Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Peter 2

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1Pe 2:1. Wherefore (or therefore) indicates a conclusion; in view of the truths set forth it the preceding chapter, the readers are exhorted to do the following items. Laying aside denotes an action on the part of the individual, instead of expecting it to be done for him by the Lord. Malice means ill-will or the disposition to injure another. Guile is an effort to deceive another by some kind of trickery. Hypocrisies are the pretensions that one makes which he knows are false. Envies denotes a feeling of spite against one who is more favored in some way than himself. Evil speaking is that which would injure the good name of another.

Verse 2

1Pe 2:2. The disciples to whom this epistle is addressed were not actually beginners in the service of Christ. Peter only means for them to be as newborn babes in that they were to be free from the evils named in the preceding verse. This is a very appropriate illustration seeing an infant would be free from such. Also as newborn babes in that they would show a desire for the nourishment provided for them.

Verse 3

1Pe 2:3. If so be ye have tasted. Sometimes an infant just arrived in the world will seem disinclined to receive the milk that nature had provided. But if the attendant is patient and urges the babe until he gets a taste he will not require to be urged further. Frequently we observe disciples who seem indifferent about the spiritual food which has been provided for them. It is fair to conclude that such persons have not as yet even tasted of the milk of the word, and hence they do not realize how precious or agreeable to the spiritual palate such nourishment is.

Verse 4

1Pe 2:4. The figure of infantile nourishment is now dropped and the apostle takes up another illustration. Christ is represented as a living stone which denotes that He is not a material one such as the temples of men use for their foundation. Disallowed indeed of men refers to the rejection of Christ at the hands of the Jewish leaders. Jesus thus spoke of himself when talking to those self-righteous men (Mat 21:42). Notwithstanding His rejection by the Jewish leaders, God accepted Him and showed him to be precious by revealing the eternal riches offered thereby.

Verse 5

1Pe 2:5. Jesus is represented as a living stone for a foundation, and hence it is appropriate to consider the parts of the building upon it as lively stones also. The foundation of the building and its parts being spiritual, it follows that the whole structure is considered as a spiritual one. Every building of whatever kind is erected for some specific purpose, and this one is no exception to the rule. In the material building of the Mosaic system, there was a practice of offering sacrifices which also were of material character, namely, the bodies of animals. In this spiritual house the sacrifices are of a spiritual character, as they are composed of the religious services of the people of God. An holy priesthood. Under the old system the priests only officiated in the sacrifices, and they all came from just one of the tribes. By an interesting coincidence the performances under the new system are also conducted only by the priests. But since every disciple is a priest (verse 9 below; Rev 1:6), it means that each one is expected to participate in the service. The things offered in the old arrangement must be acceptable to God. and the same is required under the new which is authorized by Jesus Christ.

Verse 6

1Pe 2:6. The apostle now quotes from Isa 28:16 to show that even while the Mosaic service was in force. the Lord was planning on another one to come and made predictions concerning the same. Lay in Sion (or Zion). This literally refers to the city of Jerusalem as a whole. and some- times to a particular portion of the city designated as the "city of David." The church was started in the city of Jerusalem and hence it is often re- ferred to as "Mount Zion" (Heb 12:22). A conclusion is given us therefore that the foundation stone (Christ) was to be laid in the church. Chief corner stone. The corner stone of a building was imnortant because it served to unite the walls into one structure. Christ is called the elect because the word means "pointed or picked out. chosen." God chose his Son to be the chief corner stone of the final building to be erected in the Christian Dispensation. It is a pre-cious stone because of the valuable benefits it will furnish those who will accent them. To he confounded is defined by Thaver "To be put to shame." On the day of judgement The Lord Jesus Christ will put to shame all those who refused to believe in Him in this world, since that unbelief in-dicates they are ashamed of Him (Luk 9:26).

Verse 7

1Pe 2:7. An unbeliver sees nothing precious or of special honor in Jesus for his interests are in the vain things of this world. That is why Paul says a man must become a believer before he can come to God (Heb 11:6). Note that a disobedient person is Placed opposite a believer, and that is because all disobedience is charged to unbelief. The various acts of disobedience that the Israelites committed in the wilderness kept them nut of the land of Canaan yet Paul sums it up with one word "unbelief" (Heb 3:19). But the disobedience of unbelievers will not affect the authority of the stone which the Lord chose to be the head of the corner.

