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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 2

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

1 Peter 2:1-10

Analysis:—Exhortation of the regenerate to nourish themselves with the word of God, and to grow in Christ, to build themselves up on Him and to approve themselves a spiritual priesthood.

1Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings1, 2As newborn babes, desire2 the sincere milk of the word3, that ye 3grow thereby; If so be4 ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious5. 4To whom coming6, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God7, and precious,85Ye also, as9lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by10 Jesus Christ.116Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.12 137Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders9 disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient14: whereunto9 also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people15; that ye should shew forth16 the praises17 of him who hath called you out of darkness into18 his marvellous19 light: 10Which in time past were not a people20, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy21, but now have obtained mercy22.


1 Peter 2:1. Wherefore, laying aside.—The section 1 Peter 2:1-10. is connected, as are the exhortations in 1 Peter 1:22, with the idea of regeneration and the love out of a pure heart flowing from it. To brotherly love out of a pure heart are opposed guile, deception, hypocrisy, envy and slander; if that is to spring up, these vices must die. On this account Peter exhorts Christians to lay them aside, to put them off. If a new life is implanted, it must grow, and therefore save corresponding, wholesome nourishment; on this account Peter entreats them to long for that nourishment that thus they might be able to grow and to overcome temptations.—The construction is here as in 1 Peter 1:22. The Imperative reacts on the Participle. Laying aside is a figure taken from clothing and of frequent occurrence, Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:22; James 1:21. The old man is a garment, wholly surrounding, closely-fitting and forming a whole with us. “Take away the filthy garments from him—set a fair mitre upon his head,” was the direction concerning Joshua the high priest, Zechariah 3:3. The angel adding, “Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” The figures of laying aside and putting on clothes was peculiarly apposite because the early Christians were wont to lay aside their old garments and to exchange them for white and clean apparel when they were baptized and regenerated. It is necessary to observe that the exhortation to laying aside is only addressed to those who had the new man, while the unbelieving and unregenerate had first to receive another mind [μετάνοια, after-thought, after-wisdom, a change of disposition must precede baptism and new-birth.—M.]. The vices to be laid aside bear upon the relation to our neighbour and exert a deadly influence on brotherly love. κακία [nocendi cupiditas] denotes here, in particular, malicious disposition toward others, aiming at their hurt, injury and pain, and assuming various manifestations, cf. 1 Corinthians 13:5. The accomplishment of such evil intent necessitates lying, cunning and other artifices; its concealment requires hypocrisy and dissembling. The sense of dependence on those before whom dissimulation is practised, the sight of their happiness, the shame felt in the conscience in the presence of the virtuous—excite envy, and envy engenders all manner of evil, detracting and injurious speaking. [Malitia malo delectatur alieno; invidia bono cruciatur alieno; dolus duplicat cor; adulatio duplicat linguam; detractatio vulner at famam.—Augustine.—M.]. ‘Thus,’ observed Flacius, ‘one vice ever genders another.’ Huss says of κακαλαλιά that it takes place in various ways, either by denying or darkening a neighbour’s virtues, and either by attributing to him evil or imputing to him evil designs in doing good.

1 Peter 2:2. As newborn babes.—This goes back to 1 Peter 1:23. The connection is similar to 1 Peter 1:14. They had been addressed as children of obedience, now their young and tender state is mentioned as a reason why they should seek strength in the word of God. ‘Newborn babes’ was a current expression among the Jews for proselytes and neophytes. As the desire and need of nourishment predominate in the former, so they ought to predominate in babes in Christ. The expression so far from being derogatory, sets forth the tenderness of their relation to God, and implies the idea of guilelessness, cf. Isaiah 40:11; Luke 18:15, etc.

Long for—word.—ἐπιποθεῖν denotes intense and ever recurring desire. While the regenerate experience a longing after the word of God, by which they had been begotten, similar to the desire of newborn babes for their mother’s milk, Psalms 119:31; Psalms 119:72; Psalms 19:11, still the hereditary sin which yet cleaves to them renders it necessary that they should be constantly urged to the diligent use of the divine word in order to partake of it.—Milk, in opposition to solid food, 1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; Hebrews 6:1, signifies the rudiments of Christian doctrine, not only its simple representation adapted to the capacity of the weak but also the more easily intelligible articles of Christianity. In this place, however, where no such antithesis exists, the figure comprises the sum-total of Christianity, the whole Gospel. Milk is the first, most simple, most refreshing, most wholesome food, especially for children; so is the word of God, cf. Isaiah 55:1. The most advanced Christians ought to consider themselves children, in respect of what they are to be hereafter. “Christ, the crucified, is milk for babes, food for the advanced.” Augustine. Clement of Alexandria suggests the partaking of the incarnate Logos.—λογικόν is best explained by the Apostle’s peculiarity to elucidate his figures by additional illustrations, cf. 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 1:23. It is milk contained in and flowing from the word, spiritual milk, which, as Luther explains, is drawn with the soul. The rendering ‘reasonable’ is against the usus loquendi of the New Testament, and equally inadmissible in Romans 12:1. [Alford renders ‘spiritual’ after Allioli and Kistemaker.—M.] The nature of this milk is further defined by ἄδολον, which means unadulterated, pure, cf. 2Co 4:2; 2 Corinthians 2:17. [ἄδολον seems rather to be in contrast with δόλον in 1 Peter 2:1.—M.] It is consequently doctrine that is not compounded with human wisdom and thus rendered inefficacious. For the word of God has the property that it exerts purifying, liberating, illuminating and consoling influences only in its purity and entireness. Irenæus says of the heretics: “They mix gypsum with the milk, they taint the heavenly doctrine with the poison of their errors.”

ἐν αὐτῷ, receiving it into your innermost soul, making it your full property. Growth in holiness depends on the constant assimilation of the word. “The mother who gave them birth, nourishes them also.”—Harless.

1 Peter 2:3. If, otherwise ye have tasted.—A conditional statement is often by emphasis accepted as real. Grotius renders the sense well; “I know that you will this, as surely as you—cf. Romans 8:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6.” This form of speech contains also an invitation to self-examination. Calov perceives a connection with 1 Peter 2:1. “The more you eradicate the bitter root of malice, the more also do you taste the sweetness of the goodness of the Lord.” Cf. Song of Solomon 2:3; Song of Solomon 5:13; Sir 23:27. The expression, to taste with reference to the figure of milk, and with full allusion to Psalms 34:9, denotes experience of the essential virtue of a thing as perceived by the sense of taste. It is transferred very properly to the experiences of the soul which enters into and unites with the object in order to know it in all its bearings. Cf. Hebrews 6:5; Hebrews 2:9. [Alford says, “The infant once put to the breast desires it again.”—M.]

[Wordsworth quotes the words of Augustine (Serm. 353), addressed to the newly baptized: “These words are specially applicable to you, who are yet fresh in the infancy of spiritual regeneration. For to you mainly the Divine Oracles speak, by the Apostle St. Peter, Having laid aside all malice, and all guile, as newborn infants desire ye the “rationabile et innocens lac, ut in illo crescatis ad salutem,” if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious (dulcis.) And we are witnesses that ye have tasted it. … Cherish, therefore, this spiritual infancy. The infancy of the strong is humility. The manhood of the weak is pride.”—M.]

That the deed is good.—[Friendly, Germ.] χρηστός applied to tender, pleasant-tasting solids and liquids, to the sweet flavour of old wine, Luke 5:39; then to persons, kindly, friendly, condescending, Ephesians 4:32; Luke 6:35. Ὁ κύριος is the Lord Jesus, 1 Peter 2:4, who invites us to Himself and commends to us the ease of His yoke, Matthew 11:29. He is here represented as the spiritual means of nourishment, the partaking whereof promotes the new life of Christians, and draws them to the word, which is His revelation, and in a certain sense identical with Him. “This is tasting indeed,” says Luther, “to believe from the heart that Christ has given Himself to me and has become my own, that my misery is His, and His life mine. Feeling this from the heart, is tasting Christ.” [The Lord, “quod subjicitur; ad quem accedentes, non simpliciter ad Deum refertur, sed ipsum designat qualis patefactus est in persona Christi.”—Calvin.]

1 Peter 2:4. To whom approaching.—The Imperative construction is best adapted to what follows, as it supplies an appropriate progress in the development of the thought. We had before: “Take nourishment from the word of God, and from the communion of Christ; this is followed by an exhortation contemplating the gathering of a congregation of God, to wit: Build up yourselves, as living stones, into a temple of God. Ever-renewed approaching Christ is the means and condition of building. The Apostle thinks of passages like the following, Psalms 118:22-23; Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 28:16; Luke 2:34; Matthew 21:42; cf. Matthew 11:29; John 6:37. In the Old Testament, the priests are those who approach and draw near to God, Leviticus 16:1; Ezekiel 40:46; Numbers 9:13; in the New Testament access to God is opened to all through Christ, cf. Hebrews 9:1, etc.; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 11:6; Hebrews 4:16. We draw near to Christ by prayer—(considering His person, His merit and His office)—by entering into His Word and drawing therefrom grace for grace by faith.

Unto a living stone.—The Apostle being about to speak of the sacred edifice of the New Testament, felt of course anxious to designate Christ as the corner-stone thereof. By the glory of the corner-stone, he desires to impress us with the glory of the edifice to be reared thereon. (Weiss). We do not decide upon the suggestion of Gerhard that Peter alludes to his own name. [Petrus a petra Christo sic denominatus metaphora, petræ delectatur, ac suo exemplo docet omnes debere esse petros, h. e., vivos lapides supra Christum fide ædificatos. Gerhard.—M.] Cf. Acts 4:11; Romans 11:11; Eph 2:20; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Zechariah 3:9. He is a stone or a rock, because after the manner of rocks, He remains ever the same, unchangeably powerful and invincible; because His word is firm and immovable, and because God has ordained and designed Him to be the foundation of His spiritual temple. But why a living stone? This predicate reminds us of the predicates Peter is wont to join to other images, 1 Peter 2:2; 1Pe 2:5; 1 Peter 1:13; it denotes not only a spiritual stone, but alludes to the circumstance that His rocky firmness is to His followers not hardness, but absolute reliability, truth and faithfulness, that in Him there is nothing of rigidity and death but absolute light and life. Calov.—“He is alive and makes alive.” John 5:28; John 6:48; John 14:19, etc.; 1 Peter 4:10; Acts 2:28. He penetrates and fills with His life the whole organism of believers, and causes it to grow. “Peter here tenders us the most urgent invitation to draw near to Christ, for those to whom Christ is as yet a mummy, cannot feel themselves drawn to Him.” Steiger.

Disallowed indeed of men, but…precious.—ἀποδοκιμάζειν—to reject on proof or trial, like useless coin, to reject for want of proper qualification. Heb. מָאַם. He was rejected not only by the builders, but by men of every kind, of every occupation, of every age and generation, by Jews and Gentiles. Hence the expression is quite general, rejected of men, of the whole world of unbelievers. Opposed to this human judgment, proceeding from enmity to whatever is Divine and depending solely on externals, is the alone decisive judgment of God. Before God, in His eyes, and according to His decree He is chosen out and acknowledged precious and excellent before many millions, (antithesis between ἐκλεκτόν and ἀποδεδοκιμασμένον) and had in great honour. Cf. 1 Timothy 5:21; Luke 9:35; Romans 16:13. Everything met in Him the exact fulfilment of what prophecy had foretold concerning Him, and God made even His resurrection the means of establishing His Messianic character. Peter alludes to Isaiah 28:16, and laying stress on His preciousness with God, omits several of the predicates used in that passage. His rejection, therefore, so far from being matter of reproach, is one of the chief signs by which Jesus may be known as the true Messiah.

1 Peter 2:5. Be ye also built up, etc. οἰκοδομεἴσθε cf. Judges 20:0, to be taken as a Middle in a reflexive sense. Christ being so excellent a corner-stone, on which rests the entire spiritual temple of God, be ye also inserted therein. Such being built up is something very different from a few ephemeral or passing flights of emotion; it starts from a solid foundation, includes continued and systematic activity, and demands in particular that every one, even he who is firmly and closely inserted in Jesus, should suffer himself to be put in that place and there to be inserted as a member of the whole, which the will of the great Architect assigns to him. As living stones, forasmuch as you are living stones and in the regeneration, 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 2:2; have put on spiritual life emanating from Christ, cf. John 5:26; John 11:25; John 10:28; John 14:19. Calov specifies the following points of comparison: (a) the building upon the foundation-stone. “The stones of the building cannot stand without the foundation-stone. We do not carry Him, but He carries us. If we stand and rely upon Him, we must also abide where He is.” Luther. (b) The hardness and firmness in order to resist all assaults of enemies and all storms. Bernard, Serm. 60, on the Song of Sol., says: “Raised on the Rock, I stand secure from the enemy and all calamities; the world shakes, the body oppresses me, the devil pursues me; but I do not fall, for I am founded on a firm rock.” (c) The working, grinding, polishing and fitting of the stones, (d) The joining together with particular reference to the tie of love, (e) The mutual supporting. The lower stone supports the upper, this again the lower and the side stone, as Gregory says in Hom. on Ezek.: “In the Holy Church each supports the other, and each is supported by the other.” Cf. the vision of the building of the Church triumphant in Hermæ Pastor, vis. 3.

A spiritual house, not apposition, but effect and end of the building. Grotius rightly observes: In the spiritual building, individual believers are both living stones with reference to the whole temple of the Church, and a spiritual house or a temple of God, but this is inapplicable to this passage, which evidently treats of the founding of a people of God, (1 Peter 5:9). As a house is a whole, consisting of different parts, so is the Church of God; as one master rules in a house, so the Triune Jehovah rules in His temple; cf. Ephesians 2:22; 1Co 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16. Among believers each is not to aim at separating himself into a house by himself; they should be united in the commonwealth of God, and together should constitute a spiritual temple. It is called spiritual in opposition to the material temple, made with hands, and also because it is wrought and occupied by the Spirit.

For a holy priesthood, (Lachmann after Codd. A. B. C. reads εἰς ἱεράτευμα,—the end of building,) a holy community of priests. “Under the Old Covenant, Jehovah had His house and His priests, who served Him in His house; the Church fulfils both purposes under the New, being both His house and His holy priesthood.” Wiesinger. The expression alludes to Exodus 19:6.—2 Chronicles 29:11. “The Lord hath chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that ye should minister unto Him and burn incense.” This applies to all Christians. All believers of the New Testament are anointed priests by the Holy Ghost. The priesthood is called ἅγιον, because they are consecrated to God, cleansed by the blood of Christ and studious of a holy conversation. Their activity consists in offering spiritual sacrifice’s.

