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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
1 Peter 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-25


New Life According to the Ancient Promise, and after the Example of Christ

B (iii). 1 Peter 2:1-10. St. Peter considers that the Christian is the continuation of the Jewish Church. Christ's coming has been a time of reformation (Hebrews 9:10), but there has been no break with the past. After setting forth the doctrine of salvation (1 Peter 1:3-9), he went on to show that it was the fulfilment of the doctrine of the prophets (1 Peter 1:10-12). Now, after writing about the new life of Christians (1 Peter 1:13-22), and showing that it also had been promised in prophecy (1 Peter 1:24), he bids his readers in the half-playful language of metaphor (cp. Hebrews 5:12-14) to live simply, like new-born babes, nourished on simple, spiritual food, which the Lord Himself gives them, as has been signified in OT. (1 Peter 2:1-3). He then shows that the Lord named in his quotation has been manifested in Jesus Christ, who is the comer-stone, spoken of in the Psalm, of the spiritual Temple which is being built up of His people to take the place of the old Jewish Temple with its imperfect sacrifices (1 Peter 2:4-6). Obedience to the faith, not privilege of race, is the means by which this union with Christ in the new Temple is effected (1 Peter 2:7.). Finally, he brings title after title of the chosen people from OT., and applies them to his readers, teaching them how their new position makes them God's royal priests and prophets to the world, and closes with a quotation from Hosea, the prophet of God's loving-kindness, which must touch their hearts, and commend all that he has said (1 Peter 2:9.).

1. Malice] RV 'wickedness.' A general word, as, beginning a new life, they must turn from worldly vices and become as little children (Matthew 18:3). With this and the following v. cp. James 1:21.

2. The sincere milk of the word] RV 'The spiritual milk which is without guile.' Grow thereby] RV adds 'unto salvation,' which was omitted in the MSS which the AV translators followed.

3. If.. ye have tasted, etc.] from Psalms 34:8 : cp. Hebrews 6:5. The Lord in the Psalm is Jehovah. As in other places in NT., words spoken of Him are applied to Christ, through whom God is manifested to man (Hebrews 1:10).

4. The references in this v., as in 1 Peter 2:7, are to Psalms 118:22 : cp. St. Peter's speech, Acts 4:11. In 1 Peter 2:6 a passage from Isaiah 28:16, on the same subject, is quoted from the Septuagint. Precious] RM 'honourable,' in contrast to 'disallowed.'

5. Lively stones] RV 'living stones,' as in 1 Peter 2:4. The whole process of salvation is a process of life: cp. John 1:4; John 4:10; John 6:35; John 11:25; John 14:6; Romans 12:1; Hebrews 10:20 and 1 Peter 1:23; (RM). Are built up] i.e. are being built up.

6. Wherefore] RV 'because.'

7. Which be disobedient] RV 'disbelieve.'

8. The reference is to Isaiah 8:14. Whereunto also they were appointed] as the words of Isaiah show. God has indeed appointed the disobedient unto stumbling, but also His royal priesthood for their recovery.

9. A chosen generation] RV 'an elect race': cp. Isaiah 43:20.

A peculiar people] RV 'a people for God's own possession': cp. Exodus 19:5. Praises] RV 'excellencies'; AVmg. 'virtues': cp. Philippians 4:8; 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:5. St. Peter repeats the teaching of the prophet (cp. Isaiah 43:21) that men are elect, not for their own sakes only, but to be God's priests and prophets to the world, so as to tell of Him to others, and to present, as spiritual sacrifices, in union with the sacrifice of Christ, not only themselves (Romans 12:1), their praise and alms (Hebrews 13:15.), but also the heathen (Romans 15:16 cp. Philippians 2:17), whom they win for God. Into his marvellous light] in which God dwells. It is unapproachable (1 Timothy 6:16), yet He, with whom all things are possible, has called us into it: cp. Isaiah 57:15, and see on 1 Peter 5:10.

10. From Hosea 1:6-9; Hosea 2:1, Hosea 2:23 : cp. Romans 9:25.

1 Peter 2:11 to 1 Peter 4:11. With the word 'beloved,' St. Peter begins each of the two following divisions of his letter. The keynote to this division is given in the references to Christ as suffering patiently, for the sake of others, to take away sin, and as having triumphed through suffering. He is the example and protector of these sojourners, whose life among an estranged population is one of constant suffering, under which they ought to be patient, gentle, and good, holding faster to one another in love, not, however, forgetting that they live and suffer on behalf of the heathen among whom they dwell.