Verse 8

1Pe 2:8. Stone of stumbling and rock of offence. No part of the Bible must he interpreted in a way that will contradict another part. God does not want the anyone to do wrong or be lost (2Pe 3:9); but man can be saved only through Christ, and therefore it was necessary that He be sent into the world. If His presence is so objectionable to some that they permit Him to be a stone over which they stumble the Lord cannot be blamed for it. Stumble at the word specifies in what way certain men stumble; it is at His word. People do not like to obey that which interferes with their sinful life and hence it becomes a stumbling stone to them. James Mac-knight translates a part of his verse as follows: "The disobedient stumble against the word, to which verily they were appointed." The thought is that they were not appointed to be dis-obedient, but to stumble at the word because of their disobedience.

Verse 9

1Pe 2:9. The various things said in this verse about disciples of Christ. should cause them to exert themselves to the utmost to live up to the great honor and responsibility. Generation means race or kind, and the Lord has chosen them because they had been "born again" thus becoming another kind (Joh 3:3). Royal priesthood means a kingly priesthood. Under the Mosaic law the same man could not he both king and priest (2Ch 26:18), but disciples of Christ are said to be both (Rev 1:6). Christians are kings (of a secondary order of course) in that they reign under Christ and the anostles (1Co 4:8). Nation denotes a number of persons living together as a group, and Christians are such having become holy or consecrated to God by obedience to the Gospel. Peculiar is from a Greek word that means "purchased." and they are called that because they have been purchased with the blood of Christ (Act 20:28). When a man buys something and pays a great price for it, he expects to accomplish something of importance with it. Accordingly the Lord's object in purchasing the church was to have an institution equipped for an important work. It was that they should show forth the praises [vir-tues] of him. etc. This makes it plain that no institution of man has any business to engage in religious instruction. The church alone, which was obtained by the blood of Christ. has any right to such a glorious work (Eph 3:21).

Verse 10

1Pe 2:10. Which in time past were not a people. This clearly indicates that this epistle was not written to Jews since they in the past were the people of God. Had not obtained mercy as a people, although the families of the Gentiles ere favored when they complied with the requirements of the Patriarchal Dispensation.

Verse 11

1Pe 2:11. Strangers and pilgrims is explained at chapter 1:1. Fleshly is defined by Thayer at this place, "Having the nature of flesh," and he explains it as follows: "Under the control of the animal appetites; governed by mere human nature and not by the Spirit of God." Peter confirms this definition and explanation by saying which war against the soul.

Verse 12

1Pe 2:12. Having your conversation (conduct) honest (righteous) among the Gentiles. These disciples were Gentiles in the sense of not being Jews according to the flesh, but the word is from ETHNOS which means the heathen nations generally who had not accepted the Gospel. Speak against you. The heathen people were in the habit of speaking evil of the Christians because they would not mix with them in their sinful practices. (See chapter 4:4). Good works which they shall behold. When the test comes upon these disciples in the form of persecutions (the day of visitation), and the heathen see how they are patient and law abiding, it will disprove the false charges they have been making. It will then be evident that such a conduct is caused by their faith in God and as a result these heathen accusers will give God the glory.

Verse 13

1Pe 2:13. Submit yourselves. The Lord wants his people to be law-abiding citizens of the nations in which they live. Paul teaches this obligation in Rom 13:1-7. However, this command is subject to the proviso stated in Act 5:29; when the law of man conflicts with those of God then it is the duty of Christians to obey the latter. Whether it be to the king, as supreme. In some countries the highest temporal ruler is called a king, and if disciples live there it is their duty to respect him.

Verse 14

1Pe 2:14. Or unto governors refers to the deputies or other executioners acting under the supreme ruler. In either case the obligation of obedience is the same on the part of the disciples. This verse shows two objects of government and they are summed up in the words punishment and praise. The first is classified as the penal code and is the one being considered in 1Ti 1:9-10. The second is for the encouragement of those who wish to be good citizens. The two parts of government are denoted also in Rom 13:3. All this disproves a theory that we would not need any government if everybody lived righteously. The human family could not continue in an orderly manner without some form of government, and hence the Lord's people are required to respect that form under which they are living.

Verse 15

1Pe 2:15. It was sometimes charged that the disciples of Christ were opposed to the rulers of the land. Such an accusation was made against Christ and Paul (Luk 23:2; Joh 19:12; Act 17:7). Such charges were foolish and showed the ignorance of those who made them, for there was nothing in the conduct of the accused that even hinted at rebellion against the laws of the land. Our verse means that such ignorance may be exposed if the disciples will practice well doing, showing that they are good and law-abiding citizens of the community.