To offer up spiritual sacrifices, etc., Ἀναφέρειν to carry up to the altar; cf. 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 13:15; James 2:21, elsewhere προσφέρειν, to take to God, Hebrews 5:7. These sacrifices are spiritual, in opposition to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, and correspond to the Being of God, who is a Spirit, and to the spiritual house in which they are offered; they are wrought by the Spirit of God, and must be spiritually offered. This spiritual sacrifice necessitates voluntary surrender to the service of God, and approaching Him spiritually; and consists above all things in that believers should, according to Romans 12:1, present to the service of their God and Saviour, their bodies with all its members and powers, eyes and ears, mouth and tongue, hands and feet, and themselves, with all they have and are, and that not only once at their first conversion, but daily, Luke 9:23. Again, as the burning of incense was connected with the sacrifices of the Old Testament, so the incense of prayer, Revelation 8:3-4, and especially the lip-sacrifice of praise, Hebrews 13:15; Psalms 50:14, are integral parts of the sacrifices of the New Testament. They moreover include the sacrifices of love and charity; if Christians gladly communicate their temporal possessions, seek their neighbours’ good at the loss of personal advantage, and are prepared to give their life for the brethren. 1 John 3:16; Hebrews 13:16; Philippians 4:18. But since these sacrifices are always imperfect and affected by manifold infirmities, they cannot be acceptable to God unless offered through Him in whom God is perfectly pleased. Hence the annexed sentence, εὐπροσδέκτους, Θεῷ διὰ, which last word is not to be joined with ἀνενέγκα, but with εὐπροσδέκτους in the sense of taking through, through the mediation of Christ, that is, through His goodness, power, advocacy and merits, cf. Ephesians 1:6. [But, on the other hand, joining διὰ κ.τ.λ. with ἀνενέγκα is supported by the analogy of Hebrews 13:15; and preferred by Grotius, Aret., de Wette, Huther, Wiesinger and Alford, who consider the former construction inadequate to the weighty character of the words, and would seem to put them in the wrong place, seeing that not merely the acceptability, but the very existence and possibility of offering of those sacrifices, depends on the mediation of the great High Priest.—M.]

1 Peter 2:6. Because also it is contained in Scripture.—The Apostle again returns to the figure of the living stone, and supports it by a free and somewhat abbreviated quotation from Isaiah 28:16.—περιέχει for περιέχεται as some verbs are used both in a reflexive and a passive sense. Winer, p. 267, 2d Eng. edition. Steiger adduces a passage from Josephus.

ἀκρογωνιαῖος λίθον, a corner-stone of the foundation which unites two walls. Similarly Christ also is the connecting link of the Old and New Testaments, of Jews and Gentiles; ἐκλεκτόν see 1 Peter 2:4. In the prophetical passage, the primary reference appears to be to a king of the house of David, but the Spirit points to the Messiah, according to the all but unanimous opinion of ancient commentators; the New Testament also renders that opinion necessary. Isaiah 8:14, describes Jehovah Himself as a stone of stumbling to those who do not let Him be their fear; and at Matthew 21:42, our Lord applies to Himself the words of Psalms 118:22. ἐκλεκτόν, ἔντιμον is repeated by the Apostle in order to show how precious and valuable this corner-stone is to him.

ὁ πιστεύων; the idea of confiding predominates here; hence the preposition ἐπί instead of εἰς or ἐν. In Hebrew הֶאֱמִין to build on something, to stand fast. The passage Isaiah 28:16, reads, “he that believeth shall not make haste,” (i. e., fly like a coward who throws away his arms.) Peter expresses a more general sense, he shall not be ashamed; his hopes shall not make him ashamed. “The precious corner-stone assures an eternal state of grace and salvation.” Roos. It was laid at the incarnation, and especially at the resurrection of Jesus.

1 Peter 2:7. To you then, who believe, is the honour, etc.—The sense of ἡ τιμή is determined by the antithesis to the preceding καταισχυνθῇ, and at the same time refers back to ἔντιμος, while the part of unbelievers is nothing but shame, faith is to you honour and glory, cf. 1Pe 1:7; 1 Peter 2:9. This dignity is farther enlarged upon at 1 Peter 2:9 but the relation of unbelievers to Christ has first to be discussed.

ἀπειθεῖν relates as much to promises and facts as to precepts, cf. Hebrews 3:18-19; Hebrews 4:2-3; Hebrews 4:6; John 3:36; Acts 14:2; Acts 17:5; Romans 2:8; Romans 10:21; Romans 11:30; the contrast in this place gives prominence to the former relation.

λίθον, literally taken from the LXX. version of Psalms 118:22. Here also λίθος is in the Accusative. This case may have been retained with reference to τίθημι in 1 Peter 2:6. (Lachmann reads λίθος.)

οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες, the chiefs, the dignitaries of the Jewish state are the builders, who tear up the foundation. “Whenever we see the dignitaries rise against Christ, we will call to mind the prediction of David, that the stone is rejected by the builders.” Calvin, cf. Romans 11:8; 1Th 2:15-16; 1 Corinthians 1:23.—οὑτος, emphatically just this one and no other.

εἰς expresses the destination and development towards the foundation-stone. Since His resurrection, He stands as the rock supporting His Church, but as a stone of stumbling and rock of offence to unbelievers, according to Isaiah 8:14.

1 Peter 2:8. A stone of stumbling—who stumble.—πρόσκομμα, a collision producing hurt or injury, נֶגֶף.—σκάνδαλον, properly the catch in the trap, holding the bait, then the trap itself; figuratively, whatever causes to fall, seduces and involves men in sin and calamity. The running and stumbling against a thing is followed by falling. Ruin as the consequence of unbelief stands in contrast with the honour in store for believers, cf. Luke 2:34; Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42-44; Romans 9:32. The meaning is more than mere subjective taking offence and being vexed, as the sequel shows, not=ἀπειθεῖν.—οἱ προσκόπτουσιν, relates to ἀπειθοῦντες, who stumble while and because they do not believe the word.—προσκόπτουσιν must not be joined with λόγῳ, for it has already its object—i. e., Christ. Grotius erroneously confines himself to the temporal punishment of the Jews, whereas the reference is plain to whatever misery and ruin follows the rejection of Christ.

Whereunto they were also appointed.—εἰς ὃ καὶ ἐτέθησαν relates to the foregoing principal verb, to προσκόπτειν. Grotius rightly: “Unbelievers are appointed for this very thing that they stumble, endure the most grievous punishment for their unbelief.” τίθημι applied to the temporal acts of God, not to His eternal decrees and ordinances, cf. John 15:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11; 2 Peter 2:6; Psalms 66:9 in LXX.; 1 Thessalonians 5:9. It denotes placing, setting in a definite situation, in certain circumstances, which often carry great dangers along with great disadvantages. Roos observes: “Had those unbelievers died in infancy, or had they been born deaf, or among ignorant heathen, they could not thus stumble. Had Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot and others been born several centuries sooner, they could not have so wofully sinned against the Son of God. Man is not wronged in being thus set among inestimable benefits and awful dangers; he is only to seize the benefits, to believe the word; if he is unwilling to do so, his condemnation is perfectly just.” Having once voluntarily surrendered themselves to unbelief, their stumbling is neither accidental nor optional, but it contains besides the natural connection also a Divine and inevitable arrangement: “He that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption,” Galatians 6:8. Yea, God punishes sin with sin, unbelief with unbelief, if men wantonly repel grace and love darkness more than light. With this explanation we reject the expositions of the Calvinists, e. g., that of Aretius; “Satan and their native evil have set them not to believe,” and that of Beza: “That some are rejected not because of their foreseen sins, but because of the good pleasure of the Divine will.” Cf. on the other hand, Romans 10:11-18; Rom 16:26; 1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11. The artificial exposition of Cornelius a Lapide is equally inadmissible, “They also were set (positi) to believe in Christ, but they refuse faith, just because they will not believe.” The parallelism, already noticed by Gerhard, ought not to be passed over, that God sets (appoints) Christ as the foundation and corner-stone of the τιμή for believers; while unbelievers are set (appointed) to stumble at this corner-stone, which is to them a stone of stumbling, vide Weiss.

1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a…people for acquisition.—With reference to 1 Peter 2:5, the Apostle describes the glory of the Christian state as contrasted with the lot of unbelievers, both because of their guilt and in accordance with the Divine appointment. The first and last of the predicates used are taken from Isaiah 43:20, in LXX.; the others refer to Exodus 19:6. γένος, denotes a whole united by natural relationship, community of origin among several parts of a people. Applied to the Christian Church, it signifies the totality of those begotten of the same incorruptible seed, and having one Spiritual Father, 1Pe 1:3; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:1.

ἐκλεκτόν, similar to the Jewish Church of the posterity of Abraham and Jacob, the Christian Church is a company chosen out of the great mass of humanity, destined to salvation and glory and resting on a foundation stone which is also ἐκλεκτός, 1 Peter 2:4. They constitute a royal priesthood just because they belong to the one family of the children of the great God. The Hebrew has “a kingdom of priests,” wherein God the King governs and animates all things. The priestly character is, however, the leading idea. You all may freely draw near to God, sacrificing, praying, and blessing, cf. Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10. But because you have community of life with Him, and should be the image of Him who rules at the right hand of the Majesty, 1 Peter 3:22, you enjoy in Him also the prerogatives of royalty and government. Even now you must no longer serve the world, with Christ you may overcome the flesh, the world and the devil; your position as rulers will hereafter become more manifest to yourselves and to the world. In you shall be completely fulfilled what in the faithful of Israel could be realized only in feeble beginnings. Cf. Isaiah 61:6; Psalms 148:14. Grotius quotes the saying of Cicero that it is a royal thing to be the servant of no passion.

ἔθνος ἅγιον. As Israel was, among the many nations of the world, separated and consecrated to God, Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6, so are you in a much higher sense a holy congregation in the midst of this sin-stained world, you are cleansed by the blood of Christ, sanctified by the Spirit of God, 1 Peter 1:2, and bidden to strive indefatigably for holiness by renouncing the world and growing in brotherly love, 1 Peter 1:22.

λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν=עַם םְגֻלָּה, a people acquired for possession, is the last title of honour, Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Malachi 3:17. Titus 2:14; Isaiah 43:21. ὤν may be understood. λαός as exposed to ἔθνος may be designed to give prominence to the ideas of subordination to the King and of classification according to office and station, while ἔθνος suggests the idea of external relations and national habits. Some take περιποίησις actively for acquiring, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Hebrews 10:39, in the sense of the people destined, to acquire the glorious inheritance of God; but the reference to the Old Testament and the absence of an object in the passage under notice, which elsewhere uniformly accompanies it, forbids such an interpretation. As God had acquired the people of Israel by taking them from the Egyptian house of bondage, so He has acquired the Church of the New Testament by the blood of his Son.—Following Isaiah 43:20, the Apostle next specifies the end for which God did choose them as His own and accord to them such high immunities, not that they should seek therein their own glory, but that they should glorify God. Cf. Matthew 5:16. The construction is similar to that of ἀνενέγκαι in 1 Peter 2:5.

That ye should publish, etc.—ἐξαγγείλητε=to publish forth, to tell out, to give wide-spread publicity to what takes place within, cf. Titus 2:14; Ephesians 2:10. This must take place by word and deed, not only by called teachers but by the entire community of believers.

The virtues.—ἀρετή, although of frequent use in the writings of the Greek philosophers, occurs in the New Testament, besides this passage, only in Philippians 4:8; 2Pe 1:3; 2 Peter 1:5. The word used in the parallel passage of the Old Testament is תְהִלָּתִי, my praise, cf. Isaiah 48:8; Isaiah 48:12 in LXX. The ἀρεταί of God are, as Gerhard rightly explains, those attributes of God which shine forth from the work of our free calling and the whole contrivance of our salvation. The connection suggests more particularly His Omnipotence which removes every obstacle, and His mercy which condescends to the most degraded slave of sin. The last attribute, in particular, was expressed in the appearing of Christ. Believing congregations should be both the trumpets and mirrors thereof.

καλεῖν, elsewhere applied to the call of the Apostolate, Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19; Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 1:1; then to invitations to enter into the kingdom of God, Luke 5:32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Revelation 19:9; Matthew 22:14; Matthew 9:13; Luke 14:24; Luke 5:32; Romans 8:30; Romans 9:12; Romans 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; that is, the kingdom of grace and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 5:10. This invitation is mostly effected by the preaching of the Gospel, but sometimes also by God addressing men personally and calling them by their names, Genesis 12:1; Exodus 31:2; Isaiah 13:3; Acts 9:4, and by the efficient working of His Spirit in their hearts. God the Father, the God of all grace is here, as elsewhere, He who calls, 1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 1:15; 1 Peter 5:10. He thus realizes in time (in this present life) the antetemporal (the eternal) act of election.

The darkness is, according to Flacius, the kingdom of darkness and that most sad condition which belongs to all men before they come to Christ. It comprises both ignorance of God and the greatest unrighteousness, the slavery of Satan, and lastly, all kinds of punishment, the curse and wrath of God, and, we may add, the anxious unrest and torment of conscience. This figure being applied to the Jews in the Old Testament, Psalms 107:10; Isaiah 9:2, affords no clue, that Peter was addressing former pagans. Opposed to darkness is the wonderful light of God, who Himself is Light as to His Being. It translates believers into His holy and blessed communion of light; their understanding is therein enlightened, their will sanctified and their conscience filled with peace. It is a wonderful Light as to origin, nature and effect, since it makes of sinners the children of God. “It discovers wonderful things and cannot be seen by the worldly-minded.” Roos. “It is wonderful, just as to one coming out of long darkness the light of day would be wonderful.” de Wette.

1 Peter 2:10. Which in time past—but now compassionated.—The remembrance of what they had once been, must deepen the sense of gratitude on the part of the readers of the Epistle. Peter cites freely Hosea 2:23, where, of the people in their then condition, it is said that they were not the people of God, but that in the days of Messiah, God would say unto them, “Thou art my people.” The passage in Hosea manifestly refers to Israel. The prophecy met its fulfilment whenever a Jewish congregation joined Christianity. If the meaning were the substitution of a new Christian people, a people either composed of Jews and Gentiles, or mainly and by way of preference of Gentiles—for the people of Israel—those promises would either still remain unfulfilled, or be fulfilled in a way that needed, after the manner of Paul, to be more clearly defined and substantiated. Οὐ λαός not only no people of God but the very opposite. Ἐλεηθέν τες. “The Aorist denotes the historical fact, the act of Divine compassion to have really taken place.” Steiger.—οὐκ ἠλεημένοι, a long time before they had, under the Divine judgments, been given over to sin and its fruit of corruption.


