wherewith to meet the pretensions of Judaizing Christians and heretics; and Peter, always prominent among the apostles in Jerusalem, would even when elsewhere feel a deep interest in them, especially when they were by death bereft of Paul’s guidance. Birks [Horæ Evangelicæ] suggests that false teachers may have appealed from Paul’s doctrine to that of James and Peter. Peter then would naturally write to confirm the doctrines of grace and tacitly show there was no difference between his teaching and Paul’s. Birks prefers dating the Epistle A.D. 58, after Paul’s second visit to Galatia, when Silvanus was with him, and so could not have been with Peter (A.D. 54), and before his imprisonment at Rome, when Mark was with him, and so could not have been with Peter (A.D. 62); perhaps when Paul was detained at Cæsarea, and so debarred from personal intercourse with those churches. I prefer the view previously stated. This sets aside the tradition that Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom together at Rome. Origen’s and Eusebius’ statement that Peter visited the churches of Asia in person seems very probable.
The PLACE OF WRITING was doubtless Babylon on the Euphrates (1Pe 5:13). It is most improbable that in the midst of writing matter-of-fact communications and salutations in a remarkably plain Epistle, the symbolical language of prophecy (namely, “Babylon” for Rome) should be used. Josephus [Antiquities, 15.2.2; 3.1] states that there was a great multitude of Jews in the Chaldean Babylon; it is therefore likely that “the apostle of the circumcision” (Ga 2:7, 8) would at some time or other visit them. Some have maintained that the Babylon meant was in Egypt because Mark preached in and around Alexandria after Peter’s death, and therefore it is likely he did so along with that apostle in the same region previously. But no mention elsewhere in Scripture is made of this Egyptian Babylon, but only of the Chaldean one. And though towards the close of Caligula’s reign a persecution drove the Jews thence to Seleucia, and a plague five years after still further thinned their numbers, yet this does not preclude their return and multiplication during the twenty years that elapsed between the plague and the writing of the Epistle. Moreover, the order in which the countries are enumerated, from northeast to south and west, is such as would be adopted by one writing from the Oriental Babylon on the Euphrates, not from Egypt or Rome. Indeed, Cosmas Indicopleustes, in the sixth century, understood the Babylon meant to be outside the Roman empire. Silvanus, Paul’s companion, became subsequently Peter’s, and was the carrier of this Epistle.
Style.–Fervor and practical truth, rather than logical reasoning, are the characteristics, of this Epistle, as they were of its energetic, warm-hearted writer. His familiarity with Paul’s Epistles shown in the language accords with what we should expect from the fact of Paul’s having “communicated the Gospel which he preached among the Gentiles” (as revealed specially to him) to Peter among others “of reputation” (Ga 2:2). Individualities occur, such as baptism, “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1Pe 3:21); “consciousness of God” (Greek), 1Pe 2:19, as a motive for enduring sufferings; “living hope” (1Pe 1:3); “an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1Pe 1:4); “kiss of charity” (1Pe 5:14). Christ is viewed less in relation to His past sufferings than as at present exalted and hereafter to be manifested in all His majesty. Glory and hope are prominent features in this Epistle (1Pe 1:8), so much so that Weiss entitles him “the apostle of hope.” The realization of future bliss as near causes him to regard believers as but “strangers” and “sojourners” here. Chastened fervor, deep humility, and ardent love appear, just as we should expect from one who had been so graciously restored after his grievous fall. “Being converted,” he truly does “strengthen his brethren.” His fervor shows itself in often repeating the same thought in similar words.
In some passages he shows familiarity with the Epistle of James, the apostle of special weight with the Jewish legalizing party, whose inspiration he thus confirms (compare 1Pe 1:6, 7 with Jas 1:2, 3; 1Pe 1:24 with Jas 1:10; 1Pe 2:1 with Jas 1:21; 1Pe 4:8 with Jas 5:20, both quoting Pr 10:12; 5:5 with Jas 4:6, both quoting Pr 3:34). In most of these cases Old Testament quotations are the common ground of both. “Strong susceptibility to outward impressions, liveliness of feeling, dexterity in handling subjects, dispose natures like that of Peter to repeat afresh the thoughts of others” [Steiger].
The diction of this Epistle and of his speeches in Acts is very similar: an undesigned coincidence, and so a mark of genuineness (compare 1Pe 2:7 with Ac 4:11; 1Pe 1:12 with Ac 5:32; 1Pe 2:24 with Ac 5:30; 10:39; 1Pe 5:1 with Ac 2:32; 3:15; 1Pe 1:10 with Ac 3:18; 10:43; 1Pe 1:21 with Ac 3:15; 10:40; 1Pe 4:5 with Ac 10:42; 1Pe 2:24 with Ac 3:19, 26).
There is, too, a recurrence to the language of the Lord at the last interview after His resurrection, recorded in Joh 21:15-23. Compare “the Shepherd … of … souls,” 1Pe 2:25; “Feed the flock of God,” “the chief Shepherd,” 1Pe 5:2, 4, with Joh 21:15-17; “Feed My lambs … sheep”; also “Whom … ye love,” 1Pe 1:8; 2:7, with Joh 21:15-17; “lovest thou Me?” and 2Pe 1:14, with Joh 21:18, 19. Wiesinger well says, “He who in loving impatience cast himself into the sea to meet the Lord, is also the man who most earnestly testifies to the hope of His return; he who dated his own faith from the sufferings of his Master, is never weary in holding up the suffering form of the Lord before his readers to comfort and stimulate them; he before whom the death of a martyr is in assured expectation, is the man who, in the greatest variety of aspects, sets forth the duty, as well as the consolation, of suffering for Christ; as a rock of the Church he grounds his readers against the storm of present tribulation on the true Rock of ages.”
1Pe 1:1-25. Address to the Elected of the Godhead: Thanksgiving for the Living Hope to Which We Are Begotten, Producing Joy Amidst Sufferings: This Salvation an Object of Deepest Interest to Prophets and to Angels: Its Costly Price a Motive to Holiness and Love, as We Are Born Again of the Ever-abiding Word of God.
1. Peter–Greek form of Cephas, man of rock.
an apostle of Jesus Christ–“He who preaches otherwise than as a messenger of Christ, is not to be heard; if he preach as such, then it is all one as if thou didst hear Christ speaking in thy presence” [Luther].
to the strangers scattered–literally, “sojourners of the dispersion”; only in Joh 7:35 and Jas 1:1, in New Testament, and the Septuagint, Ps 147:2, “the outcasts of Israel”; the designation peculiarly given to the Jews in their dispersed state throughout the world ever since the Babylonian captivity. These he, as the apostle of the circumcision, primarily addresses, but not in the limited temporal sense only; he regards their temporal condition as a shadow of their spiritual calling to be strangers and pilgrims on earth, looking for the heavenly Jerusalem as their home. So the Gentile Christians, as the spiritual Israel, are included secondarily, as having the same high calling. He (1Pe 1:14; 2:10; 4:3) plainly refers to Christian Gentiles (compare 1Pe 1:17; 1Pe 2:11). Christians, if they rightly consider their calling, must never settle themselves here, but feel themselves travellers. As the Jews in their dispersion diffused through the nations the knowledge of the one God, preparatory to Christ’s first advent, so Christians, by their dispersion among the unconverted, diffuse the knowledge of Christ, preparatory to His second advent. “The children of God scattered abroad” constitute one whole in Christ, who “gathers them together in one,” now partially and in Spirit, hereafter perfectly and visibly. “Elect,” in the Greek order, comes before “strangers”; elect, in relation to heaven, strangers, in relation to the earth. The election here is that of individuals to eternal life by the sovereign grace of God, as the sequel shows. “While each is certified of his own election by the Spirit, he receives no assurance concerning others, nor are we to be too inquisitive [Joh 21:21, 22]; Peter numbers them among the elect, as they carried the appearance of having been regenerated” [Calvin]. He calls the whole Church by the designation strictly belonging only to the better portion of them [Calvin]. The election to hearing, and that to eternal life, are distinct. Realization of our election is a strong motive to holiness. The minister invites all, yet he does not hide the truth that in none but the elect will the preaching effect eternal blessing. As the chief fruit of exhortations, and even of threatenings, redounds to “the elect”; therefore, at the outset, Peter addresses them. Steiger translates, to “the elect pilgrims who form the dispersion in Pontus.”, &c. The order of the provinces is that in which they would be viewed by one writing from the east from Babylon (1Pe 5:13); from northeast southwards to Galatia, southeast to Cappadocia, then Asia, and back to Bithynia, west of Pontus. Contrast the order, Ac 2:9. He now was ministering to those same peoples as he preached to on Pentecost: “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia and Judea,” that is, the Jews now subject to the Parthians, whose capital was Babylon, where he labored in person; “dwellers in Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Bithynia,” the Asiatic dispersion derived from Babylon, whom he ministers to by letter.
2. foreknowledge–foreordaining love (1Pe 1:20), inseparable from God’s foreknowledge, the origin from which, and pattern according to which, election takes place. Ac 2:23, and Ro 11:2, prove “foreknowledge” to be foreordination. God’s foreknowledge is not the perception of any ground of action out of Himself; still in it liberty is comprehended, and all absolute constraint debarred [Anselm in Steiger]. For so the Son of God was “foreknown” (so the Greek for “foreordained,” 1Pe 1:20) to be the sacrificial Lamb, not against, or without His will, but His will rested in the will of the Father; this includes self-conscious action; nay, even cheerful acquiescense. The Hebrew and Greek “know” include approval and acknowledging as one’s own. The Hebrew marks the oneness of loving and choosing, by having one word for both, bachar (Greek, “hairetizo,” Septuagint). Peter descends from the eternal “election” of God through the new birth, to the believer’s “sanctification,” that from this he might again raise them through the consideration of their new birth to a “living hope” of the heavenly “inheritance” [Heidegger]. The divine three are introduced in their respective functions in redemption.
through–Greek, “in”; the element in which we are elected. The “election” of God realized and manifested itself “IN” their sanctification. Believers are “sanctified through the offering of Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10). “Thou must believe and know that thou art holy; not, however, through thine own piety, but through the blood of Christ” [Luther]. This is the true sanctification of the Spirit, to obey the Gospel, to trust in Christ [Bullinger].
sanctification–the Spirit’s setting apart of the saint as consecrated to God. The execution of God’s choice (Ga 1:4). God the Father gives us salvation by gratuitous election; the Son earns it by His blood-shedding; the Holy Spirit applies the merit of the Son to the soul by the Gospel word [Calvin]. Compare Nu 6:24-26, the Old Testament triple blessing.
unto obedience–the result or end aimed at by God as respects us, the obedience which consists in faith, and that which flows from faith; “obeying the truth through the Spirit” (1Pe 1:22). Ro 1:5, “obedience to the faith,” and obedience the fruit of faith.
sprinkling, &c.–not in justification through the atonement once for all, which is expressed in the previous clauses, but (as the order proves) the daily being sprinkled by Christ’s blood, and so cleansed from all sin, which is the privilege of one already justified and “walking in the light.”
Grace–the source of “peace.”
be multiplied–still further than already. Da 4:1, “Ye have now peace and grace, but still not in perfection; therefore, ye must go on increasing until the old Adam be dead” [Luther].
3. He begins, like Paul, in opening his Epistles with giving thanks to God for the greatness of the salvation; herein he looks forward (1) into the future (1Pe 1:3-9); (2) backward into the past (1Pe 1:10-12) [Alford].
Blessed–A distinct Greek word (eulogetos, “Blessed BE”) is used of God, from that used of man (eulogemenos, “Blessed IS”).
Father–This whole Epistle accords with the Lord’s prayer; “Father,” 1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, 23; 2:2; “Our,” 1Pe 1:4, end; “In heaven,” 1Pe 1:4; “Hallowed be Thy name,” 1Pe 1:15, 16; 3:15; “Thy kingdom come,” 1Pe 2:9; “Thy will be done,” 1Pe 2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19; “daily bread,” 1Pe 5:7; “forgiveness of sins,” 1Pe 4:8, 1; “temptation,” 1Pe 4:12; “deliverance,” 1Pe 4:18 [Bengel]; Compare 1Pe 3:7; 4:7, for allusions to prayer. “Barak,” Hebrew “bless,” is literally “kneel.” God, as the original source of blessing, must be blessed through all His works.
abundant–Greek, “much,” “full.” That God’s “mercy” should reach us, guilty and enemies, proves its fulness. “Mercy” met our misery; “grace,” our guilt.
begotten us again–of the Spirit by the word (1Pe 1:23); whereas we were children of wrath naturally, and dead in sins.
unto–so that we have.
lively–Greek, “living.” It has life in itself, gives life, and looks for life as its object [De Wette]. Living is a favorite expression of Peter (1Pe 1:23; 1Pe 2:4, 5). He delights in contemplating life overcoming death in the believer. Faith and love follow hope (1Pe 1:8, 21, 22). “(Unto) a lively hope” is further explained by “(To) an inheritance incorruptible … fadeth not away,” and “(unto) salvation … ready to be revealed in the last time.” I prefer with Bengel and Steiger to join as in Greek, “Unto a hope living (possessing life and vitality) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Faith, the subjective means of the spiritual resurrection of the soul, is wrought by the same power whereby Christ was raised from the dead. Baptism is an objective means (1Pe 3:21). Its moral fruit is a new life. The connection of our sonship with the resurrection appears also in Lu 20:36; Ac 13:33. Christ’s resurrection is the cause of ours, (1) as an efficient cause (1Co 15:22); (2) as an exemplary cause, all the saints being about to rise after the similitude of His resurrection. Our “hope” is, Christ rising from the dead hath ordained the power, and is become the pattern of the believer’s resurrection. The soul, born again from its natural state into the life of grace, is after that born again unto the life of glory. Mt 19:28, “regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory”; the resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth and entering upon immortality, a nativity into another life [Bishop Pearson]. The four causes of our salvation are; (1) the primary cause, God’s mercy; (2) the proximate cause, Christ’s death and resurrection; (3) the formal cause, our regeneration; (4) the final cause, our eternal bliss. As John is the disciple of love, so Paul of faith, and Peter of hope. Hence, Peter, most of all the apostles, urges the resurrection of Christ; an undesigned coincidence between the history and the Epistle, and so a proof of genuineness. Christ’s resurrection was the occasion of his own restoration by Christ after his fall.
4. To an inheritance–the object of our “hope” (1Pe 1:3), which is therefore not a dead, but a “living” hope. The inheritance is the believer’s already by title, being actually assigned to him; the entrance on its possession is future, and hoped for as a certainty. Being “begotten again” as a “son,” he is an “heir,” as earthly fathers beget children who shall inherit their goods. The inheritance is “salvation” (1Pe 1:5, 9); “the grace to be brought at the revelation of Christ” (1Pe 1:13); “a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
incorruptible–not having within the germs of death. Negations of the imperfections which meet us on every side here are the chief means of conveying to our minds a conception of the heavenly things which “have not entered into the heart of man,” and which we have not faculties now capable of fully knowing. Peter, sanguine, impulsive, and highly susceptible of outward impressions, was the more likely to feel painfully the deep-seated corruption which, lurking under the outward splendor of the loveliest of earthly things, dooms them soon to rottenness and decay.
undefiled–not stained as earthly goods by sin, either in the acquiring, or in the using of them; unsusceptible of any stain. “The rich man is either a dishonest man himself, or the heir of a dishonest man” [Jerome]. Even Israel’s inheritance was defiled by the people’s sins. Defilement intrudes even on our holy things now, whereas God’s service ought to be undefiled.
that fadeth not away–Contrast 1Pe 1:24. Even the most delicate part of the heavenly inheritance, its bloom, continues unfading. “In substance incorruptible; in purity undefiled; in beauty unfading” [Alford].
reserved–kept up (Col 1:5, “laid up for you in heaven,” 2Ti 4:8); Greek perfect, expressing a fixed and abiding state, “which has been and is reserved.” The inheritance is in security, beyond risk, out of the reach of Satan, though we for whom it is reserved are still in the midst of dangers. Still, if we be believers, we too, as well as the inheritance, are “kept” (the same Greek, Joh 17:12) by Jesus safely (1Pe 1:5).
in heaven–Greek, “in the heavens,” where it can neither be destroyed nor plundered. It does not follow that, because it is now laid up in heaven, it shall not hereafter be on earth also.
for you–It is secure not only in itself from all misfortune, but also from all alienation, so that no other can receive it in your stead. He had said us (1Pe 1:3); he now turns his address to the elect in order to encourage and exhort them.
