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Thursday, December 7th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 4

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

1 Peter 4:1 . Christ having died to flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought that (or because ) he that died hath ceased to sins . παθόντος σαρκί Peter goes back to the starting point of 1 Peter 3:18 in order to emphasise the import of the first step taken by Christ and His followers, apart now from the consequences. The new life implies death to the old. τὴν αὐτὴν ἔννοιαν . ἐ . only occurs once elsewhere in N.T., Hebrews 4:12 , τῶν ἐνθυμήσεων καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας , but is common in LXX of Proverbs; compare ( e.g. ) Proverbs 2:2 , ἔννοια ὁσία ( תבונה , discernment ) shall keep thee . Here it is the noun-equivalent of φρονεῖτε δ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ (Philippians 2:1 ). Christ’s thought ( or purpose ) which He had in dying is shared by the Christian: and it is defined by ὅτι , κ . τ . λ . ὁπλίσασθε , sc. for the fight with sin and sinners whom you have deserted. ὅτι … ἁμαρτίαις . This axiom is better taken as explaining the same thought than as motive for ὁπλ . St. Paul states it in other words, ὁ γὰρ ἀποθανὼν δεδικαίωται ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ; compare the death-bed confession of the Jew, “O may my death be an atonement for all the sin … of which I have been guilty against thee”. One dead literally or spiritually hath rest in respect of sins assumed or committed; so Hebrews 9:28 insists that after His death Christ is χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας . πέπαυται echoes παυσάτω of 1 Peter 3:10 . In the Greek Bible the perfect passive occurs only once (Exodus 9:34 ) outside Isa 1:-31 ., where it is used three times to render שבת ( cf. σαββατισμός , Hebrews 4:9 ). The dative ἁμ . is analogous to that following ζῆν ἀποθανεῖν ( παθεῖν ); the v.l. ἁμαρτίας is due to the common construction of παυ .

Verse 2

1 Peter 4:2 . Christians who were baptised into Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6:2-11 ) are not taken out of the world at once (John 17:15 ); they have to live in the flesh but not to the flesh, because they have been born not of the will of the flesh nor of man but of God (John 1:13 ). Their duty is to their new Father. εἰς τό … gives the result of ὅτι κ . τ . λ . which must be achieved by, and is therefore also the object of, the required ornament.

Verse 3

1 Peter 4:3 . The use of the rare ἀρκετός indicates the saying which St. Peter here applies, sufficient unto the day [that is past] its evil . Compare Ezekiel 44:6 , ἱκανούσθω ὑμῖν ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν ὑμῶν . The detailed description of the evil follows the traditional redaction of the simple picture of absorption in the ordinary concerns of life which Jesus is content to repeat (Matthew 24:37 , etc.). Eating, drinking, marrying were interpreted in the worst sense to account for the visitation and become gluttony, drunkenness and all conceivable perversions of marriage; see Sap. 14:21 27, followed by Romans 1:29 , etc. τὸ … πεπορευμένους , from 2 Kings 17:8 , ἐπορεύθησαν τοῖς δικαιώμασιν τῶν ἐθνῶν . The construction is broken (for the will … to have been accomplishe … for you walking ) unless κατ . be taken as if middle to πεπορ . as subject. ἀσελγείαις , acts of licentiousness (as in Polybius); so Sap. 14:26. Earlier of wanton violence arising out of drunkenness (Demosthenes). οἰνοφλυγίαις , wine-bibbings , Deuteronomy 21:20 , οἰνοφλυγεῖ = סבא . Noun occurs in Philo coupled with ἀπλήρωτοι ἐπίθυμίαι . κώμοις , revellings associated with alien rites , Sap. 14:26. For πότοις cf. ποτήριον δαιμόνων , 1 Corinthians 10:14 ff. ἀθεμίτοις εἰδωλολατρίαις , a Jew’s description of current Pagan cults, which were often illicit according to Roman law. For ἀ . cf. Acts 10:28 , it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a foreigner , and Malachi 4:5; Malachi 4:5 ; 2Ma 7:1 (of swine flesh).