The whole may be subdivided into four parts: A, 1 Peter 2:11., introductory; B, 1 Peter 2:13 to 1 Peter 3:12, their duty as subjects—as, in particular, servants, wives, husbands; and again, in general, as members of a Christian community; 1 Peter 3:13 to 1 Peter 4:6, encouragement for their dangers and sufferings, the purpose of which is explained; D, 1 Peter 4:7-11, exhortation to a sober, spiritual, and loving Christian life, to the glory of God.

A. 1 Peter 2:11. Introduction, which sketches the thought of the whole section.

11. Strangers (RV 'sojourners') and pilgrims] from Genesis 23:3 and Psalms 39:12 cp. Hebrews 11:13. Fleshly lusts] the desires of the body, which, though innocent when under restraint, were always a source of temptation among the heathen.

12. Conversation honest] RV 'behaviour seemly': cp. 1 Peter 1:15. In the day of visitation] (from Isaiah 10:3) when God shall no longer overlook the heathen ignorance: cp. Acts 17:30. Then the good lives of the Christians, even though seen in memory only, may help them at last to glorify God.

B. 1 Peter 2:13 to 1 Peter 3:12. The duties of the Christians, as a body and in particular classes.

B (i). 1 Peter 2:13-17. 'You are all subjects of the government, and must live as such. The government, though it might seem to be a mere human institution, is really created by God, and you see God's will working through it, as through the rest of the creation. God's will is that you should do well, and be at last delivered from the misconstructions of your ignorant neighbours. The government, by its repression of evil and encouragement of well-doing, is acting towards both these ends. When you recognise that such submission is submission to God's will, then submission becomes part of that freedom to which you have been brought by redemption—a freedom which those only know who have become slaves of God. This freedom obliges you to have a wide and noble rule of courtesy. Honour all men: only so can you keep the private rule of your community to love the brotherhood. In the same way honour to the king must follow fear towards God, by whom kings rule: as indeed Holy Scripture teaches you.' With this paragraph cp. Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1.

13. Ordinance] RM 'Gr. creation': cp. 1 Peter 4:19.

The king] i.e. the Roman emperor.

14. Governors] i.e. of provinces.

16. The licence of the heathen, unlike the freedom of the Christian, could be used as a cloke, or pretext, for wickedness (see RV); they would do what they chose, considering it no one's business but their own.

17. Fear God. Honour the king] cp. Proverbs 24:21.

B (ii). 1 Peter 2:18-25. Another ordinance of man, yet also of God's creation, is the family, which includes servants, wives, and husbands. Hitherto in this section St. Peter has rather hinted at than spoken plainly of suffering. Now he comes to a class who are sufferers indeed—the slaves of the household. He makes no more complaint against slavery than against the emperor, but his tender heart goes out to these ill-treated slaves, and he honours them above all their fellow-Christians by presenting to them, as their example in a special manner, Christ suffering innocently, patiently, trustfully, offering Himself in His sufferings as a sacrifice for the sins of us all. Thus these slaves, who are, like Christ, 'despised and rejected,' have a glory and grace which is specially their own, and are a special care of Christ.

19. Thankworthy] RV 'acceptable'; RM 'Gr. grace.' The Gk. for 'grace' and 'thankfulness' is the same. As joy in suffering partakes of the divine glory (cp. 1 Peter 1:8), so thankfulness and cheerfulness reflects the gracious light of God's countenance: see on 1 Peter 1:2.

22-25. This picture of Christ is taken from the description of the suffering servant of Jehovah in Isaiah 53.

24. Bare our sins.. on] RM 'carried up.. to.' A sacrificial term is here used: cp. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 13:15. The tree] i.e. the Cross: cp. Deuteronomy 21:22. Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; Acts 13:29; Galatians 3:13.

25. Shepherd] suggested by Isaiah 53:6 : cp. Isaiah 40:11 and 1 Peter 5:4; Bishop] RM 'overseer': cp. Acts 1:20; (AV and RM). The overseer or bishop is an officer of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles: cp. Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1. Here the reference may be to the officer of the household who is set over the servants (cp. Luke 12:42-46); he may have no interest in them except as chattels, but they have an unseen overseer who cares for their very selves.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/1-peter-2.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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