5. kept–Greek, “who are being guarded.” He answers the objection, Of what use is it that salvation is “reserved” for us in heaven, as in a calm secure haven, when we are tossed in the world as on a troubled sea in the midst of a thousand wrecks? [Calvin]. As the inheritance is “kept” (1Pe 1:4) safely for the far distant “heirs,” so must they be “guarded” in their persons so as to be sure of reaching it. Neither shall it be wanting to them, nor they to it. “We are guarded in the world as our inheritance is kept in heaven.” This defines the “you” of 1Pe 1:4. The inheritance, remember, belongs only to those who “endure unto the end,” being “guarded” by, or IN “the power of God, through faith.” Contrast Lu 8:13. God Himself is our sole guarding power. “It is His power which saves us from our enemies. It is His long-suffering which saves us from ourselves” [Bengel]. Jude 1, “preserved in Christ Jesus”; Php 1:6; 4:7, “keep”; Greek, “guard,” as here. This guarding is effected, on the part of God, by His “power,” the efficient cause; on the part of man, “through faith,” the effective means.
by–Greek, “in.” The believer lives spiritually in God, and in virtue of His power, and God lives in him. “In” marks that the cause is inherent in the means, working organically through them with living influence, so that the means, in so far as the cause works organically through them, exist also in the cause. The power of God which guards the believer is no external force working upon him from without with mechanical necessity, but the spiritual power of God in which he lives, and with whose Spirit he is clothed. It comes down on, and then dwells in him, even as he is in it [Steiger]. Let none flatter himself he is being guarded by the power of God unto salvation, if he be not walking by faith. Neither speculative knowledge and reason, nor works of seeming charity, will avail, severed from faith. It is through faith that salvation is both received and kept.
unto salvation–the final end of the new birth. “Salvation,” not merely accomplished for us in title by Christ, and made over to us on our believing, but actually manifested, and finally completed.
ready to be revealed–When Christ shall be revealed, it shall be revealed. The preparations for it are being made now, and began when Christ came: “All things are now ready”; the salvation is already accomplished, and only waits the Lord’s time to be manifested: He “is ready to judge.”
last time–the last day, closing the day of grace; the day of judgment, of redemption, of the restitution of all things, and of perdition of the ungodly.
6. Wherein–in which prospect of final salvation.
greatly rejoice–“exult with joy”: “are exuberantly glad.” Salvation is realized by faith (1Pe 1:9) as a thing so actually present as to cause exulting joy in spite of existing afflictions.
for a season–Greek, “for a little time.”
if need be–“if it be God’s will that it should be so” [Alford], for not all believers are afflicted. One need not invite or lay a cross on himself, but only “take up” the cross which God imposes (“his cross”); 2Ti 3:12 is not to be pressed too far. Not every believer, nor every sinner, is tried with afflictions [Theophylact]. Some falsely think that notwithstanding our forgiveness in Christ, a kind of atonement, or expiation by suffering, is needed.
ye are in heaviness–Greek, “ye were grieved.” The “grieved” is regarded as past, the “exulting joy” present. Because the realized joy of the coming salvation makes the present grief seem as a thing of the past. At the first shock of affliction ye were grieved, but now by anticipation ye rejoice, regarding the present grief as past.
through–Greek, “IN”: the element in which the grief has place.
manifold–many and of various kinds (1Pe 4:12, 13).
temptations–“trials” testing your faith.
7. Aim of the “temptations.”
trial–testing, proving. That your faith so proved “may be found (aorist; once for all, as the result of its being proved on the judgment-day) unto (eventuating in) praise,” &c., namely, the praise to be bestowed by the Judge.
than that of gold–rather, “than gold.”
though–“which perisheth, YET is tried with fire.” If gold, though perishing (1Pe 1:18), is yet tried with fire in order to remove dross and test its genuineness, how much more does your faith, which shall never perish, need to pass through a fiery trial to remove whatever is defective, and to test its genuineness and full value?
glory–“Honor” is not so strong as “glory.” As “praise” is in words, so “honor” is in deeds: honorary reward.
appearing–Translate as in 1Pe 1:13, “revelation.” At Christ’s revelation shall take place also the revelation of the sons of God (Ro 8:19, “manifestation,” Greek, “revelation”; 1Jo 3:2, Greek, “manifested … manifested,” for “appear … appear”).
8. not having seen, ye love–though in other cases it is knowledge of the person that produces love to him. They are more “blessed that have not seen and yet have believed,” than they who believed because they have seen. On Peter’s own love to Jesus, compare Joh 21:15-17. Though the apostles had seen Him, they now ceased to know Him merely after the flesh.
in whom–connected with “believing”: the result of which is “ye rejoice” (Greek, “exult”).
now–in the present state, as contrasted with the future state when believers “shall see His face.”
full of glory–Greek, “glorified.” A joy now already encompassed with glory. The “glory” is partly in present possession, through the presence of Christ, “the Lord of glory,” in the soul; partly in assured anticipation. “The Christian’s joy is bound up with love to Jesus: its ground is faith; it is not therefore either self-seeking or self-sufficient” [Steiger].
9. Receiving–in sure anticipation; “the end of your faith,” that is, its crowning consummation, finally completed “salvation” (Peter here confirms Paul’s teaching as to justification by faith): also receiving now the title to it and the first-fruits of it. In 1Pe 1:10 the “salvation” is represented as already present, whereas “the prophets” had it not as yet present. It must, therefore, in this verse, refer to the present: Deliverance now from a state of wrath: believers even now “receive salvation,” though its full “revelation” is future.
of … souls–The immortal soul was what was lost, so “salvation” primarily concerns the soul; the body shall share in redemption hereafter; the soul of the believer is saved already: an additional proof that “receiving … salvation” is here a thing present.
10. The magnitude of this “salvation” is proved by the earnestness with which “prophets” and even “angels” searched into it. Even from the beginning of the world this salvation has been testified to by the Holy Spirit.
prophets–Though there is no Greek article, yet English Version is right, “the prophets” generally (including all the Old Testament inspired authors), as “the angels” similarly refer to them in general.
inquired–perseveringly: so the Greek. Much more is manifested to us than by diligent inquiry and search the prophets attained. Still it is not said, they searched after it, but concerning (so the Greek for “of”) it. They were already certain of the redemption being about to come. They did not like us fully see, but they desired to see the one and the same Christ whom we fully see in spirit. “As Simeon was anxiously desiring previously, and tranquil in peace only when he had seen Christ, so all the Old Testament saints saw Christ only hidden, and as it were absent–absent not in power and grace, but inasmuch as He was not yet manifested in the flesh” [Calvin]. The prophets, as private individuals, had to reflect on the hidden and far-reaching sense of their own prophecies; because their words, as prophets, in their public function, were not so much their own as the Spirit’s, speaking by and in them: thus Caiaphas. A striking testimony to verbal inspiration; the words which the inspired authors wrote are God’s words expressing the mind of the Spirit, which the writers themselves searched into, to fathom the deep and precious meaning, even as the believing readers did. “Searched” implies that they had determinate marks to go by in their search.
the grace that should come unto you–namely, the grace of the New Testament: an earnest of “the grace” of perfected “salvation … to be brought at the (second) revelation of Christ.” Old Testament believers also possessed the grace of God; they were children of God, but it was as children in their nonage, so as to be like servants; whereas we enjoy the full privileges of adult sons.
11. what–Greek, “In reference to what, or what manner of time.” What expresses the time absolutely: what was to be the era of Messiah’s coming; what manner of time; what events and features should characterize the time of His coming. The “or” implies that some of the prophets, if they could not as individuals discover the exact time, searched into its characteristic features and events. The Greek for “time” is the season, the epoch, the fit time in God’s purposes.
Spirit of Christ … in them–(Ac 16:7, in oldest manuscripts, “the Spirit of Jesus”; Re 19:10). So Justin Martyr says, “Jesus was He who appeared and communed with Moses, Abraham, and the other patriarchs.” Clement of Alexandria calls Him “the Prophet of prophets, and Lord of all the prophetical spirit.”
did signify–“did give intimation.”
of–Greek, “the sufferers (appointed) unto Christ,” or foretold in regard to Christ. “Christ,” the anointed Mediator, whose sufferings are the price of our “salvation” (1Pe 1:9, 10), and who is the channel of “the grace that should come unto you.”
the glory–Greek, “glories,” namely, of His resurrection, of His ascension, of His judgment and coming kingdom, the necessary consequence of the sufferings.
that should follow–Greek, “after these (sufferings),” 1Pe 3:18-22; 5:1. Since “the Spirit of Christ” is the Spirit of God, Christ is God. It is only because the Son of God was to become our Christ that He manifested Himself and the Father through Him in the Old Testament, and by the Holy Spirit, eternally proceeding from the Father and Himself, spake in the prophets.
12. Not only was the future revealed to them, but this also, that these revelations of the future were given them not for themselves, but for our good in Gospel times. This, so far from disheartening, only quickened them in unselfishly testifying in the Spirit for the partial good of their own generation (only of believers), and for the full benefit of posterity. Contrast in Gospel times, Re 22:10. Not that their prophecies were unattended with spiritual instruction as to the Redeemer to their own generation, but the full light was not to be given till Messiah should come; it was well that they should have this “revealed” to them, lest they should be disheartened in not clearly discovering with all their inquiry and search the full particulars of the coming “salvation.” To Daniel (Da 9:25, 26) the “time” was revealed. Our immense privileges are thus brought forth by contrast with theirs, notwithstanding that they had the great honor of Christ’s Spirit speaking in them; and this, as an incentive to still greater earnestness on our part than even they manifested (1Pe 1:13, &c.).
us–The oldest manuscripts read “you,” as in 1Pe 1:10. This verse implies that we, Christians, may understand the prophecies by the Spirit’s aid in their most important part, namely, so far as they have been already fulfilled.
with the Holy Ghost sent down–on Pentecost. The oldest manuscripts omit Greek preposition en, that is, “in”; then translate, “by.” The Evangelists speaking by the Holy Spirit were infallible witnesses. “The Spirit of Christ” was in the prophets also (1Pe 1:11), but not manifestly, as in the case of the Christian Church and its first preachers, “SENT down from heaven.” How favored are we in being ministered to, as to “salvation,” by prophets and apostles alike, the latter now announcing the same things as actually fulfilled which the former foretold.
which things–“the things now reported unto you” by the evangelistic preachers “Christ’s sufferings and the glory that should follow” (1Pe 1:11, 12).
angels–still higher than “the prophets” (1Pe 1:10). Angels do not any more than ourselves possess an INTUITIVE knowledge of redemption. “To look into” in Greek is literally, “to bend over so as to look deeply into and see to the bottom of a thing.” See on Jas 1:25, on same word. As the cherubim stood bending over the mercy seat, the emblem of redemption, in the holiest place, so the angels intently gaze upon and desire to fathom the depths of “the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels” (1Ti 3:16). Their “ministry to the heirs of salvation” naturally disposes them to wish to penetrate this mystery as reflecting such glory on the love, justice, wisdom, and power of their and our God and Lord. They can know it only through its manifestation in the Church, as they personally have not the direct share in it that we have. “Angels have only the contrast between good and evil, without the power of conversion from sin to righteousness: witnessing such conversion in the Church, they long to penetrate the knowledge of the means whereby it is brought about” [Hofman in Alford].
13. Wherefore–Seeing that the prophets ministered unto you in these high Gospel privileges which they did not themselves fully share in, though “searching” into them, and seeing that even angels “desire to look into” them, how earnest you ought to be and watchful in respect to them!
gird up … loins–referring to Christ’s own words, Lu 12:35; an image taken from the way in which the Israelites ate the passover with the loose outer robe girded up about the waist with a girdle, as ready for a journey. Workmen, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, and warriors (all of whom are types of the Christians), so gird themselves up, both to shorten the garment so as not to impede motion, and to gird up the body itself so as to be braced for action. The believer is to have his mind (mental powers) collected and always ready for Christ’s coming. “Gather in the strength of your spirit” [Hensler]. Sobriety, that is, spiritual self-restraint, lest one be overcome by the allurements of the world and of sense, and patient hopeful waiting for Christ’s revelation, are the true ways of “girding up the loins of the mind.”
to the end–rather, “perfectly,” so that there may be nothing deficient in your hope, no casting away of your confidence. Still, there may be an allusion to the “end” mentioned in 1Pe 1:9. Hope so perfectly (Greek, “teleios”) as to reach unto the end (telos) of your faith and hope, namely, “the grace that is being brought unto you in (so the Greek) the revelation of Christ.” As grace shall then be perfected, so you ought to hope perfectly. “Hope” is repeated from 1Pe 1:3. The two appearances are but different stages of the ONE great revelation of Christ, comprising the New Testament from the beginning to the end.
14. From sobriety of spirit and endurance of hope Peter passes to obedience, holiness, and reverential fear.
As–marking their present actual character as “born again” (1Pe 1:3, 22).
obedient children–Greek, “children of obedience”: children to whom obedience is their characteristic and ruling nature, as a child is of the same nature as the mother and father. Contrast Eph 5:6, “the children of disobedience.” Compare 1Pe 1:17, “obeying the Father” whose “children” ye are. Having the obedience of faith (compare 1Pe 1:22) and so of practice (compare 1Pe 1:16, 18). “Faith is the highest obedience, because discharged to the highest command” [Luther].
fashioning–The outward fashion (Greek, “schema”) is fleeting, and merely on the surface. The “form,” or conformation in the New Testament, is something deeper and more perfect and essential.
the former lusts in–which were characteristic of your state of ignorance of God: true of both Jews and Gentiles. The sanctification is first described negatively (1Pe 1:14, “not fashioning yourselves,” &c.; the putting off the old man, even in the outward fashion, as well as in the inward conformation), then positively (1Pe 1:15, putting on the new man, compare Eph 4:22, 24). “Lusts” flow from the original birth-sin (inherited from our first parents, who by self-willed desire brought sin into the world), the lust which, ever since man has been alienated from God, seeks to fill up with earthly things the emptiness of his being; the manifold forms which the mother-lust assumes are called in the plural lusts. In the regenerate, as far as the new man is concerned, which constitutes his truest self, “sin” no longer exists; but in the flesh or old man it does. Hence arises the conflict, uninterruptedly maintained through life, wherein the new man in the main prevails, and at last completely. But the natural man knows only the combat of his lusts with one another, or with the law, without power to conquer them.
15. Literally, “But (rather) after the pattern of Him who hath called you (whose characteristic is that He is) holy, be (Greek, ‘become’) ye yourselves also holy.” God is our grand model. God’s calling is a frequently urged motive in Peter’s Epistles. Every one that begets, begets an offspring resembling himself [Epiphanius]. “Let the acts of the offspring indicate similarity to the Father” [Augustine].
conversation–deportment, course of life: one’s way of going about, as distinguished from one’s internal nature, to which it must outwardly correspond. Christians are already holy unto God by consecration; they must be so also in their outward walk and behavior in all respects. The outward must correspond to the inward man.
16. Scripture is the true source of all authority in questions of doctrine and practice.
Be ye … for I am–It is I with whom ye have to do. Ye are mine. Therefore abstain from Gentile pollutions. We are too prone to have respect unto men [Calvin]. As I am the fountain of holiness, being holy in My essence, be ye therefore zealous to be partakers of holiness, that ye may be as I also am [Didymus]. God is essentially holy: the creature is holy in so far as it is sanctified by God. God, in giving the command, is willing to give also the power to obey it, namely, through the sanctifying of the Spirit (1Pe 1:2).
17. if ye call on–that is, “seeing that ye call on,” for all the regenerate pray as children of God, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Mt 6:9; Lu 11:2).
the Father–rather, “Call upon as Father Him who without acceptance of persons (Ac 10:34; Ro 2:11; Jas 2:1, not accepting the Jew above the Gentile, 2Ch 19:7; Lu 20:21; properly said of a judge not biassed in judgment by respect of persons) judgeth,” &c. The Father judgeth by His Son, His Representative, exercising His delegated authority (Joh 5:22). This marks the harmonious and complete unity of the Trinity.
work–Each man’s work is one complete whole, whether good or bad. The particular works of each are manifestations of the general character of his lifework, whether it was of faith and love whereby alone we can please God and escape condemnation.
pass–Greek, “conduct yourselves during.”
sojourning–The outward state of the Jews in their dispersion is an emblem of the sojourner-like state of all believers in this world, away from our true Fatherland.
fear–reverential, not slavish. He who is your Father, is also your Judge–a thought which may well inspire reverential fear. Theophylact observes, A double fear is mentioned in Scripture: (1) elementary, causing one to become serious; (2) perfective: the latter is here the motive by which Peter urges them as sons of God to be obedient. Fear is not here opposed to assurance, but to carnal security: fear producing vigilant caution lest we offend God and backslide. “Fear and hope flow from the same fountain: fear prevents us from falling away from hope” [Bengel]. Though love has no fear IN it, yet in our present state of imperfect love, it needs to have fear going ALONG WITH It as a subordinate principle. This fear drowns all other fears. The believer fears God, and so has none else to fear. Not to fear God is the greatest baseness and folly. The martyrs’ more than mere human courage flowed from this.