1. It would be erroneous to represent the nature of regeneration as a state out of which whatever is good is spontaneously flowing, as water flows from a strong fountain; the new man needs constant growth in all his powers. The light of his knowledge must deepen and increase; his will must become more firm and decided; he must grow in love, hope, patience and all other virtues, Hebrews 6:1; Ephesians 4:15; 1Th 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:10; Philippians 3:12. This necessitates exhortation on the part of others, and the regenerate must (of course in the spirit of the Gospel, for the flesh is ever warring against the spirit) coerce himself to do good. “A Christian is in process of being, not already completed. Consequently, a Christian is not a Christian, that is, one who thinks that he is already a Christian, whereas he is to become one, is nothing. For we strive to get to heaven, but are not yet in heaven.” Luther.

2. Christianity is not satisfied with partial and superficial improvements; it demands inflexible severity toward the old man, and insists upon it that impurity in every shape and form shall be exposed and struggled with, 1 Peter 2:1.—The progress of the Christian life corresponds every way to its beginning. He that in a first repentance has been awakened from spiritual sleep, must every day rise anew from sleep; he that has put on Christ in faith, must daily put Him on more thoroughly. This is necessary because the old man exists alongside the new, although the dominion of the former be broken.

3. The means whereby the new man is nourished and furthered is none other than that to which he owes his existence. He must grow out of (ἐκ) God, His spirit, and His word. It is a most dangerous opinion for any to hold that he has inwardly appropriated so much of the Divine word as to be able to dispense with the outward word. He that despises this may soon be punished by God, in that He will so effectually deprive him of His light and strength as to induce him to regard as Divine revelations his own vain imaginings and foolish dreams.—Wiesinger says: “The Christian may measure his love of God by his love of the word of God; it is his personal experience of the love of God that draws him to the word, and what he seeks is an ever-increasing, ever-deepening experience of the χρηστότης of the Lord. Inquiry led by such an impulse of personal communion with the Lord contains within itself its own rule and corrective, a power which gathers together into one centre of life all the varying phases of the Scriptures, and guards them from being shattered and alienated.”

4. A spiritual house, a temple, must also have a priestly people, 1 Peter 2:4. The priestly consecration of the New Testament consists in that we seize by the self-surrender of true faith the true sin-offering and atonement made on Golgotha, and offered and presented to us in the means of grace. First comes the sin-offering, then the burnt-offering, then the thank-offering; hence none can live in the service and to the praise of God unless he first have seized, by the true burnt-offering of faith, the true sin-offering of Christ, and unless his whole life become (working outwardly from within) one whole thank-offering, one whole and undivided act of worship. The real burnt-offering is thenceforth repentance and faith, wherein man dies daily with the right sin-offering of Christ, and daily revives, and suffers himself and his whole life to be possessed of God, by being refined, purified and consumed in the fire of the Holy Ghost.” Kliefoth. The general priesthood of Christians applies only to converted, believing and living Christians, and implies that there is no class or state of Christians privileged with exclusive mediation of salvation. Luther has powerfully brought out this doctrine in connection with justification, and Spener propounded it anew. But God has likewise instituted for the church an office for the administration of the means of grace, a clearly defined service to be committed to certain persons, which is evident from 2 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Matthew 28:19-20; James 3:1; 1 Corinthians 14:5.

5. The Divine pleasure rests on the spiritual sacrifices of the priests of the New Testament, only for the sake of Christ; where this truth is sincerely held, neither self-righteousness, nor despondency, its twin sister, can maintain their ground.

6. The nature of Christ reflects itself in believers. They are, 1 Peter 2:5, stones, temples, priests. Every stone is, as it were, a temple by itself; many houses of God constitute the One Church of Christ.

7. Holy Scripture is silent concerning the predestination of individuals to unbelief, sin and damnation, although it teaches that God has (temporally) concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all, Romans 11:32.

8. With the Reformers, we should draw the true idea of the Christian Church from 1 Peter 2:9, although it applies only to a small fraction of the degenerate Christendom of the present. The ungodly are only in appearance and name, not in truth and in deed, members of the Church.

9. We learn from 1 Peter 2:9 that there is no antithesis between the New Testament and the Old, provided the latter be treated according to its kernel and substance; Peter comprises both as a unit, but at the same time gives uniform prominence to the spirituality and intrinsicality of Christianity, and specifies a spiritual house, spiritual sacrifices and living stones; so that the Old Testament is represented by him as the Divinely appointed threshold and porch of the New. The province of bringing out the contrast between the Old Testament and the New was left to St. Paul.


1 Peter 2:1. Which are the things that kill brotherly love and ought therefore earnestly to be fought against and laid aside?—Growth in Christian perfection: (a) its soil; (b) its necessity; (c) its means.—Love of the Divinely given means of grace both the mark and task of the new man.—The foundation, on which all Christian exhortations are resting.—The true Church is the mother, nourishing her children with the pure milk of the Divine word.—Jesus, the sinner’s cordial and delight in life, suffering and dying.—Christ, the living stone, ever living and animating His people.—Christians are living stones in the building of the kingdom of God: 1. What does it mean? 2 What is necessary to it? 3. What advantage does it bring?—The Christian state a holy priesthood: 1. Its dignity; 2. Its duties.—The two-fold destination of the Church’s corner-stone.—Of the vessels of wrath set (prepared) for condemnation.—The chosen generation of the children of God: 1. Their election; 2. Their destination.—Only God’s people is a people indeed.

Starke:—The punishment of sin is affected by regeneration, for this must supply us with the ability to avoid evil.—He that betrays attachment to some one darling sin to which natural naughtiness, habit, or manner of life render him peculiarly liable, gives proof that he is not yet in earnest as to his sanctification.—Sin is an arch-deceiver; let every man take care not to be deceived, and not to regard evil and harmful as good and harmless.—The longer and the more we partake of the sweet milk of the Gospel, the more do we increase in the spirit.—Faith gives us some taste of the grace, mercy and loving-kindness of God, Psalms 34:9.—He that tastes the goodness of God must show it in loving converse with his neighbour.—Well built on Christ; who can destroy this temple? Matthew 16:18. In this temple offer diligently the incense of your prayer and sacrifice.—Good works are well pleasing to God, not because of their perfection, but because of Christ the Beloved, for they are wrought in God, John 3:21.—Consider the cause and the order of salvation; Christ is the cause, faith the order; both must go together or salvation is impossible, John 3:36.—Those who reject Christ lose their life, but do neither hurt Him nor His Gospel any more than a well-secured corner-stone can be hurt by those who stumble at it.—The great glory of believers:—they have consolation and joy in life and death.—The unconverted are abominable to God, the converted precious and acceptable.

Lisco:—Sincere repentance: (a) its nature; (b) its motive.—The blessed communion with Christ Jesus.—The exalted dignity of the Christian Church.—The Christian’s life of faith.—The eternally immovable foundation of the kingdom of heaven.—Christ stands in a contrasted relation to man.—The Apostle’s exhortation that we should build up ourselves.


1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 2:2. The apostle requires these two things: 1. The innocency of children; 2. The appetite of children.—Epictetus says: “Every thing hath two handles.” The art of taking things by the better side, which charity always doth, would save much of those janglings and heart-burnings that so abound in the world.—There is none comes to the school of Christ, suiting the philosopher’s word, ut fabula rasa, as blank paper to receive His doctrine, but, on the contrary, all scribbled and blurred with such base habits as these—malice, hypocrisy, envy, etc.—These two are necessary conditions of good nourishment: 1. That the food be good and wholesome; 2. That the inward constitution of them that use it be so, too.—Iisdem alimur ex quibus constamus.—Pure and unmixed, as milk drawn immediately from the breast; the pure word of God without the mixture, not only of error, but of all other composition of vain, unprofitable subjects or affected human eloquence, such as become not the majesty and gravity of God’s word, 1 Peter 4:11.—“Desire the sincere milk”: 1. It should be natural; 2. earnest; 3. constant.

1 Peter 2:3. The free grace of God was given to be tasted in the promises, before the coming of Christ in the flesh, but being accomplished in His coming, then was the sweetness of grace made more sensible; then was it more fully broached and let out to the elect world, when He was pierced on the cross and His blood poured forth for our redemption. Through those holes of his wounds may we draw and taste that the Lord is gracious, says St. Augustin.—“If ye have tasted.” There must be, 1. a firm believing the truth of the promises wherein the free grace of God is expressed and exhibited to us; 2. a particular application or attraction of that grace to ourselves, which is as the drawing those breasts of consolation, Isaiah 66:11, namely, the promises contained in both Testaments; 3. there is a sense of the sweetness of that peace being applied or drawn into the soul, and that is properly this taste.

1 Peter 2:4-5; 1 Peter 2:1. The nature of the building: It is a spiritual building; having this privilege that it is tota in toto et tota in qualibet parte. The Hebrew for the word for palace and temple is one. 2. The materials of it. 3. The structure or way of building it.—First coming and then built up.—As these stones are built on Christ by faith, so they are cemented one to another by love.—“A holy priesthood”: 1. The office; 2. The service of that office; 3. The success of that service.—[Apparent paradox: God claims the heart whole and yet broken.—M.]

1 Peter 2:6. In these words are five things: 1. This foundation stone; 2. The laying of it; 3. The building on it; 4. The firmness of this building; 5. The greatness and excellence of the whole work.—What Seneca says of wisdom is true of faith: “Puto multos potuisse ad sapientiam pervenire, nisi putassent se jam pervenisse.

1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:1. The estate of Christians; 2. Its opposition to the state of unbelievers; 3. The end of it. ‘Generation’: They are of one nation, belonging to the same blessed land of promise, all citizens of the new Jerusalem, yea, all children of the same family, whereof Jesus Christ, the root of Jesse, is the stock, who is the great king and the great High-priest, and thus they are a royal priesthood.—They resemble in their spiritual state the Levitical priesthood: 1. In their consecration: (a) they were washed, cf. Revelation 1:5; (b) The washing was accompanied by sacrifice [Christ’s blood was shed in sacrifice]; (c) They were anointed [Christians are anointed with the gifts of the Spirit]; (d) They were clothed in pure garments, Psalms 132:9; (e) They had offerings put into their hands. 2. In their services: (a) They had charge of the sanctuary [Christians have charge of their hearts]; (b) They were to bless the people [the prayers of Christians convey blessings to the world]. 3. In their course of life: [The life of Christians is regulated by a code of holy laws.—M.]


1 Peter 2:2. Alas what a multitude of dwarfs has Christ, that are but like infants, though they have numbered ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or even sixty years of spiritual life.—M.]

[John Glas:

1 Peter 2:9. “There is now no more any place on earth where the whole Church assembles for worship; but they all assemble in the heavenly Jerusalem, where Jesus is, the antitype of that on earth, in which the Church of Israel assembled, and toward which they worshipped from all corners of the land. Here they on earth have their conversation, Philippians 3:20; and unto that place the tribes of God go up now worshipping God, all serving in newness of the Spirit; and there are no worshippers now but spiritual worshippers. Thus there is an end put to all controversies about earthly holy places and temples of God made with hands.”—M.]

[1 Peter 2:2. The early Christians administered milk and honey, which was the ordinary food of infants, to such as were newly received into the Church; showing them by this sign that by their baptism they were born again, and bound to manifest the simplicity and innocence of infants in their life and conversation.—M.]


1 Peter 2:8. “The stone of stumbling and rock of offence,” as the prophet affirms, is the Lord of Hosts Himself; but this “stone of stumbling and rock of offence,” as asserted by the Apostle, is no other than Christ, the same stone which the builders refused. Therefore Christ is the Lord of Hosts Himself. If the Scripture, thus compared with itself, be drawn up into an argument, the conclusion may indeed be denied, and so may the whole Bible, but it cannot be answered.”—M.]

[Jones of Nayland:—“Whereunto they were also appointed.” Not appointed to be disobedient, but appointed, since they would be disobedient, to take their own course and the consequences of it; to stumble and fall at difficulties, of which they would easily have seen the proper solution, and so got over them unhurt, had they but modestly begged, and dutifully followed, the Divine illumination.”—M.]

[Abp. Secker:—Query: “What is the origin of the metaphor ‘living stones’, as applied to Christians?”—M.]

[Clarke suggests a common Hebrew root בָּנָה to build of בֵּן a son, בַּת a daughter, בֵּיח a house and אֶבֶן a stone. A house (בִּית) is built of stones (אַבָנִים), a house or family, also called בֵּית consists of sons (בָּנִים) and daughters (בָּנוֹת). The house of God is the Church which rests on Christ, the Living Stone, and Christians are members of Christ, drawing their life from Him and resting on Him, and therefore living stones.—M.].


1 Peter 2:1; 1 Peter 2:1. [ καταλαλίας = slanderings, so German; backbiting; Wiclif, Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva; detractions, Reims.—M.]

[2] 1 Peter 2:1. [ἐπιποθήσατε = long, yearn for, so German; covet, Wiclif.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. *πᾶσαν καταλαλίαν.—M.]

[3] 1 Peter 2:2. [λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα = spiritual (Alford) guileless milk. Many important MSS. add after αὐξηθῆτε, εἰς σωτηρίαν.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. αὐξη. θ. εἰς σωτηρίαν—M.]

1 Peter 2:3; 1 Peter 2:3. [εἴπερ=if, otherwise, German; if, that is, Alford.—M.]

[5] 1 Peter 2:3. [χρηστὸς=good, Geneva; sweet, Wiclif, Reims, Vulgate; pleasant, Tyndale.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. *εἰ—M.]

1 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 2:4. [προσερχόμενοι=nighing, Wiclif; approaching, Reims, Germ.—M.]

1 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 2:4. [παρὰ Θεῷ=with God, i. e., before God.—M.]

1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:5. [οἰκοδομεῖσθε, Imper.=be ye built up.—M.]

1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:5. [λίθοι ζῶντͅες=living stones.—M.]

[10] 1 Peter 2:5. [διὰ=through, Germ.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. ἐποικοδ.—πνεύματος (**πνευματικ.)—ισ—Θεῷ without Article.—M.]

1 Peter 2:6; 1 Peter 2:6. [διότι=for the which cause, Reims; because, Alford.—M.]

[12] 1 Peter 2:6. [καταισχυνθῇ=ashamed, Germ., Tyndale, Geneva.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. ἐν γρ.—*ἐπ̓ αὐτόν.—M.]

[13] 1 Peter 2:7. [To you, then, who believe, is the honour,—so, substantially, Wiclif, Reims, Vulgate, Germ., Alford. See note below.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. *ἡμῖν—ἀπιστοῦσιν—**λιθοσ.—M.]

