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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
1 Peter 1

 

 

Verse 1

1 Peter 1:1. ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς, elect sojourners of dispersion, a combination of titles of Israel appropriated to Christians in accordance with the universal principle of the early Church. (1.) The Jews were the chosen race (1 Peter 2:9 from Isaiah 43:20) as Moses said, Because He loved thy fathers therefore He chose their seed after them (Deuteronomy 4:37; cf. Romans 11:28). So Jesus said to His disciples, I have chosen you (John 15:16; John 15:19, etc.), and refers to them in the eschatological discourse as the elect (Mark 13:20). (2.) Being chosen out of the world—in the world, indeed, but not of it, John 15:16 ff.—Christians are alien sojourners during their life on earth. Their fatherland is the city that hath foundations (1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 13:14; Philippians 3:20). In Hebrews 11:9-13 the Patriarchs are credited with the same idea and Philo says that the sages of Moses’ school are all introduced as sojourners (p. 416 M). So Abraham said to the Sons of Heth, “I am a stranger and sojourner ( πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος = גר ותושב) with you” (Genesis 23:4); Jacob speaks of the days of the years of my pilgrimage ( מגורי ἃς παροικῶ); and the psalmist anticipates peter and Heb. in the generalisation I am a stranger and sojourner ( πάροικος καὶ παρεπίδημος) in the earth as all my fathers were (Psalms 39:13). Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 149) quotes two examples of παρεπίδημος from wills of the third century B.C., one of a Jew resident in the Fayyüm ( ἀπολλώνιον [ παρεπ] ίδημον ὃς καὶ συριστὶ ἰωνάθας). In P. Tor. 8 (B.C. 118) παρεπιδημοῦντες and κατοικοῦντες are contrasted. (3.) Moses said to Israel thou shalt be scattered among the kingdoms of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:25); and the rendering of the LXX διασπορά is probably the earliest example of the technical designation (cf. John 7:35) of the Jews, who—for whatever reason—lived outside the Holy Land. The collective term (Rabbinic גולה) implies the real unity of these scattered communities, whose scattering is no longer regarded as God’s punishment for sin. It thus serves well the purpose of one, who, like St. Paul, insists on the unity of the whole brotherhood of Christians (e.g., 1 Peter 5:9); but this application of the principle that the Church is the Israel of God is subordinate to others which imply that there is no earthly correlative to it. When St. James addresses the twelve tribes which are in Dispersion, he may on the other hand be contrasting the saints of Jerusalem with those abroad (as St. Paul did in the matter of the Collection) if indeed he is not speaking simply to his fellow-countrymen as a Jew to Jews. But St. Peter writes from “Babylon” and the capital of Christendom is no longer Jerusalem. The collocation of παρεπιδήμοις and διασπορᾶς implies that this scattering, which in the case of the type was God’s punishment for sin, will not be permanent for the antitype. For the Christian Church the Jewish hope of the ingathering will be fulfilled, as is indicated by the emphatic ἐκλεκτοῖς—for Jesus said, “The Son of Man … shall gather together his elect … from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven” (Mark 13:26-27; cf. Deuteronomy 30:4). Compare Didache ix. 4, “For as this was broken [bread] scattered over the hills and being gathered together became one, so may thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom” and Justin Martyr, Dial. 113, “As Moses … so also Jesus the Christ (corresponding to J., the Son of Nun) shall turn again the Dispersion of the People … shall give us the possession eternally”.

πόντουἀσίας. The order indicates the route of the messenger, who landed presumably at Sinope or Amastris and, if the omission of καὶ βιθυνίας be accepted, left the country at Ephesus or Smyrna. The (Armenian) Acta of Phocas (Martyr of Sinope under Trajan) are addressed to the brethren dwelling in Pontus and Bithynia in Paphlagonia and in Mysia in Galatia and in Cappadocia and in Armenia (Conybeare, Monuments of Early Christianity, p. 103). See Introduction.


Verse 1-2

1 Peter 1:1-2. Peter the High Commissioner of Jesus, who is Messiah of Greeks as of Jews, sends greeting after the Christian fashion, in which the Greek and Jewish formulas have been combined and transformed, to the Churches of Northern Asia Minor. They are the dispersion of the New Israel, chosen out of the whole world in accordance with God’s foreknowledge of their fitness, to undergo the hallowing of His Spirit, and with a view to their reception into His Church. For the result, and therefore the purpose, of their election is that they may profess obedience and receive the outward sign of sprinkling, being baptised into the death of Jesus Christ. For them may grace (and not mere greeting) and peace (God’s peace not man’s) be multiplied! For discussion of writer and readers see Introduction.


Verse 2

1 Peter 1:2. The three clauses κατὰ …, ἐν …, and εἰς … qualify ἐκλεκτοῖς and perhaps also ἀπόστολος (as Oecumenius) Peter himself is elect and shares their privileges but had no need to magnify his office, as had St. Paul. Yet see Acts 15:7 ff.

κατὰ πρόγνωσιν.… The noun occurs only in Acts 2:23 (speech of St.Peter) in reference to the slaying of Christ τῇ ὡρισμένῃ βουλῇ καὶ προγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ, cf. 1 Peter 1:20. The use of nouns instead of verbs is characteristic of this Epistle. The same idea is expressed more elaborately by St. Paul in Romans 8:29 (q.v.). Cf. Origen, Philocalia, 15. Oecumenius infers that the Apostle is thus the equal of the prophets, especially Jeremiah (v. Jeremiah 1:5).— ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος, subjective genitive like θεοῦ, being elect they are within the sphere of the proper work of the Holy Spirit. The context excludes the rendering hallowing of the (human) spirit. Peter uses the stereotyped phrase; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (which corresponds exactly to the whole context) εἵλατο ὑμᾶς θεὸς ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ( κατὰ πρ. θ. π.) … ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας ( εἰς ὑπ.).— εἰς ὑπακοὴνι. χριστοῦ, the goal or purpose of their election. Obedience is a technical term: sc. to God; cf. 1 Peter 1:14, where it is contrasted with the ignorant disobedience of their past lives (1 Peter 1:22). As Christians, they obeyed God and not men (Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29); God gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey Him (Acts 5:32). Compare the Pauline obedience of faith. This obedience implies a change of mind in Jew and in Gentile, which is effected by the sprinkling of blood of Jesus Christ. They are now cleansed from sin, which is disobedience in Jew or Gentile. Jesus Christ, the mediator of the new covenant, sprinkles those whom God selected with His own blood, as Moses sprinkled the children of Israel who had promised obedience with the blood of oxen (Exodus 24:7 f.; cf. Hebrews 9:19). But references to other sprinklings of the O.T., unconnected with obedience, must not be excluded. The word ῥαντισμός is appropriated, for example, to the water in which the ashes of the heifer were dissolved (Numbers 19); and a less obvious explanation is supported by Barnabas, “that by the remission of sins we might be purified, that is in the sprinkling of His blood for it stands writte.… by His bruise we were healed (Isaiah 53:5)”. Indeed the best commentary is supplied by the Epistle to the Hebrews in which evidence of the O.T. is reviewed and the conclusion drawn that according to the law everything is cleansed by blood. All the types were summed up in the fulfilment (see especially Hebrews 9.) whether they related to the Covenant or to the Worship. So in Hebrews 12:24 the blood of Abel the first martyr is drawn into the composite picture of typical blood sheddings. It would be possible to take ὑπακοήν with ιησοῦ χριστοῦ, and to render either that ye might obey Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Corinthians 10:5) being sprinkled with His blood or that ye might obey as He obeyed even unto death (cf. Hebrews 5:8; Philippians 2:8). χάριςπληθυνθείη· This full formula is found also in 2 Peter and Jude. For precedent see Dan. 3:31. Its use here is not merely a convention peculiar to the Petrine school; grace and peace are multiplied to match the growth of hostility with which the Christians addressed are confronted, lest the word of Jesus be fulfilled διὰ τὸ πληθυνθῆναι τὴν ἀνομίαν ψυγήσεται ἀγάπη τῶν πολλῶν (Matthew 24:12); cf. Romans 5:20 f. In the Pastoral Epistles ἔλεος (cf. 1 Peter 1:3) is inserted between χ. and εἰρ., so 2 John 1:3. From Galatians 6:16 it appears that ἔλεος stood originally in the place which χάρις usurped (as distinctively Christian and reminiscent of the familar χαίρειν); so that the source will be Numbers 6:24-26. κύριοςἐλεήσαι σεκαὶ δῴη σοι εἰρήνην.