18. Another motive to reverential, vigilant fear (1Pe 1:17) of displeasing God, the consideration of the costly price of our redemption from sin. Observe, it is we who are bought by the blood of Christ, not heaven. The blood of Christ is not in Scripture said to buy heaven for us: heaven is the “inheritance” (1Pe 1:4) given to us as sons, by the promise of God.
corruptible–Compare 1Pe 1:7, “gold that perisheth,” 1Pe 1:23.
silver and gold–Greek, “or.” Compare Peter’s own words, Ac 3:6: an undesigned coincidence.
redeemed–Gold and silver being liable to corruption themselves, can free no one from spiritual and bodily death; they are therefore of too little value. Contrast 1Pe 1:19, Christ’s “precious blood.” The Israelites were ransomed with half a shekel each, which went towards purchasing the lamb for the daily sacrifice (Ex 30:12-16; compare Nu 3:44-51). But the Lamb who redeems the spiritual Israelites does so “without money or price.” Devoted by sin to the justice of God, the Church of the first-born is redeemed from sin and the curse with Christ’s precious blood (Mt 20:28; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Re 5:9). In all these passages there is the idea of substitution, the giving of one for another by way of a ransom or equivalent. Man is “sold under sin” as a slave; shut up under condemnation and the curse. The ransom was, therefore, paid to the righteously incensed Judge, and was accepted as a vicarious satisfaction for our sin by God, inasmuch as it was His own love as well as righteousness which appointed it. An Israelite sold as a bond-servant for debt might be redeemed by one of his brethren. As, therefore, we could not redeem ourselves, Christ assumed our nature in order to become our nearest of kin and brother, and so our God or Redeemer. Holiness is the natural fruit of redemption “from our vain conversation”; for He by whom we are redeemed is also He for whom we are redeemed. “Without the righteous abolition of the curse, either there could be found no deliverance, or, what is impossible, the grace and righteousness of God must have come in collision” [Steiger]; but now, Christ having borne the curse of our sin, frees from it those who are made God’s children by His Spirit.
vain–self-deceiving, unreal, and unprofitable: promising good which it does not perform. Compare as to the Gentiles, Ac 14:15; Ro 1:21; Eph 4:17; as to human philosophers, 1Co 3:20; as to the disobedient Jews, Jer 4:14.
conversation–course of life. To know what our sin is we must know what it cost.
received by tradition from your fathers–The Jews’ traditions. “Human piety is a vain blasphemy, and the greatest sin that a man can commit” [Luther]. There is only one Father to be imitated, 1Pe 1:17; compare Mt 23:9, the same antithesis [Bengel].
19. precious–of inestimable value. The Greek order is, “With precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish (in itself) and without spot (contracted by contact with others), (even the blood) of Christ.” Though very man, He remained pure in Himself (“without blemish”), and uninfected by any impression of sin from without (“without spot”), which would have unfitted Him for being our atoning Redeemer: so the passover lamb, and every sacrificial victim; so too, the Church, the Bride, by her union with Him. As Israel’s redemption from Egypt required the blood of the paschal lamb, so our redemption from sin and the curse required the blood of Christ; “foreordained” (1Pe 1:20) from eternity, as the passover lamb was taken up on the tenth day of the month.
20. God’s eternal foreordination of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice, and completion of it in these last times for us, are an additional obligation on us to our maintaining a holy walk, considering how great things have been thus done for us. Peter’s language in the history corresponds with this here: an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. Redemption was no afterthought, or remedy of an unforeseen evil, devised at the time of its arising. God’s foreordaining of the Redeemer refutes the slander that, on the Christian theory, there is a period of four thousand years of nothing but an incensed God. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).
manifest–in His incarnation in the fulness of the time. He existed from eternity before He was manifested.
in these last times–1Co 10:11, “the ends of the world.” This last dispensation, made up of “times” marked by great changes, but still retaining a general unity, stretches from Christ’s ascension to His coming to judgment.
21. by him–Compare “the faith which is by Him,” Ac 3:16. Through Christ: His Spirit, obtained for us in His resurrection and ascension, enabling us to believe. This verse excludes all who do not “by Him believe in God,” and includes all of every age and clime that do. Literally, “are believers in God.” “To believe IN (Greek, ‘eis’) God” expresses an internal trust: “by believing to love God, going INTO Him, and cleaving to Him, incorporated into His members. By this faith the ungodly is justified, so that thenceforth faith itself begins to work by love” [P. Lombard]. To believe ON (Greek, “epi,” or dative case) God expresses the confidence, which grounds itself on God, reposing on Him. “Faith IN (Greek, ‘en’) His blood” (Ro 3:25) implies that His blood is the element IN which faith has its proper and abiding place. Compare with this verse, Ac 20:21, “Repentance toward (Greek, ‘eis,’ ‘into,’ turning towards and going into) God and faith toward (Greek, ‘eis,’ ‘into’) Christ”: where, as there is but one article to both repentance and faith, the two are inseparably joined as together forming one truth; where “repentance” is, there “faith” is; when one knows God the Father spiritually, then he must know the Son by whom alone we can come to the Father. In Christ we have life: if we have not the doctrine of Christ, we have not God. The only living way to God is through Christ and His sacrifice.
that raised him–The raising of Jesus by God is the special ground of our “believing”: (1) because by it God declared openly His acceptance of Him as our righteous substitute; (2) because by it and His glorification He received power, namely, the Holy Spirit, to impart to His elect “faith”: the same power enabling us to believe as raised Him from the dead. Our faith must not only be IN Christ, but BY and THROUGH Christ. “Since in Christ’s resurrection and consequent dominion our safety is grounded, there ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ find their stay” [Calvin].
that your faith and hope might be in God–the object and effect of God’s raising Christ. He states what was the actual result and fact, not an exhortation, except indirectly. Your faith flows from His resurrection; your hope from God’s having “given Him glory” (compare 1Pe 1:11, “glories”). Remember God’s having raised and glorified Jesus as the anchor of your faith and hope in God, and so keep alive these graces. Apart from Christ we could have only feared, not believed and hoped in God. Compare 1Pe 1:3, 7-9, 13, on hope in connection with faith; love is introduced in 1Pe 1:22.
22. purified … in obeying the truth–Greek, “in your (or ‘the’) obedience of (that is, ‘to’) the truth (the Gospel way of salvation),” that is, in the fact of your believing. Faith purifies the heart as giving it the only pure motive, love to God (Ac 15:9; Ro 1:5, “obedience to the faith”).
through the Spirit–omitted in the oldest manuscripts. The Holy Spirit is the purifier by bestowing the obedience of faith (1Pe 1:2; 1Co 12:3).
unto–with a view to: the proper result of the purifying of your hearts by faith. “For what end must we lead a chaste life? That we may thereby be saved? No: but for this, that we may serve our neighbor” [Luther].
unfeigned–1Pe 2:1, 2, “laying aside … hypocrisies … sincere.”
love of the brethren–that is, of Christians. Brotherly love is distinct from common love. “The Christian loves primarily those in Christ; secondarily, all who might be in Christ, namely, all men, as Christ as man died for all, and as he hopes that they, too, may become his Christian brethren” [Steiger]. Bengel remarks that as here, so in 2Pe 1:5-7, “brotherly love” is preceded by the purifying graces, “faith, knowledge, and godliness,” &c. Love to the brethren is the evidence of our regeneration and justification by faith.
love one another–When the purifying by faith into love of the brethren has formed the habit, then the act follows, so that the “love” is at once habit and act.
with a pure heart–The oldest manuscripts read, “(love) from the heart.”
fervently–Greek, “intensely”: with all the powers on the stretch (1Pe 4:8). “Instantly” (Ac 26:7).
23. Christian brotherhood flows from our new birth of an imperishable seed, the abiding word of God. This is the consideration urged here to lead us to exercise brotherly love. As natural relationship gives rise to natural affection, so spiritual relationship gives rise to spiritual, and therefore abiding love, even as the seed from which it springs is abiding, not transitory as earthly things.
of … of … by–“The word of God” is not the material of the spiritual new birth, but its mean or medium. By means of the word the man receives the incorruptible seed of the Holy Spirit, and so becomes one “born again”: Joh 3:3-5, “born of water and the Spirit”: as there is but one Greek article to the two nouns, the close connection of the sign and the grace, or new birth signified is implied. The word is the remote and anterior instrument; baptism, the proximate and sacramental instrument. The word is the instrument in relation to the individual; baptism, in relation to the Church as a society (Jas 1:18). We are born again of the Spirit, yet not without the use of means, but by the word of God. The word is not the beggeting principle itself, but only that by which it works: the vehicle of the mysterious germinating power [Alford].
which liveth and abideth for ever–It is because the Spirit of God accompanies it that the word carries in it the germ of life. They who are so born again live and abide for ever, in contrast to those who sow to the flesh. “The Gospel bears incorruptible fruits, not dead works, because it is itself incorruptible” [Bengel]. The word is an eternal divine power. For though the voice or speech vanishes, there still remains the kernel, the truth comprehended in the voice. This sinks into the heart and is living; yea, it is God Himself. So God to Moses, Ex 4:12, “I will be with thy mouth” [Luther]. The life is in God, yet it is communicated to us through the word. “The Gospel shall never cease, though its ministry shall” [Calovius]. The abiding resurrection glory is always connected with our regeneration by the Spirit. Regeneration beginning with renewing man’s soul at the resurrection, passes on to the body, then to the whole world of nature.
24. Scripture proof that the word of God lives for ever, in contrast to man’s natural frailty. If ye were born again of flesh, corruptible seed, ye must also perish again as the grass; but now that from which you have derived life remains eternally, and so also will render you eternal.
flesh–man in his mere earthly nature.
as–omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts.
of man–The oldest manuscripts read, “of it” (that is, of the flesh). “The glory” is the wisdom, strength, riches, learning, honor, beauty, art, virtue, and righteousness of the NATURAL man (expressed by “flesh”), which all are transitory (Joh 3:6), not OF MAN (as English Version reads) absolutely, for the glory of man, in his true ideal realized in the believer, is eternal.
withereth–Greek, aorist: literally, “withered,” that is, is withered as a thing of the past. So also the Greek for “falleth” is “fell away,” that is, is fallen away: it no sooner is than it is gone.
thereof–omitted in the best manuscripts and versions. “The grass” is the flesh: “the flower” its glory.
25. (Ps 119:89.)
this is the word … preached unto you–That is eternal which is born of incorruptible seed (1Pe 1:24): but ye have received the incorruptible seed, the word (1Pe 1:25); therefore ye are born for eternity, and so are bound now to live for eternity (1Pe 1:22, 23). Ye have not far to look for the word; it is among you, even the joyful Gospel message which we preach. Doubt not that the Gospel preached to you by our brother Paul, and which ye have embraced, is the eternal truth. Thus the oneness of Paul’s and Peter’s creed appears. See my Introduction, showing Peter addresses some of the same churches as Paul labored among and wrote to.
1Pe 2:1-25. Exhortations.
To guileless feeding on the word by the sense of their privileges as new-born babes, living stones in the spiritual temple built on Christ the chief corner-stone, and royal priests, in contrast to their former state: also to abstinence from fleshly lusts, and to walk worthily in all relations of life, so that the world without which opposes them may be constrained to glorify God in seeing their good works. Christ, the grand pattern to follow in patience under suffering for well-doing.
1. laying aside–once for all: so the Greek aorist expresses as a garment put off. The exhortation applies to Christians alone, for in none else is the new nature existing which, as “the inward man” (Eph 3:16) can cast off the old as an outward thing, so that the Christian, through the continual renewal of his inward man, can also exhibit himself externally as a new man. But to unbelievers the demand is addressed, that inwardly, in regard to the nous (mind), they must become changed, meta-noeisthai (re-pent) [Steiger]. The “therefore” resumes the exhortation begun in 1Pe 1:22. Seeing that ye are born again of an incorruptible seed, be not again entangled in evil, which “has no substantial being, but is an acting in contrariety to the being formed in us” [Theophylact]. “Malice,” &c., are utterly inconsistent with the “love of the brethren,” unto which ye have “purified your souls” (1Pe 1:22). The vices here are those which offend against the BROTHERLY LOVE inculcated above. Each succeeding one springs out of that which immediately precedes, so as to form a genealogy of the sins against love. Out of malice springs guile; out of guile, hypocrises (pretending to be what we are not, and not showing what we really are; the opposite of “love unfeigned,” and “without dissimulation”); out of hypocrisies, envies of those to whom we think ourselves obliged to play the hypocrite; out of envies, evil-speaking, malicious, envious detraction of others. Guile is the permanent disposition; hypocrisies the acts flowing from it. The guileless knows no envy. Compare 1Pe 2:2, “sincere,” Greek, “guileless.” “Malice delights in another’s hurt; envy pines at another’s good; guile imparts duplicity to the heart; hypocrisy (flattery) imparts duplicity to the tongue; evil-speakings wound the character of another” [Augustine].
2. new-born babes–altogether without “guile” (1Pe 2:1). As long as we are here we are “babes,” in a specially tender relation to God (Isa 40:11). The childlike spirit is indispensable if we would enter heaven. “Milk” is here not elementary truths in contradistinction to more advanced Christian truths, as in 1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12, 13; but in contrast to “guile, hypocrisies,” &c. (1Pe 2:1); the simplicity of Christian doctrine in general to the childlike spirit. The same “word of grace” which is the instrument in regeneration, is the instrument also of building up. “The mother of the child is also its natural nurse” [Steiger]. The babe, instead of chemically analyzing, instinctively desires and feeds on the milk; so our part is not self-sufficient rationalizing and questioning, but simply receiving the truth in the love of it (Mt 11:25).
desire–Greek, “have a yearning desire for,” or “longing after,” a natural impulse to the regenerate, “for as no one needs to teach new-born babes what food to take, knowing instinctively that a table is provided for them in their mother’s breast,” so the believer of himself thirsts after the word of God (Ps 119:1-176). Compare Tatius’ language as to Achilles.
sincere–Greek, “guileless.” Compare 1Pe 2:1, “laying aside guile.” Irenæus says of heretics. They mix chalk with the milk. The article, “the,” implies that besides the well-known pure milk, the Gospel, there is no other pure, unadulterated doctrine; it alone can make us guileless (1Pe 2:1).
of the word–Not as Alford, “spiritual,” nor “reasonable,” as English Version in Ro 12:1. The Greek “logos” in Scripture is not used of the reason, or mind, but of the WORD; the preceding context requires that “the word” should be meant here; the adjective “logikos” follows the meaning of the noun logos, “word.” Jas 1:21, “Lay apart all filthiness … and receive with meekness the engrafted WORD,” is exactly parallel, and confirms English Version here.
grow–The oldest manuscripts and versions read, “grow unto salvation.” Being BORN again unto salvation, we are also to grow unto salvation. The end to which growth leads is perfected salvation. “Growth is the measure of the fulness of that, not only rescue from destruction, but positive blessedness, which is implied in salvation” [Alford].
thereby–Greek, “in it”; fed on it; in its strength (Ac 11:14). “The word is to be desired with appetite as the cause of life, to be swallowed in the hearing, to be chewed as cud is by rumination with the understanding, and to be digested by faith” [Tertullian].
3. Peter alludes to Ps 34:8. The first “tastes” of God’s goodness are afterwards followed by fuller and happier experiences. A taste whets the appetite [Bengel].
gracious–Greek, “good,” benignant, kind; as God is revealed to us in Christ, “the Lord” (1Pe 2:4), we who are born again ought so to be good and kind to the brethren (1Pe 1:22). “Whosoever has not tasted the word to him it is not sweet it has not reached the heart; but to them who have experienced it, who with the heart believe, ‘Christ has been sent for me and is become my own: my miseries are His, and His life mine,’ it tastes sweet” [Luther].
