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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Peter 4

 

 

Verse 1

1 Peter 4:1. χριστοῦ οὖν παθόντος [ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] σαρκί] In these words the apostle returns to chap. 1 Peter 3:18, in order to subjoin the following exhortation.

σαρκί is not: “in the flesh” (Luther), but: “according to the flesh;” comp. 1 Peter 3:18. This is made prominent because the believer’s sufferings, too, under persecutions, touch the flesh only; comp. Matthew 10:28. παθόντος is not to be limited to the suffering of Christ before His death, but comprehends the latter also. It is, however, incorrect to understand, with Hofmann, παθόντος at once as identical with ἀποθανόντος, and in connection with σαρκί to explain: “that Christ by His life in the flesh submitted for our sake to a suffering which befell Him—that for our sake He allowed His life in the flesh to come to an end”(!).

καὶ ὑμεῖς τὴν αὐτὴν ἔννοιαν ὁπλίσασθε] καί with reference to Christ; “ye also:” the disciple must be like the master. It lies to hand to translate ἔννοια (besides here, only in Hebrews 4:12) as equivalent here to “disposition of mind” (de Wette; Weiss, p. 288); but ἔννοια means always “thought, consideration” (Wiesinger, Schott).(231) There is here also no reference to the mind of Christ in His sufferings, τὴν αὐτὴν ἔννοιαν refers back to the πάσχειν σαρκί of Christ Himself, so that the sense is, that since Christ suffered according to the flesh, they too should not refuse the thought of like Him suffering according to (or on) the flesh, ὅτι gives the ground of the exhortation. Hofmann, Wiesinger, and Schott take ὅτι as explaining τὴν αὐτ. ἔννοιαν. Incorrectly; for the πέπαυται ἁ΄αρτίας will not admit of an application to Christ, inasmuch as the expression does not presuppose generally a former “relation to sin,” but former sinning itself.

The verb ὁπλίζεσθαι, in the N. T. ἅπ. λεγ., is in classical writers often construed with the accus. (Soph. Electra, v. 991: θράσος ὁπλίζεσθαι); while applied to every kind of equipment, e.g. of ships, it here refers to the Christian’s calling as one of conflict.

ὅτι παθὼν ἐν σαρκὶ πέπαυται ἁ΄αρτίας] In Luther’s translation: “for he who suffers on the flesh, he ceaseth from sin,” the present is incorrectly substituted for the preterite tense: ἐν σαρκί; correctly: “on the flesh.” Hofmann’s rendering is wrong: “in the flesh,” which, compared with the ἐν σαρκί preceding, would imply “that whilst Christ’s life in the flesh ended with His suffering, our sufferings took place with continued life in the flesh”(!). The reading σαρκί, “according to the flesh,” conveys the same idea; cf. Winer, 384 (E. T. 513).

πέπαυται ἁ΄αρτίας] The mid. παύο΄αι is in the classics frequently joined with the genitive, e.g. II. vii. 290: παυσώμεθα μάχης; Herod, i. 47: τῆς μάχης ἐπαύσαντο; Herodian. vii. 10, 16: τῆς τε ὀργῆς δῆμος ἐπαύσατο. In this way πέπαυται here is explained by most interpreters as equivalent to: “he has ceased from sin, that is, he has given up sinning.” The word may also be taken as the perf. pass. according to the construction παύειν τινά τινος, equivalent to: “to cause one to give up, to desist from a thing.” πέπαυται ἁ΄αρτίας would then mean: “he has been brought to cease from sin, to sin no more” (Schott: “brought away from sinful conduct”). Hofmann erroneously asserts that “ παύειν τινὰ ἁ΄αρτίας would in a quite general way mean: action such as brings it about that the individual is ended with sin;” that is to say, in the sense, that his relation to sin is at an end.(232) For the genitive with παύειν denotes always a condition or an activity of him who is the object of παύειν.

It makes no essential difference in the thought whether παύειν be taken here as a middle (Weiss) or as a passive (de Wette, Wiesinger). The idea: “through Christ immunitatem nactus sum,” is expressed here neither in the one case nor in the other (Wiesinger).

The clause here has the form of a general statement, the meaning of which is, that by suffering as to the flesh a ceasing of sin is effected.(233) This idea, in many respects a true one, may according to the connection be defined thus: he who suffered on account of sin, that is, on account of his opposition to sin, has in such wise broken with sin that it has no more power over him (Weiss). It is incorrect, with several of the earlier commentators, as also Schott, to understand παθών in a spiritual sense, either of the being dead with Christ in baptism, according to Romans 6:7 (Schott), or of the putting to death of the old man (Gerhard: qui carnem cum concupiscentiis suis in Christo et cum Christo crucifigit, ille peccare desinit; Calvin: passio in carne significat nostri abnegationem). Opposed to such an interpretation is the subjoined σαρκί, by which this παθών here is expressly marked as identical with the παθών, used with reference to Christ; and the apostle in no way hints that that παθών is employed in a spiritual sense. It is evidently entirely a mistake to understand by παθών Christ, as Fronmüller does,

πέπ. ἁ΄αρτ. being thus in no way appropriate (doubtless Jachmann explains: “because Christ hath removed sin for Himself, that is, hath shown that it is possible to be without sin”(!)); nor is it less so to assume, finally, with Steiger, that here “the apostle unites together the different persons, the head and the members in their unity,” so that the clause would contain the double idea: “Christ suffering as to the body made us free from sin,” and: “we, by participating through faith in the sufferings of Christ, die unto sin.” Hofmann, too, unjustifiably gives the clause the double reference—to Christ and to the Christians; to Christ, “in as far as He by His bodily death was finished with sin, which He took upon Himself for the purpose of atoning for it;” to the Christians, “in so far as he is spiritually dead whilst still alive in the body, and so is translated into a life in which he goes free from the guilt and slavery of sin.” In these interpretations thoughts are supplied to which the context makes no allusion.(234)


Verse 2

1 Peter 4:2. εἰς τὸ μηκέτι κ. τ. λ.] The words may be connected either with the exhortation ὁπλίσασθε or with πέπαυται ἁμαρτίας. De Wette, Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott, and Hofm. justly prefer the former connection, inasmuch as the infinitival clause expressive of a purpose stands related more naturally to the imperative, than to a subordinate clause containing a general statement (otherwise Zezschwitz and the former exposition in this commentary). Still, it is incorrect to connect εἰς here with ὁπλίζεσθαι, as in the common phrase: ὁπλίζεσθαι εἰς τὸ μάχεσθαι (Schott). Had the apostle meant this, he could not have separated by a parenthesis words which so directly belong to each other; εἰς can only add the nearer definition of the aim to which ὁπλιζ. is directed.

ἀνθρώπων ἐπιθυμίαις. ἀλλὰ θελήματι θεοῦ] The datives are to be explained either as τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ ζῆν, chap. 1 Peter 2:24 (Brückner, Wiesinger), or they express the pattern according to which (Hofm.); as in Acts 15:1, Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25, etc. Gerh.: praecipit ut normam vitae nostrae statuamus non hominum voluntatem, sed Dei voluntatem. The latter view is to be preferred on account of the idea τὸνβιῶσαι χρόνον. “ ἀνθρώπων and θεοῦ are antitheses, as are also the manifold lusts of men and the one uniform will of God” (Wiesinger). The notion that by ἐπιθυμίαι are to be understood the lusts, not of the readers, but of those only by whom they were surrounded (Schott, Hofm.), must be rejected as arbitrary.