Verse 3

1 Peter 1:3. εὐλογητός. The verbal adjective is recognised, perhaps coined by the LXX as proper to the Benediction of the Name. This usage is reflected in N.T., Romans 1:25; Romans 9:5; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; note Mark 14:61. θεὸςἡμῶν, part of the formula (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3)—based on the saying “I ascend to your father and my father, unto your God and my God” (John 20:17). κατὰ τὸ πολὺ ἔλεος, the more elaborate κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ of Ephesians 1:7 (cf. 1 Peter 2:4). ἀναγεννήσας (cf. 1 Peter 1:23). Else the verb only occurs in N.T. as variant to γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν in Old Latin (and Irenæus) text of John 3:5, which prompted St. Peter’s Christian use of the word, see especially 1 Peter 1:23. Later it is used to describe the outward sign of baptism (e.g., Justin Apol. i. 51) for the benefit of pagans as to the limitation of worshippers of Isis (Apuleius, Met. xi. 26, ut renatus quodammodo staatim sacrorum obsequio desponderetur). And of Mithras (in aeternum renati). Here the regeneration of the Christian corresponds to the resurrection of Christ (Chrysostom on John) and implies a previous mystical or figurative death to sin—see 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:17 f.; 1 Peter 4:1—which is repeated in the practice of their unnatural virtue (1 Peter 4:1-4). The simple idea of regeneration underlies St. Paul’s elaborations of the doctrine of the καινὴ κτίσις. Hort refers to Philo, de incorruptibilitate mundi (ii. 489 M.) where ἀναγέννησις is used for the more usual παλιγγενεσία—rebirth of the world—of the Stoics. ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν. The omission of the definite article is characteristic of St. Peter. The Hope is a recognised technical term (Acts 23:6, etc.) of the Pharisees, corresponding to בטחרו. ζῶσαν stamps the Christian hope as Divine since life is God’s prerogative (cf. 1 Peter 1:23 and the living bread, water of John) and effective (cf. the corresponding use of dead faith, James 2:17; James 2:26). Cf. Sap. 1 Peter 3:4, δὲ ἐλπὶς αὐτῶν ἀθανασίας πλήρης. διʼ . with ἀναγεννήσας rather than ζῶσαν: three prepositional clauses are thus attached to . as to ἐκλεκτοῖς (and ἀπόστολος) in 1 Peter 1:2. The resurrection of Jesus is the means and guarantee of the spiritual resurrection of the Christian (1 Corinthians 15:14; 1 Corinthians 15:17) from the death of the sinful and fleshly life.


Verses 3-5

1 Peter 1:3-5. Blessed be God whom we have come to know as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For He has granted to us the crowning manifestation of His great mercy. He has raised Jesus Christ from the dead and us thereby to newness of life. So you may hope for and in part enjoy the inheritance which was prefigured by the Promised Land. This heavenly treasure God has kept for those whom He guards with His power. So your faith respond, He is guarding you for the salvation which will be revealed at the last.


Verses 3-12

1 Peter 1:3-12. Benediction of the Name. The mention of God is followed by the Benediction of the Name as Jewish piety prescribed; the formula the Holy One, blessed be He, being amplified by the Christian appreciation of their fuller knowledge. The Apostle surpasses the fervour of the Psalmist, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel inasmuch as the last mighty work surpasses all previous deliverances. It falls naturally into three divisions. 1 Peter 1:3-5 have as their central figure the Father, 1 Peter 1:6-9 the Son, and 1 Peter 1:10-12 the Spirit who is at last given, who inspired the prophets of old and now inspires the Christian missionaries. From the past which preceded their acceptance of God’s choice of them and its outward sign St. Peter turns to consider their present condition and to illuminate it with the light of the future glory.


Verse 4

1 Peter 1:4. εἰς κληρἀμάραντον, as God’s sons in virtue of their regeneration they are God’s heirs (Galatians 4:7) and have an heavenly inheritance. The accumulated adjectives recall various images employed to describe it—and emphasise the fact that it is eternal (Hebrews 9:15) and spiritual. It is ἄφθαρτον, incorruptible (cf. 1 Peter 1:23, 1 Peter 3:4) because it belongs to the future life which the risen dead (1 Corinthians 15:52) share with God Himself (Romans 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:17). It is set where “moth doth not corrupt ( διαφθείρει, Luke 12:33 : Matthew 6:19 ff. has ἀφανίζει),” apart from this corruptible world (cf. Isaiah 24:3). It is the incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9:25). The second epithet ἀμίαντον is applied to the great High Priest, Hebrews 7:26 (cf. Hebrews 13:4; James 1:27) and implies again separation from this sinful world of which it is written ἐμιάνατε τὴν γῆν μου καὶ τὴν κληρονομίαν μου ἔθεσθε εἰς βδέλυγμα (Jeremiah 2:7). Compare the description of virtue in Sap. 1 Peter 4:2, στεφανηφοροῦσα πομπεύει τὸν τῶν ἀμιάντων ἄθλων ἀγῶνα νικήσασα. ἀμάραντον is peculiar to 1 Peter in N.T., cf. ἀμαράντινον (1 Peter 1:4): it is perhaps derived from Sap. 6:12, ἀμάραντός ἐστιν σοφία, and thus presupposes the identification of eternal life with knowledge of God (John 17:3). Compare the application of Isaiah 40:6 f. (cited infra 24) in James 1:11. All three suit or are associated with the wreath presented to the victor in the games—a metaphor which the Lord Himself used according to the Apocalypse (1 Peter 2:10, cf. 1 Peter 5:4; James 1:12). Origen (?) in Cramer’s Catena notes that the words contradict Chiliasm. τετηρημένην εἰς ὑμᾶς, reserved (1) with a view to you, cf. John 12:7, ἵνα εἰς τὴν ἡμέραντηρήσῃ, 2 Peter 2:4, εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους; for same use of εἰς in similar context see Romans 8:18. (2. until you came—a sense which would suit the other examples of τηρεῖν εἰς. (3) … for you, εἰς = ל = dative (so Syriac), the writer or translator being influenced by εἰς above and below. The inheritance is still, as it has always been, kept back, but the Christians are sure to succeed to it. So Enoch refers to the secrets of the righteous which shall be revealed (xxxviii. 3); the lot of the righteous which the Son of Man preserves (xlviii. 7); and says Blessed are ye ye righteous and elect for glorious will be your lo … it will be said to the holy that they should seek in heaven the secrets of righteousness the heritage of faith (lviii. 5).