4. coming–drawing near (same Greek as here, Heb 10:22) by faith continually; present tense: not having come once for all at conversion.
stone–Peter (that is, a stone, named so by Christ) desires that all similarly should be living stones BUILT ON Christ, the true foundation-stone; compare his speech in Ac 4:11. An undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. The Spirit foreseeing the Romanist perversion of Mt 16:18 (compare Mt 16:16, “Son of the Living God,” which coincides with his language here, “the LIVING stone”), presciently makes Peter himself to refuse it. He herein confirms Paul’s teaching. Omit the as unto of English Version. Christ is positively termed the “living stone”; living, as having life in Himself from the beginning, and as raised from the dead to live evermore (Re 1:18) after His rejection by men, and so the source of life to us. Like no earthly rock, He lives and gives life. Compare 1Co 10:4, and the type, Ex 17:6; Nu 20:11.
disallowed–rejected, reprobated; referred to also by Christ Himself: also by Paul; compare the kindred prophecies, Isa 8:14; Lu 2:34.
chosen of God–literally, “with (or ‘in the presence and judgment of’) God elect,” or, “chosen out” (1Pe 2:6). Many are alienated from the Gospel, because it is not everywhere in favor, but is on the contrary rejected by most men. Peter answers that, though rejected by men, Christ is peculiarly the stone of salvation honored by God, first so designated by Jacob in his deathbed prophecy.
5. Ye also, as lively stones–partaking of the name and life which is in “THE Living Stone” (1Pe 2:4; 1Co 3:11). Many names which belong to Christ in the singular are assigned to Christians in the plural. He is “THE Son,” “High Priest,” “King,” “Lamb”; they, “sons,” “priests,” “kings,” “sheep,” “lambs.” So the Shulamite called from Solomon [Bengel].
are built up–Greek, “are being built up,” as in Eph 2:22. Not as Alford, “Be ye built up.” Peter grounds his exhortations, 1Pe 2:2, 11, &c., on their conscious sense of their high privileges as living stones in the course of being built up into a spiritual house (that is, “the habitation of the Spirit”).
priesthood–Christians are both the spiritual temple and the priests of the temple. There are two Greek words for “temple”; hieron (the sacred place), the whole building, including the courts wherein the sacrifice was killed; and naos (the dwelling, namely, of God), the inner shrine wherein God peculiarly manifested Himself, and where, in the holiest place, the blood of the slain sacrifice was presented before Him. All believers alike, and not merely ministers, are now the dwelling of God (and are called the “naos,” Greek, not the hieron) and priests unto God (Re 1:6). The minister is not, like the Jewish priest (Greek, “hiercus”), admitted nearer to God than the people, but merely for order’s sake leads the spiritual services of the people. Priest is the abbreviation of presbyter in the Church of England Prayer Book, not corresponding to the Aaronic priest (hiereus, who offered literal sacrifices). Christ is the only literal hiereus-priest in the New Testament through whom alone we may always draw near to God. Compare 1Pe 2:9, “a royal priesthood,” that is, a body of priest-kings, such as was Melchisedec. The Spirit never, in New Testament, gives the name hiereus, or sacerdotal priest, to ministers of the Gospel.
holy–consecrated to God.
spiritual sacrifices–not the literal one of the mass, as the Romish self-styled disciples of Peter teach. Compare Isa 56:7, which compare with “acceptable to God” here; Ps 4:5; 50:14; 51:17, 19; Ho 14:2; Php 4:18. “Among spiritual sacrifices the first place belongs to the general oblation of ourselves. For never can we offer anything to God until we have offered ourselves (2Co 8:5) in sacrifice to Him. There follow afterwards prayers, giving of thanks, alms deeds, and all exercises of piety” [Calvin]. Christian houses of worship are never called temples because the temple was a place for sacrifice, which has no place in the Christian dispensation; the Christian temple is the congregation of spiritual worshippers. The synagogue (where reading of Scripture and prayer constituted the worship) was the model of the Christian house of worship (compare Note, see on Jas 2:2, Greek, “synagogue”; Ac 15:21). Our sacrifices are those of prayer, praise, and self-denying services in the cause of Christ (1Pe 2:9, end).
by Jesus Christ–as our mediating High Priest before God. Connect these words with “offer up.” Christ is both precious Himself and makes us accepted [Bengel]. As the temple, so also the priesthood, is built on Christ (1Pe 2:4, 5) [Beza]. Imperfect as are our services, we are not with unbelieving timidity, which is close akin to refined self-righteousness, to doubt their acceptance THROUGH Christ. After extolling the dignity of Christians he goes back to Christ as the sole source of it.
6. Wherefore also–The oldest manuscripts read, “Because that.” The statement above is so “because it is contained in Scripture.”
Behold–calling attention to the glorious announcement of His eternal counsel.
elect–so also believers (1Pe 2:9, “chosen,” Greek, “elect generation”).
precious–in Hebrew, Isa 28:16, “a corner-stone of preciousness.” See on Isa 28:16. So in 1Pe 2:7, Christ is said to be, to believers, “precious,” Greek, “preciousness.”
confounded–same Greek as in Ro 9:33 (Peter here as elsewhere confirming Paul’s teaching. See Introduction; also Ro 10:11), “ashamed.” In Isa 28:16, “make haste,” that is, flee in sudden panic, covered with the shame of confounded hopes.
7. Application of the Scripture just quoted first to the believer, then to the unbeliever. On the opposite effects of the same Gospel on different classes, compare Joh 9:39; 2Co 2:15, 16.
precious–Greek, “THE preciousness” (1Pe 2:6). To you believers belongs the preciousness of Christ just mentioned.
disobedient–to the faith, and so disobedient in practice.
the stone which … head of … corner–(Ps 118:22). Those who rejected the STONE were all the while in spite of themselves unconsciously contributing to its becoming Head of the corner. The same magnet has two poles, the one repulsive, the other attractive; so the Gospel has opposite effects on believers and unbelievers respectively.
8. stone of stumbling, &c.–quoted from Isa 8:14. Not merely they stumbled, in that their prejudices were offended; but their stumbling implies the judicial punishment of their reception of Messiah; they hurt themselves in stumbling over the corner-stone, as “stumble” means in Jer 13:16; Da 11:19.
at the word–rather, join “being disobedient to the word”; so 1Pe 3:1; 4:17.
whereunto–to penal stumbling; to the judicial punishment of their unbelief. See above.
also–an additional thought; God’s ordination; not that God ordains or appoints them to sin, but they are given up to “the fruit of their own ways” according to the eternal counsel of God. The moral ordering of the world is altogether of God. God appoints the ungodly to be given up unto sin, and a reprobate mind, and its necessary penalty. “Were appointed,” Greek, “set,” answers to “I lay,” Greek, “set,” 1Pe 2:6. God, in the active, is said to appoint Christ and the elect (directly). Unbelievers, in the passive, are said to be appointed (God acting less directly in the appointment of the sinner’s awful course) [Bengel]. God ordains the wicked to punishment, not to crime [J. Cappel]. “Appointed” or “set” (not here “FORE-ordained”) refers, not to the eternal counsel so directly, as to the penal justice of God. Through the same Christ whom sinners rejected, they shall be rejected; unlike believers, they are by God appointed unto wrath as FITTED for it. The lost shall lay all the blame of their ruin on their own sinful perversity, not on God’s decree; the saved shall ascribe all the merit of their salvation to God’s electing love and grace.
9. Contrast in the privileges and destinies of believers. Compare the similar contrast with the preceding context.
chosen–“elect” of God, even as Christ your Lord is.
generation–implying the unity of spiritual origin and kindred of believers as a class distinct from the world.
royal–kingly. Believers, like Christ, the antitypical Melchisedec, are at once kings and priests. Israel, in a spiritual sense, was designed to be the same among the nations of the earth. The full realization on earth of this, both to the literal and the spiritual Israel, is as yet future.
holy nation–antitypical to Israel.
peculiar people–literally, “a people for an acquisition,” that is, whom God chose to be peculiarly His: Ac 20:28, “purchased,” literally, “acquired.” God’s “peculiar treasure” above others.
show forth–publish abroad. Not their own praises but His. They have no reason to magnify themselves above others for once they had been in the same darkness, and only through God’s grace had been brought to the light which they must henceforth show forth to others.
praises–Greek, “virtues,” “excellencies”: His glory, mercy (1Pe 2:10), goodness (Greek, 1Pe 2:3; Nu 14:17, 18; Isa 63:7). The same term is applied to believers, 2Pe 1:5.
of him who hath called you–(2Pe 1:3).
out of darkness–of heathen and even Jewish ignorance, sin, and misery, and so out of the dominion of the prince of darkness.
marvellous–Peter still has in mind Ps 118:23.
light–It is called “His,” that is, God’s. Only the (spiritual) light is created by God, not darkness. In Isa 45:7, it is physical darkness and evil, not moral, that God is said to create, the punishment of sin, not sin itself. Peter, with characteristic boldness, brands as darkness what all the world calls light; reason, without the Holy Spirit, in spite of its vaunted power, is spiritual darkness. “It cannot apprehend what faith is: there it is stark blind; it gropes as one that is without eyesight, stumbling from one thing to another, and knows not what it does” [Luther].
10. Adapted from Ho 1:9, 10; 2:23. Peter plainly confirms Paul, who quotes the passage as implying the call of the Gentiles to become spiritually that which Israel had been literally, “the people of God.” Primarily, the prophecy refers to literal Israel, hereafter to be fully that which in their best days they were only partially, God’s people.
not obtained mercy–literally, “who were men not compassionated.” Implying that it was God’s pure mercy, not their merits, which made the blessed change in their state; a thought which ought to kindle their lively gratitude, to be shown with their life, as well as their lips.
11. As heretofore he exhorted them to walk worthily of their calling, in contradistinction to their own former walk, so now he exhorts them to glorify God before unbelievers.
Dearly beloved–He gains their attention to his exhortation by assuring them of his love.
strangers and pilgrims–(1Pe 1:17). Sojourners, literally, settlers having a house in a city without being citizens in respect to the rights of citizenship; a picture of the Christian’s position on earth; and pilgrims, staying for a time in a foreign land. Flacius thus analyzes the exhortation: (1) Purify your souls (a) as strangers on earth who must not allow yourselves to be kept back by earthly lusts, and (b) because these lusts war against the soul’s salvation. (2) Walk piously among unbelievers (a) so that they may cease to calumniate Christians, and (b) may themselves be converted to Christ.
fleshly lusts–enumerated in Ga 5:19, &c. Not only the gross appetites which we have in common with the brutes, but all the thoughts of the unrenewed mind.
which–Greek, “the which,” that is, inasmuch as being such as “war.” &c. Not only do they impede, but they assail [Bengel].
the soul–that is, against the regenerated soul; such as were those now addressed. The regenerated soul is besieged by sinful lusts. Like Samson in the lap of Delilah, the believer, the moment that he gives way to fleshly lusts, has the locks of his strength shorn, and ceases to maintain that spiritual separation from the world and the flesh of which the Nazarite vow was the type.
12. conversation–“behavior”; “conduct.” There are two things in which “strangers and pilgrims” ought to bear themselves well: (1) the conversation or conduct, as subjects (1Pe 2:13), servants (1Pe 2:18), wives (1Pe 3:1), husbands (1Pe 3:7), all persons under all circumstances (1Pe 2:8); (2) confession of the faith (1Pe 3:15, 16). Each of the two is derived from the will of God. Our conversation should correspond to our Saviour’s condition; this is in heaven, so ought that to be.
honest–honorable, becoming, proper (1Pe 3:16). Contrast “vain conversation,” 1Pe 1:18. A good walk does not make us pious, but we must first be pious and believe before we attempt to lead a good course. Faith first receives from God, then love gives to our neighbor [Luther].
whereas they speak against you–now (1Pe 2:15), that they may, nevertheless, at some time or other hereafter glorify God. The Greek may be rendered, “Wherein they speak against you … that (herein) they may, by your good works, which on a closer inspection they shall behold, glorify God.” The very works “which on more careful consideration, must move the heathen to praise God, are at first the object of hatred and raillery” [Steiger].
evildoers–Because as Christians they could not conform to heathenish customs, they were accused of disobedience to all legal authority; in order to rebut this charge, they are told to submit to every ordinance of man (not sinful in itself).
they shall behold–Greek, “they shall be eye-witnesses of”; “shall behold on close inspection”; as opposed to their “ignorance” (1Pe 2:15) of the true character of Christians and Christianity, by judging on mere hearsay. The same Greek verb occurs in a similar sense in 1Pe 3:2. “Other men narrowly look at (so the Greek implies) the actions of the righteous” [Bengel]. Tertullian contrasts the early Christians and the heathen: these delighted in the bloody gladiatorial spectacles of the amphitheater, whereas a Christian was excommunicated if he went to it at all. No Christian was found in prison for crime, but only for the faith. The heathen excluded slaves from some of their religious services, whereas Christians had some of their presbyters of the class of slaves. Slavery silently and gradually disappeared by the power of the Christian law of love, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” When the pagans deserted their nearest relatives in a plague, Christians ministered to the sick and dying. When the Gentiles left their dead unburied after a battle and cast their wounded into the streets, the disciples hastened to relieve the suffering.
glorify–forming a high estimate of the God whom Christians worship, from the exemplary conduct of Christians themselves. We must do good, not with a view to our own glory, but to the glory of God.
the day of visitation–of God’s grace; when God shall visit them in mercy.
13. every ordinance of man–“every human institution” [Alford], literally, “every human creation.” For though of divine appointment, yet in the mode of nomination and in the exercise of their authority, earthly governors are but human institutions, being of men, and in relation to men. The apostle speaks as one raised above all human things. But lest they should think themselves so ennobled by faith as to be raised above subordination to human authorities, he tells them to submit themselves for the sake of Christ, who desires you to be subject, and who once was subject to earthly rulers Himself, though having all things subject to Him, and whose honor is at stake in you as His earthly representatives. Compare Ro 13:5, “Be subject for conscience’ sake.”
king–The Roman emperor was “supreme” in the Roman provinces to which this Epistle was addressed. The Jewish zealots refused obedience. The distinction between “the king as supreme” and “governors sent by him” implies that “if the king command one thing, and the subordinate magistrate another, we ought rather to obey the superior” [Augustine in Grotius]. Scripture prescribes nothing upon the form of government, but simply subjects Christians to that everywhere subsisting, without entering into the question of the right of the rulers (thus the Roman emperors had by force seized supreme authority, and Rome had, by unjustifiable means, made herself mistress of Asia), because the de facto governors have not been made by chance, but by the providence of God.
14. governors–subordinate to the emperor, “sent,” or delegated by Cæsar to preside over the provinces.
for the punishment–No tyranny ever has been so unprincipled as that some appearance of equity was not maintained in it; however corrupt a government be, God never suffers it to be so much so as not to be better than anarchy [Calvin]. Although bad kings often oppress the good, yet that is scarcely ever done by public authority (and it is of what is done by public authority that Peter speaks), save under the mask of right. Tyranny harasses many, but anarchy overwhelms the whole state [Horneius]. The only justifiable exception is in cases where obedience to the earthly king plainly involves disobedience to the express command of the King of kings.
praise of them that do well–Every government recognizes the excellence of truly Christian subjects. Thus Pliny, in his letter to the Emperor Trajan, acknowledges, “I have found in them nothing else save a perverse and extravagant superstition.” The recognition in the long run mitigates persecution (1Pe 3:13).
15. Ground of his directing them to submit themselves (1Pe 2:13).
put to silence–literally, “to muzzle,” “to stop the mouth.”
ignorance–spiritual not having “the knowledge of God,” and therefore ignorant of the children of God, and misconstruing their acts; influenced by mere appearances, and ever ready to open their mouths, rather than their eyes and ears. Their ignorance should move the believer’s pity, not his anger. They judge of things which they are incapable of judging through unbelief (compare 1Pe 2:12). Maintain such a walk that they shall have no charge against you, except touching your faith; and so their minds shall be favorably disposed towards Christianity.
16. As free–as “the Lord’s freemen,” connected with 1Pe 2:15, doing well as being free. “Well-doing” (1Pe 2:15) is the natural fruit of being freemen of Christ, made free by “the truth” from the bondage of sin. Duty is enforced on us to guard against licentiousness, but the way in which it is to be fulfilled, is by love and the holy instincts of Christian liberty. We are given principles, not details.
not using–Greek, “not as having your liberty for a veil (cloak) of badness, but as the servants of God,” and therefore bound to submit to every ordinance of man (1Pe 2:13) which is of God’s appointment.
17. Honour all men–according to whatever honor is due in each case. Equals have a respect due to them. Christ has dignified our humanity by assuming it; therefore we should not dishonor, but be considerate to and honor our common humanity, even in the very humblest. The first “honor” is in the Greek aorist imperative, implying, “In every case render promptly every man’s due” [Alford]. The second is in the present tense, implying, Habitually and continually honor the king. Thus the first is the general precept; the three following are its three great divisions.
