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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

1 Peter 4

Verse 1

Arm yourselves [οπλισασθε] . Only here in New Testament. The thought is Pauline. See Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:10, Ephesians 6:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Colossians 3:12.

Mind [εννοιαν] . Only here and Hebrews 4:12. Literally the word means thought, and so some render it here. Rev. puts it in margin. The rendering intent, resolution, is very doubtful. It seems rather to be the thought as determining the resolution. Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, be ye also willing to suffer in the flesh.

Verse 2

Live [βιωσαι] . Only here in New Testament.

The rest of the time [επιλοιπον] . Only here in New Testament.

Verse 3

For the time past, etc. Compare Romans 13:13. Us [ημιν] . The best texts omit.

Of our life [του βιου] . The best texts omit.

Will (boulhma, the better reading for qelhma). Desire, inclination. See on Matthew 1:19.

When we walked [πεπορευμενους] . Rev., rightly, ye walked. Construe with to have wrought. The time past may suffice for you to have wrought the desire, etc., walking as ye have done; the perfect participle having an inferential reference to a course of life now done with.

Lasciviousness [ασελγειας] . The following enumeration of vices is characteristic of Peter's style in its fulness and condensation. He enumerates six forms of sensuality, three personal and three social :

(1) 'Aselgeiaiv, wantonness. See on Mark 7:22. Excesses of all kinds, with possibly an emphasis on sins of uncleanness.

(2) 'Epiqumiaiv, lusts. See on Mark 4:19. Pointing especially to fleshly lusts, "the inner principles of licentiousness" (Cook).

(3) Oijnoflugiaiv, excess of wine. Only here in New Testament. The kindred verb occurs in the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 21:20; Isaiah 46:12. From oinov, wine, and flew or fluw, to teem with abundance; thence to boil over or bubble up, overflow. It is the excessive, insatiate desire for drink, form which comes the use of the word for the indulgence of the desire - debauch. So Rev., wine - bibbings. The remaining three are revellings, banquetings, and idolatries.

Revellings [κωμοις] . The word originally signifies merely a merry - making; most probably a village festival, from kwmh, a village. In the cities such entertainments grew into carouses, in which the party of revellers paraded the streets with torches, singing, dancing, and all kinds of frolics. These revels also entered into religious observances, especially in the worship of Bacchus, Demeter, and the Idaean Zeus in Crete. The fanatic and orgiastic rites of Egypt, Asia Minor, and Thrace became engrafted on the old religion. Socrates, in the introduction to "The Republic," pictures himself as having gone down to the Piraeus to see the celebration of the festival of Bendis, the Thracian Artemis (Diana); and as being told by one of his companions that, in the evening, there is to be a torch - race with horses in honor of the goddess. The rites grew furious and ecstatic. "Crowds of women, clothed with fawns' skins, and bearing the sanctified thyrsus (a staff wreathed with vine - leaves) flocked to the solitudes of Parnassus, Kithaeron, or Taygetus during the consecrated triennial period, and abandoned themselves to demonstrations of frantic excitement, and dancing and clamorous invocation of the God. They were said to tear animals limb from limb, to devour the raw flesh, and to cut themselves without feeling the wound. The men yielded to a similar impulse by noisy revels in the streets, sounding the cymbals and tambourine, and carrying the image of the God in procession" (Grote, " History of Greece "). Peter, in his introduction, addresses the sojourners in Galatia, where the Phrygian worship of Cybele, the great mother of the gods, prevailed, with its wild orgies and hideous mutilations. Lucretius thus describes the rites :

"With vigorous hand the clamorous drum they rouse, And wake the sounding cymbal; the hoarse horn Pours forth its threatening music, and the pipe, With Phrygian airs distracts the maddening mind, While arms of blood the fierce enthusiasts wield To fright the unrighteous crowds, and bend profound Their impious souls before the power divine. Thus moves the pompous idol through the streets, Scattering mute blessings, while the throngs devout Strew, in return, their silver and their brass, Loading the paths with presents, and o'ershade The heavenly form; and all th' attending train, With dulcet sprays of roses, pluct profuse, A band select before them, by the Greeks Curetes called, from Phrygian parents sprung, Sport with fantastic chains, the measured dance Weaving infuriate, charmed with human blood, And madly shaking their tremendous crests." De Rerum Natura, 2, 618 - 631.

Banquetings [ποτοις] . Lit., drinking - bouts. Rev., carousings.

Abominable [αθεμιτοις] . Only here, and by Peter in the Acts 10:28. More literally, unlawful, emphasizing the idolatries as violations of divine law.

Verse 4

Run not with them. "In a troop" (Bengel); like a band of revellers. See above. Compare Ovid's description of the Bacchic rites :

"Lo, Baccus comes! and with the festive cries Resound the fields; and mixed in headlong rout, Men, matrons, maids, paupers, and nobles proud, To the mysterious rites are born along." Metamorphoses, 3, 528 - 530.

Excess [αναχυσιν] . Only here in New Testament. Lit., pouring forth. Rev. has flood in margin. The word is used in classical Greek of the tides which fill the hollows.