Verse 5

1 Peter 1:5. The Christians addressed are—to complete the metaphor from other passages in the Epistle—a spiritual house (2 5.), which is besieged by the devil (1 Peter 1:8) but guarded and garrisoned by God’s Power. So long as they have faith (1 Peter 1:9) they are safe: “our faith lays hold upon this power and this power strengthens faith and so we are preserved” (Leighton). Without responsive faith God’s power is powerless to heal or to guard (cf. Mark 6:5 f. and accounts of Jesus’ miracles generally, James 1:6 f.). The language seems to echo Romans 1:16, δύναμις θεοῦ εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, combined with Galatians 3:23 (cf. Philippians 4:7) where also the distinctive φρουρεῖν occurs in similar context. The Power ( גבורתא) of God is put for Jehovah in the Targum of Isa. xxxiii. 21; and the corresponding use of δύναμις is found in Mark 14:62 (see Dalman, 200 f.; and add μεγαλωσύνη, a more exact rendering, of Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1). In Philo God’s powers are personified self-manifestations. εἰς σωτηρίαν, κ. τ. λ., is probably the third clause qualification of φρουρ. (cf. 1 Peter 1:2-3). Below, the salvation of souls is described as the goal of faith (9) in a passage where the ἑτοίμην, κ. τ. λ., qualify σωτηρίαν rather than κληρονομίαν which is explained by σωτἐσχάτῳ. Salvation is to St. Peter that salvation which is to be revealed in the future (cf. 1 Peter 1:9, 1 Peter 2:2; so Romans 13:11, νῦν ἐγγύτερον σωτηρία). Partial anticipations he neglects; for them as for Christ the glory follows the present suffering. The idea of the revelation of salvation comes from Psalms 98:2 (cf. Isaiah 56:1) which has influenced St. Paul also (Romans 1:16 f.). ἑτοίμην seems to be simply the equivalent of צתיר prepared, which St. Paul renders with more attention to current usage than etymology by μέλλουσαν (Romans 8:18; Galatians 3:23; so 1 Peter 5:1). This weaker sense begins with Deuteronomy 32:35 (LXX, πάρεστιν ἕτοιμα. as Peter here) and prevails in new Hebrew (Tarphon sai … the recompense of the reward of the righteous is for the time to come. העתיר לבא, Aboth, ii. 16). But the proper significance of the word is recognised and utilised in the Parables of Jesus, Matthew 24:4; Matthew 24:8.

καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ, still anarthrous as being technical term—indefinite as the time is unknown as well as in accordance with authors’ custom (cf. δύναμις, πιστέως, σωτηριαν above); cf. John 2:18.


Verse 6

1 Peter 1:6. ν . There are four possible antecedents. (1) καιρῷ, (2) Jesus Christ, (3) God, (4) the state of things described in 3–5. (1) would imply that they must live in the future and is least probably right. (2) is supported by 8 but is unlikely at this point. The choice lies between (3), God being hitherto the dominating figure; and (4): cf. Luke 1:47 = 1 Samuel 2:1 α. with ἐν in LXX as well as ἐπὶ. ἀγαλλιᾶσθε. Indicative (with or without quasi future meaning) rather than Imperative. Bye form of ἀγάλλομαι (Homer downwards) first found in LXX especially as assonant rendering of גיל: used later in bad sense ( λοιδορεῖται, Hesych): here borrowed from Matthew 5:11 f. χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε. ὀλίγον, (1) for a little time, or (2) to a small extent (contrast John 16:6, λύπη πεπλήρωκεν ὑμῶν τὴν καρδίαν). εἰ δέον, they cannot but feel grief at their trials (John 16:20, ὑμεῖς λυπηθήσεσθε δὲ λύπη ὑμῶν εἰς χαρὰν γενήσεται), but they must not indulge their natural weakness. To take the “necessity” as referring to their trials (for not all the Saints are oppressed, Oec.) limits λυπ. to the external sense of vexation without reference to the feelings of the grieved corresponding to the feelings implied in ἀγ. The contrast is thus destroyed, but this sense harass would suit the other military metaphor, τοὺς φρουρουμένους.— ἐν ποικίλοις πειρασμοῖς, the adjective rules out the limitation of π. to external trials which St. James who has the entire phrase seems to put upon it.


Verses 6-9

1 Peter 1:6-9. Exult then. These various temptations to which you are exposed cause present grief. But they are part of God’s plan for you. Even material perishable gold is tried in the fire. So is your faith tested that it may be purged of its dross and the good metal be discovered when Jesus Christ is revealed. You love Him whom you never saw; though you see Him not you believe on Him. Exult then with joy that anticipates your future glory. You are winning the prize of your faith, the ultimate salvation of souls. St. Peter returns to the present and regards it from the point of view of those whom God is guarding—but only to advance again to the glorious future (7 fin, 9) when Jesus Christ the present object of their love and faith shall be revealed. He is the central figure of this section which is based upon two of His sayings which are appropriate to the circumstances of these His persecuted followers (Song of Solomon 4:13) v. Matthew 5:12 = Revelation 19:7 from Psalms 21:1; Psalms 118:24. Compare James 1:2-4 and John cited below.


Verse 7

1 Peter 1:7. The Christians addressed were not personal disciples of Jesus but converts of the Apostles (12). As such they could claim Beatitude μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες (John 20:29). Their love began and continues without sight of Him; even now when they expect His coming they must still believe without seeing Him and exult. The Latin version of Augustine, gives three distinct clauses referring to the past, the present and the future climax whom you knew not; in whom now—not seeing ye believe; whom when you see you will exult. But for lack of support it must be set aside in favour of the Greek text (which regards present as leading up to future culmination without a break) as being a redaction of the passage for separate use. εἰς ὃν, with πιστεύοντες, μὴ ὁρῶντες being parenthesis added to explain force of πιστ. (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 8:24).— χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ. Their faith enables them to pass beyond their present sufferings to the joy which belongs to the subsequent glories. Thus their joy being heavenly is unspeakable and glorified. Language cannot express the communion with God which the Christian like St. Paul may enjoy (2 Corinthians 12:3 f.); compare Romans 8:26, αὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα ὑπερεντυγχάνει στεναγμοῖς ἀλαλήτοις. And this joy is glorified because it is an earnest of the glory which shall be revealed; cf. 1 Peter 4:14.