[14] 1 Peter 2:8. [And a stone of stumbling and rock of offence,—at which they stumble, Germ.—who stumble, Alford—being disobedient to the word, de Wette, Alford; who believe not on the word, Germ. At any rate ἀπειθοῦντες not προςκόπτουσι belongs to τῷ λόγῳ.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. **οἱ καὶ προσκόπτ.—M.]

1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:9. [λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν=a people for acquisition; of purchasing, Wiclif; of purchase, Reims; acquisitionis, Vulgate.—M.]

1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:9. [ἐξαγγείλητε=publish, literally, tell out; Alford.—M.]

1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:9. [τὰς�=the virtues, Luther, Vulgate; the perfection, Kistemaker.—M.]

1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:9. [εἰς=to, unto, rather than into, German.—M.]

1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:9. [Θαυμαστὸν=wonderful, German.—M.]

1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 2:10. [No people, German.—M.]

1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 2:10. [Uncompassionated—compassionated, Alford.—οὐκ marks contrariety, unpitied and pitied.—M.]

1 Peter 2:10; 1 Peter 2:10. [Uncompassionated—compassionated, Alford.—οὐκ marks contrariety, unpitied and pitied.—M.]

Verses 11-17

1 Peter 2:11-17

Analysis:—Exhortation to show our election of grace in the various relations of the life of our pilgrimage, primarily with respect to established authority.

11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as23strangers and pilgrims,24 abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation25 honest among the Gentiles: that,26whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good13 works,27 which they shall behold,28 glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves29 to every ordinance of man30 for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king,31 as supreme;32 14Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by33 him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.34 15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:35 16As free, and not using36 your liberty37 for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.17 Honour38 all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.


1 Peter 2:11. I exhort you, etc.—This exhortation alludes to 1 Peter 1:1, and enjoins the cleansing of the soul and a comely behaviour among the Gentiles, on the grounds of their condition of pilgrims.—παροίκους should be joined with ἀπέχεσθαι. πάροικος=one who lives as a stranger or denizen in a country or community; παρεπιδήμος = one who stays in a place for a short time, like travellers on a journey, 1Pe 1:1; 1 Peter 1:17. By their present state he reminds them of the general lot of men on earth. “We are in body and soul expatriated; nothing is permanent on earth.” Calov. Lasting joys and riches are only in our true home. It is also befitting that as strangers you should not offend those among whom you live.—ἀπέχεσθαι even stronger than μή συσχηματιζόμενοι, 1 Peter 1:14; it denotes inward and outward abstinence.—σαρκικαὶ ἐπιθυμίαι=ἐπιθυμίαι τῆς σαρκός, Eph 2:3; 2 Peter 2:18;= κοσμικαὶ ἐπιθυμίαι, Titus 2:12; cf. 1 John 2:16. In a narrower sense it denies all desires and impulses that seek pasture39 in sensual thoughts and gratification—in eating and drinking, and obscenity and incontinence. The primary reference may be to these, but there is also an ulterior reference to those lusts whose seat is rather in the soul than in the body, e. g., hatred, idolatry, wrath, conceit of knowledge, avarice, cf. Galatians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 2:18. Consequently all manifestations and motions of the selfishness of man in general. They are said to war against the soul; they go out against it, surround and assault it. Bengel calls this “a great saying”; cf. James 4:1; Romans 7:23. The design is not so much to describe the nature of the lusts as to enforce the exhortation.—κατὰ τῆς ψυχῆς. Neither the contrast between flesh and spirit, described by St. Paul, Romans 7:14, etc.; Galatians 5:17; nor as Calov and Steiger take it, “they war against the nature of the regenerate soul.” The proposition is general, and ψυχή denotes elsewhere the principle of personal life. 1 Peter 1:9, it is the soul that is to be saved, and 1 Peter 1:22, it is the soul that is to be sanctified through faith. The life of the soul is hidden, hurt and killed by fleshly lusts, cf. Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; Luke 17:33. [Alford remarks, “ψυχή, the man’s personal, immortal part, as opposed to his body, his μέλη in which the ἐπιθυμίαι στρατεύονται is held in suspension between influences from above and influences from beneath—drawn up and saved, or drawn down and ruined,—and among its adversaries are those fleshly lusts, warring against it to its ruin.”—M.]

1 Peter 2:12. Having your conversation good among the Gentiles.—ἀναστροφή, 1 Peter 1:14.—ἔχοντες. If. we do not read ἀπέχεσθε, the Accusative ought to follow; but sometimes Participles, removed from the verbs by which they are governed, stand in an abnormal case; the casus rectus gives greater prominence to an idea, v. Winer § 64, 2. Christians are opposed to an ungodly world, and are charged to be the salt and the light of the world, which closely watches them. (Matthew 5:16).—ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν is a hint that the Epistle was addressed to Jewish Christians. The unbelieving Jews are probably reckoned among the ἔθυη; so Weiss.—καλήν. The deeper view of Greek philosophy represented immorality and ugliness, and morality and beauty as convertible ideas.

In the matter in which they speak against you as evil doers.—ἐν ᾧ not: instead of, while, but in the same matter, in the same occasion in which, because of which, they speak against you as evil doers. [The sense is, “that that conduct, which was to them an occasion of speaking against you as evil doers, may by your good works become to them an occasion of glorifying God. Alford.—M.] Join ἐν ᾧ with δοξάσωσι, cf. 1 Peter 3:16. It was just the good conversation of Christians, their Christian works, judged superficially and referred to evil motives, that gave occasion to the heathen to slander and persecute them, έν ᾧ is defined by καλὰ ἔργα, compare in point of language, Romans 2:1.—καταλαλοῦσιν ὑμῶν ὡς κακοποιῶν.—Tertullian says: If the Tiber rises to the walls of the city, if the Nile does not irrigate the fields, if an earthquake takes place, if famine or the pestilence arise, they cry forthwith: Away with the Christians to the lions.

For your good works’ sake…glorify.—ἐποπτεύσαντες refers to ἐν ᾧ, from which we must supply τοῦτο. It signifies: to look closely upon a thing in order to see through it. So it was applied to those mysteries which were difficult to explain, cf. 1 Peter 3:2; Ephesians 3:4. Superficial observers, as appears from the account given by Tacitus, regarded the brotherly love of the Christians as a secret covenant imperilling the state, their decision as obstinacy, their heavenly-mindedness as hatred of the human race. Their departure from the sinful customs of their fathers was treated as contempt for and rejection of all human ordinances, cf. 1 Peter 2:19-20; 1 Peter 3:10-12; 1Pe 3:17; 1 Peter 4:15; 1 Peter 2:14. A definite date, e. g., the time of the persecutions under Nero, or even under Trajan, can hardly be substantiated. Join ἐκ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων to δοξάσωσιν, for the good works’ sake, proceeding out of them.

δοξάσωσιν.—Calvin rightly observes that our aim ought not to be to make unbelievers speak and think well of us, but rather to keep before our eyes the glory of God. More correct knowledge may constrain them to glorify God, to give honour to God, of whom believers are said to be the children. Peter evidently thinks of the words of Jesus at Matthew 5:16. Roos adds: In such a case we must not always look for a proper praise of God. Provided people praise the good works, they praise our heavenly Father, as the Author of them, just as he that praises the good manners of a child, virtually bestows praise on his instructor. Although people treat the faith of God’s children as superstition and folly, they may for all that praise their works, and thus give glory to God. Justin Martyr supplies an illustration of such δοξάζειν. He confesses that, when still a heathen, he deemed it impossible that the Christians could be addicted to the unnatural vices of which they were accused, because they were so ready to die for Christ.

In the day of visitation.—ἐπισκοπή, ἐπισκεπτέσθαι = פָּקַד denotes both the merciful visitation of God, and His judicial and primitive inquisition; for the former sense cf. Genesis 21:1; Genesis 1:24; Exodus 3:16; Exo 4:31; 1 Samuel 2:21; Job 7:18; Luke 1:68; Luke 1:78; Acts 15:14; for the latter, see Jeremiah 9:24-25; Jeremiah 44:13; Jeremiah 46:25; Jeremiah 9:9; Psalms 59:6; Exodus 20:5. Commentators are divided, either sense finding many advocates. It is perhaps best to combine both views, as the Apostle himself does not define his meaning, and as both visitations of mercy and wrath, do often occur together. It is by no means an insoluble riddle that unbelievers are made to glorify God by sufferings, since experience shows that in seasons of heavy judgments, stony hearts are sometimes softened and melted. The word ἡμέρᾳ relates, as is often the case, to longer periods of time than a day of twenty-four hours. The allusion here is neither to the day of judgment (as Bede maintains), nor to an investigation of the life of believers on the part of the world (as Roos suggests).

[The day of God’s visitation in wars, earthquakes, plagues, etc., brought out the faith and love of the Christians, as contrasted with that of the Jews and Heathens. Wordsworth cites the history of the plague at Carthage, in Cyprian’s Episcopate, as described by his deacon, Pontius, p. 6. “The majority of our brethren,” says Pontius, “took care of every one but themselves; by nursing the sick, and watching over them in Christ, they caught the disorder which they healed in others, and breathed their last with joy; some bare in their arms and bosoms the bodies of dead saints, and having closed the eyes of the dying, and bathed their corpses, and performed the last obsequies, received the same treatment at the hands of their brethren. But the very reverse of this was done by the Gentiles; those who were sinking into sickness, they drove from them; they fled from their dearest friends; they threw them expiring into the streets, and turned from their unburied corpses with looks of execration.” See also Cyprian’s words in his treatise published on that occasion, De Mortalitate, sive Peste, capp. 9, 1 Peter 10: Mortalitas ista, ut Judæis et Gentilibus et Christi hostibus pestis est, ita Dei servis salutaris excessus est.—M.]

1 Peter 2:13. Be subjected, therefore, to every human institution, etc.—From the wholly general precept concerning the conversation of Christians among the heathen, the Apostle, moved by the very common slanders uttered against them, that they were dangerous to the State, and aiming at the overthrow of all the bands of law, takes occasion to descend to the most ordinary duties, to the exhortation of submitting to the secular authority, and of not abusing Christian liberty.

ὑπόταγητε.—The Aorist Pass, is sometimes used in a Middle sense, v. Winer.—οὗν primarily connects with 1 Peter 2:12, secondarily with 1Pe 2:11.40—πάσῃ�.—The word κτίσις, like κτίζειν, is generally applied to Divine creations and institutions, or used to denote a creature; but here the adjective ἀνθρωπίνῃ shows that it signifies any institution or appointment irrespective of origin. Limiting κτίσις to the idea of the Divine institution of the world is confusing. The Apostle intends by the use of the adjective ἀνθρωπίνῃ to meet the objection that Christians, in view of their Christian liberty, were bound to obey only authorities immediately appointed by God, because there was much sinfulness mixed up with such human institutions; he further desires to distinguish the Divine ordinance of the State from that of the Church, 1 Peter 2:5, without, however, denying the mediately Divine institution of the secular power, as Paul avers at Romans 13:1-2; Romans 13:4. Flacius rightly remarks: “It is called a human ordinance because secular constitutions do not originate in an explicit and specific word of God, as true religion does; but they are rather ordained by man and his agency, at least as far as we are able to judge, that cannot see the hidden sway of God.” If this Epistle belongs to the time of Nero, light is shed on the selection of this predicate. Peter may have recollected the words of his Master, Matthew 17:26-27. Luther comments in this respect as follows: “Although you are free in all externals (for you are Christians) and ought not be forced by law to be subjected to secular rule (for there is no law for the just [i. e., to the justified—M.]), yet you ought spontaneously to yield a ready and uncoerced obedience, not because necessity compels you, but that you may please God, and benefit your neighbour. Thus did Christ act, as we read, Matthew , 17.”—πάσῃ—be it Heathen, Jewish, or Christian authority; be it this or that constitution.

[Wordsworth:—“Water may be made to assume different forms, in fountains and cascades, and be made to flow in different channels or aqueducts, by the hand of man; but the element itself, which flows in them, is from God. So again, marble may be hewn by man’s hand into different shapes: under the sculptor’s chisel it may become a statue, a frieze or sarcophagus, but the marble itself is from the quarry, it is from the creative hand of God.—So it is with the civil power. The form which power may assume, and the person who may be appointed to exercise it, may be κτίσεις�, ordinances of man; but the authority itself (ἐξουσία) is from God. Consequently, as St. Peter teaches, we are bound to submit to every ordinance of man, in all lawful things, “for the Lord’s sake,” whose ministers and vicegerents our rulers are; and, as St. Paul declares, “he that resisteth the authority, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” See Romans 13:1-3.—M.]

For the Lord’s sake.—Probably to be understood of God the Father, who had been mentioned in 1 Peter 2:12, although 1 Peter 2:3, and elsewhere in Peter, as in Paul, Christ is called Lord. [But is not the reference rather to Christ? For, 1. κύριος with Peter always describes Christ, except in quotations from the O. T. (Alford): 2. Christians derive their liberty from their union to Christ.—M.] The sense is: because God demands it, because He has founded this institution, Romans 13:1; Romans 13:5. This defines, also, the limits of Christian subjection: the duty of obedience ceases, where God from heaven decisively forbids it, Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29. The Apostle specifies two classes of political powers whom Christians are bound to obey: first, the king or emperor, second, his ambassadors or representatives. The Jews and the Greeks called the Roman Imperator, king.—ὡς ὑπερέχοντι.—ὡς denotes a well known reason. ύπερέχοντι, wielding the highest sovereign power on earth. Otherwise, 1 Timothy 2:1. Bengel rightly: supereminens.—αὐτου connects, of course, with βασιλεῖ, not with κύριος. “In inferior powers, we must see and honour the king, in the king, God Himself.” Gerhard. The ethical purpose of the power wielded by all authorities is to punish evil-doers, and to recognize the good with marks of praise and approbation, cf. Romans 13:3-4. Calov cites the language of Plato, that rewards and punishments keep the state together, and quotes from Cicero the saying of Solon, that the state is best governed if the good are attracted by rewards and the evil kept in bounds by punishment.—ἐκδίκησις, not execution of the laws, but punishment, vengeance.—κακοποιῶν, to be taken in a general, objectively ethical sense, and to be interpreted by 1 Peter 4:15, which treats of murderers and other malefactors. This passage contains not the faintest reference, altogether, to the character of Christians, as drawn by Suetonius and Tacitus, to wit, that they were political offenders. How could the Apostle have subscribed to such a delineation of their character! This passage, therefore, cannot be used to determine the date of the Epistle.—ἔπαινος, recognition by word and deed, praise, protection and promotion.