τὸν ἐπίλοιπον ἐν σαρκὶ βιῶσαι χρὸνον] With ἐν σαρκί, comp. 2 Corinthians 10:3, Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:22; Philippians 1:24. σάρξ expresses as little here as in 1 Peter 4:1 an ethical conception; it denotes the earthly human nature to which the mortal body belongs.

The verb βιοῦν is ἅπ. λεγ. in the N. T. The form βιῶσαι is to be found in the Attic writers, but it is less common than the 2 aor.: βιῶναι.

ἐπίλοιπος, in like manner, ἅπ. λεγ.: “the remaining time in the flesh;” an idea similar to τῆς παροικίας χρόνος, chap. 1 Peter 1:17. With the whole thought, comp. Romans 12:2.


Verse 3

1 Peter 4:3. A fuller explanation is now given of the thought expressed in the previous verse, that the Christians should no longer live after the lusts of men, but according to the will of God; hence γάρ.

ἀρκετός] Matthew 6:34; Matthew 10:25; correctly Wiesinger: “the expression is here a μείωσις.” Gerhard: in eo quod ait “sufficit” est quidam asterismus sive liptotes, qua mitigat Ap. exprobrationis asperitatem. Schott introduces a foreign application when he explains: “in it you have enough to repent of and to make amends for.” The construction as in Isocrates (in Panegyr.): ἱκανὸς γὰρ παρεληλυθὼς χρόνος, ἐν τι τῶν δεινῶν οὐ γέγονε; comp. ἰκανούσθω, Ezekiel 44:6; Ezekiel 45:9. ἐστι simply is to be supplied, not, with Steiger, “should be.”

παρεληλυθὼς χρόνος] points back to μηκέτι; in contrast to τὸν ἐπίλοιπονχρόνον.

τὸ βούλημα τῶν ἐθνῶν κατείργασθαι] The infinitive is, in free construction, dependent on ἀρκετός, as it also stands with ἀρκεῖ; cf. Winer, p. 298 f. [E. T. 401 ff.]. The inf. perf. is selected “to designate the former life of sin, which has once for all been brought to a close” (Schott).

τῶν ἐθνῶν] is not evidence that the epistle was addressed to aforetime Jews. When Jachmann says: “the apostle could never say of the heathen, that they lived according to the will of the heathen,” it must be observed, that if the readers were formerly heathen, the βούλημα τῶν ἐθνῶν was undoubtedly their own βούλημα, but that ἐθνῶν is explained by the fact, that they were now heathen no longer (as opposed to Weiss).

πεπορευμένους] must be referred to ὑμᾶς, to be supplied in thought to κατειργάσθαι. If the right reading be ἡμῖν after ἀρκετὸς γάρ, Peter would include himself, and ἡμὰς would have to be supplied. The Vulg. is indefinite: his qui ambulaverunt. Beza’s view is inappropriate, that Peter refers here not only to the readers of the epistle (whom he considers to have been Jewish-Christians), but also to their ancestors, i.e. the former ten tribes of Israel. With πορεύεσθαι ἐν, cf. Luke 1:6; 2 Peter 2:10.

ἀσελγείαις] “excesses of every kind,” embracing specially unchastity; cf. Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; 3 Maccabees 2:26, etc.; Buddeus considers it to mean nothing else than: obscoenitas et stuprorum flagitiosa consuetudo; Lucian has the expression: ἀσελγέστεροι τῶν ὄνων.

ἐπιθυμίαις] in the plural denotes fleshly lusts in themselves; although not limited to sensual desires only, it yet includes these chiefly.

οἰνοφλυγίαις] ἅπ. λεγ. in the N. T.; the verb οἰνοφλυγεῖν, LXX. Deuteronomy 21:20, Heb. סָכָא; Luther: “intoxication;” better: “drunkenness.” Andronicus Rhodus, lib. περὶ παθῶν, p. 6: οἰνοφλυγία ἐστὶν ἐπιθυμία οἴνου ἄπληστος. Philo (V.M. 1, § 22) calls οἰνοφλυγία an ἀπλήρωτος ἐπιθυμία.

κώμοις] besides here, only in Romans 13:13, Galatians 5:21, where, as here with πότοις, it is joined with μέθαι: commissationes, properly: “carousals;” cf. Pape, s.v.

πότοις] ἅπ. λεγ.; chiefly applied to social drinking at the banquet; Appian, B. C. I. p. 700: δὲ σερτώριοςτὰ πολλὰ ἦν ἐπὶ τρυφῆς, γυναίξι καὶ κώμοις καὶ πότοις σχολάζων.

καὶ ἀθεμίτοις εἰδωλολατρείαις] designates heathen idolatrous practices specially. ἀθέμιτος, in the N. T. occurring, besides in this passage, only in Acts 10:28, gives marked prominence to that in the nature of εἰδωλ. which is antagonistic to the divine law. Bengel: quibus sanctissimum Dei jus violatur.(235) This description is only applicable to such persons as were formerly heathen, not to the Jews; to the latter only in the days before the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Weiss (p. 113), in opposition to this, wrongly appeals to Romans 2:17 ff.; for the reproach there made against the Jews bears an impress entirely different from the description here given; nor is the ἱεροσυλεῖν in that passage identical with the practice of idolatry. It is altogether arbitrary to take the expression εἰδωλολατρείαι here in a wider sense, so as to exclude from it idolatry proper; and it is further opposed by the expression ἀθεμίτοις.


Verse 4

1 Peter 4:4. ἐν ξενίζονται] Many interpreters apply ἐν directly to the thought contained in the following clause: μὴ συντρεχόντωνἀνάχυσιν; Pott: ἐν τούτῳ δὲ ξενίζ., ὅτι μὴ συντρέχετε; incorrectly; ἐν is connected rather with what precedes. Still it can hardly be right to explain, that as the perfects κατειργάσθαι and πεπορευμένους point to the fact, that they no longer live as they had lived, this was the matter of wonderment (de Wette, Wiesinger, Schott,(236) and in this commentary). It is more natural to take it thus

ἐν equivalent to: “on the ground of this” (that is, because ye have thus lived), and the absolute genitive following as equal to: “inasmuch as ye run not with them,” so that the sense is: “on account of this, that ye thus walked in time past, your countrymen think it strange when ye do so no longer” (Hofm.); with ἐν , comp. John 16:30 and Meyer in loc. The genitive absolute assigns, as it frequently does, the occasioning cause (Winer, p. 195 [E. T. 259]). The word ξενίζεσθαι (in its common meaning is equivalent to: “to be a guest;” thus it is used frequently in the N. T.) here means: “to be amazed,” “to feel astonishment;” comp. 1 Peter 4:12; Acts 17:20.(237)

μὴ συντρεχόντων ὑμῶν] “ μή refers the matter to the amazement of the heathen.” συντρέχειν, Mark 6:33 and Acts 3:11 : to run together, confluere; here: “to run in company with any one.”

εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν τῆς ἀσωτίας ἀνάχυσιν] states the aim of the συντρ. With ἀσωτία, comp. Ephesians 5:18; Titus 1:6 : “lewd and dissolute conduct.” The word ἀνάχυσις is to be found in Aelian, de an. xvi. 15, used synonymously with ἐπίκλυσις, and Script, graec. ap. Luper. in Harpocr. with ὑπέρκλυσις; it means, accordingly: the overflowing. This sense is to be kept hold of, and τρέχειν εἰς ἀσωτίας to be explained of the haste with which dissoluteness is allowed to break forth and to overflow. According to Hofm., it denotes the doings of those who are in haste to pour out from them their indwelling lasciviousness, so that it overflows and spreads in all directions. From the explanation of Strabo, iii. p. 206 A: λέγονται ἀναχύσεις αἱ πληρούμεναι τῇ θαλάττῃ κοίλαδες ἐν πλημμυρίσι, it is unjustifiable to derive the meaning “sentina, mire” (2d ed. of this commentary), or “flood” (3d ed.), or “stream” (Schott).(238)

βλασφημοῦντες] characterizes their amazement more nearly as one which prompts them to speak evil of those whose conduct causes them astonishment (not “Christianity,” as Hofmann thinks). Schott justly remarks that “it is not the being struck with amazement in itself which is, strictly speaking, of significance here, but that definite form of it expressed by βλασφημοῦντες, placed last for the sake of emphasis.”


Verse 5

1 Peter 4:5 points to the judgment which awaits the evil-speaking heathen: οἱ ἀποδώσουσι λόγον] ἀποδ. λόγον (Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 13:17; Acts 19:40). Antithesis to αἰτεῖν λόγον, chap. 1 Peter 3:15.

τῷ ἑτοίμως ἔχοντι] “that is, the Saviour risen, and seated at the right hand, chap. 1 Peter 3:22,” de Wette.

The expression: ἑτοίμως ἔχειν, “to be ready,” with the exception of here, only in Acts 21:13; 2 Corinthians 12:14.

κρῖναι ξῶντας καὶ νεκρούς] As often in the N. T. of the last judgment, which by ἑτοίμ. ἔχ. is pointed out as near at hand; comp. 1 Peter 4:7. ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς does not denote some dead and some alive, but the aggregate of all, whether they be living or already dead when the day of judgment comes; comp. Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:1.(239) It is erroneous to understand by the quick and the dead the Christians only (Wichelhaus, Schott), or those who speak evil only. Peter, by naming Him to whom the evil-speakers shall render an account, the Judge of the quick and the dead, implies thereby that they are not to remain unpunished, whether they die before the day of judgment or not. And this, as a testimony to the justice of God, should serve to comfort the Christians under the calumnies which they had to endure, and exhort them not to be led aside by them to a denial of their Christian walk.

It must further be observed, that this passage adds the last to those elements of the glory of the exalted Saviour mentioned at the close of the last chapter, namely, the office of judge which He will execute at the end of the days.


Verse 6

1 Peter 4:6. This verse, which has been explained in very diverse ways,(240) is meant, as the γάρ following upon εἰς τοῦτο shows, to give the ground or the explanation of a statement going before. The question is: Which statement is it? The sound of the words serves to suggest that in νεκροῖς we have a resumption of the νεκρούς immediately preceding, and that what is said in this verse is to be regarded as the ground of the thought that judgment will he pronounced, not only upon the living, but upon the dead also. This assumption seems to be corroborated by the καί before νεκροῖς. The fact—to which Peter appeals—on which this thought is based is expressed in εὐαγγελίσθη. But it is precisely this idea, that the gospel was preached to the dead,—to all the dead,—which has induced the interpreters to deviate from the explanation lying most naturally to hand. It is entirely unjustifiable, with Zezschwitz (thus Alethaeus already, and Starkius in Wolf), to connect the verse with 1 Peter 4:1-2, regard 1 Peter 4:3-5 as a digression, and understand under νεκροῖς the Christians who are already dead when the day of judgment arrives, γάρ certainly must refer back to 1 Peter 4:5; according to Schott, it applies to the whole homogeneous statement of 1 Peter 4:5; according to Bengel, to τῷ ἑτοί΄ως ἔχοντι; in their opinion, likewise, νεκροῖς is to be understood of Christians already dead. This determination of the expression, however, is arbitrary, as no mention is made in 1 Peter 4:5 of the Christians.(241) It lies more to hand to take the νεκροῖς as meaning the evil-speakers mentioned in 1 Peter 4:5. On this interpretation, the apostle tells the Christians who were being evil spoken of not to forget that those calumniators who died before the judgment would not on that account escape punishment. Still, it is difficult to see why the apostle should give such special prominence to this,—more especially with the further remark, that the gospel was preached unto them, ἵναζῶσι κ. τ. λ. Wiesinger justly remarks: “that the author should so expressly accept the assumption of their death, does not well agree with the ἑτοίμως ἔχειν, and not with the subsequent πάντων δὲ τὸ τέλος ἤγγικε.”

Hofmann, whilst correctly recognising that by νεκροῖς the apostle here does not denote Christians only, or unbelievers only, gives a closer definition of the term by applying it to those of the dead to whom, during their life time, the gospel had been preached. At the same time, however, he assumes that the thought here expressed “serves to confirm or explain the whole statement that the slanderers; without exception, whether living or dead, must render account to the Lord.” But, on the one hand, the apostle in no way alludes to the limitation of the idea here too supposed; and, on the other, it is incorrect to understand by ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, 1 Peter 4:5, the calumniators only. If all arbitrariness is to be avoided, then νεκροῖς must here be taken in the same wide sense as νεκρούς in 1 Peter 4:5. Any limitation of the general idea is without justification,—indicated, as such is, neither by the want of the article before νεκροῖς,(242) nor by the circumstance that the slanderers are the subject in 1 Peter 4:5. Accordingly, it cannot be denied that the apostle gives expression to the thought that the gospel has been preached to all, who are dead, at the time when the last judgment arrives. With the view of chap. 1 Peter 3:19-20, which is in harmony with the words, this thought need occasion no stumbling. In that passage, it is true, the ἐκήρυξεν applies only to the spirits of those who perished in the flood. But they alone are mentioned there not because the κήρυγ΄α was addressed exclusively to them, but because the apostle recognised in the deluge the type of baptism.(243) Accordingly, though there be a close connection of thought internally between what is here said and chap. 1 Peter 3:19-20, it is nevertheless erroneous, with Steiger, König, Güder, Wiesinger, Weiss, p. 228 f., to take εὐηγγελίσθη as applying only to those there named.

εὐηγγελίσθη is put here impersonally: “the gospel was proclaimed:” neither χριστός nor διδαχὴ τοῦ χριστοῦ (Bengel, Grotius, Pott, etc.), nor anything similar, is to be supplied.