Riot [ασωτιας] . From aj, not, and swzw, to save. Lit., unsavingness, prodigality, wastefulness; and thence of squandering on one's own debased appetites, whence it takes the sense of dissoluteness or profligacy. In Luke 14:13, the kindred adverb ajswtwv is used. The prodigal is described as scattering his substance, to which is added, living wastefully [ζων ασωτως] . Compare Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6.

Verse 5

That is ready [ετοιμως εχοντι] . Lit, having himself in readiness; there at God 's right hand in heaven, wither he has gone (ch. 3 22). Implying, also, a near judgment. Compare ver. 7.

Verse 7

Is at hand [ηγγικεν] . Lit., has come near. The word constantly used of the coming of Christ and his kingdom. See Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; Hebrews 10:25.

Be ye sober [σωφρονησατε] . The word is from swv, sound, and frhn, the mind. Therefore, as Rev., be ye of sound mind. Compare Mark 5:15. Watch [νηψατε] . See on ch. 1 Peter 1:13. The A. V. has followed the Vulgate, vigilate (watch). Rev. is better : be sober.

Unto prayer [εις προσευχας] . Lit., prayers. The plural is used designedly : prayers of all kinds, private or public. Tynd. renders, Be ye discreet and sober, that ye may be apt to prayers. Compare Ephesians 6:18, "with every kind of prayer, and watching thereunto."

Verse 8

Fervent [εκτενη] . See, on the kindred adverb fervently, notes on ch. 1 22.

Love covereth, etc. Compare James 5:20; Proverbs 10:12.

Verse 9

Using hospitality. Compare Romans 13:13.

Verse 10

A gift [χαρισμα] . Originally, something freely given : a gift of grace [χαρις] . Used in New Testament (a) of a blessing of God graciously bestowed, as upon sinners (Romans 5:15, Romans 5:16; Romans 11:29); (b) of a gracious divine endowment : an extraordinary gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling and working in a special manner in the individual (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Romans 12:6, Romans 12:8). So here.

Manifold. See on ch. 1 Peter 1:6.

Verse 11

Oracles [λογια] . In classical Greek, of the oracular responses of heathen deities. Here, divine utterances or revelations. Compare Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12.

Giveth [χορηγει] . Only here and 2 Corinthians 9:10. Peter uses the compound ejpicorhgew, furnish, in 2 Peter 1:5; which see.

Verse 12

Think it not strange [μη ξενιζεσθε] . i e., alien from you and your condition as Christians. Compare 1 Peter 5:4.

Fiery trial [πυρωσει] . The word means burning. In Proverbs 27:21 (Sept.), it is rendered furnace. In Psalms 45:0 (Sept.), 46 (A. V.), we read, "Thou, O God, hast proved us : thou hast smelted us, as silver is smelted." Compare Zechariah 13:9.

Which is to try you [υμιν γινομενη] . The A. V. thus makes the trial a thing of the future; mistranslating the Greek present participle, which is taking place. This participle, therefore, represents the trial as actually in progress. The Rev. does not give this force by its which cometh upon you. To try you [προς πειρασμον] . Lit., for trial or probation.

Strange thing [ξενον] . Compare think it not strange, above.

Happened [συμβαινοντος] . Again the present participle. Better, perhaps, were happening; by chance, instead of with the definite purpose indicated by "taking place with a view to probation." See above.

Verse 13

Inasmuch as ye are partakers. Compare Romans 8:17.

Be glad with exceeding joy [χαρητε αγαλλιωμενοι] . Lit., ye may rejoice exulting. See on ch. 1 Peter 1:6.

Verse 14

The spirit of glory and of God [το της δοξης και το του θεου πνευμα] . Lit., the spirit of glory and that of God. The repetition of the article identifies the spirit of God with the spirit of glory : the spirit of glory, and therefore the spirit of God : who is none other than the spirit of God himself. Hence Rev., better, the spirit of glory and the spirit of God. Resteth [αναπαυεται] . Compare Isaiah 11:2; Luke 10:6; Numbers 11:25, Numbers 11:26; Mark 6:31; Matthew 26:45; Revelation 14:13. Also, Matthew 11:28, where the word is used in the active voice, to give rest or refreshment.

Verse 15

A busybody in other men's matters [αλλοτριοεπισκοπος] . Only here in New Testament. Lit., the overseer of another's matters. One who usurps authority in matters not within his province. Rev., meddler. Compare Luke 12:13, Luke 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11. It may refer to the officious interference of Christians in the affairs of their Gentile neighbors, through excess of zeal to conform them to the Christian standard.

Verse 16

A Christian. Only three times in the New Testament, and never as a name used by Christians themselves, but as a nickname or a term of reproach. See on Acts 11:26. Hence Peter's idea is, if any man suffer from the contumely of those who contemptuously style him Christian.

Verse 19

Commit [παρατιθεσθωσαν] . Give in charge as a deposit. Compare Luke 12:48; Acts 20:32; 1 Timothy 1:18. The word is used by Christ in commending his soul to God (Luke 23:46).

Well - doing [αγαθοποιια] . Only here in New Testament. Compare ch. 2 14. The surrender to God is to be coupled with the active practice of good.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/1-peter-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.