1 Peter 2:15. For so is the will of God…men.—Gerhard:—Even though your innocence and obedience are insufficient to effect the conversion of others or their praising God, you will be able, according to the will of God, to silence blasphemers.—οὔτως εστί, after this manner, is the will of God. [Then follows what the will of God is in this direction, viz.: ἀγαθοποιοῦντας φιμοῦν κ. τ. λ..—M.]—φιμοῦν from φιμός, a muzzle, to muzzle, to shut up the mouth, as with a muzzle, cf. Deuteronomy 25:4; Sir 20:31.—This ignorance originated in the corruption of the heart, and in its turn influenced it, (1 Peter 2:12; 1 Corinthians 15:34; John 16:3). It was marked by varying degrees of guilt. Paul contrasts the knowledge of the Divine will with this state of ignorance, Ephesians 5:17. Because they are blind as to Divine things, they are unable to understand our manner of conversation.

[Wordsworth:—“Christ was crucified by the power of Rome, as He had foretold that He would be (Matthew 20:19). St. Peter and St. Paul, as they also foreknew, were martyred by Rome; but yet they preached submission to Rome.”—M.]

1 Peter 2:16. As free…God.—ὡς ἐλεύθεροι may best be construed as the antecedent of the next verse, but only of its first member, πάντας τιμήσατε. To construe it with 1 Peter 2:15 would require ἐλευθέρους. [But even this limitation to the first member of 1 Peter 2:17 renders such a construction hardly tenable. The supposition of the contrary seems to establish its untenableness. Does my freedom absolve me from the obligation of honouring all men? Am I not bound, on the general ground of Christian duty and equity, to give to all their due? On the whole, I consider the explanation of Wiesinger, adopted by Alford, the best, viz.: to regard 1 Peter 2:16 as an epexegesis on 1 Peter 2:15, not carrying on the construction with an Accusative, but with a Nominative, as already in 1 Peter 2:12, and, indeed, even more naturally here, because not the act consequent on ἀγαθοποιεῖν, as there on ἀπέχεσθαι, is specified, but the antecedent state and Christian mode of ἀγαθοποιεῖν. For arguments see Wiesinger and Alford.—M.] It is different with 1 Peter 2:12. Such subjection and true Christian liberty are not irreconcilable antagonisms. For the latter, founded on the redemption through Christ, is spiritual in its nature; it delivers us from sin and error, from the world and the devil, and unites us to God and His word by the bands of love, cf. John 8:32; Romans 6:18; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:13; 2 Peter 2:19. In the sequel Peter cuts off all misunderstanding and abuse of liberty. The Gnostics abused Christian liberty by the commission of all kinds of infamous and criminal indulgences. The Jews, on the plea of being the people of God’s inheritance, claimed to be free from the laws of the heathen. On this account we read: “and not as having [=not as those who have—M.] freedom for a cover of malignity.” It is uncertain whether (as Cornelius and others suppose) there is here an allusion to the white baptismal robe, which was also a symbol of the liberty obtained through Christ.—ἐπικάλυμμα = παρακάλυμμα, something spread in order to cover a thing, hence, a cloak, a cover, a veil. Luther says: “If Christian liberty is preached, godless men without faith immediately rush in, and claim to be good Christians because they do not keep the laws of the Pope.”—κακία should not be explained with Wiesinger in the restricted sense of disobedience to the magistrate, but in a wider sense, just as the antithesis ἀγαθοποιεῖν is a more general ideal—δοῦλοι Θεοῦ.—To serve God, says Augustine, is the highest liberty. What was expected of Israel as a nation (often called the servant of God, Isaiah 44:1; Isaiah 44:21; Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 30:10); what Jesus was in a peculiar sense (and Peter calls Him so by preference, Acts 3:13; Acts 3:26; Acts 4:27; Acts 4:30), should be realized in every believer of the New Testament.

1 Peter 2:17. Honour all men.—The chief duties of a good conversation among the Gentiles are now briefly comprehended, according to the several relations in which they stand.—τιμήσατε, Aorist Imper., used of actions that are either rapidly completed and transient, or viewed as occurring but once. Winer § 48, 3, a.

All men.—Not only the chief, but all men. In your intercourse with equals, show to each the respect you owe them, first, as God’s creatures, James 3:9, and, secondly, as having been redeemed by Christ, cf. 1 Peter 5:5-6; 1 Peter 3:8; Matthew 20:26; Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14; Luke 22:26-27; Mark 10:43-44. The passage, Psalms 15:4, rightly translated, is not in conflict with this exhortation. Paul, in a similar exhortation, takes cognizance of civil position and personal goodness, Romans 13:7. To qualify this passage by limitation is arbitrary. τιμᾶτε, from τίω, to value, to define and pay the value of a thing or person.

ἀδελφότης, the brotherhood viewed as a whole, all who are, or are called your brothers, cf. 1 Peter 1:22. Because such a disposition of esteem for and brotherly love of all can Only flow from a true relation to God, the next exhortation is: “Fear God,” cf. 1 Peter 1:17. Holy fear of the majesty of God is peculiarly in place, if you are tempted to abuse your Christian liberty. “He that fears God, loves his brethren, and embraces all mankind with becoming love, will not fail to render also to kings the honour that is due to them.” Calvin. Peter probably recollects Proverbs 24:21, which defines the same attitude of fearing God and honouring the king. Weiss calls attention to Matthew 22:21. [The variations of the Imperative form in this verse are noteworthy and suggestive. τιμήσατε, the Aor. Imper., marks the general principle, the following three Present Imperatives define its application in particular relations.—M.]


1. Peter in the second part of the Epistle, 1 Peter 2:11, resumes the thought that believers are citizens of another fatherland, and only strangers here on earth, cf. 1 Peter 1:1; 1Pe 1:4; 1 Peter 5:10; 1 Peter 1:17. This fundamental view of the Apostle runs through the whole Epistle; on it are based the exhortations which follow 1 Peter 4:6. It must, consequently, be of the highest importance that we should constantly keep up a lively sense of our status as strangers. It belongs to the most noble and powerful incentives to sanctification, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:6; Philippians 3:20.

2. Holy Scripture wisely prescribes no rules as to the best form of constitution: we learn from the Old Testament that the theocratic form of government is, properly speaking, the institution which corresponds to the will of God; this is also the end contemplated by Christianity. God is to be the all-animating principle in those who gladly obey Him, 1 Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 21:3; Revelation 22:3. But this end can be attained only after Satan has been bound, and after the great separation has been consummated, Malachi 4:2; Matthew 13:40, etc. Many, impatiently anxious to anticipate the end towards which the development of the Christian Church is being led, rejected existing forms of government. Hence the Apostle exhorts, substantially, that it is the part of true Christians to be subjected to any human institution, whether monarchical, republican or aristocratic. The only limitation set to obedience to the government is its commanding any thing which militates against the clearly revealed will of God. It is not for us to ask how such and such a ruler did acquire his power, whether the constitution of a state be so framed as to contain the fundamental laws of God for the regulation of human relations, (as some try to press the word κτίσις), but we must obey for the Lord’s sake, who says: “By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Proverbs 8:15-16. All rebellion against the ordained government is to be repudiated, as our evangelical Church has established it from the beginning, contrary to jesuitico-papistical teaching. [Fronmüller refers to Germany. Those who wish to see the whole subject illustrated on sound Church principles are referred to the Homilies against Wilful Rebellion in the Book of Homilies, authoritatively set forth by the Church of England, and received by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States “as an explication of Christian doctrine and instructive in piety and morals.”—M.] Rieger capitally observes: In the words “human institution or ordinance, the Apostle does not deprive governments of the honour that they are the servants of God, Romans 13:1, etc. The state and office of the government are God-derived; they have, indeed, in course of time, manifold human shapes, and in the hands of men have been variously instituted. But even this human element, so far from serving as a pretext for the withdrawal of submission, should rather be a root of patience, gladly to put up with human and inevitable infirmities, even in this respect.”

3. The Christian must adapt himself to every form of government, and, as a pilgrim, finds it not difficult so to do.
4. Every government is bound, for its own interest, to punish the wicked, and to protect the good. An unchristian, unjust government is a sore punishment to a country; but there is no greater evil than anarchy, as Sophocles already perceived.


What is necessary to walk as a pilgrim on earth? 1. Abstaining from fleshly lusts; 2. Obeying all human governments; 3. Patiently suffering wrong.—Which are the marks that a Christian is a stranger and pilgrim here? Consider, (a) his speech; (b) his carriage; (c) his manners; (d) his aims.—The Christian state a continuous warfare, Job 7:1; Psalms 24:8. the enemies; 2. the weapons; 3. the victory.—Walk as lights in the heathenish-minded world!—The manifold days of visitation.—The Christian’s demeanour towards the secular power.—How to shut up most effectually the mouth of the ignorant?—The Pharisaic hearts that make liberty the cloak of maliciousness.—True liberty a blessed bondage before God.—The four main points of a good conversation in this world.—Why and how we should, as Christians, give honour to all men?

Kapff:—What makes up true liberty? 1. To be the servants of God and Jesus; 2. to be subject, for the Lord’s sake, to all human authority; 3. to lead a good conversation, as strangers in the world.

Staudt:—Maintaining the state of strangers: 1. In relation to the flesh; 2. In relation to the world.

Starke:—Pilgrim, how long dost thou stay at the inn? Yonder is thy fatherland. Away with the voluptuous joys of the village, through which thou art journeying!—He that would be free from the breaking out of the lusts of the flesh, must seize them by the root and choke them in the beginning.—Fleshly lusts, though they begin sweetly and are soothing to the heart, are the soul’s inveterate enemies, and bring forth sin, James 1:15; Sir 21:3.—Fie! Christians like heathen. Beware and pray, “Gracious God, put an end to gross offences.”—The more a man is surrounded by false, hostile, watching people, the more must he be on his guard, not only to avoid evil, but the appearance of it, 1 Thessalonians 5:22.—The pious have always to endure slander, yet their best defence is not in their mouth or pen, but in their works and deeds, 1 Peter 2:15.—A Christian’s holy conversation must also aim at the conversion of others, which is realized in the case of some, 1 Peter 3:1.—The secular power is as much bound to reward virtue as to punish wickedness, Psalms 82:3-4; Proverbs 20:26.—Calumnies are best contradicted, if we prove by a holy conversation that they are untrue.—To requite evil with good has generally a good effect.—We are free, but not from the law of Christ and God, 1 Corinthians 9:21.—Christian courtesy tends to good reputation, to the favour and good-will of our neighbour, and to reciprocal good-will and confidence, Romans 12:10.—Mark that the fear of God is mentioned first, the honour of the magistrate afterwards, Acts 5:29.—There are two kingdoms, God’s and the emperor’s, each must remain within its bounds; God reserves to Himself the soul and conscience; the body, goods and possessions are under the emperor’s rule, Matthew 22:21.

Lisco:—Walk, as it pleases God.—Which is the deepest foundation of Christian morality?—How does a Christian’s liberty exhibit itself?

Basle Collections:—Christian abstinence: 1. its nature; 2. its motives.


1 Peter 2:11. There is a faculty of reproving required in the Ministry, and sometimes a necessity of very sharp rebukes, cutting ones. They that have much of the spirit of meekness may have a rod by them, too, to use upon necessity; but sure the way of meekness is that they use most willingly.—It was a very wise abridgment that Epictetus made of philosophy, into those two words, bear and forbear.—It was the high speech of a heathen, That he was greater, and born to greater things, than to be a servant to his body; how much more ought he that is born again to say so, being born heir to “a crown that fadeth not away”! 1 Peter 5:4.—Fleshly lusts.—They war against the soul; and their war is made up of stratagem and sleight, for they cannot hurt the soul but by itself. They promise it some contentment, and so gain its consent to serve them and undo itself; they embrace the soul that they may strangle it.

1 Peter 2:12. Mark three things, 1. one point of a Christian’s ordinary entertainment in the world is, to be evil spoken of; 2. Their good use of that evil, to do the better for it; 3. The good end and certain effect of their so doing, the glory of God.—The goodness or beauty of a Christian’s conversation consisting in symmetry and conformity to the word of God as its rule, he ought diligently to study that rule and to square his ways by it; not to walk at random, but to apply that rule to every step at home and abroad, and to be as careful to keep the beauty of his ways unspotted, as those women are of their faces and attire, that are most studious of comeliness.—What have we to do in the world as His creatures, once and again His creatures, His new creatures, created unto good works, Ephesians 2:10, but to exercise ourselves in those, and by those to advance His glory?—that all may return to Him, from whom all is, as the rivers run back to the sea, from whence they came.

1 Peter 2:15. Whereas those that have most real goodness, delight most to observe what is good and commendable in others, and to pass by their blemishes, it is the true character of vile, unworthy persons (as flies sit upon sores) to skip over all the good that is in men and fasten upon their infirmities.—And this is a wise Christian’s way, instead of impatiently fretting at the mistakes or wilful miscensures of men, to keep still on in his calm temper of mind and upright course of life and silent innocence; this, as a rock, breaks the waves into foam that roar about it.—M.]


1 Peter 2:13-14. Reward cannot, properly, be the sanction of human laws.—M.]

[Harrington:—To say, because civil magistracy is ordained of God, therefore it cannot be the ordinance of man, is as if you said: God ordained the temple, therefore, it was not built by masons; He ordained the snuffers, therefore, they were not made by a smith.—M.]

[Whately:—A timely, steady and mild resistance, on legal grounds, to every unlawful stretch of power (as in the well-known case of the ship-money) will prove the most effectual means, if uniformly resorted to, for preventing the occurrence of those desperate and extreme cases which call for violent and dangerous remedies.—M.]

[M.:—The principle on which we should resist ordinances in conflict with the will of God is fortiter in re sed leniter in modo.]


1 Peter 2:16. Christ’s truth maketh us free, not civilly, nor carnally, but divinely. We are made free in such sort, that our conscience is free and quiet, not fearing the wrath of God to come. This is the true and inestimable liberty, to the excellency and majesty of which, if we compare the other, they are but as one drop of water in respect of the ocean. For who is able to express what a thing it is, when a man is assured in his heart that God neither is, nor ever will be angry with him, but will be forever a merciful and loving Father to him, for Christ’s sake! This is, indeed, a marvellous and incomprehensible liberty, to have the Most High Sovereign Majesty so favourable to us that He doth not only defend, maintain and succour us in this life, but also, as touching our bodies, will so deliver us as that, though sown in corruption, dishonour and infirmity, they shall rise again in incorruption, and glory, and power. This is an inestimable liberty, that we are made free from the wrath of God forever, and is greatly more valuable than heaven and earth and the created universe. “Blessed is the man who is in such a case; yea, blessed is the man whose God is the Lord.”—M.]