εἰς τοῦτοἵνα (comp. chap. 1 Peter 3:9; John 18:37, and other passages) points to the design of the fact stated in εὐηγγελίσθη; on this the chief accent of the sentence lies. The apostle bases the thought, that the Lord stands ready to judge the dead also, not alone on the circumstance that the gospel has been preached to them too, but that it has been preached for the purpose which he states in what follows. This purpose is expressed in the sentence consisting of two members: ἵνα κριθῶσιν μὲν κατὰ ἀνθρώπους σαρκι, ζῶσιν δὲ κατὰ θεὸν πνεύματι. According to the grammatical structure, κριθῶσιν and ζῶσιν are co-ordinate with each other, and both are equally dependent on ἵνα. In sense ἵνα applies, however, only to ζῶσιν, inasmuch as the first member must be regarded as a parenthesis. The construction here is similar to that which is frequently to be found in classical writers in clauses connected by μὲνδέ (see Matthiae, ausf. griech. Gr. 2d ed. p. 1262). This conjunction, as Hartung (Lehre v. d. Partikl., Part II. p. 406) remarks, discloses the contrast. The aorist κριθῶσιν shows the judgment to be one which, at the commencement of the last judgment, is by their very death executed upon those who are then dead, and this quite independently of whether the gospel was preached to them before or after death. It is accordingly erroneous to understand this judgment ( κριθῶσιν) to mean the judgment of repentance (Gerhard), or that of the flood (de Wette); it is the judgment of death, as nearly all expositors have rightly acknowledged. Hofmann, with only an appearance of rightness, asserts that the expression of the apostle can be appropriately applied only to those who did not suffer this judgment of death till after the gospel had been preached to them. The apostle could express himself thus as regards those also with whom this was not the case, all the more readily that they were not set free from the condition of death immediately on hearing the gospel preached, nor then even, when they had received it in faith. Accordingly, the interpretation is: “in order that they, after the flesh, indeed, judged by death, may live according to the spirit” (Wiesinger). The antithesis σαρκὶπνεύματι is here in the same sense as in chap. 1 Peter 3:18. Güder’s opinion, that σάρξ here denotes the sinful bias which the dead possess, is unwarranted; nowhere in Scripture is σάρξ attributed to the already departed.

κατὰ ἀνθρώπους means neither: “by men,” nor: “according to the judgment of men;” but: “according to the manner of men, as is peculiar to them.”

The second member: ζῶσι δὲ κατὰ θεὸν πνεύματι, corresponds as to form entirely with the first clause, only that here the verb is present, because it mentions the future condition aimed at. ζῆν is antithetical to κριθῆναι, and denotes the eternal life which in the judgment is awarded to those who in faith have received the gospel. It is more nearly defined by κατὰ θεόν, which (corresponding to the κατὰ ἀνθρώπους) can only mean, “according to the manner of God, as corresponds with the character of God.”(244)

This final clause states the purpose which this εὐαγγελίζεσθαι should serve; whether, and in how far, the object is attained is not said.


Verse 7

1 Peter 4:7. Here begins the third series of exhortations, which has special reference to life in the church, and is linked on to the thought of the nearness of the end of all things (see Introd. § 2).

πάντων δὲ τὸ τέλος ἤγγικεν] δέ marks clearly the transition to another train of thought. It is accordingly incorrect to connect the clause with what precedes (Hofmann). πάντων τὸ τέλος, equal to: “the end of all things,” refers back to the foregoing ἑτοίμως ἔχοντι κρῖναι; with the judgment comes the τέλος. πάντων, placed first by way of emphasis, is not masc. (Hensler; “the end of all men”) but neut.;(245) comp. 2 Peter 3:10-11; with τέλος, Matthew 24:6; Matthew 24:14.

ἤγγικε] comp. Romans 13:12; James 5:8; Philippians 4:5. That the apostle, without fixing the time or the hour of it, looked upon the advent of Christ and the end of the world,—in its condition hitherto,—therewith connected, as near at hand, must be simply admitted.(246)

σωφρονήσατε οὖν καὶ νήψατε] The first exhortation, grounded ( οὖν) on the thought of the nearness of the end of the world. σωφρ.; Vulg.: estote prudentes; in this sense the word is not in use in the N. T.; it means rather temperateness of spirit, i.e. the governing omnium immoderatorum affectuum; with the passage comp. 1 Timothy 2:9; Titus 2:6 (Hemming: σωφροσύνη, equal to affectuum et voluntatis harmonia), in contrast to the licentiousness of the heathen described in 1 Peter 4:2 (Wiesinger).

νήψατε] Vulg.: vigilate, inexactly; νήφειν has here the same meaning as in chap. 1 Peter 1:13. It is not enough to understand both expressions of abstinence from sensual indulgence.

εἰς [ τὰς] προσευχάς] not: in orationibus (Vulg.), for εἰς states the aim of the σωφρ. and νήφειν, but: “unto prayer,” that is, so that you may always be in the right frame of mind for prayer. If τάς be genuine, it is to be explained on the supposition that the apostle took the prayers of Christians for granted.

A mind excited by passions and lusts cannot pray. The plural points to repeated prayer (Schott). Schott, without any warrant, would understand by it the prayers of the church only.

The fact that both ideas are synonymous, forbids any separation, with de Wette and Hofmann, of σωφρονήσατε from νήψατε, and the conjoining of εἰς τ προσευχάς with the latter term only.


Verse 8

1 Peter 4:8. πρὸ πάντων δέ] cf. James 5:12.

τὴν εἰς ἑαυτοὺς (i.e. ἀλλήλους) ἀγάπην ἐκτενῆ ἔχοντες. The second exhortation. The participle shows that this and the first exhortation belong closely together. Luther translates inexactly: “have … a burning love.” Love one to another, as the characteristic sign (John 13:35) of Christians, is presupposed; the apostle’s exhortation is directed to this, that the love should be ἐκτενής (Bengel: amor jam praesupponitur, ut sit vehemens, praecipitur).

For ἐκτενής, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:22. There is nothing to show that the apostle gave expression to this exhortation with special reference to the circumstance “that in the case of his readers brotherly love was united with danger and persecution” (Schott).