Love–present: Habitually love with the special and congenial affection that you ought to feel to brethren, besides the general love to all men.
Fear God … the king–The king is to be honored; but God alone, in the highest sense, feared.
18. Servants–Greek, “household servants”: not here the Greek for “slaves.” Probably including freedmen still remaining in their master’s house. Masters were not commonly Christians: he therefore mentions only the duties of the servants. These were then often persecuted by their unbelieving masters. Peter’s special object seems to be to teach them submission, whatever the character of the masters might be. Paul not having this as his prominent design, includes masters in his monitions.
be subject–Greek, “being subject”: the participle expresses a particular instance of the general exhortation to good conduct, 1Pe 2:11, 12, of which the first particular precept is given 1Pe 2:13, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.” The general exhortation is taken up again in 1Pe 2:16; and so the participle 1Pe 2:18, “being subject,” is joined to the hortatory imperatives going before, namely, “abstain,” “submit yourselves.” “honor all men.”
all–all possible: under all circumstances, such as are presently detailed.
fear–the awe of one subject: God, however, is the ultimate object of the “fear”: fear “for the Lord’s sake” (1Pe 2:13), not merely slavish fear of masters.
gentle–indulgent towards errors: considerate: yielding, not exacting all which justice might demand.
froward–perverse: harsh. Those bound to obey must not make the disposition and behavior of the superior the measure of the fulfilment of their obligations.
19. Reason for subjection even to froward masters.
thankworthy–(Lu 6:33). A course out of the common, and especially praiseworthy in the eyes of God: not as Rome interprets, earning merit, and so a work of supererogation (compare 1Pe 2:20).
for conscience toward God–literally, “consciousness of God”: from a conscientious regard to God, more than to men.
endure–Greek, “patiently bear up under”: as a superimposed burden [Alford].
20. what–Greek, “what kind of.”
glory–what peculiar merit.
buffeted–the punishment of slaves, and suddenly inflicted [Bengel].
this is–Some oldest manuscripts read, “for.” Then the translation is, “But if when … ye take it patiently (it is a glory), for this is acceptable.”
acceptable–Greek, “thankworthy,” as in 1Pe 2:19.
21. Christ’s example a proof that patient endurance under undeserved sufferings is acceptable with God.
hereunto–to the patient endurance of unmerited suffering (1Pe 3:9). Christ is an example to servants, even as He was once in “the form of a servant.”
called–with a heavenly calling, though slaves.
for us–His dying for us is the highest exemplification of “doing well” (1Pe 2:20). Ye must patiently suffer, being innocent, as Christ also innocently suffered (not for Himself, but for us). The oldest manuscripts for “us … us,” read, “you … for you.” Christ’s sufferings, while they are for an example, were also primarily sufferings “for us,” a consideration which imposes an everlasting obligation on us to please Him.
leaving–behind: so the Greek: on His departure to the Father, to His glory.
an example–Greek, “a copy,” literally, “a writing copy” set by masters for their pupils. Christ’s precepts and sermons were the transcript of His life. Peter graphically sets before servants those features especially suited to their case.
follow–close upon: so the Greek.
his steps–footsteps, namely, of His patience combined with innocence.
22. Illustrating Christ’s well-doing (1Pe 2:20) though suffering.
did–Greek aorist. “Never in a single instance did” [Alford]. Quoted from Isa 53:9, end, Septuagint.
neither–nor yet: not even [Alford]. Sinlessness as to the mouth is a mark of perfection. Guile is a common fault of servants. “If any boast of his innocency, Christ surely did not suffer as an evildoer” [Calvin], yet He took it patiently (1Pe 2:20). On Christ’s sinlessness, compare 2Co 5:21; Heb 7:26.
23. Servants are apt to “answer again” (Tit 2:9). Threats of divine judgment against oppressors are often used by those who have no other arms, as for instance, slaves. Christ, who as Lord could have threatened with truth, never did so.
committed himself–or His cause, as man in His suffering. Compare the type, Jer 11:20. In this Peter seems to have before his mind Isa 53:8. Compare Ro 12:19, on our corresponding duty. Leave your case in His hands, not desiring to make Him executioner of your revenge, but rather praying for enemies. God’s righteous judgment gives tranquillity and consolation to the oppressed.
24. his own self–there being none other but Himself who could have done it. His voluntary undertaking of the work of redemption is implied. The Greek puts in antithetical juxtaposition, OUR, and His OWN SELF, to mark the idea of His substitution for us. His “well-doing” in His sufferings is set forth here as an example to servants and to us all (1Pe 2:20).
bare–to sacrifice: carried and offered up: a sacrificial term. Isa 53:11, 12, “He bare the sin of many”: where the idea of bearing on Himself is the prominent one; here the offering in sacrifice is combined with that idea. So the same Greek means in 1Pe 2:5.
our sins–In offering or presenting in sacrifice (as the Greek for “bare” implies) His body, Christ offered in it the guilt of our sins upon the cross, as upon the altar of God, that it might be expiated in Him, and so taken away from us. Compare Isa 53:10, “Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” Peter thus means by “bare” what the Syriac takes two words to express, to bear and to offer: (1) He hath borne our sins laid upon Him [namely, their guilt, curse, and punishment]; (2) He hath so borne them that He offered them along with Himself on the altar. He refers to the animals upon which sins were first laid, and which were then offered thus laden [Vitringa]. Sin or guilt among the Semitic nations is considered as a burden lying heavily upon the sinner [Gesenius].
on the tree–the cross, the proper place for One on whom the curse was laid: this curse stuck to Him until it was legally (through His death as the guilt-bearer) destroyed in His body: thus the handwriting of the bond against us is cancelled by His death.
that we being dead to sins–the effect of His death to “sin” in the aggregate, and to all particular “sins,” namely, that we should be as entirely delivered from them, as a slave that is dead is delivered from service to his master. This is our spiritful standing through faith by virtue of Christ’s death: our actual mortification of particular sins is in proportion to the degree of our effectually being made conformable to His death. “That we should die to the sins whose collected guilt Christ carried away in His death, and so LIVE TO THE RIGHTEOUSNESS (compare Isa 53:11. ‘My righteous servant shall justify many’), the gracious relation to God which He has brought in” [Steiger].
by whose stripes–Greek, “stripe.”
ye were healed–a paradox, yet true. “Ye servants (compare ‘buffeted,’ ‘the tree,’ 1Pe 2:20, 24) often bear the strife; but it is not more than your Lord Himself bore; learn from Him patience in wrongful sufferings.
25. (Isa 53:6.)
For–Assigning their natural need of healing (1Pe 2:24).
now–Now that the atonement for all has been made, the foundation is laid for individual conversion: so “ye are returned,” or “have become converted to,” &c.
Shepherd and Bishop–The designation of the pastors and elders of the Church belongs in its fullest sense to the great Head of the Church, “the good Shepherd.” As the “bishop” oversees (as the Greek term means), so “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous” (1Pe 3:12). He gives us His spirit and feeds and guides us by His word. “Shepherd,” Hebrew, “Parnas,” is often applied to kings, and enters into the composition of names, as “Pharnabazus.”
1Pe 3:1-22. Relative Duties of Husbands and Wives: Exhortations to Love and Forbearance: Right Conduct under Persecutions for Righteousness’ Sake, after Christ’s Example, Whose Death Resulted in Quickening to Us through His Being Quickened Again, of Which Baptism Is the Sacramental Seal.
1. Likewise–Greek, “In like manner,” as “servants” in their sphere; compare the reason of the woman’s subjection, 1Co 11:8-10; 1Ti 2:11-14.
your own–enforcing the obligation: it is not strangers ye are required to be subject to. Every time that obedience is enjoined upon women to their husbands, the Greek, “idios,” “one’s own peculiarly,” is used, while the wives of men are designated only by heauton, “of themselves.” Feeling the need of leaning on one stronger than herself, the wife (especially if joined to an unbeliever) might be tempted, though only spiritually, to enter into that relation with another in which she ought to stand to “her own spouse (1Co 14:34, 35, “Let them ask their own [idious] husbands at home”); an attachment to the person of the teacher might thus spring up, which, without being in the common sense spiritual adultery, would still weaken in its spiritual basis the married relation [Steiger].
that, if–Greek, “that even if.” Even if you have a husband that obeys not the word (that is, is an unbeliever).
without the word–independently of hearing the word preached, the usual way of faith coming. But Bengel, “without word,” that is, without direct Gospel discourse of the wives, “they may (literally, in oldest manuscripts, ‘shall,’ which marks the almost objective certainty of the result) be won” indirectly. “Unspoken acting is more powerful than unperformed speaking” [OECUMENIUS]. “A soul converted is gained to itself, to the pastor, wife, or husband, who sought it, and to Jesus Christ; added to His treasury who thought not His own precious blood too dear to lay out for this gain” [Leighton]. “The discreet wife would choose first of all to persuade her husband to share with her in the things which lead to blessedness; but if this be impossible, let her then alone diligently press after virtue, in all things obeying him so as to do nothing at any time against his will, except in such things as are essential to virtue and salvation” [Clement of Alexandria].
2. behold–on narrowly looking into it, literally, “having closely observed.”
chaste–pure, spotless, free from all impurity.
fear–reverential, towards your husbands. Scrupulously pure, as opposed to the noisy, ambitious character of worldly women.
3. Literally, “To whom let there belong (namely, as their peculiar ornament) not the outward adornment (usual in the sex which first, by the fall, brought in the need of covering, Note, see on 1Pe 5:5) of,” &c.
plaiting–artificial braiding, in order to attract admiration.
wearing–literally, “putting round,” namely, the head, as a diadem–the arm, as a bracelet–the finger, as rings.
apparel–showy and costly. “Have the blush of modesty on thy face instead of paint, and moral worth and discretion instead of gold and emeralds” [Melissa].
4. But–“Rather.” The “outward adornment” of jewelry, &c., is forbidden, in so far as woman loves such things, not in so far as she uses them from a sense of propriety, and does not abuse them. Singularity mostly comes from pride and throws needless hindrances to religion in the way of others. Under costly attire there may be a humble mind. “Great is he who uses his earthenware as if it were plate; not less great is he who uses his silver as if it were earthenware” [Seneca in Alford].
hidden–inner man, which the Christian instinctively hides from public view.
of the heart–consisting in the heart regenerated and adorned by the Spirit. This “inner man of the heart” is the subject of the verb “be,” 1Pe 3:3, Greek: “Of whom let the inner man be,” namely, the distinction or adornment.
in that–consisting or standing in that as its element.
not corruptible–not transitory, nor tainted with corruption, as all earthly adornments.
meek and quiet–meek, not creating disturbances: quiet, bearing with tranquillity the disturbances caused by others. Meek in affections and feelings; quiet in words, countenance, and actions [Bengel].
in the sight of God–who looks to inward, not merely outward things.
of great price–The results of redemption should correspond to its costly price (1Pe 1:19).
5. after this manner–with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (compare the portrait of the godly wife, Pr 31:10-31).
trusted–Greek, “hoped.” “Holy” is explained by “hoped in (so as to be ‘united to,’ Greek) God.” Hope in God is the spring of true holiness [Bengel].
in subjection–Their ornament consisted in their subordination. Vanity was forbidden (1Pe 3:3) as being contrary to female subjection.
6. Sara–an example of faith.
calling him lord–(Ge 18:12).
ye are–Greek, “ye have become”: “children” of Abraham and Sara by faith, whereas ye were Gentile aliens from the covenant.
afraid with any amazement–Greek, “fluttering alarm,” “consternation.” Act well, and be not thrown into sudden panic, as weak females are apt to be, by any opposition from without. Bengel translates, “Not afraid OF any fluttering terror coming from without” (1Pe 3:13-16). So the Septuagint, Pr 3:25 uses the same Greek word, which Peter probably refers to. Anger assails men; fear, women. You need fear no man in doing what is right: not thrown into fluttering agitation by any sudden outbreak of temper on the part of your unbelieving husbands, while you do well.
7. dwell–Greek, “dwelling”: connected with the verb, 1Pe 2:17, “Honor all.”
knowledge–Christian knowledge: appreciating the due relation of the sexes in the design of God, and acting with tenderness and forbearance accordingly: wisely: with wise consideration.
them … giving honour to the wife–translate and punctuate the Greek rather, “dwelling according to knowledge with the female (Greek adjective, qualifying ‘vessel’; not as English Version, a noun) as with the weaker vessel (see on 1Th 4:4. Both husband and wife are vessels in God’s hand, and of God’s making, to fulfil His gracious purposes. Both weak, the woman the weaker. The sense of his own weakness, and that she, like himself, is God’s vessel and fabric, ought to lead him to act with tender and wise consideration towards her who is the weaker fabric), giving (literally, ‘assigning,’ ‘apportioning’) honor as being also (besides being man and wife) heirs together,” &c.; or, as the Vatican manuscript reads, as to those who are also (besides being your wives) fellow heirs.” (The reason why the man should give honor to the woman is, because God gives honor to both as fellow heirs; compare the same argument, 1Pe 3:9). He does not take into account the case of an unbelieving wife, as she might yet believe.
grace of life–God’s gracious gift of life (1Pe 1:4, 13).
that your prayers be not hindered–by dissensions, which prevent united prayer, on which depends the blessing.
8. General summary of relative duty, after having detailed particular duties from 1Pe 2:18.
of one mind–as to the faith.
having compassion one of another–Greek, “sympathizing” in the joy and sorrow of others.
love as brethren–Greek, “loving the brethren.”
pitiful–towards the afflicted.
courteous–genuine Christian politeness; not the tinsel of the world’s politeness; stamped with unfeigned love on one side, and humility on the other. But the oldest manuscripts read, “humble-minded.” It is slightly different from “humble,” in that it marks a conscious effort to be truly humble.
9. evil–in deed.
blessing–your revilers; participle, not a noun after “rendering.”
knowing that–The oldest manuscripts read merely, “because.”
are–Greek, “were called.”
inherit a blessing–not only passive, but also active; receiving spiritual blessing from God by faith, and in your turn blessing others from love [Gerhard in Alford]. “It is not in order to inherit a blessing that we must bless, but because our portion is blessing.” No railing can injure you (1Pe 3:13). Imitate God who “blesses” you. The first fruits of His blessing for eternity are enjoyed by the righteous even now (1Pe 3:10) [Bengel].
10. will love–Greek, “wishes to love.” He who loves life (present and eternal), and desires to continue to do so, not involving himself in troubles which will make this life a burden, and cause him to forfeit eternal life. Peter confirms his exhortation, 1Pe 3:9, by Ps 34:12-16.
refrain–curb, literally, “cause to cease”; implying that our natural inclination and custom is to speak evil. “Men commonly think that they would be exposed to the wantonness of their enemies if they did not strenuously vindicate their rights. But the Spirit promises a life of blessedness to none but those who are gentle and patient of evils” [Calvin].
evil … guile–First he warns against sins of the tongue, evil-speaking, and deceitful, double-tongued speaking; next, against acts of injury to one’s neighbor.
11. In oldest manuscripts, Greek, “Moreover (besides his words, in acts), let him.”
ensue–pursue as a thing hard to attain, and that flees from one in this troublesome world.
12. Ground of the promised present and eternal life of blessedness to the meek (1Pe 3:10). The Lord’s eyes are ever over them for good.
ears … unto their prayers–(1Jo 5:14, 15).
face … against–The eyes imply favorable regard; the face of the Lord upon (not as English Version, “against”) them that do evil, implies that He narrowly observes them, so as not to let them really and lastingly hurt His people (compare 1Pe 3:13).
13. who … will harm you–This fearless confidence in God’s protection from harm, Christ, the Head, in His sufferings realized; so His members.
if ye be–Greek, “if ye have become.”
followers–The oldest manuscripts read “emulous,” “zealous of” (Tit 2:14).
good–The contrast in Greek is, “Who will do you evil, if ye be zealous of good?”
14. But and if–“But if even.” “The promises of this life extend only so far as it is expedient for us that they should be fulfilled” [Calvin]. So he proceeds to state the exceptions to the promise (1Pe 3:10), and how the truly wise will behave in such exceptional cases. “If ye should suffer”; if it should so happen; “suffer,” a milder word than harm.
for righteousness–“not the suffering, but the cause for which one suffers, makes the martyr” [Augustine].
happy–Not even can suffering take away your blessedness, but rather promotes it.
and–Greek, “but.” Do not impair your blessing (1Pe 3:9) by fearing man’s terror in your times of adversity. Literally, “Be not terrified with their terror,” that is, with that which they try to strike into you, and which strikes themselves when in adversity. This verse and 1Pe 3:15 is quoted from Isa 8:12, 13. God alone is to be feared; he that fears God has none else to fear.
neither be troubled–the threat of the law, Le 26:36; De 28:65, 66; in contrast to which the Gospel gives the believer a heart assured of God’s favor, and therefore unruffled, amidst all adversities. Not only be not afraid, but be not even agitated.