[Olshausen:—Without law, or altogether above the law, man can never be, for the law is the expression of the Divine Essence itself.—M.]

[Milton:—There are

“That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them free;
License they mean when they cry liberty.”—M.]
[Sanderson:—Luther complains of “men who would be accounted good Christians merely because they rejected the authority of the Pope; who will do nothing that either the magistrate or God would have them to do; remaining in their old, disorderly nature, however much they may make their boast of the Gospel;” and who, as Calvin says, “reckoned it a great part of Christian liberty, that they might eat flesh on Fridays.”—Better is it by voluntary abstinence to part with some of our liberty as to God’s creatures, than by voluntary transgression to become the devil’s captives.—M.]

[Hooker:—It was not the meaning of our Lord and Saviour, in saying “Father, keep them in Thy name,” that we should be careless in keeping ourselves. To our own safety our own sedulity is required.—M.]


1 Peter 2:17. Human nature has become adorable as the true Shechinah, the everlasting palace of the Supreme Majesty, wherein the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily; the most holy shrine of the Divinity, the orb of inaccessible light, as this, and more than all this, if more could be expressed, or, if we could explain that text, “The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”—M.]

[Sanderson:—When a piece of metal is coined with the king’s stamp, and made current by his edict, no man may henceforth presume either to refuse it in payment, or to abate the value of it; so God, having stamped His own image upon every man, and, withal, signified His blessed pleasure, how precious He would have him to be in our eyes and esteem, by express edict proclaiming, “At the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man; I require every man to be his brother’s keeper: for in the image of God made He man.”—M.]

[The brotherhood.—Cf. Rom 16:1; 3 John 1:8-9. When a Christian entered a foreign city, his first inquiry was for the Church (the brotherhood); and here he was received as a brother, and supplied with whatever could contribute to his spiritual or bodily refreshment. The Church letters, which were as tesserae hospitales, received the name of γράμματα τετυπωμένα, epistolae fermatae, because, to guard against counterfeits, they were drawn up after a certain form, τύπος; and also γράμματα κοινωνικἀ, epistolae communicatoriae, inasmuch as they indicated that the bearers were in the fellowship of the Church. Euseb. 4, 23; Cyprian, Ep. III.; Neander vol. I. § 2, p. 280.—Sic honorandus rex, ut ne contra Deum peccemus. Chrysostom.—M.]


1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 2:11. [Sojourners and strangers; German: guests and strangers.—M.]

1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 2:11. Tisch., 7th ed., reads ἀπέχεσθαι, but ἀπέχεσθε is well supported. [A. C. L. Syr. Copt. Aeth.—M.]

1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:12. [καλήν=good, comely.—M.]

1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:12. [ἐν ᾧ=in the matter which.—M.]

1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 2:12. [ἐκ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων=for your good works’ sake.—M.]

[28] 1 Peter 2:12. Tisch. prefers ἐποπτεύοντες. So Cod. Sin. Render “which they see”, or “being spectators of them.”—M.]

[Cod. Sin. *δοξασουτρεμουσιν. sic.—M.]

1 Peter 2:13; 1 Peter 2:13. [ὑποτάγητε, Aor. Pass.=be subjected.—M.]

[30] 1 Peter 2:13. [Human institution; German: ordinance, order.—M.]

[κτίσιν�, ἤ καὶ αὐτοὺς βασιλεῖς, καθότι καὶ αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ�. Oecum.—M.]

1 Peter 2:13; 1 Peter 2:13. [Taking, without the Article.—M.]

[32] 1 Peter 2:13. [ὑπερέχοντι, præcellenti = super-eminent.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. omits οὖν with A. B. C. al. *πάσῃ.—M.]

1 Peter 2:14; 1 Peter 2:14. [διὰ=through.—M.]

1 Peter 2:14; 1 Peter 2:14. [Well-doers as contrasted with evil-doers.—M.]

[35] 1 Peter 2:15. [Of the foolish men referred to in 1 Peter 2:12.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. reads φιμοῖν.—M.]

1 Peter 2:16; 1 Peter 2:16. [ὡς belongs to ἔχοντες, not to ἐπικάλυμμα.—M.]

[37] 1 Peter 2:16. [ἐλεύθεροι=free, ἐλευθερία=freedom.—M.]

[Translate the whole verse: “as free, and not as having your freedom for a cover of malignity, but as the servants of God.”—M.]
[Cod. Sin. Θεοῦ δοῦλοι.—M.]

1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 2:17. [Give honour to all men. Suum cuique.—M.]

[39]The readers of this Commentary will pardon my attempt to give currency to a most striking Germanism; I do so on the supposition that every term of speech which sheds light on the workings of the mind and soul, is a most valuable accession to language.—M.

[40] οὖν is wanting in A. B. C. and other Manuscripts.

1 Peter 2:18. [δεσπόταις ὑμῶν Cod. Sin.—M.]

Verses 18-25

1 Peter 2:18-25

Analysis:—Exhortation of believing servants to self-denying obedience in doing and suffering after the example of Christ.

18 Servants,41 be subject to your masters with42 all fear; not only to the good and gentle,19 but also to the froward.43 For this is thankworthy,44 if a man for conscience45 toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it,46 ye take it patiently, this is acceptable47 with God. 21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us48 an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22Who did no49 sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23Who, when he was reviled,50 reviled not again; when he suffered,51 he threatened not; but committed himself52 to him that judgeth righteously: 24Who his own self53 bare our sins in his own body on54 the tree, that we,55 being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes56 ye were healed. 25For ye were as sheep going astray;57 but are58 now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.


1 Peter 2:18. Domestics—but also to the crooked.—οἰκέται less harsh and more comprehensive than δοῦλοι. Estius in Calov shrewdly suggests that the Apostle may have selected this designation because he was addressing Jewish Christians, to whom the term ‘slave’ was obnoxious, as incompatible with the people of God.

ὑποτασσόμενοι.—The most simple construction is to connect the Participle with the preceding Imperatives, especially with the τὸν Θεὸν φοβεῖσθε, to which the following ἐν παντἰ φόβῳ seems also to refer. It is the Apostle’s way to intertwine his sentences after this manner: the following exhortations begin with similar participial sentences, 1 Peter 3:1; 1 Peter 3:7-9. We learn from it, that he considers the duties to which he exhorts included in the principal duty, 1 Peter 2:12. He particularizes the exhortation, 1 Peter 2:13, as to the manner how the fear of God should be evidenced, 1 Peter 2:17.

In all fear.—Primarily, holy awe of God, after 1 Peter 2:17. Cf. Colossians 3:22; Ephesians 6:5; with full, entire fear; but it also involves the dread of an earthly master. There are, as Cornelius observes, different kinds of fear: a, fear of punishment; b, fear of the guilt of offending God; c, fear of the offence of exciting masters to animosity against the faith.

ἀγαθοῖς good in themselves and kind to others.—ἐπιεικής indicates a particular exhibition of ἄγαθος=indulgent, yielding, kind like the Syrian captain, 2 Kings 5:13-14.—ακολιός—עִקֵּשׁ, the contrary of the two other qualities, crooked in ways and therefore in heart, Psalms 101:4; Proverbs 11:20; Proverbs 17:20; Proverbs 4:24, similar to a piece of crooked wood that cannot be bent and is not fit for use, perverse, contentious, morose in disposition and behaviour. “Before such masters the false longings for liberty are most apt to break out: but here is just the point at which Christian views and principles appear in the strongest possible contrast with merely human and natural ones, and at which the peculiarity of the Christian calling, as a power of endurance, shows its marvellous glory.” Wiesinger.

1 Peter 2:19. For this is grace.—The sense of these words is determined partly by the following χάρις παρὰ Θεῷ, partly by the antithesis ποῖον γἁρ κλέος. This question suggests that of our Lord, Luke 6:32. “For if you love them, which love you, what thanks have you?” ποία ὐμῖν χάρις ἐστί; in Matt. it reads τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε. The ideas of thanks, reward and praise are here conjoined. Here as there the reference is to thanks, praise, or honour before God. You have no praise before God, you cannot glory in your tribulations (cf. Romans 5:3), if you remain stedfast in troubles brought on by yourselves; but if, suffering wrongfully, you remain stedfast, you will have honour before God and secure His approval and good pleasure. Weiss compares the Hebrew מָצָא חֶך,=εὑρίσκειν χάριν ἐναντίον θεοῦ, Genesis 6:8; Genesis 18:3; Genesis 30:27; cf. Luke 1:30; Luke 2:52; Acts 2:47. As to the sense it is therefore=χαρίεν, cf. 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Timothy 5:4.Colossians 3:20. The following explanation of Steiger is neither clear nor suited to the context. “It is grace indeed, even in the sight of God, to be able to suffer for God’s sake.” If he means: “Grace effects and shows its power in this, or the power and blessing of grace are exhibited in this,” παρἁ Θεῷ militates against his view.

For consciousness of God, etc—διὰ συνείδησιν Θεοῦ.—συνείδησις, the sharing of some knowledge, from σύνοιδα, I am conscious. Many take Θεοῦ as Genit. obj. on account of our knowledge of God, of His good will and pleasure; but it seems more natural to interpret: “because of the consciousness of God, because God knows all, because His eye sees all and because His arm punishes all evil,” cf. Colossians 3:23. In this sense Joseph suffered innocently; he thought, “how then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9. He suffered διὰ συνείδησιν Θεοῦ.—To take συνείδησις here in the sense of conscience is forbidden by the addition of Θεοῦ, although it often has that meaning, John 8:9; Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; Romans 2:15; Romans 9:1; Romans 13:5; 1Co 8:7; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 1 Corinthians 10:25; 1Co 10:28; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:3; Titus 1:15; Hebrews 9:14; Heb 10:22; 1 Peter 3:16.—Weiss explains; “The consciousness of God, as that of Him who has ordained this subjection, should ever accompany and prompt us to the discharge of this duty. The idea συνείδησις is here too much narrowed and taken subjectively instead of objectively.”

ὑποφέρει equivalent to the following ὑπομένειν= to endure with constancy, 2 Timothy 3:11; 1 Corinthians 10:13, to bear up under afflictions and to carry them cheerfully on one’s shoulders.—λύπαι, events causing multiform grief.

1 Peter 2:20. When ye be buffeted for your faults—suffer patiently.—ἁμαρτάτοντες καἱ κολαφιζόμενοι ὑπομενεῖτε.—The antithesis of ἀδίκως πάσχειν—κολαφιζόμενοι=to beat with the fist (vulgo “box the ear”), if as malefactors and punished, you suffer afflictions patiently. [κολαφιζόμενοι; Bengel says: pœna servorum, eaque subita.—M.] The world may praise such conduct as courage and bravery, it will not give you glory before God.—Wrong: if the scourgings notwithstanding you persist in sinful courses; for the contrast is between merited suffering and martyr suffering. (Lachmann and Tischendorf read ποῖον γὰρ, but γὰρ is wanting in many MSS.).

1 Peter 2:21. For even hereunto were ye called,—namely, to do good and to endure with patience, 1 Peter 3:9, as we read, 1 Thessalonians 3:3 : “We are appointed, set thereunto,” Acts 14:22. The first reason of the endurance of wrongful sufferings and perseverance in well-doing was the favour of God; the second is the calling of Christians as a further inducement to which is mentioned the example of Christ. The words are primarily addressed to slaves, as Bengel explains: this belongs to your Christian calling, which finds you in the condition of slaves; but they may be applied to all Christians, as is evident from the adduced motive.

Because also Christ suffered for you.—καὶ Χριστὸς, even Christ, the wholly Innocent One, has suffered. καὶ refers to ἀδίκως πάσχων [Alford makes καὶ apply to ἔπαθεν ὐπὲρ ὑμῶν on the ground that the last two words carry with them the ἀγαθοποιῶν, as explained below, 1 Peter 2:24.—M.].—ἔπαθεν. Huss: “Peter does not say what Christ did suffer, his object being to intimate that Christ endured for us every kind of suffering. Herein then we are to imitate Him, viz.: in patiently carrying whatever is laid upon us.” As the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord, he may not refuse to endure such sufferings.

ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν (Scholz and Tischendorf read ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν); ὑπὲρ may mean: in your stead, or for your benefit, or both. The last is probable, if reference be had not only to 1 Peter 2:22-23, but also to 1Pe 2:24, cf. 1 Peter 3:18, where the vicarious character of the death of Jesus is unmistakably asserted. Winer remarks at p. 458 that ὑπὲρ sometimes touches closely upon ἀντί, because the agent, one acting for the benefit of another, in most instances becomes his substitute, cf. Galatians 3:13; Romans 5:7; Romans 14:15 : Matthew 20:28; John 15:13; John 10:15; John 6:51. The redemptive and typical nature of the sufferings of Christ are here intimately connected. Steiger justly asks: “What is it that makes the example of Christ obligatory to us, unless it be the fact that that typical suffering was at once and primarily a suffering for us, an offering of Christ and a benefit, engaging us to serve Him?”—This passage expresses in pregnant language the double idea: 1. You are obliged to obey Christ, because He suffered for you. 2. You are consequently called to innocent suffering, though you be guiltless, because also Christ, in suffering for you, suffered innocently and with the intent that in this respect you should imitate Him.

Leaving you—steps.—ὑπολιμπάνω another form of ὑπολείπω. Bengel remarks, “in abitu ad Patrum.”—ὑπογραμμός, 2Ma 2:29, a pattern to write or draw by, a copy-head such as a writing-master would give to his pupils. This requires a steady hand and daily practice. Hence, pattern, copy, example. It is characteristic of this epistle, that it lays great stress on the pattern of Christ, cf. John 13:15; Matthew 11:29; Matthew 20:28 with 1Pe 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1; 1 Peter 4:13.

ἴνα ἐπακολουθήοητε τοῖς ἴχνεσιν—ἴχνη, a footprint, also the heels of shoes. The figure of a copyhead passes into that of a guide, whose footprints travellers along a steep, narrow and slippery path must follow up step by step. The footprints of His readiness to suffer, of His gentleness and humility are particularly alluded to. ἴνα dependent on ἔπαθεν, not on ἐκλήθητε. The imitation and following of Christ consists especially in the daily taking up of the cross, Luke 9:23. [This passage is also imitated by Poly-carp, 100:8: Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς�, ὃς ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ εποίησεν, οὐδὲ εὑρέθη σόλος ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτοῦ · μμηταὶ οὖν γενώμεθα τῆς ὑπομονῆς αὐτοῦ….τοῦτον ἡμῖν τὸν ὑπογραμμὸν ἔθηκε σἰ ἑαυτοῦ.