ὅτι [ ] ἀγάπη καλύπτει πλῆθος ἁμαρτιῶν] A proverbial saying after Proverbs 10:12 : שִׂנְאָה תְּעֹרֵר מְדָנִים וְעַל בָּל־פְּשָׁעִים תְּכַסֶּה אַהֲבָה (the second half is incorrectly translated by the LXX. πάντας δὲ τοὺς μὴ φιλονεικοῦντας καλύπτει φιλία): “Love covereth (maketh a covering over) all sins.” The sense of the words is evident from the first half of the verse; whilst hatred stirs up strife and contention (by bringing the sins of others to the light of day), love, with forgiving gentleness, covers the sins of others (and thus works concord).(247)

In its original meaning, accordingly, the proverb has reference to what love does as regards the sins of others; love in its essential nature is forgiveness, and that not of some, but of many sins; 1 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Matthew 18:21-22. In this sense Estius, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Piscator, Steiger, Wiesinger, Weiss (p. 337 f.), Schott, Fronmüller, etc., have rightly interpreted the passage, which then, serving as the basis of the preceding exhortation,(248) is intended to set forth the blessed influence of love on life in the church. Hofmann unjustly denies this (Beza: caritatem mutuam commendat ex eo, quod innumerabilia peccata veluti sepeliat, ac proinde pacis ac concordiae sit fautrix et conservatrix. Wiesinger: “Only by the forgiving, reconciling influence of love, can the destructive power of sin be kept away from church life”). Steiger (with whom Weiss and Fronmüller agree) explains: “the apostle recommends the Christians to extend the limits of brotherly love and to strengthen themselves in it, because true love covers a multitude of sins;” but this is not to the point, inasmuch as the covering of many sins is peculiar to the ἀγάπη itself, and constitutes the reason why it should be ἐκτενής. Several expositors (Grotius, etc.) understand the words to have the same meaning here as in James 5:20 (see Comment. in loc.), that is, that love in effecting the sinner’s conversion, procures the divine forgiveness for his many sins; but, on the one hand, “the apostle does not here regard his readers as erring brethren, of whom it might be the duty of some to convert the others” (Wiesinger); and, on the other, “there is here not the slightest indication that the expression is not to be understood directly of the covering of sins as such, but of reclaiming labours” (Weiss).

Oecumenius already ( μὲν γὰρ εἰς τὸν πλησίον ἔλεος, τὸν θεὸν ἡμῖν ἵλεων ποιεῖ), and after him many Catholic expositors (Salmeron, Cornelius a Lapide, Lorinus, etc.), and several Protestants also (the latter sometimes, whilst distinctly defending the Protestant principle against Catholic applications of the passage(249)), understand the maxim of the blessing which love brings to him who puts it into practice. But if Peter had wished to express a thought similar to that uttered by Christ, Matthew 6:14-15, he would assuredly not have made use of words such as these, which in the nature of them bear not upon personal sins, but on those of others.(250)


Verse 9

1 Peter 4:9. In this and the following verses two manifestations of love are brought prominently forward, in which its ministering nature is revealed. First: φιλόξενοι εἰς ἀλλήλους] cf. Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 3 John 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:2, etc. The chief emphasis lies on the words which serve more closely to define the statement: ἄνευ γογγυσμοῦ, “without murmuring,” i.e. murmuring at the trouble caused by the hospitality shown to brethren. The same thing is said in a more general way, Philippians 2:14 : πάντα ποιεῖτε χωρὶς γογγυσμῶν καὶ διαλογισμῶν; cf. 2 Corinthians 9:7 : μὴ ἐκ λύπης, ἐξ ἀνάγκης.


Verse 10

1 Peter 4:10. Second manifestation of love. It is presupposed that each one has received a χάρισμα: ἕκαστος καθὼς ἔλαβε χάρισμα] καθώς, not equal to ὅς, but pro ratione qua, prouti (Wahl), “according as.”

χάρισμα] as in Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:28; not an office in the church. Every man should, according to the kind of gift he has received (not: according to the measure of it, ἐν τούτῳ τῷ μέτρῳ, ἐν ἔλαβε vel ut Paulus: ὡς θεὸς ἐμέρισε μέτρον χαρισμάτων, Romans 12:3. Pott: still less can καθώς be referred to the manner of receiving; Lorinus: sicut gratis accepimus, ita gratis demus), administer it for his brethren, εἰς ἑαυτούς, i.e. for their benefit, and therefore for that of the entire community. διακονεῖν (a transitive verb, as in chap. 1 Peter 1:12): vocula emphatica; innuit Ap. quod propter dona illa nemo se debeat supra alios efferre, aut dominium in alios affectare, sed aliorum ministrum sese sponte constituere (Gerhard).

ὡς καλοὶ οἰκονόμοι ποικίλης χάριτος θεοῦ] With ὡς, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:14 : as is peculiar to the καλοῖς οἰκονόμοις, which, from their vocation, Christians should be. With οἰκονόμοι, cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1; Titus 1:7. According to de Wette and Weiss, there is here an allusion to the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14.

καλός] expression of irreproachable excellence; see 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 2:3. The Lord of the Christians, as the οἰκονόμοι, is God; the goods which He entrusts to their stewardship are His ποικίλη χάρις; χάρις is here the sum of all that has fallen to the share of believers through the grace of God; the individual manifestations of it are the χαρίσματα, the homogeneous character of which is marked by the singular, and their variety by ποικίλη here subjoined with reference to the preceding καθὼςχάρισμα.


Verse 11

1 Peter 4:11. Species duas generi subjicit (Vorstius). From the general term χάρισμα, Peter selects two special functions for greater prominence.

εἴ τις λαλεῖ] λαλεῖν is here the preaching in the church, which includes the προφητεύειν, διδάσκειν, and παρακαλεῖν, mentioned in Romans 12:6-8. Pott is inexact in paraphrasing εἴ τις λαλεῖ by εἴ τις ἔχει τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ λαλεῖν (so, too, Schott: “if any one have the gift and vocation to speak”), for λαλεῖν is not the gift, but the exercise of it. It is arbitrary to limit the application of the term to the official duties of the elders (Hemming: si quis docendi munus in ecclesia sustinet), for in the assemblies every one who possessed the necessary χάρισμα was at liberty to speak.

ὡς λόγια θεοῦ] λαλείτω λαλεῖ must be supplied; or better still, with Wiesinger: λαλοῦντες; cf. ἕκαστοςδιακονοῦντες above; λόγια—as in classical Greek, chiefly of oracular responses—is applied in the N. T. only to the utterances or revelations of God; either to those in the O. T., as in Acts 7:38, Romans 3:2, or those in the N. T., as Hebrews 5:12. The idea, prophecies, is too narrow. This exhortation presupposes that whoever speaks in the congregation, gives utterance, not to his own thoughts, but to the revelations of God, and it demands that he should do so in a manner ( ὡς) conformable to them.

εἴ τις διακονεῖ] διακονεῖν must not be understood as applying to the official work of the appointed deacons only; it embraces quaevis ministeria in ecclesia ab docendi officio distincta (Gerhard; so, too, Wiesinger, who here cites Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28), but it refers specially to the care of the poor, the sick, and the strangers, either official, or according to the free-will of individual members of the church.

ὡς ἐξ ἰσχύος κ. τ. λ.] sc. διακονείτω, or better διακονοῦντες: “so ministering, as of,” etc. Here, too, it is presumed that the person ministering is not wanting in that strength which God supplies, and the exhortation is, that he should exercise his ability in a way corresponding with the fact, that he received the strength necessary thereto from God, and not as “of himself possessing it.” χορηγεῖν, besides in this passage, occurs only in 2 Corinthians 9:10. ( ἐπιχορηγεῖν is to be met with frequently, e.g. 2 Peter 1:5.)

ἵνα] as stating their purpose, refers back to the exhortations in 1 Peter 4:10-11, with special reference to the determinative clauses introduced by ὡς.

ἐν πᾶσιν] “in all things” (Wiesinger), i.e. “in the practice of all the gifts, the exercise of which was connected with matters relating to the churches” (Schott); not equivalent to ἐν πᾶσιν ἔθνεσιν (Oec.), or “in you all” (de Wette: “as His true instruments”); cf. 1 Timothy 3:11.