Verse 9

1 Peter 1:9. The connexion with mention of persecution suggests that the writer is here thinking of the saying, in your patience ye shall win your souls and perhaps also of the contrast between the persecuton who has only power over the body. Whatever happen to the body the conclusion—the consummation of their faith—is assured them.— κομιζόμενοι implies that already they are receiving what is due to them (cf. 1 Peter 5:4) and therefore they rejoice with Hannah in God the Saviour. In the Attic Orators who use a refined form of colloquial Greek the verb is common in the sense of recovering debts, as in Matthew 25:27, ἐκομισάμην ἂν τὸ ἐμόν. St. Paul applies it to future recompense (2 Corinthians 5:10, ἵνα κομίσηται ἕκαστος τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25; cf. 2 Maccabees 8:33, τὸν ἄξιον τῆς δυσσεβείας ἐκομίσατο μισθόν); in Hebrews 3:4, it is used of receiving promises.— τὸ τέλος. The common meaning fulfilment or consummation gives a fair sense but the connection with κομιζόμενοι is thus somewhat strange. The parallel of 1 Peter 1:4, taken with Pindar, Ol. x(xi.) 81, δόρυκλος δʼ ἔφερε πυγμᾶς τέλος, suggests as a possible rendering because ye receive the reward. The Septuagint, again (Numbers 31:28, etc.), uses τ. to translate מבס = proportion to be paid, tax. And this use is well established in Greek literature for τὰ τέλη, cf. λυσιτελεῖν, etc. Accordingly Suidas defines τέλος as τὸ διδόμενον τοῖς βασιλεῦσι. The particular connotations can hardly be pressed here but these uses give some colour of support to the Syriac rendering recompense and the mercedem of Augustine; cf. Romans 6:22.— σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν ͂ = σωτηρίαν above. ψυχῶν is added to console the readers for their sufferings in accordance with Mark 8:35, ὃς δʼ ἂν ἀπολέσει τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου σώσει αὐτήν = John 12:25; cf. Luke 21:19; James 1:21. The soul for St. Peter is the self or personality as for Jesus Himself.


Verse 10

1 Peter 1:10. The prophets were concerned with the Messianic salvation and searched their own writings and those of their predecessors for definite information about it. They are honoured by the Christians who realise that as a matter of fact they prophesied concerning the grace which was destined for the Christian Church.— τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος, the grace which belongs to you, cf. τὰ εἰς χριστὸν παθ. (11).


Verses 10-12

1 Peter 1:10-12.—The ancient prophets prophesied concerning the grace which was destined for you and enquired diligently about this salvation. They were the unconscious instruments of the revelation of God and their first duty done continued to pore over the inspired descriptions of the sufferings and subsequent glories of the Messiah. They asked themselves to whom does this refer and when shall these things be. And to them the revelation was made that they were only the administrators of an estate which others—you in fact should enjoy. The subjects of their prophecies have now been proclaimed to you by your Christian teachers who, like the prophets, were inspired by the Holy Spirit—with this difference that now the Spirit has been sent from heaven whereas of old He dwelt only in minds of a few. And these are the mysteries into which angels long to peep.

St. Peter has utilised a saying of Jesus to explain the great problem of unfulfilled prophecy and expounded it. Among the prophets he includes the so-called apocalyptic writers like Daniel and his successors. Gradually the coming of the Messiah and the dawn of the new age had been pushed further and further back until the inspired prophets realised that—as the Christians held—he Messiah would only come just before the end of all. The Messiah was not Hezekiah despite the Rabbis, nor yet the best of the Hasmonean house as Enoch hoped. ἀπεκαλύφθη. Such was the revelation or Apocalypse from which the latest of the prophets derive their common name; and St. Peter credits all the line with the curiosity which characterised the last of them and his own contemporaries; cf. Acts 2. and Hebrews 11:13 ff. The saying in question on which St. Peter builds is reported differently: According to Matthew 13:17, Jesus said, πολλοὶ προφῆται καὶ δίκαιοι ἐπεθύμησαν … according to Luke 10:24, προφῆται καὶ βασιλεῖς ἠθέλησαν … according to St. Peter προφῆται (10) καὶ ἄγγελοι. The mention of the righteous derives support from Hebrews 11:13-16, and John 8:56, and an original ישרים “the righteous” would easily be altered in the course of transmission into שרים = princes earthly or heavenly (cf. Daniel 10:21; LXX, ΄ιχαὴλ ἄγγελος). The motive which prompted the interpretation ἄγγελοι is due to the influence of the Book of Enoch (see note below) which explains the writer’s conception of the prophets.