Tertullian de Patientia, c. 3. “He Who is God, stooped to be born in the womb of His Mother, and waited patiently and grew up; and when grown up, was not impatient to be recognized as God. He was baptized by His servant, and repelled the tempter only by words. When He became a Teacher, He did not strive nor cry, nor did any one hear His voice in the streets. He did not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax. He scorned no man’s company; He shunned no man’s table. He conversed with publicans and sinners. He poured out water and washed His disciples’ feet. He would not injure the Samaritan village which did not receive Him, when His disciples called fire from heaven to consume it. He cured the unthankful; He withdrew from those who plotted against Him. He had the traitor constantly in His company and did not expose him. And when He is betrayed and is brought to execution, He is like a sheep which before his shearers is dumb, and a lamb that doth not open its mouth. He who, Lord of angelic Legions, did not approve the sword of Peter drawn in His defence, He is spit upon, scourged, mocked. Such long-suffering as His, is an example to all men, but is found in God alone.”—M.]

1 Peter 2:22. Who did no sin, etc.—This description of the innocent and patient suffering of Jesus is almost a literal quotation from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 53:9, the word ἁμαρτίαν, alone being substituted for ἀνομίαν. The passages Isaiah 1:6; Isaiah 53:7, are more freely treated in 1 Peter 2:23. The servant of God there designated is therefore none other than the Messiah. His perfect sinlessness is even more explicitly affirmed in Hebrews 7:26; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

εὑρίσκω not absolutely like εἶναι, but: no guile could be discovered in or proved from His words, all watching and sifting notwithstanding, and yet He was condemned. See Winer p. 701, cf. James 3:2. Bengel notices the fitness of this exhortation to slaves, who were greatly liable to the temptation of deceiving, slandering and menacing their fellow-slaves.

1 Peter 2:23. Who being reviled—threatened not.—He fulfilled Proverbs 20:22; Proverbs 24:29; He did what David had done, 2 Samuel 16:10, etc. The strong and bitter words, which Jesus had sometimes to use, Matthew 7:5; Matthew 16:3; Matthew 22:18; Matthew 23:13; Matthew 23:33; Matthew 12:34, were not the utterings of personal hatred, nor retorts of insults heaped upon Him, but necessary evidences of the truth in order to cast a sting into the heart of His adversaries, and if possible to save them.

But delivered—righteously.—The second part of the sentence contains a climax. He even abstained from threatening, while He saw into the impending judgments, παραδίδου δὲ, He committed His cause to God, not however by invoking the vengeance of God on His enemies, but by praying for their conversion and pardon. If they persisted in repelling the overtures of grace, He left him to the justice of God. In this sense He said: “I seek not mine own glory: there is One that seeketh and judgeth.” John 8:50.—Jeremiah spoke differently in the spirit of the Old Testament: “Let me see Thy vengeance upon them, for unto Thee have I revealed my cause.” Jeremiah 11:20.

To Him that judgeth righteously, otherwise than the anger of the injured part, and the violence of ungodly enemies would make it. It is both a great consolation and an invitation to leave vengeance to Him, cf. Romans 12:19; Romans 2:6-11; 1 Peter 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; Luke 18:7-8; Luke 9:55. Lechler remarks, that the Apostle’s language was giving one the impression of coming in contact with an eye-witness of the arrest, of the trial, of the rough ill treatment and even of the crucifixion of the Lord. [Calvin has the following: “Qui sibi ad expetendam vindictam indulgent, non judiciis officium Deo concedunt, sed quodam modo facere volunt suum carnificem.—M.]

1 Peter 2:24. Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.—This verse is connected with ὑπερ ὑμῶν of 1 Peter 2:21, and defines it more particularly; it also brings the antithesis to 1 Peter 2:22 to a climax. Not only had He no sin, or did not sin Himself, but He bore our sins, etc.—ἀνήνεγκεν. The exegesis is determined by Isaiah 53:0 which evidently was before the Apostle’s mind. In that chapter occur the words נָשָׂא, סָבַל, φέρειν. The LXX. render: τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν; in 1 Peter 2:12, καὶ αὐτὸς ἁμαρτίας πολλῶν�; in 1 Peter 2:10, “When His soul shall make an offering for sin.” All exegetical attempts to explain away the idea of substitution and the system of sacrifice closely connected with it, are altogether futile. As in the Old Testament, the expressions, “to carry one’s sin,” or, “to bear one’s iniquity,” are equivalent to “suffer the punishment and guilt of one’s sin,” Leviticus 20:17; Leviticus 20:19; Leviticus 24:15; Ezekiel 23:35, so “to carry another’s sin,” denotes “to suffer the punishment and guilt of another,” or “to suffer vicariously,” Leviticus 3:19, Leviticus 3:17; Numbers 14:33; Lamentations 5:7; Ezekiel 18:19-20. Can this be done in any other way than by the imputation of the guilt and sin of others, as was the case in the sin and guilt-offerings? Weiss is quite arbitrary in persisting to exclude the idea of sacrifice from Isaiah 53:0, for 1 Peter 2:10 clearly refers to it. From a Jewish point of view such a separation of the doctrine of substitution from the idea of sacrifice is simply impossible, cf. John 1:29; Leviticus 16:21-22.—The juxtaposition of ἡμῶν and αὐτός both here and in Isaiah 53:0 is not insignificant, but gives prominence to the idea of substitution. Calvin says: “As under the law the sinner, in order to become free from sin, offered a sacrifice in his stead, so Christ took upon Himself the curse which we have merited by our sins in order to expiate it before God.” Calov. “The cross of Christ was the lofty altar to which, when He was about to offer Himself, He ascended laden with our sins.”

ἀναφέρειν ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον=to carry up to the tree of the cross and thus to carry away and blot out, cf. James 2:21; Hebrews 9:28. The expression “tree” for “cross” is by no means undesigned, but selected as in Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39, with reference to Deuteronomy 21:23, cf. Galatians 3:13, where it is said of him that is hanged on a tree, “he is accursed of God.”

τὰς ἁμαρτίας not sin-offerings or offerings for our sins, a rendering which is inadmissible on grammatical grounds, but the guilt and punishment of our sins;—these He took upon Himself and expiated them, cf. Colossians 2:14; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

In His own body, cf. Ephesians 2:15. This expression is far from singular in connection with the fact that Christ bore the punishment of sin also in His holy soul, provided we start from the idea of sacrifice and assume that Peter was comparing the body of Christ with the body of the slain victim. Gerhard says: “The body is mentioned in particular, because it was visibly suspended from the cross, and because His bodily sufferings were more immediately perceptible by the senses.” Weiss tries to find a reference to the words of the institution of the Lord’s Supper—but this seems to be rather far-fetched. How this carrying of the punishment of man’s sin—which goes far beyond a compassionating entering into the feelings of our sinful misery—was possible must ever remain a wonderful mystery, on which the Petrine and Johannean doctrine of Christ as the real and original Head of mankind, sheds only a feeble light.

That having died to sins, we should live to the righteousness of Him.—Calov. “Peter combines the two benefits of the death of Christ, 1st, by it our sins are expiated, and 2d, in virtue of it sin is killed in us. We add, that the combination gives prominence to holiness as the end and aim of the atonement.

ἀπογίνομαι=ἀποθνήσκω, cf. Romans 6:2. Bengel remarks: “γενέσθαι τινὸς means to become somebody’s slave, ἀπό denotes removal. The body of Christ was removed, taken away from that tree, up to which He had carried our sins; thus we should remove ourselves from sin, become free from it.” This explanation is more acute than satisfactory. The negative, dying unto sin, must go hand in hand with the positive. The connection of holiness and renovation with the death of Jesus is not indicated here, but may be supplied by recollecting that the gift of the Holy Ghost and the power of faith were acquired by the death of Jesus. Thereby the vital strength of sin is broken and the desire of righteousness planted in the soul.—ζῇν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ to live in the service of righteousness, in keeping the commandments of God and Christ instead of the former service of sin. Bengel: “The whole of righteousness is one, sin manifold.”

By whose stripe ye were healed.—Μώλωψ, a wound like that inflicted on slaves by scourging, a stripe or rather the weal left by a stripe. The Singular is used here as in Isaiah 53:0; the sacred body of Jesus was so tortured that it was, as it were, only one wound or stripe.—οὖ τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ. (Lachmann and Griesbach. omit αὐτοῦ; Tischendorf retains it as the more difficult reading in his last edition). More emphatic than the relative by itself; supply τούτου before it.—Ἰάθητε. The apostle passes from the first person to the second, resuming his direct address to Christian slaves. So also at 1 Peter 2:25; the whole section from 1 Peter 2:18-25 is addressed to them. μώλωψ and ἰᾶσθαι suggest the secondary thought: You have to endure no kind of sufferings and wounds, but Christ, your Lord, endured them also; your Master exacts not more from you than He has borne Himself; He bears all in your stead in order to save you; how much more ought you, who are sinful, quietly and patiently to endure suffering?—But how shall we solve the prophetical and apostolical paradox, that Christ’s stripe is our healing? Healing is here primarily not to be understood as a sinner’s entire restoration to the image of God, else the preceding exhortation would not have been necessary, but as designating the healing of the stings of conscience, caused by sin; but this involves of course the principle that entire healing is rendered possible. “Sins, committed against, our conscience, hurt the soul and leave scars which ever and anon open afresh, sting the conscience and hurt the soul.” Steinhofer.—These wounds of your soul were healed when by faith in the atoning death of Jesus you received forgiveness. He suffered the smiters to draw long furrows on His back, Psalms 129:3, to wound His head and face, His hands and feet, and to pierce His heart that in our stead, as the Head for the members, He might make atonement.”—

“Thou didst suffer stripe and weal,
Treatment full of shame and pain,
That my plague thou mightest heal,
And my peace forever gain.”
[German Hymn,—
Du hast lassen Wunden schlagen,
Dich erbärmlich richten zu,
Um zu heilen meine Plagen,
Um zu setzen mich in Ruh!—M.]
Tauler:—“He had to die that we might live: He was afflicted that we might rejoice; He was wounded that we might be healed: He shed His blood that we might be cleansed: the blood of the Physician was shed and made the patient’s remedy.”

1 Peter 2:25. For ye were straying like sheep.—The Apostle adds how and from what state they came to this healing. For ye were straying like sheep. A sheep is a stupid animal: so is the sinner, repelling salvation and straying in the ways of corruption. Sheep, as Aristotle observes, are subject to as many diseases as man. Stray sheep, separated from the shepherd and the flock, lack food and care, are exposed to many dangers, may become a prey to the wolf or fall into some abyss. The expression is taken from Isaiah 53:0, and the figure is of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament, Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; Psalms 119:176; Ezekiel 34:5; Ezekiel 34:11, and in the New, Luke 15:4, etc.; John 10:15 etc.; Matthew 9:36. It may have been particularly appropriate to the case of slaves of the dispersion who often changed masters and their place of domicile. Straying and sickness are often conjoined. “The figure of stray sheep alludes to original union with God and represents straying as alienation from God in consequence of sin.” John 10:12. Wiesinger.

But ye are now brought back (from the wilderness of sin, error and death) to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.—ἐπεστράφητε, ye have been converted and have suffered yourselves to be converted. By faith you have laid hold of the atonement made for all and have returned from your wanderings. Christ is the arch-Shepherd, the true, the good Shepherd, promised already in the Old Testament, Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:24; Psalms 23:1; cf. John 10:11; Heb 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4. He even gives His life for the sheep, John 10:12. The Apostle turns to that side of the pastoral relation of Christ which exhibits Him as the Bishop and Guardian of souls.—ἐπίσκοπος is used of God in the LXX. version of Job 20:29; the phrase is however more probably taken from Ezekiel 34:11-12, where we read: “For thus saith the Lord God, Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out (ἐπισκέψομαι). As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” He is ever careful of the salvation of His sheep and seeks to protect them from destruction. He is the Shepherd and Guardian of souls.—ψυχῶν not without special significance as it relates to slaves, and servants who are so often treated, as if they had no immortal soul, and who may therefore so much the more readily forget that they have a soul which they may lose, and that with the soul lost, all else is lost.


1. The Divine origin of Christianity may also be demonstrated by the fact that it enters into and hallows every relation of life and descends to the most degraded of men and to the lowest conditions of society.
2. The glory of the Christian vocation is peculiarly manifested by endurance of wrong and indefatigable well-doing under it.
3. Plato anticipated the ideal of such a righteous man in the following passage of his second book on the State: “Without doing any wrong, he must have the greatest appearance of unrighteousness in order to be thoroughly approved in righteousness, since even slander and its consequences cannot move him, and although all his life-long considered unrighteous, he is yet righteous. The righteous, thus minded will be bound, scourged, tortured, blinded in both eyes and finally, having endured every possible evil, he will be hung.” Plato’s ideal and conception find their strongest fulfilment and reality in Christianity.

4. The exhortation that we should copy in ourselves, the pattern which Christ has left us in His life and death is enclosed forwards and backwards, 1 Peter 2:21 and 1 Peter 2:24, by the recollection that He was crucified for us. This is the impelling motive which at once enables us to imitate Christ and to do it cheerfully.

5. The vicarious sacrificial death of Jesus, based on Isaiah 53:0, is here affirmed with so much clearness that even rationalistic adversaries are unable to resist it, cf. Wegschneider, Instit. p. 407, 6th ed. How we are healed by the wounds of Jesus, is a mystery which reason cannot fully solve, and to which we have to submit by faith in the clear testimony of Holy Writ. “Jesus, who by His blood has effected our reconciliation, is Himself the Physician who heals our souls.” Even Dr. Baur is constrained to admit that the idea of substitution cannot be denied in such passages of the New Testament as Romans 4:25; Galatians 1:4; Romans 8:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:19, that the preposition ὑπέρ denotes both the idea of substitution and what takes place for the benefit of man; that these two points are passing the one into the other, so as to interpenetrate each other, but that the latter is decidedly predominant; that according to the Apostle’s doctrine the justice of God had to be satisfied by an actual atonement for the punishment of sin; that viewing the death of Jesus from the stand-point of Divine justice, is only the outer side of the event and its merely judicial aspect, but that the inmost ground of the Divinely-made institution is the grace of God, Rom 3:24, 2 Corinthians 5:19, and a point so much more extensive than the other as to constrain us to regard only as an emanation of Divine grace whatever Divine justice may claim of the death of Jesus; that it was grace that God would not allow men to be punished in their own persons, but in their substitute. See Baur, Lehrbegriff des Ap. Paulus p. 541. This is certainly a wonderful testimony from the lips of an unbeliever.