δοξάζηται θεός] “in order that God may be glorified,” i.e. that He obtain the praise, since it will be evident from your conduct that you as His οἰκονόμοι have received ( καθὼς ἔλαβε) all things ( τὰ λόγια, τὴν ἰσχύν) from Him.

διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ] belongs to δοξάζηται, and points out that not the ability only, for the λαλεῖν and διακονεῖν, is communicated to the Christian through the agency of Christ,(251) but that all actual employment of it is effected by Christ. It is mistaken, with Hofmann,—who is not justified in appealing to Romans 16:27 and Hebrews 13:21 in support of his assertion,—to connect διὰ . χρ. with the following relative clause. Such a view is opposed not only to the natural construction, but to the thought, since God did not receive His δόξα and His κράτος first through Christ.

As a close, the doxology: , may be referred either to θεός (Oecumenius Calvin, Bengel, de Wette, Brückner, Wiesinger, Weiss, Schott, Hofmann) or to . χριστοῦ (Grotius, Calov, Steiger). The first is the correct application, since θεός is the subject of the clause and δόξα points back to δοξάζηται. Comp. chap. 1 Peter 5:11. The doxology states the reason of the ἵνα δοξάζηται θεός (Schott); because God is ( ἐστιν) the glory and the power, therefore the endeavours of the church should be directed to bring about a lively acknowledgment of this, to the praise of God.

Identical with this is the doxology, Revelation 1:6 (cf. also Revelation 5:13).


Verse 12

1 Peter 4:12. Exhortation with reference to the sufferings under persecution. ἀγαπητοί] see chap. 1 Peter 2:11.

μὴ ξενίζεσθε] cf. 1 Peter 4:4; Nicol. de Lyra translates incorrectly: nolite a fide alienari; Luther correctly: “let it not astonish you.”

τῇ ἐν ὑμῖν πυρώσει] The construction cum dat. occurs also in classical Greek; πύρωσις, besides in this passage, to be found only in Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18, where it is equal to, incendium. The LXX. translate צָרַף and even בָּהַר by πυρόω; the substantive, Proverbs 27:21, is an inexact translation of בּוּר in the sense of “refining furnace;” Oec. correctly: πύρωσιν τὰς θλίψεις εἰπὼν, ἐνέφῃνεν ὡς διὰ δοκιμασίαν ἐπάγονται αὐτοῖς αὐταί. The word, however, does not in itself contain the reference to purification, this is introduced only in what follows; Gualther: confert crucem igni, nos auro.

ἐν ὑμῖν] “among, with you;” not equal to “affecting some in your midst” (de Wette), but “the readers are regarded as a totality, and the πύρ. as present in the midst of them” (Wiesinger).

The definite purpose of the πύρωσις is brought out in the subsequent words: πρὸς πειρασμὸν ὑμῖν γινομένῃ. πειρασμός here means the trial with intent to purify (elsewhere it has also the secondary signification of designed temptation to sin); cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:7.

ὡς ξένου ὑμῖν συμβαίνοντος] ξένου points back to μὴ ξενίζεσθε. Luther: “as though some strange thing happened unto you;” i.e. something strange to your destination, unsuited to it.(252)


Verse 13

1 Peter 4:13. ἀλλὰχαίρετε] Antithesis to ξενίζεσθε; non tantum mirari vetat Petrus, sed gaudere etiam jubet (Calvin); the measure of the joy is indicated by καθὸ κοινωνεῖτε τοῖς τοῦ χριστοῦ παθήμασι.

καθό, not equivalent to, “that,” nor to, quando (Pott), but to, quatenus, in quantum; cf. Romans 8:26, 2 Corinthians 8:12.

τὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ παθήματα is inexactly interpreted by Vorst. as: afflictiones Christi membris destinatae, nempe quas pii propter justitiam et evangelium Christi sustinent; they rather mean the sufferings which Christ Himself has endured. Of these the believers are partakers ( κοινωνοῦσιν αὐτοῖς), for the world shows the same enmity to them as to Christ, since it is He who is hated in them; cf. my commentary to Colossians 1:24, and Meyer to 2 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 1:7 (so, too, Wiesinger, Weiss, p. 293 f., Schott). Steiger(253) is wrong in thinking of the inward suffering endured by the Christian, whilst, by the power of Christ’s death, he dies unto sin.

The object to be supplied in thought to χαίρετε is the πύρωσις previously mentioned by the apostle.

ἵνα καί] states the design of χαίρειν: the Christians are to rejoice now, in order that they may also ( καί lays stress on the future in relation to the present) rejoice ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει, etc.; for this future joy is conditioned by that of the present, as the future partaking of the δόξα of Christ by the present sharing of His παθή΄ασι.(254) Schott unreasonably opposes as “grammatical pedantry” the application of ἵνα to the preceding χαίρετε, for he remarks, it is the sufferings themselves which hold out to us the future joy. But he omits to consider that the κοινωνεῖν τοῖς τ. χρ. παθ. holds out future happiness to him only who finds his joy in it. Schott incorrectly appeals in support of his construction to John 11:15.

It is not correct to explain, with Gerhard, etc., ἵνα, ἐκβατικῶς.

ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει κ. τ. λ.] not “because of,” but “at” (Luther: “at the time of”) the revelation; cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:17. The expression: ἀποκάλ. τῆς δόξης χριστοῦ (with which compare Matthew 25:31), is to be found only here. By it the apostle indicates that he who is now a partaker of the sufferings of Christ, and rejoices in them (Colossians 3:4), will one day be partaker of His glory, and in it rejoice everlastingly. ἀγαλλιώ΄ενοι is added to χαρῆτε by way of giving additional force to the idea (chap. 1 Peter 1:8; Matthew 5:12): quia prius illud (gaudium) cum dolore et tristitia mixtum est, secundum cum exsultatione conjungit (Calvin).


Verse 14

1 Peter 4:14. In order to strengthen the exhortation: μὴ ξενίζεσθεἀλλὰ χαίρετε, Peter adds the assurance: εἰ ὀνειδίζεσθε κ. τ. λ.; cf. chap. 1 Peter 3:14 and Matthew 5:11.

Pott, without any reason, explains εἰ by καίπερ.

ἐν ὀνόματι χριστοῦ] The explanation: propter confessionem Christi (de Wette), is inaccurate, for ὄνομα is not: confessio; the meaning is the same as that in Mark 9:41 : ἐν ὀνόματι, ὅτι χριστοῦ ἐστέ, thus: “because ye bear the name of Christ, and therefore belong to Him.” Schott: “for the sake of your Christian name and Christian profession;” Steiger: “as servants of Christ.”

μακάριοι] sc. ἐστε.