Verse 11

1 Peter 1:11. The construction of εἰς τ. κ. π. καιρόν and of προμαρτ. is doubtful. ἐραυνῶντες takes up ἐξεζήτησαν κ. τ. λ. (10); the run of the sentence seems to naturally connect τὰδόξας with προμαρτ. and εἰςκαιρόν with ἐδήλου. So Vulgate in quod vel quale tempus significare … spiritus … praenuntians … passiones. But if εἰςκαιρὸν be unfit to be a direct object and προμαρτ., perhaps, to have one of this kind. τὰδόξας must be governed by ἐδήλου. It is possible also to dissociate τίνα from καιρὸν and to render in reference to whom and what time the Spirit signified …; cf. Ephesians 5:22, ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω εἰς χριστόν, Acts 2:25. If τίνα be taken with καιρόν, the two words correspond to the two questions of the disciples, When?… and what shall be the sign? (Mark 13:4). Failing to discover at what time, the prophets asked at what kind of time; their answer received a certain endorsement in the eschatological discourse of Jesus (Mark 13:5 ff. and parallels).— ἐδήλου, cf. Hebrews 9:8, τοῦτο δηλοῦντος τοῦ πνεύματος. The word implies discernment on the part of the student (Hebrews 12:27, τὸ δὲ ἔτι ἅπαξ δηλοῖ …). What time … did point unto of R.V. is unjustifiable; a simple accusative is required, i.e., either (1.) ποῖον κ. or (2.) τίνα π. κ. ( εἰς being deleted as dittography of - ες) or (3.) τὰδόξας.— τὸ πνεῦμα [ χριστοῦ], the full phrase is a natural one for a Christian to employ—Christ being here the proper name = Jesus Christ and not the title. κύριος in the O.T. was commonly interpreted as referring to Our Lord; and XC. is a frequent v.l. for (144) (145). Hence Barnabas (v.q.), οἱ προφῆται ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ ἔχον τὴν χάριν εἰς αὐτὸν ἐπροφήτευσαν.— προμαρτυρόμενον only occurs here. If μαρτύρομαι (the proper sense) determine the meaning of the compound render “protesting (calling God to witness) beforehand”. It usage justify confusion with μαρτυρεῖν, be witness [of] render testifying beforehand or (publicly.)— τὰεἰς χν παθήματα, the doctrine that the Messiah must suffer and so enter into His glory was stated by the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 3.) but neglected by the Jews of the first century (John 12:34). Believers were reminded of it by the risen Lord Himself (Luke 24:26; Luke 24:46) and put it in the forefront of their demonstratio evangelica (Acts 3:18; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:23). The phrase corresponds exactly to the original חבלי של״: εἰς standing for the ל (periphrasis for construct. state).— τὰς μετὰ ταῦτα δόξας, the plural glories implies some comprehension of the later doctrine, e.g., John, which recognised that the glory of Jesus was partially manifested during His earthly life; although the definition subsequent reflects the primitive simplicity and if it be pressed the glories must be explained as referring to the resurrection ascension triumph over angels as well as the glorious session (John 8:21 f.).— οἷς ἀπεκαλύφθη, so St. Peter argues that Joel prophesied the last things (cf. Sirach 48:24) and that David foresaw and spoke concerning the resurrection (Acts 2:17; Acts 2:31; cf. Acts 3:24). Compare Daniel 9:2; Daniel 12:4, etc., for examples of partial revelations of this kind proper to apocalyptic writers. Heb. l.c. supr. credits the Patriarchs with the same insight.— οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς ὑμῖν δέ, negative and positive presentation of the past for emphasis is common in this Epistle.— διηκόνουν αὐτά, “they were supplying, conveying the revelations granted to them—primary the prophecy and the revealed solution of it alike,” cf. 1 Peter 4:10, εἰς ἑαυτοὺς αὐτὸ διακονοῦντες. The context shows, if the word διακονεῖν does not itself connote it, that herein they were stewards of God’s manifold grace—channels of communication. For Acc. with διακον. cf, 2 Corinthians 3:3, ἐπιστολὴ χριστοῦ διακονηθεῖσα ὑφʼ ἡμῶν, 2 Corinthians 8:19, τῇ χάριτι ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφʼ ἡμῶν, from which it may be inferred that δ. connotes what the context here suggests, cf. νῦν ἀνηγγέλη, have been at the present dispensation declared; . is taken from the great proof text relating to the calling of the Gentiles, οἷς οὐκ ἀνηγγέλη ἀκούουσιν, Isaiah 52:15 cited Romans 15:21. “But St. Peter probably meant more by the word … the phrase includes not only the announcement of the historical facts of the Gospel, but, yet more, their implicit teachings as to the counsels of God and the hopes revealed for men” (Hort).— διὰ τῶν εὐαγγ. ὑμας, God spake through the evangelists (cf. Isaiah 61:1, apud Romans 10:15) as through the prophets, Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:15, etc. Both are simply God’s messengers. For accusative after εὐαγγ. cf. use of בשר = gladden with good tidings (Isaiah 61:1). So πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται (Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22) is substituted for the original πτωχοῖς εὐαγγελίζεσθαι (Luke 4:18 = Isaiah 61:1) if the prophecy which Jesus appropriated and which forms the basis of the Christian use of the word.— πνεύματι κ. τ. λ. The evangelists preached by the Spirit, as Stephen spoke (Acts 6:10), τῷ πνεῦματι ἐλάλει. In Sirach 48:24, if the Greek and Hebrew texts are trustworthy, πνεύματι the simple Dative ( πνεύματι μεγάλῳ εἶδεν τὰ ἔσχατα i.e. Isaiah) corresponds to ברוח: cf. insertion of ἐν here in v. l. The visible descent of the Holy Spirit is contrasted with the indwelling Spirit which inspired the prophets. The Holy Spirit was given, when Jesus was glorified, as never before, οὐκ ἐκ μέτρου (John 3:34). Vulgate renders by ablative absolute.— εἰς παρακύψαι, after expanding the first part of Jesus’ saying (and its context ye see) St. Peter at last reaches the second in its secondary form. He combines with it as its proper Scripture, the prophecy of Enoch (ix. 1) καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ τέσσαρες μεγάλοι ἀρχάγγελοιπαρέ κυψαν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἐκ τῶν ἁγίων τοῦ αὐρανοῦ. St. Paul spiritualises the idea “to me … this grace was given to preach to the Gentiles … in order that now might be made known to the principalities and the authorities in heavenly places by means of the Church the very-varied wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:8 ff.). St. Peter reproduces faithfully the simplicity of the original and represents this longing as still unsatisfied since the Church is not yet perfect or complete. It thus becomes part of the sympathetic groaning and travailing of the whole creation (Romans 8:22 f.). In Romans 8:21 St. Peter states on the same authority that Christ preached to the spirits in prison; adding that when he ascended all angels were subjected to Him. The apparent contradiction is due to the discrepancy between the ideal and its gradual realisation and not to an imperfect coordination of these conceptions of the universal sovereignty of God. See 1 Corinthians 15:25 f., Hebrews 2:7 f., not yet do we see …— παρακύψαι has lost its suggestion of peeping through its use in the LXX for שקף look forth though it is not employed by them in the places where God is said to look down from heaven (Psalms 14:2, etc.). The patristic commentators seem to hold by the Evangelist rather than the Apostle in respect to the saying, as they refer exclusively for illustration to the O.T. figures, Moses (Hebrews 11:26), Isaiah (John 12:41). Oecumenius notes that Daniel is called by the angel a man of longings (Daniel 9:25). That the angels of Peter are due to Enoch and secondary seems to be borne out by the Targum of Ecclesiastes 1:8, “In all the words that are prepared (about) to come to pass in the world the ancient prophets wearied themselves and could not find their ends”.


Verse 13

1 Peter 1:13. διό introduces the practical inference.— ἀναζωσάμενοι, κ. τ. λ., the reference to the directions for celebration of the Passover (Exodus 12:11, οὕτως δὲ φάγεσθε αὐτό· αἱ ὀσφύες ὑμῶν περιεζωσμέναιμετὰ σπουδῆς) is unmistakable. The actual deliverance of the Christians is still in the future; they must be always ready against the coming of the Lord. Oec. refers to Job 38:3. The particular compound occurs only twice in LXX—once in this phrase of the manly woman in Proverbs 31:17, ἀναζωσαμένη ἰσχυρῶς τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτῆς, where it implies preparation for serious work. In 2 Kings 4:29 ff. (Elisha’s mission of Gehazi which is in some ways a type fulfilled by Jesus’ mission of the Seventy, cf. Luke 10:4), ζῶσαι τὴν ὀσφύν σου is the preparation for an urgent errand. The addition of τῆς διανοίας implies that the readiness required is spiritual. St. Paul uses καρδία in the same way (Ephesians 1:18, πεφωτισμέ νους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν) and from Mark 12:30 = Deuteronomy 6:4 f. it appears that διάνοια is a recognised equivalent of לבב heart.— νήφοντες τελείως. In cases like this it is natural to take the adverb with the preceding verb. τελείως (only here in N.T.) has much the same force as τῆς διανοίας; so the adjective is applied to the antitype as contrasted with the type in Hebrews 9:11, τῆςτελειοτέρας σκηνῆς and James 1:25, νόμον τέλειον τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας. For νήφοντες cf. 1 Peter 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:8, νήψατε γρηγορήσατε, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, γρηγορῶμεν καὶ νήφωμεν. Sobriety is necessary to watchfulness. The origin of this use of the word (not in the LXX) is to be found in the parable of Luke 12:45 f.; it has special point in view of the κώμοις and πότοις, in which they were prone to indulge.— τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν is an adaption of the common Greek idiom (Homer downwards) φέρειν χ., to confer a favour (cf. Sirach 8:19, μὴ ἀναφερέτω σοι χάριν) and is thus analogous to St. Paul’s use of χαρίζεσθαι (see Romans 8:32). The present participle has its natural force. Peter does not distinguish between the present and the climax; already the new age which is the last has begun. The χάρις is the final deliverance and its use here is another link with the type: ἔδωκεν κύριος τὴν χάριν τῷ λαῷ αὐτοῦ (Exodus 12:36).— ἐν ἀποκαλύψει ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, Jesus Christ is being revealed or is revealing the salvation. The revelation began with the resurrection cf. φανερωθέντος and continues to the culmination (7).


