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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 2

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-25

II 1-10 Exhortation to Progress —Christians are called to a new and higher life, free from malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and detraction. Lately born anew, they must develop an appetite for the milk of God’s word, and by continually feeding on it grow to maturity in the faith.

2. ’the rational milk without guile’, i.e. unadulterated, without any admixture of falsehood. 3. A further inducement to progress are the sweet consolations, which the Lord brings when he takes possession of a soul, cf.Psalms 33:9.4-5. They are to become ’a spiritual house’, built up on Christ as the corner-stone. Christ is’ a living stone’, i.e. one capable of growth and expansion, capable also of imparting life to others. They are to share in and reproduce this quality by becoming ’as living stones built up’ into a temple of God by progress in holiness. But they not only compose the temple, they also minister in it. They constitute a new priesthood that is holy, i.e. they are consecrated to God’s service, to offer up spiritual sacrifices of prayer and good works, which are acceptable to God because they are offered through Christ as Mediator.

6. God Himself laid this corner-stone, and he promised salvation to those who believe in Christ, Isaiah 28:16.7. The Jewish nation, through their leaders, rejected Christ, as was foretold by the Psalmist, 117:22. 8. For those who will not believe in him, Christ is a stone over which they stumble to their eternal ruin, ’whereunto also they are set’, i.e. as God has decreed for their punishment, cf. § 698d, e.9. The Apostle now applies to his readers all the attractive titles of the Israelites, which belong to Christians in a fuller and truer sense. 10. Then wishing to make them realize what their conversion meant, he bids them compare their former with their present state, which he does by paraphrasing Os 2:23 f.

11-12 Exhortation to edify Others —They dwell as strangers in a pagan world; hence, their moral conduct must be faultless, lest they scandalize the Gentiles. Even though many ’speak against you as evil-doers’, i.e. slander your conduct, yet if it be faultless, it will bring the Gentiles to praise God ’in the day of visitation’, i.e. when God makes the truth known to them.

13-16 Obedience to Civil Authorities —Christians are to accept the established forms of government and to submit to those in authority ’for the sake of the Lord’, i.e. Christ, in order not to bring discredit upon his teaching and Church. ’The king as excelling’, i.e. as supreme ruler.

13. ’The governors’ or administrators of the provinces, the deputies of the supreme ruler.

15. Submission to their authority is indirectly obedience to God, the source of all authority. It has a very practical side, since it silences those who through ignorance or malice slander the Christian way of life.

16. By obeying the laws, Christians do not ’make liberty a cloak of malice’, as calumniators said they did; but they make the will of God the standard of their conduct.

17. This is a brief and clear statement of Christian duties towards God and man.

18-25 Obedience of Slaves to their Masters —In a society where slaves outnumbered the free, and the treatment of slaves was not always humane and just, it called for great discretion on the part of the Apostles to handle this delicate question. They did not try to overthrow the existing order and make freemen out of slaves, but without in the least approving slavery as an institution, they did try to make good slaves out of bad ones. Here St Peter insists that slaves give respectful obedience to their masters, whatever their disposition might be. Should they be treated with cruelty and injustice, they should not complain, but bear their harsh treatment with patience, thus gaining the approval of God, and imitating the example or their Lord and Master Jesus Christ, who did not complain when he was treated unjustly, as was predicted by Isaiah 53:4-9. There are no less than seven quotations from Isaias in this chapter: vv 6, 8, 9, 12, 22, 24, 25.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/1-peter-2.html. 1951.
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