ὅτι τὸ τῆς δόξης [ καὶ δυνάμεως] καὶ τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ πνεῦμα] δόξα: glory in its highest sense, heavenly, divine glory.(255) According to Greek usage, τὸ τῆς δόξης may be a circumlocution for δόξα; see Matth. ausf. Gr. Gram. 2d ed. § 284; but this form of expression does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. (Winer, p. 104 [E. T. 135]); nor is it easy to understand why the apostle should not simply have written δόξα. Accordingly, it is preferable to take τό with the subsequent πνεῦμα, and to assume an additional πνεῦμα (as is done by the greater number of commentators, de Wette, also Brückner, Wiesinger, Schott); the Spirit of Glory is, then, the same as that which is also the Spirit of God ( καὶ τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ πν. subjoined epexegetically). But in consideration of ὀνειδίζεσθε, He is styled the Spirit of δόξα, i.e. to whom δόξα belongs (Calvin: qui gloriam secum perpetuo conjunctam habet; cf. Ephesians 1:17), and who therefore also bestows it. τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ is added in order to show that this Spirit of δόξα is none other than the Spirit of God Himself. It must be allowed that, on this interpretation, there is an inexactness of expression, καί being evidently out of place; cf. Plato, Rep. viii. 565: περὶ τὸ ἐν ἀρκαδίᾳ τὸ τοῦ διὸς ἱερόν; cf. Winer, p. 125 [E. T. 165].

Hofmann proposes, therefore, to supply to τό not πνεῦμα, but ὄνομα, from what precedes. But if Peter had had this thought in his mind, he would certainly have given definite expression to it; and it is self-evident, too, that on him who is reproached ἐν ὀνόματι χριστοῦ, as a bearer of it, that name rests.

ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς ἀναπαύεται] after Isaiah 11:2, where the same expression is used of the πνεῦμα τ. θεοῦ (in like manner ἐπαναπαύεσθαι, Numbers 11:25; 2 Kings 2:15, LXX.; of εἰρήνη, Luke 10:6). The accus. ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς is to be explained as with ἔμεινεν, John 1:32; Wahl: demissus in vos requiescit in vobis; it points to the living operation of the Spirit on those upon whom He rests. The thought contained in these words gives the reason ( ὅτι) of what has been said: not, however, the logical reason (Aretius: crux, quam bonus fert pro Christo, indicat, quod Spir. Dei in illo quiescat; similarly, too, Hofmann: “they should consider themselves happy, that they are reproached for bearing the name of Christ; every such reproach reminds them of what, by bearing it, they are”); but the actual reason, that is, inasmuch as this resting of the Spirit of δόξα, on those who are reproached ἐν ὀνόμ. χριστοῦ, is a sealing of their eternal δόξα. It is inappropriate to insert, with Calvin, a nihilominus, so that the sense would be: in spite of that reproach, the Spirit of God still dwells in you; the more so that the reproach of unbelievers was called forth by the very fact, that the life of the Christians was determined by the Spirit which rested upon them.

In the additional clause found in the Rec., and connected with what goes before: κατὰ μὲν αὐτοὺς βλασφημεῖται, κατὰ δὲ ὑμᾶς δοξάζεται, the subject can hardly be πνεῦμα θεοῦ taken from the explanatory clause immediately preceding, but is more probably ὄνομα χριστοῦ from the previous clause, and on which the principal stress is laid. Schott wrongly thinks that this addition interrupts the connection of thought; but Hofmann is equally in error in holding the opposite opinion, that it is of necessity demanded by the γάρ, 1 Peter 4:15; for γάρ may be equally well applied to the idea that the Spirit of God rests on those who are reproached ἐν ὀνόματι χριστοῦ, as to this, that the name of Christ is glorified καθʼ ὑμᾶς. Since the rendering of κατά by “with” (as formerly in this comment.), or by “on the part of” (Hofmann), cannot be supported,(256) the meaning “with regard to” (de Wette) must be maintained. The interpretation will then be: “by their … your conduct” or “according to their … your opinion.”


Verse 15

1 Peter 4:15. With reference to the assumption contained in what precedes—whether expressed in the clause εἰ ὀνειδίζεσθεἀναπαύεται, or in the doubtful adjunct κατὰ δὲ ὑμᾶς δοξάζεται—the apostle by way of explanation adds the following warning: μὴ γάρ τις ὑμῶν πασχέτω ὡς φονεὺς κ. τ. λ.] The particle γάρ does not here assign a reason, it gives an explanation: “that is to say,”(257) “that is, let none of you suffer as a murderer;” ὡς φονεύς, i.e. because he is a murderer. The two special conceptions, φονεύς and κλέπτης, are followed by the more general κακοποιός, in order that every other kind of crime may be therein included. These three conceptions belong very closely to each other, for which reason ὡς is not repeated. On the other hand, the fourth conception, ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοπος, is, by the prefixed ὡς, distinguished from the others as entirely independent. Etymologically, this word denotes one who assumes to himself an oversight of other people’s affairs with which he has nothing to do. The consciousness of a higher dignity could easily betray the Christian into such a presumption, which must make him all the more odious to strangers. Oecumenius takes the word as equivalent to τὰ ἀλλότρια περιεργαζό΄ενος; Calvin, Beza, etc., to, alieni cupidus, appetens; Pott, to, “a disturber of the public peace.” But all these interpretations are not in harmony with the etymology of the word.


Verse 16

1 Peter 4:16. Antithesis to the foregoing.

εἰ δὲ ὡς χριστιανὸς (sc. τὶς πάσχει) μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω] The name χριστιανός, besides here, is to be found only in Acts 11:26, where its origin is mentioned (cf. Meyer in loc.), and Acts 26:28.

ὡς χρ., i.e. because of his being a Christian, synonymous with ἐν ὀνόματι χριστοῦ, 1 Peter 4:14. Calvin: non tam nomen quam causam respicit.

μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω: “let him not consider it a disgrace;” cf. Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12.

δοξαζέτω δὲ τὸν θεόν] cf. Acts 5:41. Bengel: Poterat Petr., antitheti vi, dicere: honori sibi ducat, sed honorem Deo resignandum esse docet.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ] goes back to πάσχειν ὡς χριστιανός; de Wette regards it as synonymous with the reading: ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ, 2 Corinthians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:3 : “in this matter,” “in this respect;”(258) ὄνομα can, however, be retained in its strict sense (Wiesinger), in which case it will mean the name χριστιανός; ἐν will then designate this name as the reason of the δοξάζειν (see Winer, p. 362 [E. T. 484]). Hofmann, who gives the preference to the reading ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ, “in this respect,” refers the word to what follows, thus attributing to δοξαζέτω an application different from that of μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω. When, then, he states that the cause for praise arises from this circumstance, that the Christian’s sufferings are appointed by God, he is introducing a thought in no way alluded to, and still less expressed, by the apostle.


Verse 17

1 Peter 4:17. The apostle’s exhortation: μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω, δοξαζέτω δέ, is based on a reference to the judgment which threatens the unbelieving. The connection of thought is the same here as in 1 Peter 4:4-5.

Calvin differently: Nam haec necessitas totam Dei ecclesiam manet, ut

Dei manu castigetur: tanto igitur aequiori animo ferendae sunt pro Christo persequutiones. But in this, as in the following verse, the chief stress is laid not so much on the first as on the second half. It is purely arbitrary for Pott to assert that ὅτι is superfluous.

