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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
1 Peter 1



Verse 1

1 Peter 1:1. πέτρος, Peter) There is a wonderful weightiness and liveliness in the style of Peter, which most agreeably arrests the attention of the reader. The design of each Epistle is, to stir up by way of remembrance the pure mind of the faithful, 2 Peter 3:1, and to guard them not only against error, but even against doubt, ch. 1 Peter 5:12. This he does by reminding them of that Gospel grace, by which believers, being anointed, are inflamed to bring forth the fruits of faith, hope, love, and patience, in every duty and affliction. The first Epistle contains three parts.

I. The Inscription, 1 Peter 1:1-2.

II. The stirring up of a pure feeling. He excites the elect—

a) As those Born again of God. Here he mentions as well the benefits of GOD towards believers, as also the duties of believers towards God; and he interweaves these things one with another, by three powerful motives, to which weight is added from the mystery of CHRIST.

A) God has regenerated us to a lively HOPE, to an inheritance of glory and salvation, 1 Peter 1:3-12.

Therefore HOPE “to the end” (perfectly), 1 Peter 1:13.

B) As obedient sons, bring forth to your heavenly Father the fruit of FAITH, 1 Peter 1:14-21.

C) Being PURIFIED by the Spirit, LOVE with a PURE heart, without fault, 1 Peter 1:22; 1 Peter 2:10.

b) As strangers in the world, he calls upon them to ABSTAIN from fleshly lusts, 1 Peter 2:11, and to maintain—

A) A good CONVERSATION, 1 Peter 2:12.

1) In particular,

1. Subjects, 1 Peter 2:13-17.

2. Servants, after the example of Christ, 1 Peter 2:18-25.

3. Wives, 1 Peter 3:1-6,

4. Husbands, 1 Peter 3:7.

2) In general, all, 1 Peter 3:8-15.


1. By their readiness to defend their faith, and by shunning evil company, 1 Peter 3:15-22; 1 Peter 4:1-6.

(The whole course of Christ, from His passion to His coming to judgment, gives weight to this part.)

2. By their virtues, and a good administration of their gifts, 1 Peter 4:7-11.

c) As fellow-partakers of future glory, he calls upon them to SUSTAIN adversity. Let every one do this—

1. In general, as a Christian, 1 Peter 4:12-19.

2. In his own particular condition, 1 Peter 5:1-11.

(The title ἀγαπητοὶ, beloved, twice made use of, separates the second part from the first, 1 Peter 2:11, and the third part from the second, 1 Peter 4:12. The state even of the elders is looked upon as a state full of troubles in this life, and there ought to be a wholesome looking forward from it to glory, 1 Peter 5:1-4; and the word, submit yourselves, 1 Peter 5:5, also introduces suffering and endurance notwithstanding; and this seems to be the particular reason why the apostle separates these two conditions, 1 Peter 5:1-11, from those which he mentions 1 Peter 2:12 and following verses.)

III. The Conclusion

ἐκλεκτοῖς, elect) in heaven; elect out of the whole people, out of mankind. Comp. this and 1 Peter 1:5, with Matthew 24:24.— παρεπιδήμοις, strangers) on the earth, [with reference to their heavenly country.—V. g.]— διασπορᾶς πόντου, of the dispersion of Pontus) He addresses the dispersed Jews, James 1:1; although he afterwards addresses believers of the Gentiles, who are mixed with them, ch. 1 Peter 2:10, note, 1 Peter 4:3. He mentions five provinces in the order in which they presented themselves to him, writing from the East: ch. 1 Peter 5:13. Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, is the order in which they are mentioned, Acts 2:9. The Epistles of Peter were formerly placed before those of John, James, and Jude: and from this circumstance all of them appear to have been called “Catholic” (General) Epistles, because that title is especially applicable to the first. It is not agreed upon whether Peter first sent this Epistle into Pontus, or to Jerusalem, where the Jews flocked together.

