Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

1 Peter 4

Verse 1

Arm yourselves ( ὁπλίσασθε )

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 ( ἔννοιαν )

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 ( βιῶσαι )

Only here in New Testament.

The rest of the time ( ἐπίλοιπον )

Only here in New Testament.

Verse 3

For the time past, etc

Compare Romans 13:13.

Us ( ἡμῖν )

The best texts omit.

Of our life ( τοῦ βίου )

The best texts omit.

Will ( βούλημα , the better reading for θέλημα )

Desire, inclination. See on Matthew 1:19.

When we walked ( πεπορευμένους )

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 ( ἀσελγείαις )

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) Ἀσελγείαις , wantonness. See on Mark 7:22. Excesses of all kinds, with possibly an emphasis on sins of uncleanness. (2) Ἐπιθυμίαις ,lusts. See on Mark 4:19. Pointing especially to fleshly lusts, “the inner principles of licentiousness” (Cook). (3) Οἰνοφλυγίαις ,excess of wine. Only here in New Testament. The kindred verb occurs in the Septuagint, Deuteronomy 21:20; Isaiah 56:12. From οἶνος , wine, and φλέω or φλύω , to teem with abundance; thence to boil over or bubble up, overflow. It is the excessive, insatiate desire for drink, from 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 ( κώμοις )

The word originally signifies merely a merry-making; most probably a village festival, from κώμη , 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 Idaeau 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, with 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, pluckt 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, ii., 618-631.

Banquetings ( πότοις )

Lit.,drinking-bouts. Rev., carousings.

Abominable ( ἀθεμίτοις )

Only here, and by Peter in 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, Bacchus 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 borne along.”

Metamorphoses, iii., 528-530.

Excess ( ἀνάχυσιν )

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 ( ἀσωτιάς )

From ἀ , not, and σώζω , to same. Lit., unsavingness, prodigality, wastefulness; and thence of squandering on one's own debased appetites, whence it takes the sense of dissoluteness profligacy. In Luke 15:13, the kindred adverb ἀσώτως , is used. The prodigal is described as scattering his substance, to which is added, living wastefully ( ζῶν ἀσώτως )Compare Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6.

Verse 5

That is ready ( ἑτοίμως ἔχοντι )

Lit., having himself in readiness; there at God's right hand in heaven, whither he has gone (1 Peter 3:22). Implying, also, a near judgment. Compare 1 Peter 4:7.

Verse 7

Is at hand ( ἤγγικεν )

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 ( σωφρονήσατε )

The word is froth σῶς , sound, and φρήν , the mind. Therefore, as Rev., be ye of sound mind. Compare Mark 5:15.

Watch ( νήψατε )

See on 1 Peter 1:13. The A. V. has followed the Vulgate, vigilate (watch )Rev. is better: be sober.

Unto prayer ( εἰς προσευχάς )

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, “withevery kind of prayer, and watching thereunto.

Verse 8

Fervent ( ἐκτενῆ )

See, on the kindred adverbfervently, notes on 1 Peter 1:22.

Love covereth, etc

Compare James 5:20; Proverbs 10:12.

Verse 9

Using hospitality

Compare Romans 13:13.

Verse 10

A gift ( χάρισμα )

Originally, something freely given: a gift of grace ( χάρις )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.


See on 1 Peter 1:6.

Verse 11

Oracles ( λόγια )

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 ( χορηγεῖ )

Only here and 2 Corinthians 9:10. Peter uses the compound ἐπιχορηγέω , furnish, in 2 Peter 1:5; which see.

Verse 12

Think it not strange ( μὴ ξενίζεσθε )

I.e., alien from you and your condition as Christians. Compare 1 Peter 5:4.

Fiery trial ( πυρώσει )

The word means burning. In Psalm 65 (Sept.), 66 (A. V.), we read, “Thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast smelted us, as silver is smelted. Compare Zechariah href="/desk/?q=zec+13:9&sr=1">Zechariah 13:9.

Which is to try you ( ὑμῖν γινομένῃ )

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 ( πρὸς πειρασμὸν )

Lit., for trial or probation.

Strange thing ( ξένον )

Compare think it not strange, above.

Happened ( συμβαίνοντος )

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 ( χαρῆτε ἀγαλλιώμενοι )

Lit.,ye may rejoice exulting. See on 1 Peter 1:6.

Verse 14

The spirit of glory and of God ( τὸ τῆς δόξης καὶ τὸ τοῦ Φεοῦ πνεῦμα )

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 ( ἀναπαύεται )

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 ( ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοπος )

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 ( παρατιθέσθωσαν )

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 ( ἀγαθοποιίᾳ )

Only here in New Testament. Compare 1 Peter 2:14. The surrender to God is to be coupled with the active practice of good.

Copyright Statement
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". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.