15. sanctify–hallow; honor as holy, enshrining Him in your hearts. So in the Lord’s Prayer, Mt 6:9. God’s holiness is thus glorified in our hearts as the dwelling-place of His Spirit.
the Lord God–The oldest manuscripts read “Christ.” Translate, “Sanctify Christ as Lord.”
and–Greek, “but,” or “moreover.” Besides this inward sanctification of God in the heart, be also ready always to give, &c.
answer–an apologetic answer defending your faith.
to every man that asketh you–The last words limit the universality of the “always”; not to a roller, but to everyone among the heathen who inquires honestly.
a reason–a reasonable account. This refutes Rome’s dogma, “I believe it, because the Church believes it.” Credulity is believing without evidence; faith is believing on evidence. There is no repose for reason itself but in faith. This verse does not impose an obligation to bring forward a learned proof and logical defense of revelation. But as believers deny themselves, crucify the world, and brave persecution, they must be buoyed up by some strong “hope”; men of the world, having no such hope themselves, are moved by curiosity to ask the secret of this hope; the believer must be ready to give an experimental account “how this hope arose in him, what it contains, and on what it rests” [Steiger].
with–The oldest manuscripts read, “but with.” Be ready, but with “meekness.” Not pertly and arrogantly.
meekness–(1Pe 3:4). The most effective way; not self-sufficient impetuosity.
fear–due respect towards man, and reverence towards God, remembering His cause does not need man’s hot temper to uphold it.
16. Having a good conscience–the secret spring of readiness to give account of our hope. So hope and good conscience go together in Ac 24:15, 16. Profession without practice has no weight. But those who have a good conscience can afford to give an account of their hope “with meekness.”
they speak evil of you, as of evildoers–One oldest manuscript reads, “ye are spoken against,” omitting the rest.
falsely accuse–“calumniate”; the Greek expresses malice shown in deeds as well as in words. It is translated, “despitefully use,” Mt 5:44; Lu 6:28.
in Christ–who is the very element of your life as Christians. “In Christ” defines “good.” It is your good walk as Christians, not as citizens, that calls forth malice (1Pe 4:4, 5, 14).
17. better–One may object, I would not bear it so ill if I had deserved it. Peter replies, it is better that you did not deserve it, in order that doing well and yet being spoken against, you may prove yourself a true Christian [Gerhard].
if the will of God be so–rather as the optative is in the oldest manuscripts, “if the will of God should will it so.” Those who honor God’s will as their highest law (1Pe 2:15) have the comfort to know that suffering is God’s appointment (1Pe 4:19). So Christ Himself; our inclination does not wish it.
18. Confirmation of 1Pe 3:17, by the glorious results of Christ’s suffering innocently.
For–“Because.” That is “better,” 1Pe 3:17, means of which we are rendered more like to Christ in death and in life; for His death brought the best issue to Himself and to us [Bengel].
Christ–the Anointed Holy One of God; the Holy suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust.
also–as well as yourselves (1Pe 3:17). Compare 1Pe 2:21; there His suffering was brought forward as an example to us; here, as a proof of the blessedness of suffering for well-doing.
once–for all; never again to suffer. It is “better” for us also once to suffer with Christ, than for ever without Christ We now are suffering our “once”; it will soon be a thing of the past; a bright consolation to the tried.
for sins–as though He had Himself committed them. He exposed Himself to death by His “confession,” even as we are called on to “give an answer to him that asketh a reason of our hope.” This was “well-doing” in its highest manifestation. As He suffered, “The Just,” so we ought willingly to suffer, for righteousness’ sake (1Pe 3:14; compare 1Pe 3:12, 17).
that he might bring us to God–together with Himself in His ascension to the right hand of God (1Pe 3:22). He brings us, “the unjust,” justified together with Him into heaven. So the result of Christ’s death is His drawing men to Him; spiritually now, in our having access into the Holiest, opened by Christ’s ascension; literally hereafter. “Bring us,” moreover, by the same steps of humiliation and exaltation through which He Himself passed. The several steps of Christ’s progress from lowliness to glory are trodden over again by His people in virtue of their oneness with Him (1Pe 4:1-3). “To God,” is Greek dative (not the preposition and case), implying that God wishes it [Bengel].
put to death–the means of His bringing us to God.
in the flesh–that is, in respect to the life of flesh and blood.
quickened by the Spirit–The oldest manuscripts omit the Greek article. Translate with the preposition “in,” as the antithesis to the previous “in the flesh” requires, “IN spirit,” that is, in respect to His Spirit. “Put to death” in the former mode of life; “quickened” in the other. Not that His Spirit ever died and was quickened, or made alive again, but whereas He had lived after the manner of mortal men in the flesh, He began to live a spiritual “resurrection” (1Pe 3:21) life, whereby He has the power to bring us to God. Two ways of explaining 1Pe 3:18, 19, are open to us: (1) “Quickened in Spirit,” that is, immediately on His release from the “flesh,” the energy of His undying spirit-life was “quickened” by God the Father, into new modes of action, namely, “in the Spirit He went down (as subsequently He went up to heaven, 1Pe 3:22, the same Greek verb) and heralded [not salvation, as Alford, contrary to Scripture, which everywhere represents man’s state, whether saved or lost, after death irreversible. Nor is any mention made of the conversion of the spirits in prison. See on 1Pe 3:20. Nor is the phrase here ‘preached the Gospel’ (evangelizo), but ‘heralded’ (ekeruxe) or ‘preached’; but simply made the announcement of His finished work; so the same Greek in Mr 1:45, ‘publish,’ confirming Enoch and Noah’s testimony, and thereby declaring the virtual condemnation of their unbelief, and the salvation of Noah and believers; a sample of the similar opposite effects of the same work on all unbelievers, and believers, respectively; also a consolation to those whom Peter addresses, in their sufferings at the hands of unbelievers; specially selected for the sake of ‘baptism,’ its ‘antitype’ (1Pe 3:21), which, as a seal, marks believers as separated from the rest of the doomed world] to the spirits (His Spirit speaking to the spirits) in prison (in Hades or Sheol, awaiting the judgment, 2Pe 2:4), which were of old disobedient when,” &c. (2) The strongest point in favor of (1) is the position of “sometime,” that is, of old, connected with “disobedient”; whereas if the preaching or announcing were a thing long past, we should expect “sometime,” or of old, to be joined to “went and preached.” But this transposition may express that their disobedience preceded His preaching. The Greek participle expresses the reason of His preaching, “inasmuch as they were sometime disobedient” (compare 1Pe 4:6). Also “went” seems to mean a personal going, as in 1Pe 3:22, not merely in spirit. But see the answer below. The objections are “quickened” must refer to Christ’s body (compare 1Pe 3:21, end), for as His Spirit never ceased to live, it cannot be said to be “quickened.” Compare Joh 5:21; Ro 8:11, and other passages, where “quicken” is used of the bodily resurrection. Also, not His Spirit, but His soul, went to Hades. His Spirit was commended by Him at death to His Father, and was thereupon “in Paradise.” The theory–(1) would thus require that His descent to the spirits in prison should be after His resurrection! Compare Eph 4:9, 10, which makes the descent precede the ascent. Also Scripture elsewhere is silent about such a heralding, though possibly Christ’s death had immediate effects on the state of both the godly and the ungodly in Hades: the souls of the godly heretofore in comparative confinement, perhaps then having been, as some Fathers thought, translated to God’s immediate and heavenly presence; but this cannot be proved from Scripture. Compare however, Joh 3:13; Col 1:18. Prison is always used in a bad sense in Scripture. “Paradise” and “Abraham’s bosom,” the abode of good spirits in Old Testament times, are separated by a wide gulf from Hell or Hades, and cannot be called “prison.” Compare 2Co 12:2, 4, where “paradise” and the “third heaven” correspond. Also, why should the antediluvian unbelievers in particular be selected as the objects of His preaching in Hades? Therefore explain: “Quickened in spirit, in which (as distinguished from in person; the words “in which,” that is, in spirit, expressly obviating the objection that “went” implies a personal going) He went (in the person of Noah, “a preacher of righteousness,” 2Pe 2:5: Alford’s own Note, Eph 2:17, is the best reply to his argument from “went” that a local going to Hades in person is meant. As “He CAME and preached peace” by His Spirit in the apostles and ministers after His death and ascension: so before His incarnation He preached in Spirit through Noah to the antediluvians, Joh 14:18, 28; Ac 26:23. “Christ should show,” literally, “announce light to the Gentiles”) and preached unto the spirits in prison, that is, the antediluvians, whose bodies indeed seemed free, but their spirits were in prison, shut up in the earth as one great condemned cell (exactly parallel to Isa 24:22, 23 “upon the earth … they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison,” &c. [just as the fallen angels are judicially regarded as “in chains of darkness,” though for a time now at large on the earth, 1Pe 2:4], where 1Pe 3:18 has a plain allusion to the flood, “the windows from on high are open,” compare Ge 7:11); from this prison the only way of escape was that preached by Christ in Noah. Christ, who in our times came in the flesh, in the days of Noah preached in Spirit by Noah to the spirits then in prison (Isa 61:1, end, “the Spirit of the Lord God hath sent me to proclaim the opening of the prison to them that are bound”). So in 1Pe 1:11, “the Spirit of Christ” is said to have testified in the prophets. As Christ suffered even to death by enemies, and was afterwards quickened in virtue of His “Spirit” (or divine nature, Ro 1:3, 4; 1Co 15:45), which henceforth acted in its full energy, the first result of which was the raising of His body (1Pe 3:21, end) from the prison of the grave and His soul from Hades; so the same Spirit of Christ enabled Noah, amidst reproach and trials, to preach to the disobedient spirits fast bound in wrath. That Spirit in you can enable you also to suffer patiently now, looking for the resurrection deliverance.
20. once–not in the oldest manuscripts.
when … the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah–Oldest manuscripts. Greek, “was continuing to wait on” (if haply men in the hundred twenty years of grace would repent) until the end of His waiting came in their death by the flood. This refutes Alford’s idea of a second day of grace having been given in Hades. Noah’s days are selected, as the ark and the destroying flood answer respectively to “baptism” and the coming destruction of unbelievers by fire.
while the ark was a-preparing–(Heb 11:7). A long period of God’s “long-suffering and waiting,” as Noah had few to help him, which rendered the world’s unbelief the more inexcusable.
wherein–literally, “(by having entered) into which.”
eight–seven (the sacred number) with ungodly Ham.
souls–As this term is here used of living persons, why should not “spirits” also? Noah preached to their ears, but Christ in spirit, to their spirits, or spiritual natures.
saved by water–The same water which drowned the unbelieving, buoyed up the ark in which the eight were saved. Not as some translate, “were brought safe through the water.” However, the sense of the preposition may be as in 1Co 3:15, “they were safely preserved through the water,” though having to be in the water.
21. whereunto–The oldest manuscripts read, “which”: literally, “which (namely, water, in general; being) the antitype (of the water of the flood) is now saving (the salvation being not yet fully realized by us, compare 1Co 10:1, 2, 5; Jude 5; puts into a state of salvation) us also (two oldest manuscripts read ‘you’ for ‘us’: You also, as well as Noah and his party), to wit, baptism.” Water saved Noah not of itself, but by sustaining the ark built in faith, resting on God’s word: it was to him the sign and mean of a kind of regeneration, of the earth. The flood was for Noah a baptism, as the passage through the Red Sea was for the Israelites; by baptism in the flood he and his family were transferred from the old world to the new: from immediate destruction to lengthened probation; from the companionship of the wicked to communion with God; from the severing of all bonds between the creature and the Creator to the privileges of the covenant: so we by spiritual baptism. As there was a Ham who forfeited the privileges of the covenant, so many now. The antitypical water, namely, baptism, saves you also not of itself, nor the mere material water, but the spiritual thing conjoined with it, repentance and faith, of which it is the sign and seal, as Peter proceeds to explain. Compare the union of the sign and thing signified, Joh 3:5; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5; Heb 10:22; compare 1Jo 5:6.
not the, &c.–“flesh” bears the emphasis. “Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh” (as is done by a mere water baptism, unaccompanied with the Spirit’s baptism, compare Eph 2:11), but of the soul. It is the ark (Christ and His Spirit-filled Church), not the water, which is the instrument of salvation: the water only flowed round the ark; so not the mere water baptism, but the water when accompanied with the Spirit.
answer–Greek, “interrogation”; referring to the questions asked of candidates for baptism; eliciting a confession of faith “toward God” and a renunciation of Satan ([Augustine, The Creed, 4.1]; [Cyprian, Epistles, 7, To Rogatianus]), which, when flowing from “a good conscience,” assure one of being “saved.” Literally, “a good conscience’s interrogation (including the satisfactory answer) toward God.” I prefer this to the translation of Wahl, Alford and others, “inquiry of a good conscience after God”: not one of the parallels alleged, not even 2Sa 11:7, in the Septuagint, is strictly in point. Recent Byzantine Greek idiom (whereby the term meant: (1) the question; (2) the stipulation; (3) the engagement), easily flowing from the usage of the word as Peter has it, confirms the former translation.
by the resurrection of Jesus–joined with “saves you”: In so far as baptism applies to us the power of Christ’s resurrection. As Christ’s death unto sin is the source of the believer’s death unto, and so deliverance from, sin’s penalty and power; so His resurrection life is the source of the believer’s new spiritual life.
22. (Ps 110:1; Ro 8:34, 38; 1Co 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; Col 1:16; 2:10-15). The fruit of His patience in His voluntary endured and undeserved sufferings: a pattern to us, 1Pe 3:17, 18.
gone–(Lu 24:51). Proving against rationalists an actual material ascension. Literally, “is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven.” The oldest manuscripts of the Vulgate and the Latin Fathers, add what expresses the benefit to us of Christ’s sitting on God’s right hand, “Who is on the right hand of God, having swallowed up death that we may become heirs of everlasting life”; involving for us A STATE OF LIFE, saved, glorious, and eternal. The Greek manuscripts, however, reject the words. Compare with this verse Peter’s speeches, Ac 2:32-35; 3:21, 26; 10:40, 42.
1Pe 4:1-19. Like the Risen Christ, Believers Henceforth Ought to Have No More to Do with Sin.
As the end is near, cultivate self-restraint, watchful prayerfulness, charity, hospitality, scriptural speech, ministering to one another according to your several gifts to the glory of God: Rejoicing patience under suffering.
1. for us–supported by some oldest manuscripts and versions, omitted by others.
in the flesh–in His mortal body of humiliation.
arm–(Eph 6:11, 13).
the same mind–of suffering with patient willingness what God wills you to suffer.
he that hath suffered–for instance, Christ first, and in His person the believer: a general proposition.
hath ceased–literally, “has been made to cease,” has obtained by the very fact of His having suffered once for all, a cessation from sin, which had heretofore lain on Him (Ro 6:6-11, especially, 1Pe 4:7). The Christian is by faith one with Christ: as then Christ by death is judicially freed from sin; so the Christian who has in the person of Christ died, has no more to do with it judicially, and ought to have no more to do with it actually. “The flesh” is the sphere in which sin has place.
2. That he, &c.–“That he (the believer, who has once for all obtained cessation from sin by suffering, in the person of Christ, namely, in virtue of his union with the crucified Christ) should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” as his rule. “Rest of his time in the flesh” (the Greek has the preposition “in” here, not in 1Pe 4:1 as to Christ) proves that the reference is here not to Christ, but to the believer, whose remaining time for glorifying God is short (1Pe 4:3). “Live” in the truest sense, for heretofore he was dead. Not as Alford, “Arm yourselves … with a view no longer to live the rest of your time.”
3. may suffice–Greek, “is sufficient.” Peter takes the lowest ground: for not even the past time ought to have been wasted in lust; but since you cannot recall it, at least lay out the future to better account.
us–omitted in oldest manuscripts.
wrought–Greek, “wrought out.”
Gentiles–heathen: which many of you were.
when, &c.–“walking as ye have done [Alford] in lasciviousness”; the Greek means petulant, immodest, wantonness, unbridled conduct: not so much filthy lust.
excess of wine–“wine-bibbings” [Alford].
abominable–“nefarious,” “lawless idolatries,” violating God’s most sacred law; not that all Peter’s readers (see on 1Pe 1:1) walked in these, but many, namely, the Gentile portion of them.