Verse 2

1 Peter 1:2. κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, according to the foreknowledge) This depends upon elect. Foreknowledge is also praised (referred to), 1 Peter 1:20. It includes also good-will and love.— θεοῦ, of God) The mystery of the Trinity, and the economy of our salvation, are intimated in this verse, and indeed these constitute the sum of the Epistle.(1)πατρὸς, Father) even our Father.— ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος, in sanctification of the Spirit) 2 Thessalonians 2:13, note.— εἰς ὑπακοὴν, to obedience) That obedience is meant which is rendered through faith; 1 Peter 1:22, note. St Paul undoubtedly joins together, in the passage quoted above, sanctification of the Spirit and faith. Observe also the particles, κατὰ, ἐν, εἰς; by means of which the bearing of the three cardinal benefits upon election, and their mutual order, is indicated. Comp. Apocalypse Revelation 1:4-6.— καὶ ῥαντισμὸν, and sprinkling) The obedient are sprinkled to the remission of their sins: 1 John 1:7. But here the sprinkling is passive, by means of which the sprinkling is obediently received. On the subject of obedience, see again 1 Peter 1:14; on the blood of sprinkling, 1 Peter 1:19.— πληθυνθείη, be multiplied) to a further extent. The same word occurs, 2 Peter 1:2. So Daniel 6:25, εἰρήνη ὑμῖν πληθυνθείη, peace be multiplied unto you.

Verse 3

1 Peter 1:3. εὐλογητὸς, blessed) The sentiment is, God has regenerated us. The Mode(2) (expression of feeling) is added, that is to say, an expression of thanks.— πατὴρ, the Father) The whole of this Epistle closely agrees with the Lord’s prayer, and especially with its earlier clauses. Let the sentiments be compared with one another, in their proper order.


1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:14; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2.


1 Peter 1:4, at the end.

In heaven;

The same.

Hallowed be thy name.

1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Peter 3:15.

Thy kingdom come.

1 Peter 2:9.

Thy will be done.

1 Peter 2:15; 1 Peter 3:17; 1 Peter 4:2; 1 Peter 4:19.

Daily bread.

1 Peter 5:7.

Forgiveness of sins.

1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 4:1.


1 Peter 4:12.


1 Peter 4:18.

And Peter expressly makes many references to prayer itself, ch. 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Peter 4:7.— κατὰ ἔλεος, according to His mercy) We had been in a wretched state: Ephesians 2:1-2.— ἀναγεννήσας, who has regenerated us) 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2. [From this place to 1 Peter 2:10, St Peter recounts the things which GOD has done for our benefit; and from that provision for our salvation he derives most efficacious admonitions to hope, 1 Peter 1:3-13; to sanctification and fear in believing, 14–21; to love, 22–2:10; introducing now and then most sweetly doctrine concerning Christ.—V. g.]— εἰς, to) A remarkable Anaphora [repetition in beginnings. Append.]: to hope, to an inheritance, to salvation.— εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν, to a living hope) This hope is a heavenly inheritance, 1 Peter 1:4 : and it is termed living, because it springs forth and flourishes from the resurrection of Christ. Peter frequently uses the epithet living, 1 Peter 1:2-8; 1 Peter 2:4-5; and he makes mention of hope, 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 3:5; 1 Peter 3:15. Comp. the epithets in the following verse. To hope, moreover, he joins faith and love, 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 1:21-22.— διʼ ἀναστάσεως, by the resurrection) This depends upon the word living. Comp. 1 Peter 1:21.

Verse 4

1 Peter 1:4. κληρονομίαν, an inheritance) They who are sons by regeneration, are heirs. He treats of this inheritance also, ch. 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 3:9.— ἄφθαρτον, incorruptible) For it is a divine inheritance.— ἀμίαντον, undefiled(3)) For no impure person, however closely related, is a joint-heir.— ἀμάραντον, free from decay) For the heirs themselves are not subject to decay, they do not die. Peter delights to accumulate synonymous words; 1 Peter 1:7-8; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 5:10.— τετηρημένην, kept) from the beginning. Comp. 1 Peter 1:10. The same word occurs, John 17:12. Comp. also John 2:10.— ἐν οὐρανοῖς, in heaven) In the power of God.— εἰς ὑμᾶς, unto or for you) who are alive at this time.