Verse 4

1 Peter 4:4 . ἐν ᾧ , whereat, i.e. (i.) at your change of life (1 Peter 4:2 f.) explained below by μὴ συντρεχ .… or (ii.) on which ground , because you lived as they did. ξενίζονται , are surprised , as in 1 Peter 4:12 , where this use of ξ . (elsewhere in N.T. entertain , except Acts 17:20 , ξενίζοντα ) is explained by ὡς ξένου … συμβαίνοντος . Polybius has it in the same sense followed by dative, acc., διά with acc. and ἐπί with dative. So in Josephus Adam was surprised ( ξενιζόμενον ) that the animals had mates and he none, Ant., i. 1, 2) and the making of garments surprised God (Acts 17:4 ). συντρεχόντων , from Psalms 50:18 , LXX, if thou sawest a thief , συνέτρεχες αὐτῷ , and with adulterers thou didst set thy portion ; where תרץ consent has been rendered as if from רוץ run . It thus corresponds to St. Paul’s συνευδοκεῖν (Romans 1:32 ). ἀσωτίας , profligacy . According to Aristotle ἀ . is the excess of liberality, but is applied in complex sense to τοὺς ἀκρατεῖς καὶ εἰς ἀκολασίαν δαπανηρούς . Prodigality is in fact a destruction of oneself as well as one’s property ( Eth. Nic. , iv. 13). ἀσελγείαι … πότοις . Violence and lust are classed with drunkenness, which breeds and fosters them. ἀ . is wanton violence as well as licentiousness. So the classic Christian example of the word is exactly justified; see Luke 15:13 , the Prodigal Son squandered his substance, living ἀσώτως . ἀνάχυσιν , excess, overflow , properly of water (Philo ii. 508 f., description of evolution of air from fire, water from air, land from water). In Strabo (iii. 1, 4, etc.) = estuary. St. Peter is still thinking of the narrative of the Deluge, which was the fit punishment of an inundation of prodigality. βλασφημοῦντες , put last for emphasis and to pave the way for 1 Peter 4:5 in accordance with the saying, for every idle word ( cf. Romans 3:8 ). The abuse is directed against the apostate heathens and implies blasphemy in its technical sense as opposed to the giving glory to God (1 Peter 2:12 ).

Verse 5

1 Peter 4:5 . ἀποδώσουσιν λόγον , will render account if of their blasphemy, cf. Matthew 12:36 , if of their ἀσωτία (see note) cf. the steward of Luke 16:2 . τῷ ἑτοίμως κρίνοντι , i.e. , to Christ rather than to God (as 1 Peter 1:17 ). The Christians took over the Jewish doctrine that every man must give an account of his life (Romans 14:10 ). As already Enoch (lxix. 27 = John 5:22 ; John 5:27 ) taught that this judgment was delegated to Messiah. So St. Peter said at Caesarea this is he that hath been appointed by God judge of living and dead (Acts 10:43 ). Compare Matthew 25:31 ff. for a more primitive and pictorial statement. The use of ἑτοίμως probably represents עתיד (see 1 Peter 1:5 ) i.e. , the future judge ; Greek readers would understand the imminent judge ( cf. use of ἑτοίμως = ready, sure to come , Homer, Il. , xviii. 96, etc.). The 5., ἑ . ἔχοντι κρῖναι softens the rugged original.

Verse 6

1 Peter 4:6 . The judgment is imminent because all necessary preliminaries have been accomplished. There is no ground for the objection “perhaps the culprits have not heard the Gospel”. As regards the living, there is a brotherhood in the world witnessing for Christ in their lives and the missionaries have done their part. As regards the dead Christ descended into Hades to preach there and so was followed by His Apostles. And the object of this was that though the dead have been judged as all men are in respect of the flesh they might yet live as God lives in respect of the spirit. εἰς τοῦτο , with a view to the final judgment or = ἵνα , κ . τ . λ . νεκροῖς , to dead men generally, but probably as distinct from the rebel spirits who were presumably immortal and could only be imprisoned. Oecumenius rightly condemns the view, which adds in trespasses and sins or takes dead in a figurative sense, despite the authority of e.g. , Augustine ( Ep. , 164, §§ 1 18). εὐηγγελίσθη , the Gospel was preached, the impersonal passive leaves the way open for the development of this belief according to which not Christ only but also the Apostles preached to the dead. Hermas, Sim. , ix. 16.5 16.7; Cl. Al. Strom. , vi. 645 f. So was provision made for those who died between the descent of Christ and the evangelisation of their own countries. ἵνα , κ . τ . λ ., that though they had been judged in respect of flesh as men are judged they might live in respect of spirit as God lives . The parallel between the dead and Christ is exact (see 1 Peter 3:20 ). Death is the judgment or sentence passed on all men ( Sir 14:17 = Genesis 2:17 ; Genesis 3:19 ). Even Christians, who have died spiritually and ethically (Romans 8:10 ), can only hope wistfully to escape it (2 Corinthians 5:2 ff.). But it is preliminary to the Last Judgment (Hebrews 9:27 ), at which believers, who are quickened spiritually, cannot be condemned to the second death (Revelation 20:6 ).