ὅτι καιρὸς τοῦ ἄρξασθαι τὸ κρίμα] Luther’s translation: “it is time,” is inexact. The article before καιρός must not be overlooked; thus: “for it is the time of the beginning of the judgment, that is, in which the judgment is beginning;” ἐστί is to be supplied; the genitive is directly dependent on καιρός (cf. Luke 1:57), and not “on καιρός taken out of the subject, καιρός” (Hofmann). By κρίμα is to be understood the definite judgment ( τό), that is, the final judgment, which Peter, however, here thinks of, not in its last decisive act, but in its gradual development. It begins with the Christians (Matthew 24:9 ff.) in the refining fire of affliction, 1 Peter 4:12, and is completed in the sentence of condemnation pronounced on the unbelieving world at the advent of Christ. In opposition to the apostle’s manner of expressing himself, Hofmann maintains that reference is here made only to the judgment of the unbelieving world, the beginning of which Peter recognised in the fact that God permitted it to persecute the Christians, to do unto them that which makes itself ripe for judgment(!).

ἀπὸ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ θεοῦ] ἀπό is here pregnant: the judgment takes place first in the οἶκ. τοῦ θεοῦ: thence it proceeds further on; with the construction ἄρχεσθαι ἀπό, cf. Acts 1:22; Acts 8:35; Acts 10:37.(259)

οἶκος τοῦ θεοῦ is the church of believers; 1 Timothy 3:15 (chap. 1 Peter 2:5, οἶκος πνευματικός).

εἰ δὲ πρῶτον ἀφʼ ἡμῶν] By these words the apostle passes over to the chief thought of the verse. Either τὸ κρίμα ἄρχεται may be supplied, and πρῶτον regarded as a pleonasm intensifying the idea ἄρχεται; or it may be assumed, with de Wette, that the expression arose from a mingling of the two thoughts, εἰ δὲ ἀφʼ ἡμῶν τὸ κρίμα ἄρχεται and εἰ δὲ πρῶτον ἡμεῖς κρινόμεθα. The first is more probable; πρῶτον presented itself to the apostle, because he wished to lay stress on the fact that the Christians had to suffer only the beginning of the judgment, not its close.(260)

ἀφʼ ἡ΄ῶν corresponds with the preceding οἶκ. τ. θεοῦ. The sense is: If God does not exempt us, the members of His house (His family), from judgment, but permits it to take its beginning at us, how should the unbelievers be exempted? (cf. Luke 23:31).

τί τὸ τέλος τῶν κ. τ. λ.] sc. ἔσται.

τὸ τέλος, not: “the reward,” but: the final term, the end, to which the ἀπειθοῦντες τῷ εὐαγγ. (i.e. those who in hostility oppose the gospel of God) are going. Schott explains τὸ τέλος (antithetically to πρῶτον) as the final judgment itself, and the genitive τῶν ἀπειθούντων as a concise, nearer definition (“the part of the judgment which falls to the lot of the unbelievers”). But as little as πρῶτον means initiatory judgment, so little does τὸ τέλος final judgment.

On the interrogative form of the clause, Gerhard rightly remarks: exaggeratio est in interrogatione; cf. Luke 23:31. The echo(261) in this verse of passages of the Old Testament, like Jeremiah 25:29; Jeremiah 49:12, Ezekiel 9:6, can the less fail to be recognised, that the words which follow are borrowed from the Old Testament.


Verse 18

1 Peter 4:18. Strengthening of the foregoing thought by quotation of the O. T. passage, Proverbs 11:31, after the LXX., whose translation, however, is inexact (cf. Delitzsch in loc.).

δίκαιος “is he who stands in a right relation to God” (Schott), that is, the believer who belongs to the οἶκ. τ. θεοῦ; ἀσεβὴς καὶ ἁμαρτωλός, the unbeliever ( ἀπειθῶν τῷ τ. θ. εὐαγγ.). μόλις σώζεται is not, with Gerhard, to be referred to the fact, that for the pious non nisi per multas tribulationes ingressus in regnum coeleste pateat, but that it is difficult ( μόλις, scarcely, with great difficulty) to stand in the judgment (1 Peter 4:17), and to attain σωτηρία.

ποῦ φανεῖται] “where will he appear?” that is, he will not stand, but will be annihilated. The same thought as in Psalms 1:5.


Verse 19

1 Peter 4:19. The exhortation contained in this verse is closely connected with 1 Peter 4:17-18, in such a way, however, “that it brings to a close the whole section which treats of suffering for the sake of Christ” (Hofmann); Hornejus: clausula est qua totam exhortationem obsignat.

ὥστε] as in Romans 7:4, and often elsewhere, with a finite verb following (Winer, p. 282 f. [E. T. 377]) “therefore.”

καί does not belong to οἱ πάσχοντες, equivalent to “those also who suffer,” with reference to those who do not suffer (Wiesinger, Hofmann), for there is no allusion in the context to any distinction between those who suffer because of their Christian profession and those who have not so to suffer,(262) but it is united with ὥστε, and applies to the verb, “and just for this reason” (cf. Winer, p. 408 [E. T. 544 ff.]). Incorrectly, Bengel: καί concessive cum participio i. q. εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε.

οἱ πάσχοντες] namely, the believers.

κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ] that is, πρὸς πειρασμόν, 1 Peter 4:12. Wiesinger: “looking back to 1 Peter 4:17, inasmuch as they as Christians are overtaken by the judgment God pronounces on His house.” Besser incorrectly takes it as referring to their subjective behaviour under suffering.

ὡς πιστῷ κτιστῇ παρατιθέσθωσαν κ. τ. λ.] Gerhard: ὡς exprimit causam, propter quam, hi qui patiuntur animas suas apud Deum deponere debeant, nimirum quia est earum creator et fidelis custos. If ὡς be the correct reading, then from the foregoing τοῦ θεοῦ an αὐτῷ must be supplied, to which ὡς πιστῷ κτιστῇ applies.

κτιστής is not possessor (Calvin), but the creator; κτίσας, Romans 1:25. It is used here in its strict sense, and not with reference to the new creation (Steiger, Schott connect both together); cf. Acts 4:24 ff.: “this prayer is an actual example of what is here demanded” (Weiss, p. 190). In the N. T. κτίστης is ἅπ. λεγ., in the O. T. it occurs frequently; Judith 9:12; 2 Maccabees 1:24. πιστός: Oecumenius, equivalent to: ἀσφαλὴς καὶ ἀψευδὴς κατὰ τὰς ἐπαγγελίας αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἐάσει ἡμᾶς πειρασθῆναι ὑπὲρ δυνάμεθα; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13.

With παρατίθεσθαι, cf. Acts 14:23; Acts 20:32 : “to commit to the protection of any one.”

ἐν ἀγαθοποιΐᾳ] ἀγαθοποιΐα, ἅπ. λεγ.; the adjec., chap. 1 Peter 2:14. This addition shows that the confident surrender to God is to be joined, not with careless indolence, but with the active practice of good. Oecumenius erroneously paraphrases the word by ταπεινοφροσύνη.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-peter-4.html. 1832.

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