Verse 5

1 Peter 1:5. ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ, by the power of God) He Himself does it, and will do it entirely: ch. 1 Peter 5:10. Comp. 2 Peter 1:3.(4) No one can propose to himself, in what way he may wish to arrive at the goal. It is the power of God which gives us safety against our enemies; it is the long-suffering of the Lord which gives us safety against ourselves: 2 Peter 3:15. The apostles themselves are a proof of this.— φρουρουμένους, who are guarded) The inheritance is kept in safety; the heirs are guarded. Neither shall it be wanting to them, nor they to it. A remarkable confirmation [sample of how the word of God strengthens and guards believers] occurs, 2 Peter 3:17.— διὰ πίστεως, by faith) It is by faith that salvation is both received and kept.— ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι, ready to be revealed) The revelation takes place at the last day: the preparations for it began to be made when Christ came.— ἀποκαλυφθῆναι, to be revealed) A frequent word in this Epistle: 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:12-13; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Peter 5:1.— ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ, in the last time) Peter considers the whole of the time, from the beginning of the New Testament to the coming of Christ in glory, as one time, and that short, in comparison with the times of the Old Testament. Comp. note on Acts 1:11. Therefore in depends upon ready.(5)

Verse 6

1 Peter 1:6. ἐν ) in which circumstance.— ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ye rejoice) The present, 1 Peter 1:8. Augustine, gaudete, imperative: rejoice ye.(6) Comp. James 1:2.— ὀλίγον, for a little time) This is spoken with reference to the whole Church, ch. 1 Peter 5:10. Comp. 1 Peter 4:7.— εἰ δέον ἐστὶ, if it be needful) If (since) has here the force of an affirmation: so in 1 Peter 1:17.

Verse 7

1 Peter 1:7. δοκίμιον, the trial) That is, your faith, which is thus tried; for it is compared with gold.— πολυτιμότερον, much more precious) The epithet belongs to the subject.— τοῦ ἀπολλυμένου, which perisheth) Gold perishes with the world, 1 Peter 1:18; nor will it then profit any one. The same participle occurs, John 6:27.— δὲ, but(7)) Faith is compared with gold, not with reference to the perishing of gold, but with reference to its being tried by fire.— εὑρεθῇ, may be found) For it does not now appear; but it will appear when other things shall perish.— ἔπαινον, praise) in words.— τιμὴν, honour) in deeds.— δόξαν, glory) in the award bestowed at the judgment.— ἀποκαλύψει, at the revelation) 1 Peter 1:13.

ABC Rec. Text have διὰ πυρὸς δὲ δοκιμαζομένου. Vulg. Omits ἀπολλυμένον, and therefore also δέ. Orig. has καὶ διὰ κυρὸς δεδοκιμαομένου.—E.

Verse 8

1 Peter 1:8. οὐκ εἰδότες ἀγαπᾶτε) Ye love, although ye know Him not in person. A paradox: for in other cases it is knowledge which produces love. This is said respecting love: Peter afterwards asserts the same respecting faith. Whom and in whom: the absence of the copula resembles Anaphora.(8)εἰς ὃν, in whom) The word in properly belongs to believing, as does also now.— μὴ ὁρῶντες, not seeing) The present: that is, although you see Him not as yet in glory. The apostles, who had seen Him themselves, thought that their faith was not so great as that of others.— ἀνεκλαλήτῳ, unspeakable) even now: 1 Corinthians 2:9.— καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ, and glorified) This joy is glorified in itself, and glorified by witnesses. Comp. 1 Peter 1:10. In other respects it is unspeakable.

Verse 9

1 Peter 1:9. κομιζόμενοι, receiving) now, at present.— τῆς πίστεως, of faith) 1 Peter 1:8.— ψυχῶν, of your souls) It is the soul especially which is saved: the body shares in the resurrection.