Verses 13-21

1 Peter 1:13-21. Practical admonitions. In this section St. Peter is engrossed with the conception of the Church as the new Israel which has been delivered from idolatry—the spiritual Egypt—by a far more excellent sacrifice. Jesus Himself endorsed such adaptation of the directions given for the typical deliverance (Luke 12:35) and the principle that the worshippers of Jehovah must be like Him (John 4:23 f.; Matthew 5:48, etc.).


Verse 14

1 Peter 1:14. ὡς, inasmuch as you are, cf. 1 Peter 2:2; 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 3:7, etc.— τέκνα ὑπακοῆς, obedient corresponds to St. Paul’s υἱοὶ τῆς ἀπειθείας (Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:6). Both phrases reflect the Hebrew use of בן, “followed by word of quality characteristic, etc.” (B.D.B., s.v., 8). For τέκνα in place of usual υἱοί in this idiom, cf. Hosea 9, τέκνα ἀδικίας and Ephesians 2:3, τέκνα ὀργῆς. Here it suits better with βρέφη (1 Peter 2:1).— συσχηματιζόμεναι, from Romans 12:2, μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ. The feminine is peculiar to (146) whose scribe was perhaps influenced by the Alexandrian identification of woman with the flesh (John 1:13) or regarded such conformity as womanish. The participle has the force of an imperative. The Christians needed to be warned against conformity to the manners and morals of their countrymen, which were incompatible with their new faith (see 1 Peter 5:2-4). The use of σχῆμα in Isaiah 3:17, perhaps assists the use of συσχ. in connection with lusts.— ἐντῇ ἀγνοίᾳ ὑμῶν. It was a Jewish axiom that the Gentiles were ignorant (Acts 17:30; Ephesians 4:17 f.). Christian teachers demonstrated the equal ignorance of the Jews (Peter, Acts 3:17; Paul, in Rom.). So Jesus had pronounced even the teachers of Israel to be blind and promised them knowledge of the truth (John 8:32 ff., cf. interview with Nicodemus); whereas speaking to the Samaritan woman He adopted the Jewish standpoint (John 4:22)—cf. 2 Kings 17:29-41 with Isaiah 2:3; Baruch 4:4, μακάριοί ἐσμεν ἰσραὴλ ὅτι τὰ ἀρεστὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῖν γνωστά ἐστιν.


Verse 15

1 Peter 1:15 f. The command Ye shall be holy for I am holy is connected originally with the deliverance from Egypt and the distinction between clean and unclean, which lays down the principle of separation involved in the Exodus (Leviticus 11:44-46, etc.; cf. Isaiah 52:11). St. Peter combines the Scripture with the Word of Jesus for κατὰ τὸν … corresponds to ὡς of Matthew 5:48. Gentiles needed God’s summons before they could regard Him as their heavenly Father; hence Him that called you. Compare Deuteronomy 18:13 (whence τέλειος of Matt. l.c.) where also contrast with abominations of the heathen.— ἅγιον is better taken as predicate than as substantive, since καλέσας ( καλῶν) is well-established as a title of God in His relation to Gentile Christians (cf. 1 Peter 2:9, etc.).— ἐν πάσῃ ἀναστροφῇ, cf. 1 Peter 1:18, 1 Peter 2:12, 1 Peter 3:1-2; 1 Peter 3:16; Tobit 4:19, ἴσθι πεπαιδευμένος ἐν πάσῃ . σου. The corresponding verb, ἀναστρέφεσθαι is found as rendering of הלך in the same sense (Proverbs 20:7, ἀναστρέφεται ἄμωμος); both verb and noun are so used in late Greek authors (especially Epictetus).— γενήθητε become as you were not or show yourselves as you are; the latter sense suits . which is distinctively outward behaviour.


Verse 17

1 Peter 1:17, cf. Romans 2:10 f., εἰ πατέρα ἐπικαλεῖσθε, if ye invoke as Father:—reminiscence of Jeremiah 3:19, εἰ πατέρα ἐπικαλεῖσθέ με (so Q(147) perhaps after 1 Peter, for εἶπα πατέρα καλέσετέ με) cf. Psalms 89:27, αὐτὸς ἐπικαλέσεται με πατήρ μου εἶ σύ. There may be a reference to the use of the Lord’s Prayer (surname the Judge Father); but the context of Jer. l.c. corresponds closely to the thought here: “All the nations shall be gathered … to Jerusalem, neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those day.… Judah and Israel shall come together out of the land of captivity … and I said ‘My father ye shall call me’.”— ἀπροσωπολήμπτως summarises St. Peter’s inference from experience at Caesarea (Acts 10:34) καταλαμβάνομαι ὅτι οὔκ ἐστιν προσωπολήμπτης θεός. Adjective and adverb are formed from λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον of LXX = נשא פוי receive (lift up) the face of, i.e., be favourable and later partial, to. The degeneration of the phrase was due to the natural contrast between the face and the heart of a man, which was stamped on the Greek equivalent by the use of πρόσωπον for mask of the actor or hypocrite.— κρίνοντα. If the tense be pressed, compare the saying of Jesus recorded in John 12:31, νῦν κρίσις ἐστιν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. Romans 2:16 is referred to the last Judgment by διὰ χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ. But the present participle may be timeless as in καλῶν, βαπτίζων, etc.— κατὰ τὸ ἑκάστου ἔργον, a commonplace Jewish and Christian, cf. Ps. 12:12 (cited Romans 2:6), σὺ ἀποδώσεις ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ (Hebrew has the work). R. Aqiba used to say … The world is judged by grace and everything is according to the work (Pirqe Aboth., iii. 24). For collective singular lifework, cf. also 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, etc.— ἐν φόβῳ, Fear is not entirely a technical term in N.T. Christians needed the warning to fear God (so Luke 12:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10), although love might be proper to the perfect—Gnostic or Pharisee—1 John 4:18. The natural and acquired senses exist side by side, as appears in the use of ἄφοβος. Compare ἄφοβος οὐ δύναται δικαιωθῆναι (Sirach 1:22) with ἐν τούτῳ ἄφοβός εἰμι (Psalms 27:2, Symmachus) = in Him I am confident.— τὸν τῆς παροικίας χρονον, during your earthly pilgrimage, which corresponds to the sojourn of Israel in Egypt (Acts 13:17). If God is their Father, heaven must be their home (1 Peter 1:4); their life on earth is therefore a sojourn (see on 1 Peter 1:1). St. Paul has his own use of the metaphor (Ephesians 2:19). Gentile Christians are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens of the saints.