Verse 16

1Pe 2:16. To be free means they had been delivered from the bondage of sin, but that does not signify they had the license to ignore all manner of service. They should therefore not take undue advantage of their liberty from sin which they had received from Christ, and use it to cover up a feeling of maliciousness or toward the rulers of the land. On the other hand, they should let it be known that, being servants of God, they were all the more desirous of living quiet and obedient lives under the government. Such an example would have a tendency to make a favorable impression on those who represent the powers that be. That is why the apostle makes the remark in verse 13 that disciples are to submit themselves to the ordinances of man "for the Lord's sake." The same thought is expressed by Paul Col 3:23. The apostle is writing of the obligation of disciples toward their masters, that they should do it "as to the Lord."

Verse 17

1Pe 2:17. Honor all men. The same command is given by Paul in Rom 13:7, but the connection shows that the honor is to be shown to those only to whom it is due. Love the brotherhood. This is the whole band of brethren in Christ, and v e should love them all as being in the one body, and not be partial or show favoritism. Fear God. Not the kind of fear that is like being terrified, for if we love Him as we should it will cast out such fear (1Jn 4:18). We should fear God in the sense of reverencing Him and being unwilling to grieve Him. Honor the king. (See verses 13 and 14.)

Verse 18

1Pe 2:18. The subject of servants is commented upon at length at Ephe-sians 6:5 and the reader is asked to see that place. The masters were not all of the same temperament and they showed it in their treatment of their servants. Froward means to be unfair and surly, but whether they were thus or were gentle, the servant was told to obey them even though it cause them much unpleasantness.

Verse 19

1Pe 2:19. To be thankworthy means to be entitled to thanks for something; to be commended for it. An instance of it is when a man is doing what is right and he is persecuted for it. If he has a clear conscience on the matter lie will endure the mistreatment cheerfully.

Verse 20

1Pe 2:20. To be buffeted means to be treated roughly for one's wrong doing. If that is done to a man who is guilty lie has no room to complain. He should take it patiently on the ground that "it was coming to him." On the other hand, if a man is mistreated for doing what is right it should be regarded as a persecution. Christians are taught to endure persecutions, and hence if such a person is patient under the mistreatment he will be deserving of commendation.

Verse 21

1Pe 2:21. Hereunto were ye called. The disciples of Christ are called upon to endure sufferings for His sake. (See Act 14:22; Rom 8:17; Php 1:29; 2Ti 3:12.) Jesus does not require his followers to bear-any burden that is greater than He carried himself, hence He set an example by going through the severest of sufferings. Now the disciples are called upon to follow his steps in that they cheerfully accept the trials that are forced upon them for His sake.

Verse 22

1Pe 2:22. Jesus did no sin in the conduct of his own body, neither was any guile (deceitful language) found in his mouth. If Jesus who was sinless had to suffer persecution, surely His imperfect followers should expect to endure such treatment.

Verse 23

1Pe 2:23. Reviled not again. When vile and disrespectful things were said to Jesus, he did not "answer back" but bore it meekly (Mat 27:39; Heb 12:3). Even while Jesus was on the cross he did not make any remarks about the cruelty of his enemies but rather prayed for• them (Luk 23:34). Committed himself. Jesus confided in the mercy and wisdom of his Father and left the case in His hands (Luk 23:46).

Verse 24

1Pe 2:24. Bare our sins. Jesus never• sinned and hence none were literally attached to Him at any time. But something had to be done and some one had to "take the blame" in order to satisfy the vengence of a just God. No mere man was good enough and no angel was human enough to accomplish the purpose, hence the Son was called upon to make the sacrifice. Thayer's first definition of the original for• tree is "that which is made of wood . . . a gibbet, a cross." When Jesus died on the tree of the cross He became a perfect sacrifice that provided for the remission of sins for all who will accept it on the Lord's terms. Those terms require that man become dead to sins which denotes that he separate himself from a life of sin, then follow up with a life of righteouness. Stripes is from MOLOPS which Thayer defines, "a bruise, wale, wound which trickles with blood." Since it is the blood of Christ that brings salvation from sin, we can understand why Peter says by whose stripes ye were healed.

Verse 25

1Pe 2:25. As sheep going astray. All mankind went astray from God and were lost in the wilderness of sin. Continuing the language belonging to the business of a shepherd and the flock, the apostle represents these disciples as the wandering sheep who heard the voice of the Shepherd and returned to him. Jesus is not only a shepherd. in that He attends to the feeding, but also is their Bishop in that he inspects and governs them.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/1-peter-2.html. 1952.
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