Verse 10

1 Peter 1:10. περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας, of which salvation) A great argument for the truth arises from the prophecies and eagerness of the prophets.— ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηρεύνησαν, inquired and searched diligently) There is great emphasis in the two compound words, ἐκζητεῖν, to seek out, to attain to by seeking: ἐξερευνᾶν, to search through, to attain to by searching. The simple word ἐρευνῶντες, searching, occurs in 1 Peter 1:11. What they attained to by inquiring and searching, is expressed and defined in 1 Peter 1:12. ἐρευνῶντες, searching, refers to the first and principal searching respecting Christ Himself: ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηρεύνησαν, they inquired and searched diligently, to a further and more advanced searching respecting Christians.— προφῆται, prophets) with the other righteous men: Matthew 13:17; John 8:56. The omission of the article gives weight to the sentence, as is often the case with the Germans: for it has the effect of calling away the attention of the hearer from the particular consideration of individuals to the genus itself. So 1 Peter 1:12, angels. A gradual rise of subject.— εἰς ὑμᾶς, unto you) who live in this age.— χάριτος, grace) The grace of the New Testament, 1 Peter 1:13. True grace, ch. 1 Peter 5:12. Comp. John 1:17.

Verse 11

1 Peter 1:11. εἰς τίνα ποῖον, to what, or what manner of) The disjunctive particle expresses the great eagerness of the prophets: (to know) whether those things were about to happen in their time or afterwards: 1 Peter 1:12. What ( τίνα) denotes the time absolutely, so to speak, an era marked out by its own numbers: what manner of ( ποῖον) speaks of the time to be known from various events. Daniel 9:2.— πνεῦμα χριστοῦ, the Spirit of Christ) testifying of Christ; Revelation 19:10. The Spirit of God, Genesis 1:2, is called the Spirit of Messias in the work entitled Baal Hatturim.— τὰπαθήματα, the sufferings) Hence comes salvation.— τὰ εἰς χριστὸν παθήματα) the sufferings about to happen to Christ.— μετὰ ταῦτα) after these sufferings.— δόξας, glories) In the plural. The glory of His resurrection; the glory of His ascension; the glory of the last judgment and of the kingdom of heaven.

Verse 12

1 Peter 1:12. οἷς, to whom) searching.— ὅτι) that.— οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς, not to themselves) Matthew 13:17; Psalms 102:19; Daniel 12:13.— ἡμῖν, to us) The times defined by the seventy weeks of Daniel exactly extend to the time of Christ’s appearance on earth, and to the faithful then living: this is the force of unto us. And these weeks came to an end during the time of Peter. See Ord. Temp. p. 366 (Edit. ii. 314).— αὐτὰ) those things: for prophets is understood with ministered, as is evident from the answering clause, not to themselves. Compare διακονέω with an accusative, ch. 1 Peter 4:10. and εἰς have reference to αὐτὰ.— νῦν, now) The Latin expression is hodie, to-day.— ἐν, with or in) The Evangelists were infallible witnesses.— ἀπ ̓ οὐρανοῦ, from heaven) that is, from God.— ἐπιθυμοῦσιν, desire) It was not so soon revealed to angels; at any rate, not to all. A well-regulated curiosity is a virtue, not only in prophets, 1 Peter 1:10, but also in angels.— ἄγγελοι, angels) The revelation from heaven increases in weight.(9) Prophets, and righteous men, and kings, desired to see and hear the things which Christ spake and did, Matthew 13 : but angels desire to look into the things which the Comforter teaches concerning Christ.— παρακύψαι, to look into) It became known to us by hearing, to angels by sight, which is greater: 1 Timothy 3:16. And yet it affects us more intimately: it is for angels παρακύπτειν, to take a side-glance at; the force of παρὰ is to be noticed.