Verse 7

1 Peter 4:7 . But the end of all things and men has drawn nigh; Christians also must be ready, watch and pray , as Jesus taught in the parable of Mark 13:34-37 ( cf. Mark 14:38 ). σωφρονήσατε parallels ἀσελγ . ἐπιθυμίαις (1 Peter 4:3 ) cf. 4Ma 1:31 , temperance is restraint of lust . In Romans 12:3 St. Paul plays on the meaning of the component parts of σω - φρονεῖν , cf. εἰς σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν above. νήψατε , corresponds to οἰνοφλυγίαις κώμοις πότοις (1 Peter 4:3 ); cf. 1 Peter 1:13 , 1 Peter 5:8 . St. Paul also depends on parable of Luke 12:42-46 in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 ff. εἰς προσευχάς , the paramount duty of Christians is prayer especially for the coming of the Lord (Revelation 22:20 ; Luke 11:2 ; cf. Luke 3:7 ).

Verse 8

1 Peter 4:8 . πρὸπάντων , St. Peter emphasises the pre-eminent importance of love of man as much as St. cf. John 1:22 . ἑαυτούς put for ἀλλήλους in accordance with the saying thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself as much as with the contemporary practice. ὅτι … ἁμαρτιῶν , quotation of Proverbs 10:12 , love hides all transgressions which was adduced by Jesus (Luke 7:47 ). The plain sense of the aphorism has been evaded by the LXX ( πάντας τοὺς μὴ φιλονεικοῦντας καλύπτει φιλία ) and Syriac translators substitutes shame for love . The currency of the true version is attested by James 5:20 , he that converted a sinner … καλύψει πλῆθος ἁμαρτιῶν .

Verse 9

1 Peter 4:9 . Hospitality is the practical proof of this love ; its practice was necessary to the cohesion of the scattered brotherhood as to the welfare of those whose duties called them to travel. The inns were little better than brothels and Christians were commonly poor. Chrysostom cites the examples of Abraham and Lot ( cf. Hebrews 13:2 ). The united advocacy of this virtue was successful so much so that the Didache has to provide against abuses such as Lucian depicts in the biography of Peregrinus “a Christian traveller shall not remain more than two or three days … if he wishes to settle … is unskilled and will not work he is a Χριστέμπορος , makes his Christian profession his merchandise.” ἀλλήλους , used despite ἑαυτούς above and below, perhaps because the recipients of hospitality belong necessarily to other Churches. ἄνευ γογγυσμοῦ , St. Peter guards against the imperfection of even Christian human nature. Sir 29:25-28 describes how a stranger who outstays his welcome is first set to menial tasks and then driven out.

Verse 10

1 Peter 4:10 f. supplement the foregoing directions for the inner life of the Church and rest partly on Romans 12:6 (with simpler classification of gifts ), partly on the conception of disciples as stewards (Luke 12:42 ) serving out rations in God’s house. διακονοῦντες , in the widest sense (as διακονία in Acts 6:1 ; Acts 6:4 ; 1 Corinthians 12:5 ) in accordance with the saying, the Son of Man came to minister (Mark 10:45 ), which is interpreted here, as part of the pattern, by the addition of an object (only here and 1 Peter 1:12 ); cf. 2 Corinthians 8:19 , τῇ χάριτι … τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφʼ ἡμῶν . οἰκονόμοι . The title is applied to all and not only to the governors as by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 4:1 ; Titus 1:7 ); compare the question of St. Peter which precedes the source (Luke 12:41 f.).

Verse 11

1 Peter 4:11 follows the primitive division of ministry into that of the word and that of tables (Acts 6:2-4 ); compare prophecy and ministry (in narrower sense like διακονεῖ here) of Romans 12:6 . λαλεῖ covers all the speaking described in 1 Corinthians 12:8 ; 1 Corinthians 12:10 , to one by means of the spirit hath been given a word of wisdom , etc.… 1 Corinthians 14:6 ; 1 Corinthians 14:26 . ὡς λόγια θεοῦ (perhaps echoes κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν of Romans 12:6 ) as being God’s oracles or as speaking God’s oracles . The Seer is the model for the Christian preacher: Numbers 24:4 , φησὶν ἀκούων λόγια θεοῦ . His message is the particular grace of God which he has to administer like the prophets and evangelists, 1 Peter 1:10-12 . διακονεῖ includes all forms of the ministration of God’s gifts other than those of speech primarily almsgiving, hospitality and the like. ἵνα , κ . τ . λ . A liturgical formula such as this is necessarily capable of many special meanings. ἐνπᾶσιν may refer particularly to the gifts or their possessors hardly to the Gentiles as Oec. suggests (Matthew 5:1 ) but so to limit it would be a gratuitious injustice to the author. The saying ἐν τούτῳ ἐδοξάσθη ὁ πατήρ μου ἵνα καρπὸν πολὺν φέρητε καὶ γενήσεσθε ἐμοὶ μαθηταί is sufficient to justify this appendix to the exhortation love one another in deed διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ , through Jesus Christ through whom the spirit descended on each of you, Acts 2:33 , through whom you offer a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15 ); cf. δοξαξέτω τὸν θεὸν ἐν ὀνόματι τούτῳ . ᾧ … The insertion of ἐστιν changes the doxology to a statement of fact and thus supports the interpretation of ᾧ as referring of the immediate antecedent Jesus Christ . Already He possesses the glory and the victory; realising this His followers endure joyfully their present suffering and defeat.