Verse 18

1 Peter 1:18. Amplification of Isaiah 52:3 f., δωρεὰν ἐπράθητε καὶ οὐ μετὰ ἀργυρίου λυτρωθήσεσθε (cf. Isaiah 45:13εἰς αἴγυπτον κατέβη λαός μου τὸ πρότερον παροικῆσαι ἐκεῖ. The deliverance from Babylon corresponds to the deliverance from Egypt. To these the Christians added a third and appropriated to it the descriptions of its predecessors.— οὐ φθαρτοῖς, κ. τ. λ. The preceding negative relief to positive statement is characteristic of St. Peter, who here found it in his original (Isa. l.c.). φθαρτοῖς echoes ἀπολλυμένου and is probably an allusion to the Golden Calf of which it was said These be thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:14). According to Sap. 14:8, it is the proper name for an idol: τὸ δὲ φθαρτὸν θεὸς ὠνομάσθη. So the dative represents the agent and not only the instrument of the deliverance.— ματαίας supports the view taken of φθ., for the gods of the nations are vanity, μάταια הבל (Jeremiah 10:3, etc.).— πατροπαραδότου, ancestral, hereditary. The adjective indicates the source of the influence, which their old way of life—patrius mos, patriritus—still exercised over them. The ancient religion had a strength—not merely vis inertiae—which often baffled both Jewish and Christian missionaries: “to subvert a custom delivered to us from ancestors the heathen say is not reasonable” (Clem. Ac. Protr. x.). This power of the dead hand is exemplified in the pains taken by the Stoics and New Pythagoreans to conserve the popular religion and its myths by allegorical interpretation. Among the Jews this natural conservatism was highly developed; St. Paul was a zealot for the ancestral laws. But the combination of patriarch and tradition does not prove that the persons addressed were Jewish Christians. The law, according to which the Jews regulated their life, was Divine, its mediator Moses; and there is a note of depreciation in the words not that it is derived from Moses only from the Fathers (John 7:22). πατρο is contrasted with πατέρα (17) as παραδότου with the direct calling.


Verse 19

1 Peter 1:19. The blood of Christ, the true paschal lamb, was the (means or) agent of your redemption. The type contemplated is composite; the lamb is the yearling sheep ( שה πρόβατον, but Targum-Onkelos has אמר lamb and שה is rendered ἀμνός in Leviticus 12:8; Numbers 15:11; Deuteronomy 14:4) prescribed for the Passover (Exodus 12:5). But the description perfect ( τέλειον תמים) is glossed by ἀμώμου (cf. Hebrews 12:14), which is the common translation of תמים in this connection, and ἀσπίλου which summarises the description of sacrificial victims generally (v. Leviticus 22:22, etc.). ἀμωμος would be unintelligible to the Gentile, because it has acquired a peculiar meaning from the Hebrew מום blemish. ἄσπιλος is used by Symmachus in Job 15:15, for זכך. Hesychius treats ἄσπιλος. ἄμωμος and καθαρός as synonyms.— τιμίῳ is set over against φθαρτοῖς as πολυτιμ. against ἀπολλυμένου; cf. Psalms 116:15, τίμιος ἐναντίον κυρίου θάνατος τῶν ὁσίων and λίθοςἔντιμον (1 Peter 2:4).


Verse 20

1 Peter 1:20. As the paschal lamb was taken on the tenth day of the month (Exodus 13:3) so Christ was foreknown before the creation and existed before His manifestation. The preexistence of Moses is stated in similar terms in Assumption of Moses, i. 12–14, “God created the world on behalf of His people. But He was not pleased to manifest this purpose of creation from the foundation of the world in order that the Gentiles might thereby be convicted.… Accordingly He designed and devised me and He prepared me before the foundation of the world that I should be the mediator of His Covenant.” So of the Messiah, Enoch (xlviii. 3, 6) says: “His name was called before the Lord of spirits before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were created.… He was chosen and hidden with God before the world was created. At the end of time God will reveal him to the world.” Alexandrian Judaism took over from Greek philosophy (Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle) the doctrine of the preexistence of all souls. So in the Secrets of Enoch (xxiii. 5) it is said “Every soul was created eternally before the foundation of the world”. The author of Wisdom was a goodly child and obtained a good soul or rather being good came into a body undefiled (Sap. 8:19 f.); and Philo found Scriptural warrant in the first of the two accounts of Creation (Genesis 1:26 f.). Outside Alexandria, apart from the Essenes (Joseph, B. J., ii. 154–157) the general doctrine does not appear to have been accepted. But the belief in the preexistence of the Name of the Messiah if not the Messiah Himself was not unknown in Palestine and was latent in many of the current ideals. The doctrine of Trypho was probably part of the general reaction from the position reached by the Jewish thinkers (A.D.) and appropriated by the Christians. There are many hints in the O.T. which Christians exploited without violence and the development of angelology offered great assistance. Current conceptions of Angels and Wisdom as well as of the Messiah all led up to this belief. Apart from the express declarations of Jesus recorded by St. John, it is clear that St. Peter held to the real and not merely ideal pre-existence of Christ, not deriving it from St. Paul or St. John and Heb. It is no mere corollary of God’s omniscience that the spirit of Christ was in the prophets.— προεγνωσμένου, cf. κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, 1 Peter 1:2; only here of Messiah, perhaps as a greater Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 1:5)—but see the description of Moses cited above.— πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. The phrase does not occur in LXX but Matthew 13:35 = Psalms 78:2 renders מני קדם by ἀπὸ καταβολῆς (LXX ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς) Philo has καταβολὴ γενέσεως) and αἱ καταβολαὶ σπερμάτων and uses ἐκ κ. = afresh. In 2 Maccabees 2:29, καταβολή is used of the foundation of a house; cf. κατασκευάζειν in Heb.— φανερωθέντος, of the past manifestation of Christ. In 1 Peter 5:1 of the future implies previous hidden existence, cf. 1 Timothy 3:16 (quotation of current quasi-creed) ἐφανερώθη ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. The manifestation consists in the resurrection and glorification evidenced by descent of spirit (21): cf. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, risen, exalted, Jesus has sent the spirit: therefore let all the house of Israel know surely that God hath made Him both Lord and Christ. St. Paul speaks in the same way of the revelation of the secret, which is Christ in you; see especially Colossians 1:25-27. Compare John 1:14.— ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων, at the end of the times, cf. ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν (Hebrews 1:1 and LXX). The deliverance effected certo tempore by Christ’s blood is eternally efficacious, cf. αἰώνιον λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος Hebrews 9:12 and the more popular statement of the same idea in Revelation 13:8, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.


Verse 21

1 Peter 1:21. διʼ ὑμᾶς, for the sake of you Gentiles, i.e., ἵνα ὑμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ θεῷ, 1 Peter 3:18. The resurrection of Jesus and His glorification are the basis of their faith in God and inspire not merely faith but hope.— διʼ αὐτοῦ. Compare for form Acts 3:16, πίστις διʼ αὐτοῦ and for thought Romans 5:2; Ephesians 2:18πιστοὺς εἰς θεόν. This construction occurs not infrequently in the Bezan text and is simply equivalent to π. with the Dative (Acts 16:15) corresponding to נאמן ל֙. But π. keeping construction has changed its meaning. Already it is semi-technical = believing, sc. in Jesus and here πίστινεἰς θεόν follows immediately. So the verb πιστεύοντας is a true gloss; the addition of εἰς θεόν corrects the common conception of faith, which ultimately gave rise to a distinction between belief in Christ and belief in God.— δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, so e.g., the prophecy (Isaiah 52:13) παῖς μουδοξασθήσεται σφόδρα was fulfilled when the lame man was healed by St. Peter and St. John; θεὸς ἁβραὰμἐδόξασεν τὸν παῖδα αὐτοῦ ἰησοῦν (Acts 3:13). But the glory is primarily and generally the glorious resurrection and ascension, in which state Jesus sent the Holy Spirit ( ἦν τὸ πνεῦμα ὅτι οὔπω ἐδοξάσθη, John).— ὥστεθεόν. καὶ ἐλπίδα may be part of the subject of εἶναι εἰς θεόν, so that your faith and hope are in God, or predicate so that your faith is also hope in God. In either case ἐλπίς is rather confidence than hope, in accordance with LXX usage (= בטחה), and supplies an adequate climax—patient faith leads up to the appropriation of the Hope of Israel.