Verse 13

1 Peter 1:13. διὸ, wherefore) An exhortation is now derived from those things which have been said.— ἀναζωσάμενοι, girding up) to collect the strength. Comp. the expression, to stir up, 2 Peter 1:13.— τὰς ὀσφύας, the loins) A similar phrase occurs, Job 38:3.— νήφοντες) sober: ch. 1 Peter 5:8.— τελείως ἐλπίσατε, hope [Engl. Vers. “to the end”], hope perfectly) have that hope which may grasp the end ( τέλος) placed before it, 1 Peter 1:9. Hope is repeated from 1 Peter 1:3.— φερομένην) which is afforded and held forth. The same word is used, Hebrews 9:16. Grace is given to us in perfect measure, and with that our hope ought perfectly to correspond. They are correlatives.— ἐν ἀποκαλύψει, at the revelation) There is but one revelation, which takes place through the whole time of the New Testament, by the two appearances of Christ: Titus 2:11; Titus 2:13.

Verse 14

1 Peter 1:14. τέκνα, children) See 1 Peter 1:17, at the beginning.— ὑπακοῆς, of obedience) Obedience is paid either to the Divine truth, 1 Peter 1:22, or to the Divine command. The latter is the fruit of faith; the former is faith itself. Therefore Peter expressly stirs them up to hope in 3d and following verses (making mention of hope itself, 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:13); to faith in the 14th and following verses (using the word faith twice in 1 Peter 1:21); to love, 1 Peter 1:22, but in such a manner that he attempers faith with hope, in 7th and following verses; and again hope with faith, 1 Peter 1:21, and faith with love, 1 Peter 1:22, and ch. 1 Peter 2:6 and following verse.— μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι(10)) Supply γενήθητε, 1 Peter 1:15, be ye not conformed.— ἀγνοίᾳ, in your ignorance) Their former state, even as Jews, before their calling.

See an excellent article by Mr Lightfoot in the “Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology,” vol. 3, p. 114.—T.

See note on Romans 12:2. ΄ορφὴ, the form, denotes something deeper and more perfect than σχῆμα, the outward fashion.—E.

Verse 15

1 Peter 1:15. κατὰ, according to) The highest example.— καλέσαντα, who hath called you) Peter often brings forward this calling, ch. 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 2:21, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:10.— ἀναστροφῇ, in conversation) 1 Peter 1:17-18.

Verse 17

1 Peter 1:17. ἐπικαλεῖσθε, ye call upon) and are called by His name.— ἀπροσωπολήπτως, without respect of persons) whether any one is a Hebrew or a Greek.— ἀπροσωπολήπτωςἐν φόβῳ) Comp. 2 Chronicles 19:7.— ἔργον, work) The singular. The work of one man is one, whether it be good or evil.— ἐν φόβῳ, in fear) Fear is joined to hope, each flowing from the same source. Fear prevents us from falling away from hope.— παροικίας, of sojourning) He calls them strangers, because they are in the world, ch. 1 Peter 2:11; not however without an allusion to the διασπορὰ, the dispersion, in Asia, 1 Peter 1:1.

Verse 18

1 Peter 1:18. οὐ φθαρτοῖς, not with corruptible things) 1 Peter 1:23.— ματαίας, vain) A vain course of life, which leaves no fruit behind, when the time has passed away.— πατροπαραδότου, received from the fathers) There is only one Father to be imitated, 1 Peter 1:17. There is the same antithesis, Matthew 23:9. In religion men too willingly and pertinaciously tread in the footsteps of their fathers, and the Jews in particular.

Verse 19

1 Peter 1:19. τιμίῳ, precious) The blood of Christ is incorruptible, 1 Peter 1:18.— ὡς, as) This explains the reason(11) for his use of the word precious.— ἀμώμου, without blemish) Jesus Christ had in Himself ( ἀμώμου) no taint of evil.— ἀσπίλου, without spot) Nor did He contract any stain from without ( ἀσπίλου).

Verse 20

1 Peter 1:20. προεγνωσμένου, who was fore-ordained) Acts 2:23.— πρὸ, before) Therefore all the good pleasure of God is fulfilled in Christ.— φανερωθέντος δὲ, but manifested) The foreknowledge was in God alone.— χρόνων) times, viz. of the world.