Verse 12

1 Peter 4:12 . ἀγαπητοί marks the beginning of the third division of the Epistle in which Peter having cleared the ground faces at last the pressing problem. ξενίζεσθε , be surprised , as in 1 Peter 4:4 . τῇ ἐν ὑμῖν πυρώσει , the ordeal which is in your midst or rather in your hearts . ἐν ὑμῖν , cf. τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον (1 Peter 5:1 ) but the test is internal in what frame of mind will they meet it? Will they regard it as a strange thing or as a share in Christ’s sufferings, part of the pattern? πυρώσει This conception of suffering as a trial not vindictive is stated in Judges 8:25 ; Judges 8:27 , ἐκείνους ἐπύρωσεν εἰς ἐτασμὸν καρδίας αὐτῶν ; compare Zechariah 13:9 , πυρώσω αὐτοὺς ὡς πυροῦται ἀργύριον , Proverbs 27:21 , χρυσῷ πύρωσις parallels but a man is tried … π . also occurs in the sense of blasting , Amos 4:9 ; Revelation 18:9 ; Revelation 18:18 .

Verse 13

1 Peter 4:13 . καθό , so for as , i.e. , so far as your suffering is undeserved and for Christ’s name. κοινωνεῖτε … παθήμασιν , ye share the sufferings of the Messiah . The dative after κ . usually denotes the partner; here the thing shared as in Rom 15:27 ; 1 Timothy 5:22 ; 2 John 1:11 ; and in LXX; Sap. 6:23; 3Ma 4:11 . This idea is expressed even more strongly by St. Paul ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ (Colossians 1:24 ). It is derived from such sayings as the disciple is as his Master (Matthew 10:24 f.) the sons of Zebedee must drink his cup, be baptised with his baptism (Mark 10:38 f.). To suffer in Christ’s name is to suffer as representing Christ and so to share His sufferings. ἵνα κ . τ . λ ., from Matthew 5:12 , χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε . But St. Peter postpones the exultation. St. James (1 Peter 5:10 ) follows Jesus in appealing to the pattern of the prophets. ἀποκαλύψει , the final revelation represents an original wordplay גלה on the quoted ἀγαλλιώμενοι = גיל .

Verse 14

1 Peter 4:14 . The Beautitude, μακάριοι … ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ is supported by prophecy which referred originally to the root of Jesse. Both are partially paraphrased for sake of clearness. For ἐν ὀνόματι ; cf. Mark 9:41 , ἐν ὀνόματι ὅτι Χριστοῦ ἔστε . For the reproach cf. Hebrews 13:13 , let us come out to him bearing His reproach , with Psalms 89:0 , so remember Lord the reproaches ( ὀνειδισμῶν LXX) of thy servants . ὅτι … ἀναπαύεται , quoted from a current Targum of Isaiah 11:1 f., a branch ( נצר : LXX, ἄνθος : Targ. Messiah ) from his roots shall grow and there shall rest upon him the spirit of Jehovah . An elaborate description of this spirit follows, which Peter summarises by τὸ τῆς δόξης . The Glory is a name of God in the Targums (so John 12:41 = Isaiah 6:5 ; Onkelos has יקרא די׳ for י׳ ) and its use here is probably due to the juxtaposition of Isaiah 11:10 , his rest shall be glorious . It is not impossible that καὶ τοῦ θεοῦ is an insertion by first or later scribes for the benefit of Greek readers.