Verses 22-25

1 Peter 1:22-25. The combination of purification of souls with love of the brotherhood suggests that the temptations to relapses were due to former intimacies and relationships which were not overcome by the spiritual brotherhood which they entered. Different grades of society were doubtless represented in all Christian churches and those who were marked out for leaders by their wealth and position were naturally slow to love the slaves and outcasts. As at Corinth old intimacies and congenial society led the better classes (1 Peter 4:3 f.) to fall back on the clubs to which they had belonged and in the company of their equals to sneer at their new brothers—“the brethren” (1 Peter 2:1). St. Peter reminds them that they must purify their souls from the taint—with a side-glance perhaps at the rites proper to the associations in question. They must love the brotherhood and its members as such. Earthly relationships are done away by their regeneration; they have exchanged the flesh for the spirit. The section is full of echoes; compare ἡγνικότες with ἅγιοι (15), ἐν ἁγιασμῷ (2), τῇ ὑπακοῇ with τέκνα . (14), ἀναγεγεννημένοι with ἀναγεννήσας (3), φθαρτῆς with φθαρτοῖς (18), εὐαγγελισθέν with τῶν εὐαγγελισαμένων (12). It should be compared throughout with Ephesians 4:18-24.— τὰςἡγνικότες from Jeremiah 6:16,“see what is the good way and walk in it and you shall find purification ( ἁγνισμόν LXX) to your souls. . usually of ceremonial purification in LXX. Compare James 4:8, ἁγνίσατε καρδίας δίψυχοι (cf. ἀνυπόκριτον). The perfect participle is used as indicating the ground of the admonition, so ἀναγεγεννημένοι (23). Pagan rites professed to purify the worshipper but cannot affect the soul, the self or the heart any more than the Jewish ceremonies can (Hebrews 9:9 f.). Scripture declares φόβος κυρίου ἁγνός (Psalms 19:10). They must realise that they have cleansed themselves ideally at baptism, cf. 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:15 f. above with context.— ἐν τῇ ὑπακοῇ τῆς ἀληθείας, in your obedience to the truth, cf. Jer. l.c. above. They are no longer ignorant (14) but have learned the truth (cf. John 17:17-19, and γνώσεσθε τὴν ., John 8:32) from the missionaries. They must persist in the obedience to it which they then professed, in contrast with those who are disobedient to the truth (Romans 2:8; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:12). Hortsays: “St. Peter rather means the dependence of Christian obedience on the possession of the truth,” relying on Ephesians 4:24, and the probability that “St. Peter would have distinctly used some such language as ἐν τῷ ὑπακούειν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ”. In regard to the latter point it should be observed that St. Peter is curiously fond of using nouns instead of verbs (e g., 2).— εἰς φιλαδελφίαν, love of the brethren, Vulgate, in fraternitalis amore, mutual love which exists between brothers. It is the primary Christian duty, Matthew 23:8, the first fruits of their profession of which St. Paul has no need to remind the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 4:9.— ἀνυπόκριτον, unfeigned, contrasted with the love which they professed towards their fellow Christians (cf. 1 Peter 2:1) which was neither hearty nor eager. There was pretence among them whether due to imperfect sympathy of Jew for Gentile or of wealthy and honourable Gentiles for those who were neither the one nor the other. For a vivid illustration of this feigning see James 2:15 f. and 1 Peter 2:1-5, etc., for the friction between rich and poor.— ἀλλήλους ἀγαπήσατε. St. John’s summary of the teaching of Jesus (John 13:34 f., John 15:12; John 15:17) which he repeated in extreme old age at Ephesus, till the disciples were weary of it: “Magister quare semper hoc loqueris”. His answer was worthy of him: “Quia praeceptum Domini est et si solum fiat sufficit (Hieron. in Galatians 6:10).— ἐκτενῶς, intentius (Vulg.), in LXX of “strong crying to God” (Jonah 3:8 = בחזקה violently, cf. Judges 4:12; Joel 1:14; 3 Maccabees 5:9 : in Polybius of a warm commendation (xxxi. 22, 12) a warm and friendly welcome (viii. 21, 1), a warm and magnificent reception (xxxiii. 16 4).


Verse 23

1 Peter 1:23. ἀναγεγεννημένοι. So St. John ἀγαπῶμεν ἀλλήλους ὅτιπᾶς ἀγαπῶν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγέννηται; cf. Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:2.— ἐκ σπορᾶς ἀφθάρτου, i.e., of God regarded as Father and perhaps also as Sower (cf. 1 Peter 1:24); the two conceptions are combined in 1 John 3:9, πᾶς γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ ὅτι σπέρμα αὐτοῦ μένει. Compare Philo, Leg. All., p. 123 M. λείανἐξ οὐδενὸς γεννητοῦ λαμβάνουσαν τὴν σπορὰν.… ἀλλʼ ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ.— διὰ λόγουμένοντος, the connection of ζῶντος κ. μέν. is doubtful; the following quotation might justify the abiding word and Hebrews 4:12, the living word in accordance with Deuteronomy 32:47cf. 3, ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν. On the other hand the rendering of the Vulgate, per verbum dei vivi et permanentis, is supported by Daniel 6:26 ( αὐτὸς γάρ ἐστιν θεὸς μένων καὶ ζῶν) and supports St. Peter’s argument: earthly relationships must perish with all flesh and its glory; spiritual kinship abides, because it is based on the relation of the kinsfolk to God living and abiding. For the word of God as the means of regeneration, cf. James 1:18, βουληθεὶς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς λόγῳ ἀληθείας. For its identification with ῥῆμα of the quotation, cf. Acts 10:36 f.


Verse 24

1 Peter 1:24 f. = Isaiah 40:6-8, adduced as endorsement of the comparison instituted between natural generation and divine regeneration, with gloss explaining the saying of Jehovah (cf. Hebrews 1:1 f.). The only divergences from the LXX (which omits—as Jerome notes, perhaps through homoedeuton—quia spiritus dei flavit in eo: vere foenum est populus; asuit foenum cecidit flos) are that ὡς is inserted before χ. (so Targum), and that αὐτῆς is put for ἀνθρώπου (so Heb., etc.) and κυρίου for τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν (in accordance with the proper reading of Jehovah in the omitted verse).


Verse 25

1 Peter 1:25. τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν comes from εὐαγγελιζόμενος σειὼν of Isaiah 40:9 which the Targum explains as referring to the prophets.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-peter-1.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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