Verse 21

1 Peter 1:21. δἰ αὐτοῦ, by Him) by Christ, in whose resurrection all the argument and efficacy of faith and hope centre.—[ πιστεύοντας, who believe) by the power of that manifestation.—V. g.]— ὥστε) that so.— πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα, your faith and hope) These two are most intimately joined together, and yet they differ with respect to the present and the future. [Faith is derived from the resurrection of Christ: hope from His glorification.—V. g.]— εἰς θεόν, in God) alone, ch. 1 Peter 3:5, who hath exalted Jesus, and prepared an anchor for us; Hebrews 6:19; Romans 8:34; whereas, apart from Christ, we could but have feared Him. Now we clearly believe and hope.

Verse 22

1 Peter 1:22. τὰς ψυχὰς, your souls) Without the copula, as 1 Peter 1:14-15.— ἡγνικότες, ye who have purified) who have undergone purification of your souls. Hence follows presently καθαρᾶς, pure. The word ἁγνίζειν denotes both chastity and all other purity. See Septuagint.— ὑπακοῇ, in obedience) This is faith, to which love is accustomed to be joined: for Peter attributes purification to faith, Acts 15:9.— τῆς ἀληθείας, of the truth) revealed in Christ.— διὰ πνεύματος, by the Spirit) The Holy Spirit bestows that obedience and purity. Comp. ch. 1 Peter 1:2.— εἰς φιλαδελφίανἀγαπήσατε, unto love of the brethrenlove ye) These are two steps: comp. 2 Peter 1:7; from which the statements concerning the graces which go before [these two steps of love], here in the 22d verse, and there in 5th and 6th, may in like manner be compared.— ἀνυπόκριτον, unfeigned) For it flows from the truth. Comp. ch. 1 Peter 2:1-2.— ἀγαπήσατε, love ye) The sentiments agree, ch. 1 Peter 2:3; 1 Peter 2:10.— ἐκτενῶς, earnestly) ch. 1 Peter 4:8.

Verse 23

1 Peter 1:23. ἀναγεγεννημένοι, being born again) Hence their brotherhood.— ἐκ σπορᾶς, of sowing) The Word of God is the seed, σπόρος: the preaching of the Word of God, the sowing, σπορά. Therefore of is not afterwards repeated, but the phrase, by the Word, is used.— ζῶντος καὶ μένοντος, living and abiding) This is connected with the Word, 1 Peter 1:25. The Gospel bears incorruptible fruits, and not dead works; because it is in itself incorruptible. The living Word is full of efficacy; abiding for ever, it is free from all corruption.

Verse 24

1 Peter 1:24. πᾶσα σὰρξ, all flesh) Isaiah 40:6-8. Flesh, that is, man by old descent.— ὡς χόρτος, as grass) The Septuagint does not contain ὡς, as,(12) nor αὐτοῦ, its, in the next clause.— δόξα, glory) The wisdom, strength, riches, and righteousness of man.— ἐξηράνθη, is dried up) from the roots.— χόρτος, the grass) that is, the flesh.— ἄνθος, the flower) that is, its glory.— ἐξέπεσε, is wont to fall away) in the highest degree.

Lachm. omits ὡς, with AC (but Tisch. claims C in favour of ὡς) and MSS. of Vulg. both Syr. Versions, and Origen. Tisch. inserts ὡς, with B (judging from silence of collators), C (according to Tisch.), MSS. of Vulg. and Memph. and Orig. 1,226a. Also αὐτῆς is read by ABC Vulg. both Syr. Memph. Orig. ανθρώπου is read by Rec. Text, with inferior authority. Also αὐτοῦ is added after ἄνθος by C Vulg. Memph. But AB, the best MS. of Vulg. (Amiat.), both Syr. Versions, and Origen, omit it.—E.

Verse 25

1 Peter 1:25. κυρίου, the Lord) The Septuagint has τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν.— εὐαγγελισθὲν, preached in the Gospel) 1 Peter 1:12.— εἰς ὑμᾶς, unto you) in whom immortality is thereby implanted.


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

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Thursday, January 23rd, 2020
the Second Week after Epiphany
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