6. The medicine has been prepared by His wounds, the balsam has been cleared under the press of the cross.—“The blood of Jesus is the most precious balsam with which Jesus washes and heals our wounds, as the good Samaritan poured oil and wine in the wounds of the bleeding and half-dead man to lessen their smart and to heal them. There is vital strength in this crimson oil whereby we are fully healed.” Steinhofer, Evang. Glaubensgrund, p. 434.

7. Observe the important distinction between the atonement as the objective act of God in Christ in virtue of which salvation has been acquired for and is offered to sinners, and the subjective appropriation of salvation by means of conversion. The words of Paul: “Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:11, apply only to those who have sought Christ in penitence and faith and laid hold of His merits.


How may the much-lamented difficulties relating to domestics be remedied? 1. By the return of the fear of God into the houses and hearts of men; 2. By masters and servants entering upon the imitation of Christ.—The secret of partaking more and more of the grace of God.—The Christian call, 1. To a state of grace, in order to be and live in it; 2. To suffer innocently and patiently; 3. To persevere in well-doing.—The Christian’s consolation in innocent suffering.—Righteousness of life must flow from righteousness by faith.—The sufferings of Christ for us and before us.—The power of Christ’s example.—The great change in conversion.—Man a stray sheep, while excluded from the calling of God in Christ.

Starke:—God ordains, that one should rule and another serve.—Bad masters are for the trial and perhaps also for the chastisement of servants.—Masters are often decried as whimsical for desiring propriety and right in things spiritual and temporal. Servants, be ashamed and do not slander your godly masters, but learn to be wise and to do all things right after the will of God and their mind—Many masters may deal ill with their people, but if they endure wrong patiently, attend to their service in the fear of God, pray diligently for their masters, they are God’s people and God will be their helper and reward, Genesis 31:12.—As it is the shame of servants to be punished for ill-doing, so it is their veritable honour and glory before God and man if they endure wrong innocently and patiently, 1 Peter 4:15-16.—Christians are not called to voluptuousness and good days but to the cross, 1 Peter 2:21.—We should often look at ourselves in the sufferings of Christ, as if they were a mirror, that we may be glorified into the same image, Hebrews 12:3.—Christ is our Gift and Pattern, our Mediator and Head, our Shepherd and Light. What is our duty? To believe and to obey (follow) John 8:12.—The words, the ways and the works of Christ are, as it were, living letters and footprints for us to copy and follow, Hebrews 12:6.—If you have a just cause and yet are oppressed, be still and persevere, God will maintain your cause, Psalms 94:15.—Away with foolish sacrifices for the living or the dead! The one sacrifice of our High-priest Jesus Christ on the cross is sufficient for the reconciliation of the whole world, Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:11-12.—The exaltation and glory of Christians blossom forth from the cross.—Sin was sacrificed and slain by Christ that it should also be dead in us. Where it lives, the virtue of the death of Christ is as yet unfelt, Romans 6:6.—Sin is like a maze: whoso enters the same cannot easily find his way out.—Whoso remains in the wilderness out of Christ (extra) must at last fall into the abyss of hell and eternally despair, Acts 4:12; Psalms 119:176.

Augustine:—“We must not cease to hope for the wicked, but rather pray for them the more diligently, that they may become good, because the number of saints has at all times been increased by the number of the ungodly. Those who are goats to-day, may be sheep to-morrow, those who are weeds to-day, to-morrow may be wheat.”

Kapff:—What is necessary in conversion? 1. That we should be healed by the wounds of Jesus. 2. That we should die to sin and live to righteousness.


1 Peter 2:18. It is a thing of much concernment, the right ordering of families; for all other societies, civil and religious are made up of these. Villages and cities and churches and commonwealths and kingdoms, are but a collection of families: and therefore such as these are, for the most part, such must the whole societies predominantly be. One particular house is but a very small part of a kingdom, yet the wickedness and lewdness of that house, be it but the meanest in it, as of servants one or more; and though it seem but a small thing, yet goes in to make up that heap of sin that provokes the wrath of God and draws on public calamity.—Servants. 1. Their duty (be subject); 2. Its extent (to the froward); 3. Its principle (for conscience toward God).—The eagle may fly high and yet have its eye down upon some carrion on earth; even so a man may be standing on the earth and on some low part of it, and yet have his eye upon heaven and be contemplating it. That which one man cannot at all see in another, is the very thing that is most considerable in their action, namely, the principle whence they flow and the end to which they tend. This is the form and life of actions, that by which they are earthly or heavenly. Whatsoever be the matter of them, the spiritual mind hath that alchymy indeed, of burning base metals unto gold, earthly employments into heavenly.—1 Peter 2:21. The particular things that Christians are here said to be called to, are suffering, as their lot, and patience, as their duty, even under the most unjust and undeserved sufferings.—He that aims high, shoots the higher for it, though he shoot not so high as he aims. This is that which ennobles the spirit of a Christian, the propounding of this our high pattern, the example of Jesus Christ.—1 Peter 2:24. The eye of a godly man is not fixed on the false sparkling of the world’s pomp, honour and wealth. It is dead to them, being quite dazzled with a greater beauty. The grass looks fine in the morning, when it is set with those liquid pearls, the drops of dew that shine upon it; but if you can look but a little while on the body of the sun, and then look down again, the eye is as it were dead; it is not that faint shining on the earth that it thought so gay before: and as the eye is blinded and dies to it, so within a few hours that gayety quite vanishes and dies itself.—Faith looks so steadfastly on its suffering Saviour, that, as they say (Intellectus fit illud quod intelligit), it makes the soul like Him, assimilates and conforms it to His death, as the Apostle speaks. That which Papists fabulously say of some of their saints, that they received the impression of the wounds of Christ in their body, is true in a spiritual sense of the soul of every one that is indeed a saint and a believer; it takes the very print of His death by beholding Him and dies to sin, and then takes that of His rising again, and lives to righteousness; as it applies it to justify, so to mortify, drawing virtue from it. Thus said one, “Christ aimed at this in all those sufferings that with so much love He went through; and shall I disappoint Him and not serve His end?”—M.]

[On the duties of Christian servants see Bp. Fleetwood’s “Sermons on relative duties.”—M.]


1 Peter 2:18. “The law of nature knows no such thing as slavery, for by nature all men are free and equal; but by the civil laws, and by the practice of nations, it was established, and still continues among those who know not the Gospel; and the more is the shame and the pity, it is to be found in some places where Christianity is professed. The religion of Christ, when it first made its progress in the world, left the civil laws of nations, in a great measure, as it found them, lest by altering or repealing them, it should bring confusion and disturbance into human society; but, as by its own genius and tendency, it leads men gently back to the precepts of nature and equity, to kindness and to mercy, it put an end by degrees, in most civilized nations, to that excessive distance and difference between masters and slaves, which owed its origin to outrage and war, to violence and calamity; so that in Christian countries the service which is performed is usually, as it ought to be, voluntary and by agreement. But what the writers of the New Testament have said concerning slaves, holds true concerning hired servants and all those who are employed in other denominations under a master, that they discharge their office modestly, diligently and willingly, and act with faithfulness and integrity in every thing that is committed to them.”—M.]

[Macknight:—“In this verse the Apostle establishes one of the most noble and important principles of morality, namely, that our obligation to relative duties does not depend, either on the character of the persons to whom they are to be performed, or on their performance of the duties which they owe to us, but on the unalterable relations of things established by God.”—M.]

[Bp. Horne:

1 Peter 2:21. “Our Lord was ‘both a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life.’ (Collect for second Sunday after Easter.) By His sacrifice He procured us grace to follow His example, which otherwise would have been proposed to us in vain; by His example He showed us how to make a right use of that grace, which, unless we do, it is given in vain. So that if he who regards Him as an example, and not as a Redeemer, will be lost, because he cannot follow Him; he who takes Him for a Redeemer, and not for an example, will be lost, because he does not follow Him, since redemption was in order to holiness; and although it be most certain that without Christ no man can attain unto holiness, yet it is no less certain that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” He only is fully and effectually redeemed, and has evidence to assure him of it, who bears stamped on his soul the image and superscription of his Saviour.”—M.]

[Dean Stanhope:

1 Peter 2:24-25. “A consideration of the purpose for which our Saviour suffered should be a matter of great consolation to us, when we meditate upon His sufferings, and cause us to mingle tears of joy with those of grief. The latter we should be insensible not to pay to the excruciating agonies of our beloved Master; the former we should be unthankful and cruel to ourselves not to give to the happy effects of the misery which He so graciously condescended to undergo for us. But, to make both effectual, let us, inflamed with zeal and gratitude and love unfeigned, endeavour for our own particular, and most devoutly beg for the rest, as the best of Churches teaches us, that the innumerable benefits of this precious blood-shedding may have their full extent and free course; that “we and the whole Church of Christ may receive remission of sins” and all the other blessed effects of His passion; that He, who “hath made a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world,” would cause His way to be known, and show His saving health to the yet dark and unbelieving nations; and that all, who do already know it, may walk worthy of their knowledge and of the high vocation wherewith they are called. And O! that the death tasted by our Redeemer for every man may be effectual to the saving of every man! Even so, blessed Jesus, “by thine agony and bloody sweat, by thy cross and passion, good Lord, deliver us.”—M.]


1 Peter 2:18; 1 Peter 2:18. [Domestics, family servants, οἰκέτης not so harsh as δοῦλος. ‘In all fear be subject to your masters,’ Cod. Sin.—M.]

1 Peter 2:18; 1 Peter 2:18. [ἐν=in, not with.—M.]

[43] 1 Peter 2:18. [σκολιός= עִקֵּשׁ Deuteronomy 32:5, crooked, perverse. These σκολίοι are “salvi et intractabiles, duri ac morosi,” so Gerhard.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. ἐν παντ. φόβ. ὑπ.—M.]

1 Peter 2:19; 1 Peter 2:19. [For this is grace, so German for χάρις, but χάρις not=gratia divina but=laus. Cf. Calvin, “Idem valet nomen gratiæ quod laudis. Intelligit enim nullam gratiam vel laudem conciliari nobis coram Deo, si pœnam sustinemus quam nostris delictis simus promeriti: sed qui patienter ferunt injurias, eos laude dignos esse, et opus facere Deo acceptum.”—M.]

[45] 1 Peter 2:19. [Consciousness, not conscience. The man knows that God is cognizant of his suffering, and acts rather with respect to God than to man. German: Mitwissen, not Gewissen, the former denoting cognizance in the sense of joint knowing, the latter, conscience. Render the whole verse, “For this is grace, if, on account of God’s cognizance, any one endures tribulations (λύπας), suffering wrongfully.—M.]

1 Peter 2:20. [ποῖον=German ‘was für ein,’ or English, ‘what kind of.’—M.]

1 Peter 2:20; 1 Peter 2:20. [Cod. Sin. κολαζόμενοι ὑπομένετε. German, “suffer patiently.” The participial construction of the Greek is, on the whole, preferable to English version. “For what kind of glory (is it) if doing wrong (sinning), and being buffeted, ye endure it patiently? but if well doing, and suffering (for it), ye endure (it) patiently, this is grace.”—M.]

1 Peter 2:20; 1 Peter 2:20. [χάρις, as above, “with God.” The idea here, and in 1 Peter 2:19, seems to be that such conduct is the evidence of grace received, as none but a child of grace would thus act.—M.]


1 Peter 2:21. [Cod. Sin. reads ἀπἐθανεν (died) for ἔπαθεν (suffered).—ἡμῶν ὑμῖν is the reading supported by the greatest number of MSS. Another reading, ἡμῶν ἡμῶν, according to Syr. Copt. Ephr. Aug., and still another, ὑμῶν ὑμῖν, Elzevir, Alford; on this last is based the German version, which renders “suffered for you, leaving you, etc.”—M.]

[ὑπογραμμός=a copy-head,=a pattern, to write or paint by.—M.]


1 Peter 2:22. [ἐποίησεν, the Aorist, as distinguished from the Imperfect, ἐποιει, has the force of “never in a single instance.” Alford.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. ηὑρέθη.—M.]

1 Peter 2:23. [The German retains the preferable participial form.—M.]

1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 2:23. [Render thus: “Who being reviled, reviled not again, suffering, threatened not.”—M.]

1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 2:23. [Render thus: “Who being reviled, reviled not again, suffering, threatened not.”—M.]


1 Peter 2:23. [παρεδίδου, either, “delivered (His enemies) up to (the Father),” so Alford, or, “delivered (His cause) up to (the Father”); in either case, as Alford suggests, perhaps not without reference to “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”—M.]

[Cod Sin. *ἐλοιδόρει.—M.]

1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 2:24. [“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”—M.]

1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 2:24. [The force of ἀνήνεγκεν is that “He took our sins to the tree, and offered them up on it.” Alford. Cf. Vitringa in Huther: “Vix uno verbo ἔμφασις vocis ἀναφέρειν exprimi potest. Nota Ferre et Offerre. Primo dicere voluit Petrus, Christum portasse peccata nostra, in quantum illa ipsi erant imposita, Secundo, ita tulisse peccata nostra, ut ea secum obtulerit in altari. Respicit ad animantes, quibus peccata primo imponebantur, quique deinceps peccatis onusti offerebantur. Sed in quam aram? ξύλον ait Petrus, lignum, h. e. crucem.—M.]

1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 2:24. [ἀπογενόμενοι=having died. The German renders, “that, having died to sins (i. e., our own), we should live to the righteousness of Him by whose stripe ye are healed”; but this construction is untenable on textual grounds.—M.]


1 Peter 2:24. [Stripe, singular, is the right rendering of μώλωπι. μώλωψ. “Paradoxon apostolicum: vibice sanati estis. Est autem μώλωψ vibex, frequens in corpore servili, Sirach 12, 12.” Bengel.—M.]

[Cod. Sin. *τῷ σωμ without ἐν.—μώλωπ. without αὐτοῦ.—M.]

1 Peter 2:25; 1 Peter 2:25. [Translate: “For ye were straying (ἦτε πλανώμενοι) like sheep.”—M.]


1 Peter 2:25. [The German renders ἐπεστράφητε passively, “ye are brought back”; but the 2 Aor. Pass, ἐπεστράφην, is often found in a Middle sense, cf. Matthew 9:22; Matthew 10:13; Mark 5:30,—translate, therefore, “but ye have returned.”—M.]

[Cod. Sin. πλανώμενοι.—M.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-peter-2.html. 1857-84.
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