4. Wherein–In respect to which abandonment of your former walk (1Pe 4:3).
run not with them–eagerly, in troops [Bengel].
excess–literally, “profusion”; a sink: stagnant water remaining after an inundation.
speaking evil–charging you with pride, singularity, hypocrisy, and secret crimes (1Pe 4:14; 2Pe 2:2). However, there is no “of you” in the Greek, but simply “blaspheming.” It seems to me always to be used, either directly or indirectly, in the sense of impious reviling against God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit, and the Christian religion, not merely against men as such; Greek, 1Pe 4:14, below.
5. They who now call you to account falsely, shall have to give account themselves for this very evil-speaking (Jude 15), and be condemned justly.
ready–very speedily (1Pe 4:7; 2Pe 3:10). Christ’s coming is to the believer always near.
6. For–giving the reason for 1Pe 4:5, “judge the dead.”
gospel preached also to … dead–as well as to them now living, and to them that shall be found alive at the coming of the Judge. “Dead” must be taken in the same literal sense as in 1Pe 4:5, which refutes the explanation “dead” in sins. Moreover, the absence of the Greek article does not necessarily restrict the sense of “dead” to particular dead persons, for there is no Greek article in 1Pe 4:5 also, where “the dead” is universal in meaning. The sense seems to be, Peter, as representing the true attitude of the Church in every age, expecting Christ at any moment, says, The Judge is ready to judge the quick and dead–the dead, I say, for they, too, in their lifetime, have had the Gospel preached to them, that so they might be judged at last in the same way as those living now (and those who shall be so when Christ shall come), namely, “men in the flesh,” and that they might, having escaped condemnation by embracing the Gospel so preached, live unto God in the spirit (though death has passed over their flesh), Lu 20:38, thus being made like Christ in death and in life (see on 1Pe 3:18). He says, “live,” not “made alive” or quickened; for they are supposed to have been already “quickened together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). This verse is parallel to 1Pe 3:18; compare Note, see on 1Pe 3:18. The Gospel, substantially, was “preached” to the Old Testament Church; though not so fully as to the New Testament Church. It is no valid objection that the Gospel has not been preached to all that shall be found dead at Christ’s coming. For Peter is plainly referring only to those within reach of the Gospel, or who might have known God through His ministers in Old and New Testament times. Peter, like Paul, argues that those found living at Christ’s coming shall have no advantage above the dead who shall then be raised, inasmuch as the latter live unto, or “according to,” God, even already in His purpose. Alford’s explanation is wrong, “that they might be judged according to men as regards the flesh,” that is, be in the state of the completed sentence on sin, which is death after the flesh. For “judged” cannot have a different meaning in this verse from what “judge” bears in 1Pe 4:5. “Live according to God” means, live a life with God, such as God lives, divine; as contrasted with “according to men in the flesh,” that is, a life such as men live in the flesh.
7. Resuming the idea in 1Pe 4:5.
the end of all things–and therefore also of the wantonness (1Pe 4:3, 4) of the wicked, and of the sufferings of the righteous [Bengel]. The nearness meant is not that of mere “time,” but that before the Lord; as he explains to guard against misapprehension, and defends God from the charge of procrastination: We live in the last dispensation, not like the Jews under the Old Testament. The Lord will come as a thief; He is “ready” (1Pe 4:5) to judge the world at any moment; it is only God’s long-suffering and His will that the Gospel should be preached as a witness to all nations, that induces Him to lengthen out the time which is with Him still as nothing.
sober–“self-restrained.” The opposite duties to the sins in 1Pe 4:3 are here inculcated. Thus “sober” is the opposite of “lasciviousness” (1Pe 4:3).
watch–Greek, “be soberly vigilant”; not intoxicated with worldly cares and pleasures. Temperance promotes wakefulness or watchfulness, and both promote prayer. Drink makes drowsy, and drowsiness prevents prayer.
prayer–Greek, “prayers”; the end for which we should exercise vigilance.
8. above all things–not that “charity” or love is placed above “prayer,” but because love is the animating spirit, without which all other duties are dead. Translate as Greek, “Having your mutual (literally, ‘towards yourselves’) charity intense.” He presupposes its existence among them; he urges them to make it more fervent.
charity shall cover the multitude, &c.–The oldest manuscripts have “covereth.” Quoted from Pr 10:12; compare Pr 17:9. “Covereth” so as not harshly to condemn or expose faults; but forbearingly to bear the other’s burdens, forgiving and forgetting past offenses. Perhaps the additional idea is included, By prayer for them, love tries to have them covered by God; and so being the instrument of converting the sinner from his error, “covereth a (not ‘the,’ as English Version) multitude of sins”; but the former idea from Proverbs is the prominent one. It is not, as Rome teaches, “covereth” his own sins; for then the Greek middle voice would be used; and Pr 10:12; 17:9 support the Protestant view. “As God with His love covers my sins if I believe, so must I also cover the sins of my neighbor” [Luther]. Compare the conduct of Shem and Japheth to Noah (Ge 9:23), in contrast to Ham’s exposure of his father’s shame. We ought to cover others’ sins only where love itself does not require the contrary.
9. (Ro 12:13; Heb 13:2.) Not the spurious hospitality which passes current in the world, but the entertaining of those needing it, especially those exiled for the faith, as the representatives of Christ, and all hospitality to whomsoever exercised from genuine Christian love.
without grudging–Greek, “murmuring.” “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity,” that is open-hearted sincerity; with cordiality. Not secretly speaking against the person whom we entertain, or upbraiding him with the favor we have conferred in him.
10. every–“even as each man hath received,” in whatever degree, and of whatever kind. The Spirit’s gifts (literally, “gift of grace,” that is, gratuitously bestowed) are the common property of the Christian community, each Christian being but a steward for the edifying of the whole, not receiving the gift merely for his own use.
minister the same–not discontentedly envying or disparaging the gift of another.
one to another–Greek as in 1Pe 4:8, “towards yourselves”; implying that all form but one body, and in seeking the good of other members they are promoting the good of themselves.
stewards–referring to Mt 25:15, &c.; Lu 19:13-26.
11. If any … speak–namely, as a prophet, or divinely taught teacher in the Church assembly.
as the, &c.–The Greek has no article: “as oracles of God.” This may be due to Greek: “God,” having no article, it being a principle when a governed noun omits the Greek article that the governing noun should omit it, too. In Ac 7:38 also, the Greek article is wanting; thus English Version, “as the oracles of God,” namely, the Old Testament, would be “right,” and the precept be similar to Ro 12:6, “prophesy according to the analogy of the faith.” But the context suits better thus, “Let him speak as (becomes one speaking) oracles OF God.” His divinely inspired words are not his own, but God’s, and as a steward (1Pe 4:10) having them committed to him, he ought so to speak them. Jesus was the pattern in this respect (Mt 7:29; Joh 12:49; 14:10; compare Paul, 2Co 2:17). Note, the very same term as is applied in the only other passages where it occurs (Ac 7:38; Ro 3:2; Heb 5:12), to the Old Testament inspired writings, is here predicated of the inspired words (the substance of which was afterwards committed to writing) of the New Testament prophets.
minister–in acts; the other sphere of spiritual activity besides speaking.
as of–“out of” the store of his “strength” (Greek, physical power in relation to outward service, rather than moral and intellectual “ability”; so in Mr 12:30).
giveth–Greek, “supplieth”; originally said of a choragus, who supplied the chorus with all necessaries for performing their several parts.
that God in all things may be glorified–the final end of all a Christian’s acts.
through Jesus Christ–the mediator through whom all our blessings come down to us, and also through whom all our praises ascend to God. Through Christ alone can God be glorified in us and our sayings and doings.
for ever and ever–Greek, “unto the ages of the ages.”
12. strange–they might think it strange that God should allow His chosen children to be sore tried.
fiery trial–like the fire by which metals are tested and their dross removed. The Greek adds, “in your case.”
which is to try you–Greek, “which is taking place for a trial to you.” Instead of its “happening to you” as some strange and untoward chance, it “is taking place” with the gracious design of trying you; God has a wise design in it–a consolatory reflection.
13. inasmuch as–The oldest manuscripts read, “in proportion as”; “in as far as” ye by suffering are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that is, by faith enter into realizing fellowship with them; willingly for His sake suffering as He suffered.
with exceeding joy–Greek, “exulting joy”; now ye rejoice amidst sufferings; then ye shall EXULT, for ever free from sufferings (1Pe 1:6, 8). If we will not bear suffering for Christ now, we must bear eternal sufferings hereafter.
14. for–Greek, “IN the name of Christ,” namely, as Christians (1Pe 4:16; 3:14, above); “in My name, because ye belong to Christ.” The emphasis lies on this: 1Pe 4:15, “as a murderer, thief,” &c., stands in contrast. Let your suffering be on account of Christ, not on account of evil-doing (1Pe 2:20).
reproached–Reproach affects noble minds more than loss of goods, or even bodily sufferings.
the spirit … upon you–the same Spirit as rested on Christ (Lu 4:18). “The Spirit of glory” is His Spirit, for He is the “Lord of glory” (Jas 2:1). Believers may well overcome the “reproach” (compare Heb 11:26), seeing that “the Spirit of glory” rests upon them, as upon Him. It cannot prevent the happiness of the righteous, if they are reproached for Christ, because they retain before God their glory entire, as having the Spirit, with whom glory is inseparably joined [Calvin].
and of God–Greek, “and the (Spirit) of God”; implying that the Spirit of glory (which is Christ’s Spirit) is at the same time also the Spirit of God.
on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified–omitted in the two oldest Greek manuscripts and Syriac and Coptic versions, but supported by one very old manuscript, Vulgate, Sahidic, Cyprian, &c. “Evil spoken of,” literally, “blasphemed”; not merely do they “speak against you,” as in 1Pe 3:16, but blasphemously mock Christ and Christianity itself.
15. But–Greek, “For.” “Reproached in the name of Christ” I say (1Pe 4:14), “FOR let none,” &c.
as … as … as … as–the “as” twice in italics is not in the Greek. The second Greek, “as,” distinguishes the class “busybody in other men’s matters,” from the previous class of delinquents. Christians, from mistaken zeal, under the plea of faithfulness, might readily step out of their own calling and make themselves judges of the acts of unbelievers. Literally, “a bishop in what is (not his own, but) another’s” province; an allusion to the existing bishops or overseers of the Church; a self-constituted bishop in others’ concerns.
16. a Christian–the name given in contempt first at Antioch. Ac 11:26; 26:28; the only three places where the term occurs. At first believers had no distinctive name, but were called among themselves “brethren,” Ac 6:3; “disciples,” Ac 6:1; “those of the way,” Ac 9:2; “saints,” Ro 1:7; by the Jews (who denied that Jesus was the Christ, and so would never originate the name Christian), in contempt, “Nazarenes.” At Antioch, where first idolatrous Gentiles (Cornelius, Ac 10:1, 2, was not an idolater, but a proselyte) were converted, and wide missionary work began, they could be no longer looked on as a Jewish sect, and so the Gentiles designated them by the new name “Christians.” The rise of the new name marked a new epoch in the Church’s life, a new stage of its development, namely, its missions to the Gentiles. The idle and witty people of Antioch, we know from heathen writers, were famous for inventing nicknames. The date of this Epistle must have been when this had become the generally recognized designation among Gentiles (it is never applied by Christians to each other, as it was in after ages–an undesigned proof that the New Testament was composed when it professes), and when the name exposed one to reproach and suffering, though not seemingly as yet to systematic persecution.
let him not be ashamed–though the world is ashamed of shame. To suffer for one’s own faults is no honor (1Pe 4:15; 1Pe 2:20),–for Christ, is no shame (1Pe 4:14; 1Pe 3:13).
but let him glorify God–not merely glory in persecution; Peter might have said as the contrast, “but let him esteem it an honor to himself”; but the honor is to be given to God, who counts him worthy of such an honor, involving exemption from the coming judgments on the ungodly.
on this behalf–The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read, “in this name,” that is, in respect of suffering for such a name.
17. Another ground of consolation to Christians. All must pass under the judgment of God; God’s own household first, their chastisement being here, for which they should glorify Him as a proof of their membership in His family, and a pledge of their escape from the end of those whom the last judgment shall find disobedient to the Gospel.
the time–Greek, “season,” “fit time.”
judgment must begin at the house of God–the Church of living believers. Peter has in mind Eze 9:6; compare Am 3:2; Jer 25:29. Judgment is already begun, the Gospel word, as a “two-edged sword,” having the double effect of saving some and condemning others, and shall be consummated at the last judgment. “When power is given to the destroyer, he observes no distinction between the righteous and the wicked; not only so, but he begins first at the righteous” [Wetstein from Rabbins]. But God limits the destroyer’s power over His people.
if … at us, what shall the end be of them, &c.–If even the godly have chastening judgments now, how much more shall the ungodly be doomed to damnatory judgments at last.
gospel of God–the very God who is to judge them.
18. scarcely–Compare “so as by fire,” 1Co 3:15; having to pass through trying chastisements, as David did for his sin. “The righteous” man has always more or less of trial, but the issue is certain, and the entrance into the kingdom abundant at last. The “scarcely” marks the severity of the ordeal, and the unlikelihood (in a mere human point of view) of the righteous sustaining it; but the righteousness of Christ and God’s everlasting covenant make it all sure.
ungodly–having no regard for God; negative description.
sinner–loving sin; positive; the same man is at once God-forgetting and sin-loving.
19. General conclusion from 1Pe 4:17, 18. Seeing that the godly know that their sufferings are by God’s will, to chasten them that they may not perish with the world, they have good reason to trust God cheerfully amidst sufferings, persevering in well-doing.
let them–Greek, “let them also,” “let even them,” as well as those not suffering. Not only under ordinary circumstances, but also in time of suffering, let believers commit. (Compare Note, see on 1Pe 3:14).
according to the will of God–(See on 1Pe 3:17). God’s will that the believer should suffer (1Pe 4:17), is for his good. One oldest manuscript and Vulgate read, “in well-doings”; contrast ill-doings, 1Pe 4:15. Our committing of ourselves to God is to be, not in indolent and passive quietism, but accompanied with active well-doings.
faithful–to His covenant promises.
Creator–who is therefore also our Almighty Preserver. He, not we, must keep our souls. Sin destroyed the original spiritual relation between creature and Creator, leaving that only of government. Faith restores it; so that the believer, living to the will of God (1Pe 4:2), rests implicitly on his Creator’s faithfulness.
1Pe 5:1-14. Exhortations to Elders, Juniors, and All in General. Parting Prayer. Conclusion.
1. elders–alike in office and age (1Pe 5:5).
I … also an elder–To put one’s self on a level with those whom we exhort, gives weight to one’s exhortations (compare 2Jo 1, 2). Peter, in true humility for the Gospel’s sake, does not put forward his apostleship here, wherein he presided over the elders. In the apostleship the apostles have no successors, for “the signs of an apostle” have not been transmitted. The presidents over the presbyters and deacons, by whatever name designated, angel, bishop, or moderator, &c., though of the same ORDER as the presbyters, yet have virtually succeeded to a superintendency of the Church analogous to that exercised by the apostles (this superintendency and priority existed from the earliest times after the apostles [Tertullian]); just as the Jewish synagogue (the model which the Church followed) was governed by a council of presbyters, presided over by one of themselves, “the chief ruler of the synagogue.” (Compare Vitringa [Synagogue and Temple, Part II, chs. 3 and 7]).
witness–an eye-witness of Christ’s sufferings, and so qualified to exhort you to believing patience in suffering for well-doing after His example (1Pe 4:19; 2:20). This explains the “therefore” inserted in the oldest manuscripts, “I therefore exhort,” resuming exhortation from 1Pe 4:19. His higher dignity as an apostle is herein delicately implied, as eye-witnessing was a necessary qualification for apostleship: compare Peter’s own speeches, Ac 1:21, 22; 2:32; 10:39.
also–implying the righteous recompense corresponding to the sufferings.
partaker of the glory–according to Christ’s promise; an earnest of which was given in the transfiguration.
