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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 2

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

1 Peter 1:22 to 1 Peter 2:10 . The Christians, who were formerly pagans, are created a new race in Christ Jesus, and consecrated as a special priesthood of service to the whole world. Their life must be in accordance with this profession. They are to manifest to one another brotherly love, “ that noblest jewel in the diadem of early Christianity” (Gunkel), and as children naturally seek milk for nourishment, so their desire is to be for spiritual refreshment in the purity of faith. By a changed figure they are to become living stones in a living temple founded on a living Lord, who of old time was termed by the prophets the Corner Stone. To them He is a precious possession, but to those who refuse Him, He is like a stone in the path to trip over, as a rock in the way, over which one may fall.

1 Peter 1:22 . love of the brethren: not brotherly love, but brother-love. Not “ love men as though they were your brothers,” but “ love men because they are your brothers.” As Maurice finely said, “ There can be no brotherhood without a common father” (Masterman).

1 Peter 1:23 . word of God is here transitional between the written word, and the personal Word of the Fourth Gospel. It is better to take “ liveth and abideth” as referring to “ word” than to “ God” ( mg.) .

1 Peter 2:2 . spiritual milk: a curious phrase, but meaning “ nourishment that belongs to the spiritual nature.”

1 Peter 2:6 . Two of the OT passages here quoted are found in combination in Romans 9, and in the same chapter is the reference to Hos. made below ( 1 Peter 2:10). From this and similar instances it has been suggested that selections of Messianic passages were already in use by Christian teachers (p. 700 ).

1 Peter 2:7 . the preciousness: the phrase may be understood in various ways, but probably “ for you is the honour” is most likely in contrast with “ shame” mentioned in 1 Peter 1:6 and referred to throughout. On the other hand, “ precious” may refer back to the quotation in the sense of the inherent unique quality of Christ.

1 Peter 2:9 . royal: because belonging to a king, not as consisting of kings.

Verse 11

1 Peter 2:11 f. Three reasons are here given for a life of purity and moderation: ( 1 ) that it is in agreement with pilgrim life (a figure frequent in OT and familiar to us from Bunyan’ s Pilgrim’ s Progress) , ( 2 ) that it may not give offence to the Gentiles, ( 3 ) that it may win the latter, by the force of example, to the same life. We know what wicked and groundless accusations were made against the Christians, and how, as Harnack shows in the Mission and Expansion of Christianity, it was by the conduct of the Christians that the truest headway was made in the spread of the faith.

Verse 12

1 Peter 2:12 . day of visitation: a phrase derived from OT ( Isaiah 10:3), but its meaning is not quite clear in this passage. It may mean ( 1 ) the final judgment day, which fills so large a place in the mind of NT writers, ( 2 ) the day of trial before the magistrates, or ( 3 ) the day when the Gentiles themselves are convinced of the truth of the faith. The last seems most likely.

Verses 13-17

1 Peter 2:13-17 . As Jesus had given them an example so were they to live in all dutiful obedience to human authority— from the emperor to his representatives, since they constituted the bulwarks of the State. Their service was not mainly to the commonwealth of men, but to the City of God. Of this they were free men, but for that reason they must act so as to commend it— their Emperor had as His servants men whose freedom spelled obedience. It is interesting to compare and contrast the view here taken of civil authority with that of Paul in Romans 13 (pp. 774 f.). The State is a “ human institution” to this writer, while to Paul it is a Divine one, and the magistrate himself a “ minister of God.” “ St. Peter, throughout the epistle, maintains that God is King, but rules through Law. His frame of mind is constitutional; St. Paul, the Roman citizen, is imperialist both in politics and in theology” (Bigg).

1 Peter 2:15 . put to Silence is really “ muzzle,”

Verses 18-25

1 Peter 2:18-25 . This is one of the noblest passages in the NT on the real meaning of service. It raised the position of slave at one moment to the highest honour. A man could take all degradation out of it, for he might put into his slavery the whole spirit of Jesus. With exquisite reminiscences of prophetic language and touches of personal experience the writer sketches Christ’ s life and death of ministry, which wrought righteousness and healing. So might their lives, thus ordered, bring a new reign of purity, sweetness, and well-ordered power in the world (and they did!). All this they know, for the wanderers— slaves of sin— have returned to One who is Shepherd and Guardian. The Master transforms all service. Catching His spirit they can become gentle even to the harshest taskmaster, and rejoice in such an opportunity. Cf. p. 649 .

1 Peter 2:19 . for conscience toward is more accurately rendered, “ from a sense of God,” i.e. because one is conscious of God’ s nature and requirements.

1 Peter 2:21-23 . An interesting illustration of these verses is found among the recently discovered Odes of Solomon, Ode 31 , lines 8 ff., “ But I endured and held my peace and was silent, as if not moved by them. But I stood unshaken like a firm rock which is beaten by the waves and endures. And I bore their bitterness for humility’ s sake; in order that I might redeem my people!”

1 Peter 2:24 . upon the tree: the word rendered “ tree” (lit. “ wood” ) is used twice in Peter’ s speeches in Ac. ( Acts 5:30, Acts 10:39) in the same sense as here. The sacrificial ideas of priest and victim are here combined in one Person ( Hebrews 9:14). The victim was always regarded as holy though he bore the sin. The recollection of this fact is essential to a right understanding of the theory of sacrifice.— died unto sins: this analogy, so frequently used by Paul, is found here also.— stripes: really “ weals,” a word that would touch slaves.

1 Peter 2:25 . Bishop: here probably used in the most general sense as “ overseer.” It is noteworthy, considering its later ecclesiastical usage, that Christ Himself should be termed Bishop, from whom, as we may say, “ Every bishopric on earth is named.”

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/1-peter-2.html. 1919.
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