Verse 15

1 Peter 4:15 . γάρ . I assume that you suffer in Christ’s name as representing Him and bearing only the reproach which attaches to it per se . The crimes of which slanderers had accused Christians are given in the order of probability and are selected as belonging to the pattern. Christ Himself was implicitly accused thereof by His persecutors and acquitted of each by independent witnesses, as the Gospels are at pains to show. He suffered the fate from which the murderer was preserved (Acts 3:14 ) by the petition of the Jews; shared it with thieves or brigands, being delivered up to the secular arm as a malefactor (John 18:30 ). Such slanders the Christian must rebut for the credit of his Lord; that he must not be guilty of such crimes goes without saying. ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος is distinguished from the preceding accusations by the insertion of ὡς ; it is also an addition to the pattern of Christ, unless stress be laid on the sneer, He saved others . The word was apparently coined to express the idea of the itinerant philosopher of whatever sect current among the unphilosophical. Epictetus defends the true Cynic against this very calumny; he is a messenger sent from Zeus to men to show them concerning good and evil (Arrian, iii. 22, 23) … a spy of what is helpful and harmful to me … he approaches all men, cares for all ( ib. 81) … neither meddler περίεργος nor busybody is such an one; for he is not busy about alien things τὰ ἀλλότρια πολυπραγμονεῖ when he inspects the actions and relations of mankind ὅταν τὰ ἀνθρώπινα ἐπισκοπῇ ( ib. 97). This zeal for the welfare of others was certainly the most obvious charge to bring against Christians, who indeed were not always content to testify by good behaviour without word . St. Paul heard of some at Thessalonica, μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομἔνους (2 Thessalonians 3:2 ). Women generally if unattached were prone to be not merely idle but meddlers speaking what they should not (1 Timothy 5:13 ). So St. Peter ( cf. 1 Corinthians 10:27 ) has emphasised the duty of all Christians even of the wives of heathen husbands to preach Christianity only by example and now deprecates their acquiescence in what some might reckon a title of honour. The fate of Socrates is the classical example of the suffering of such; and later one philosopher was scourged and another beheaded for denunciation of the alliance of Titus with Berenice ( Dio Cassius , lxvi. 15). Punishment of this offence would depend on the power of the other man concerned who, if not in authority, would naturally utilise mob-law like Demetrius (Acts 19:0 .).

Verse 16

1 Peter 4:16 . εἰδὲ ὡς χριστιανὸς , if one suffers as a follower of Christ, in the name of Christ (14). See on Acts 9:26 and Introduction. μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω echoes the saying, Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words of him also the Son of Man shall be ashamed when He cometh in the glory ; so St. Paul says I suffer thus but am not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:12 ; cf. 2 Timothy 1:8 ). δοξαζέτω τὸν θεόν , by martyrdom if necessary, for this sense the phrase has acquired already in John 21:19 . ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ = Mark 9:41 .

Verse 17

1 Peter 4:17 . That Judgment begins at the House of God is a deduction from the vision of Ezekiel 9:0 . ( cf. Ezekiel 7:4 , the καιρός has come ); the slaughter of Israelites who are not marked with Tau, is ordained by the Glory of the God of Israel; the Lord said, ἀπὸ τῶν ἁγίων μου ἄρξασθε and the men began at ( ἀπό ) the elders who were within in the house. The new Israel has precedence like the old even in condemnation; cf. Romans 2:8 f., τοῖς … ἀπειθοῦσι τῇ ἀληθεία … ὀργὴ ἐπὶ … ψυχὴν … Ἰουδαίου τε πρῶτον . τῷ … εὐαγγελίῳ , cf. Mark 1:14 . The Gospel or Word, which God spake in a Son , succeeds to the law as the expression of the will against which all but the remnant ( Ez. l.c. ) rebel.

Verse 18

1 Peter 4:18 . To the summary excerpt from Ezekiel Peter appends the Septuagint version of Proverbs 11:31 , which is followed by the Syriac and partially by the Targum: The original according to the Masoretic text is Behold or if the righteous will be punished on the earth: how much more the wicked and the sinner . The Greek, which probably represents a different Hebrew text, is more apt to his purpose and to the teaching of Jesus, which provoked the question, Who then can be saved (Mark 10:24-26 ).

Verse 19

1 Peter 4:19 . So let even those who suffer in accordance with the will of God with a faithful Creator deposit their souls in well-doing . The Christian must still follow the pattern. It is God’s will that he share Christ’s sufferings in whatever degree; let him in this also copy Christ, who said, Father into thy hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46 = Psalms 31:6 ) and bade His disciples lose their souls that they might find them unto life eternal. With this teaching Peter combines that of the Psalmist which is assumed by Jesus (Matthew 6:25 ff.), Jehovah knows His creature . He the God of faithfulness ( אל אמת , Ps. l.c. ) is the faithful Creator to whom the soul He gave and redeemed (Ps. l.c. ) may confidently return.

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