2. Feed–Greek, “Tend as a shepherd,” by discipline and doctrine. Lead, feed, heed: by prayer, exhortation, government, and example. The dignity is marked by the term “elder”; the duties of the office, to tend or oversee, by “bishop.” Peter has in mind Christ’s injunction to him, “Feed (tend) My sheep … Feed (pasture) My lambs” (Joh 21:16). He invites the elders to share with him the same duty (compare Ac 20:28). The flock is Christ’s.
which is among you–While having a concern for all the Church, your special duty is to feed that portion of it “which is among you.”
oversight–Greek, “bishopric,” or duty of bishops, that is, overseer.
not by constraint–Necessity is laid upon them, but willingness prevents it being felt, both in undertaking and in fulfilling the duty [Bengel]. “He is a true presbyter and minister of the counsel of God who doeth and teacheth the things of the Lord, being not accounted righteous merely because he is a presbyter, but because righteous, chosen into the presbytery” [Clement of Alexandria].
willingly–One oldest manuscript, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic, add, “as God would have it to be done” (Ro 8:27).
not for filthy lucre–(Isa 56:11; Tit 1:7).
of a ready mind–promptly and heartily, without selfish motive of gain-seeking, as the Israelites gave their services willing-heartedly to the sanctuary.
3. being lords–Greek, “lording it”: implying pride and oppression. “Not that we have dominion over your faith.”
God’s heritage–Greek, “the inheritances,” that is, the portions of the Church committed severally to your pastoral charge [Bengel]. It is explained by “the flock” in the next clause. However, in 1Pe 5:2, “flock of God which is among you,” answering to “(God’s) heritages” (plural to express the sheep who are God’s portion and inheritance, De 32:9) committed to you, favors English Version. The flock, as one whole, is God’s heritage, or flock in the singular. Regarded in relation to its component sheep, divided among several pastors, it is in the plural “heritages.” Compare Ac 1:17, 25, “part” (the same Greek). Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote to Pope Eugene, “Peter could not give thee what he had not: what he had he gave: the care over the Church, not dominion.”
ensamples–the most effective recommendation of precept (1Ti 4:12). Tit 2:7, “patterns.” So Jesus. “A monstrosity it is to see the highest rank joined with the meanest mind, the first seat with the lowest life, a grandiloquent tongue with a lazy life, much talking with no fruit” [Bernard].
4. And–“And so”: as the result of “being ensamples” (1Pe 5:3).
chief Shepherd–the title peculiarly Christ’s own, not Peter’s or the pope’s.
when … shall appear–Greek, “be manifested” (Col 3:4). Faith serves the Lord while still unseen.
crown–Greek, “stephanos,” a garland of victory, the prize in the Grecian games, woven of ivy, parsley, myrtle, olive, or oak. Our crown is distinguished from theirs in that it is “incorruptible” and “fadeth not away,” as the leaves of theirs soon did. “The crown of life.” Not a kingly “crown” (a different Greek word, diadema): the prerogative of the Lord Jesus (Re 19:12).
glory–Greek, “the glory,” namely, to be then revealed (1Pe 5:1; 1Pe 4:13).
that fadeth not away–Greek, “amaranthine” (compare 1Pe 1:4).
5. ye younger–The deacons were originally the younger men, the presbyters older; but subsequently as presbyter expressed the office of Church ruler or teacher, so Greek “neoteros” means not (as literally) young men in age, but subordinate ministers and servants of the Church. So Christ uses the term “younger.” For He explains it by “he that doth serve,” literally, “he that ministereth as a deacon”; just as He explains “the greatness” by “he that is chief,” literally, “he that ruleth,” the very word applied to the bishops or presbyters. So “the young men” are undoubtedly the deacons of the Church of Jerusalem, of whom, as being all Hebrews, the Hellenistic Christians subsequently complained as neglecting their Grecian widows, whence arose the appointment of the seven others, Hellenistic deacons. So here, Peter, having exhorted the presbyters, or elders, not to lord it over those committed to them, adds, Likewise ye neoters or younger, that is, subordinate ministers and deacons, submit cheerfully to the command of the elders [Mosheim]. There is no Scripture sanction for “younger” meaning laymen in general (as Alford explains): its use in this sense is probably of later date. The “all of you” that follows, refers to the congregation generally; and it is likely that, like Paul, Peter should notice, previous to the general congregation, the subordinate ministers as well as the presbyters, writing as he did to the same region (Ephesus), and to confirm the teaching of the apostle of the Gentiles.
Yea–to sum up all my exhortations in one.
be subject–omitted in the oldest manuscripts and versions, but Tischendorf quotes the Vatican manuscript for it. Then translate, “Gird (1Pe 1:13; 4:1) fast on humility (lowliness of mind) to one another.” The verb is literally, “tie on with a fast knot” [Wahl]. Or, “gird on humility as the slave dress (encomboma)”: as the Lord girded Himself with a towel to perform a servile office of humility and love, washing His disciples’ feet, a scene in which Peter had played an important part, so that he would naturally have it before his mind. Compare similarly 1Pe 5:2 with Joh 21:15-17. Clothing was the original badge of man’s sin and shame. Pride caused the need of man’s clothing, and pride still reigns in dress; the Christian therefore clothes himself in humility (1Pe 3:3, 4). God provides him with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, in order to receive which man must be stripped of pride.
God resisteth the proud–Quoted, as Jas 4:6, from Pr 3:34. Peter had James before his mind, and gives his Epistle inspired sanction. Compare 1Pe 5:9 with Jas 4:7, literally, “arrayeth Himself against.” Other sins flee from God: pride alone opposeth itself to God; therefore, God also in turn opposes Himself to the proud [Gerhard in Alford]. Humility is the vessel of all graces [Augustine].
6. under the mighty hand–afflicting you (1Pe 3:15): “accept” His chastisements, and turn to Him that smiteth you. He depresses the proud and exalts the humble.
in due time–Wait humbly and patiently for His own fit time. One oldest manuscript and Vulgate read, “In the season of visitation,” namely, His visitation in mercy.
7. Casting–once for all: so the Greek aorist.
care–“anxiety? The advantage flowing from humbling ourselves under God’s hand (1Pe 5:6) is confident reliance on His goodness. Exemption from care goes along with humble submission to God.
careth for you–literally “respecting you.” Care is a burden which faith casts off the man on his God. Compare Ps 22:10; 37:5; 55:22, to which Peter alludes; Lu 12:22, 37; Php 4:6.
careth–not so strong a Greek word as the previous Greek “anxiety.”
8. Peter has in mind Christ’s warning to himself to watch against Satan, from forgetting which he fell.
Be sober … vigilant–“Care,” that is, anxiety, will intoxicate the soul; therefore be sober, that is, self-restrained. Yet, lest this freedom from care should lead any to false security, he adds, “Be vigilant” against “your adversary.” Let this be your “care.” God provides, therefore do not be anxious. The devil seeks, therefore watch [Bengel].
because–omitted in the oldest manuscripts The broken and disjointed sentences are more fervid and forcible. Lucifer of Cagliari reads as English Version.
adversary–literally, “opponent in a court of justice” (Zec 3:1). “Satan” means opponent. “Devil,” accuser or slanderer (Re 12:10). “The enemy” (Mt 13:39). “A murderer from the beginning” (Joh 8:44). He counteracts the Gospel and its agents. “The tempter.”
roaring lion–implying his violent and insatiable thirst for prey as a hungry lion. Through man’s sin he got God’s justice on his side against us; but Christ, our Advocate, by fulfilling all the demands of justice for us, has made our redemption altogether consistent with justice.
walketh about–(Job 1:7; 2:2). So the children of the wicked one cannot rest. Evil spirits are in 2Pe 2:4; Jude 6, said to be already in chains of darkness and in hell. This probably means that this is their doom finally: a doom already begun in part; though for a time they are permitted to roam in the world (of which Satan is prince), especially in the dark air that surrounds the earth. Hence perhaps arises the miasma of the air at times, as physical and moral evil are closely connected.
devour–entangle in worldly “care” (1Pe 5:7) and other snares, so as finally to destroy. Compare Re 12:15, 16.
9. (Lu 4:13; Eph 6:11-17; Jas 4:7.)
steadfast–Compare established in the truth,” 2Pe 1:12. Satan’s power exists only in respect to the unbelieving; the faithful he cannot hurt (1Jo 5:18). Faith gives strength to prayer, the great instrument against the foe (Jas 1:6, &c.).
knowing, &c.–“encouragement not to faint in afflictions”: your brethren suffer the same; nothing beyond the common lot of Christians befalls you (1Co 10:13). It is a sign of God’s favor rather than displeasure, that Satan is allowed to harass you, as he did Job. Your fellow Christians have the same battle of faith and prayer against Satan.
are–are being accomplished according to the appointment of God.
in the world–lying in the wicked one, and therefore necessarily the scene of “tribulation” (Joh 16:33).
10. Comforting assurance that God will finally “perfect” His work of “grace” in them, after they have undergone the necessary previous suffering.
But–Only do you watch and resist the foe: God will perform the rest [Bengel].
of all grace–(Compare 1Pe 4:10). The God to whom as its source all grace is to be referred; who in grace completes what in grace He began. He from the first “called (so the oldest manuscripts read for “us”) unto (with a view to) glory.” He will not let His purpose fall short of completion. If He does so in punishing, much more in grace. The three are fitly conjoined: the call, the glory to which we are called, and the way (suffering); the fourth is the ground of the calling, namely, the grace of God in Christ.
by–Greek, “in.” Christ is He in virtue of whom, and in union with whom, believers are called to glory. The opposite is “in the world” (1Pe 5:9; Joh 16:33).
after that ye have suffered–Join to “called you”: suffering, as a necessary preliminary to glory, was contemplated in God’s calling.
a while–short and inconsiderable, as compared with the glory.
perfect, &c.–The two oldest manuscripts, and Vulgate and Coptic versions, read, “shall perfect (so that there shall be nothing defective in you), stablish, strengthen,” and omit “settle,” literally, “ground,” or “fix on a foundation.” Alford reads it in spite of the oldest manuscripts The authority of the latter I prefer; moreover the climax seems to require rather a verb of completing the work of grace, than, as the Greek means, founding it. The Greek has, “shall HIMSELF perfect you”: though you are called on to watch and resist the foe, God Himself must really do all in and through you. The same God who begins must Himself complete the work. The Greek for “stablish” (so as to be “steadfast in the faith,” 1Pe 5:9) is the same as “strengthen,” Lu 22:32. Peter has in mind Christ’s charge, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” His exhortation accords with his name Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.” “Stablish,” so as not to waver. “Strengthen” with might in the inner man by His Spirit, against the foe.
11. To him–emphatic. To Him and Him alone: not to ourselves. Compare “Himself,” see on 1Pe 5:10.
glory and–omitted in the oldest manuscripts and versions.
dominion–Greek, “the might” shown in so “perfecting,” you, 1Pe 5:10.
12. Silvanus–Silas, the companion of Paul and Timothy: a suitable messenger by whom to confirm, as Peter here does, Paul’s doctrine of “the true grace of God” in the same churches (compare 2Pe 3:16). We never meet with Silvanus as Paul’s companion after Paul’s last journey to Jerusalem. His connection with Peter was plainly subsequent to that journey.
as I suppose–Join “faithful unto you [Steiger], as I suppose.” Silvanus may have stood in a close relation to the churches in Asia, perhaps having taken the oversight of them after Paul’s departure, and had afterwards gone to Peter, by whom he is now sent back to them with this Epistle. He did not know, by positive observation, Silvanus’ faithfulness to them; he therefore says, “faithful to you, as I suppose,” from the accounts I hear; not expressing doubt. Alford joins “I have written unto you,” which the Greek order favors. The seeming uncertainty, thus, is not as to Silvanus’ faithfulness, which strongly marked by the Greek article, but as to whether he or some other would prove to be the bearer of the letter, addressed as it was to five provinces, all of which Silvanus might not reach: “By Silvanus, that faithful brother, as expect, I have Written to you” [Birks].
briefly–Greek, “in few (words),” as compared with the importance of the subject (Heb 13:22).
exhorting–not so much formally teaching doctrines, which could not be done in so “few words.”
testifying–bearing my testimony in confirmation (so the Greek compound verb implies) of that truth which ye have already heard from Paul and Silas (1Jo 2:27).
that this–of which I have just written, and of which Paul before testified to you (whose testimony, now that he was no longer in those regions, was called in question probably by some; compare 2Pe 3:15, 16). 2Pe 1:12, “the present truth,” namely, the grace formerly promised by the prophets, and now manifested to you. “Grace” is the keynote of Paul’s doctrine which Peter now confirms (Eph 2:5, 8). Their sufferings for the Gospel made them to need some attestation and confirmation of the truth, that they should not fall back from it.
wherein ye stand–The oldest manuscripts read imperatively, “Stand ye.” Literally, “into which (having been already admitted, 1Pe 1:8, 21; 2:7, 8, 9) stand (therein).” Peter seems to have in mind Paul’s words (Ro 5:2; 1Co 15:1). “The grace wherein we stand must be true, and our standing in it true also” [Bengel]. Compare in “He began his Epistle with grace (1Pe 1:2), he finishes it with grace, he has besprinkled the middle with grace, that in every part he might teach that the Church is not saved but by grace.”
13. The … at Babylon–Alford, Bengel, and others translate, “She that is elected together with you in Babylon,” namely, Peter’s wife, whom he led about with him in his missionary journeys. Compare 1Pe 3:7, “heirs together of the grace of life.” But why she should be called “elected together with you in Babylon,” as if there had been no Christian woman in Babylon besides, is inexplicable on this view. In English Version the sense is clear: “That portion of the whole dispersion (1Pe 1:1, Greek), or Church of Christianized Jews, with Gentile converts, which resides in Babylon.” As Peter and John were closely associated, Peter addresses the Church in John’s peculiar province, Asia, and closes with “your co-elect sister Church at Babylon saluteth you”; and John similarly addresses the “elect lady,” that is, the Church in Babylon, and closes with “the children of thine elect sister (the Asiatic Church) greet thee”; (compare Introduction to Second John). Erasmus explains, “Mark who is in the place of a son to me”: compare Ac 12:12, implying Peter’s connection with Mark; whence the mention of him in connection with the Church at Babylon, in which he labored under Peter before he went to Alexandria is not unnatural. Papias reports from the presbyter John [Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.39], that Mark was interpreter of Peter, recording in his Gospel the facts related to him by Peter. Silvanus or Silas had been substituted for John Mark, as Paul’s companion, because of Mark’s temporary unfaithfulness. But now Mark restored is associated with Silvanus, Paul’s companion, in Peter’s esteem, as Mark was already reinstated in Paul’s esteem. That Mark had a spiritual connection with the Asiatic’ churches which Peter addresses, and so naturally salutes them, appears from 2Ti 4:11; Col 4:10.
Babylon–The Chaldean Babylon on the Euphrates. See Introduction, ON THE PLACE OF WRITING this Epistle, in proof that Rome is not meant as Papists assert; compare Lightfoot sermon. How unlikely that in a friendly salutation the enigmatical title of Rome given in prophecy (John, Re 17:5), should be used! Babylon was the center from which the Asiatic dispersion whom Peter addresses was derived. Philo [The Embassy to Gaius, 36] and Josephus [Antiquities, 15.2.2; 23.12] inform us that Babylon contained a great many Jews in the apostolic age (whereas those at Rome were comparatively few, about eight thousand [Josephus, Antiquities, 17.11]); so it would naturally be visited by the apostle of the circumcision. It was the headquarters of those whom he had so successfully addressed on Pentecost, Ac 2:9, Jewish “Parthians … dwellers in Mesopotamia” (the Parthians were then masters of Mesopotamian Babylon); these he ministered to in person. His other hearers, the Jewish “dwellers in Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia,” he now ministers to by letter. The earliest distinct authority for Peter’s martyrdom at Rome is Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in the latter half of the second century. The desirableness of representing Peter and Paul, the two leading apostles, as together founding the Church of the metropolis, seems to have originated the tradition. Clement of Rome [First Epistle to the Corinthians, 4.5], often quoted for, is really against it. He mentions Paul and Peter together, but makes it as a distinguishing circumstance of Paul, that he preached both in the East and West, implying that Peter never was in the West. In 2Pe 1:14, he says, “I must shortly put off this tabernacle,” implying his martyrdom was near, yet he makes no allusion to Rome, or any intention of his visiting it.
14. kiss of charity–Ro 16:16, “an holy kiss”: the token of love to God and the brethren. Love and holiness are inseparable. Compare the instance, Ac 20:37.
Peace–Peter’s closing salutation; as Paul’s is, “Grace be with you,” though he accompanies it with “peace be to the brethren.” “Peace” (flowing from salvation) was Christ’s own salutation after the resurrection, and from Him Peter derives it.
be with you all that are in Christ Jesus–The oldest manuscripts omit “Jesus.” In Eph 6:24, addressed to the same region, the same limitation of the salutation occurs, whence, perhaps, Peter here adopts it. Contrast, “Be with you all,” Ro 16:24; 1Co 16:23.
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