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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
1 Peter 4

 

 

Verse 1

1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

Ver. 1. Christ hath suffered] As 1 Peter 3:18.

In the flesh] In human nature; so must we suffer in sinful nature, subduing it to God, and ceasing from sin, hailing it and nailing it to the cross of Christ. First have sin to the cross of Christ; force it before the tree on which he suffered: it is such a sight as sin cannot abide. It will begin to die within us upon the first sight of Christ upon the cross. For the cross of Christ accuseth sin, shameth it, and by a secret virtue feedeth upon the very heart of it. 2. Use sin as Christ was used when he was made sin for us; lift it up, and make it naked by confession to God. And then pierce, 1. The hands of it, in respect of operation, that it may work no more. 2. The feet of it, in respect of progression, that it go no further. 3. The heart, in respect of affection, that it may be loved no longer.


Verse 2

2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

Ver. 2. That he no longer, &c.] To spend the span of his transitory life after the ways of one’s own heart is to perish for ever.


Verse 3

3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

Ver. 3. For the time past of our life may suffice us] We may every one say with Austin, Nimis sero te amavi Domine. It should be a burden to our souls that we begin no sooner to love God.

In lasciviousness, lusts, &c.] The true picture of a pagan conversation, which yet is too common among those that call themselves Christians. The world is now grown perfectly profane, and can play on the Lord’s day without book; making it as Bacchus’ orgies, rather than God’s holy day, with piping, dancing, drinking, drabbing, &c. We may say as once Alsted of his Germans, that if the Sabbath Day should be named according to their observing of it, Daemoniacus potius quam Dominicus diceretur, it should be called not God’s day, but the devil’s.

Excess of wine] οινοφλυγιαις, or, red and rich faces, as they call them.

Revellings] κωμοις, stinks, saith the Syriac; drunkards are stinkards; as Luther called the Swenckfeldians, stink-feldians, from the ill savour of their opinions. Tacitus tells us that among the old Germans, it was no disgrace counted to continue drinking and spewing night and day, Diem noctemque continuare potando.

Banquetings] Gr. ποτοις, compotations, or good fellow meetings; some render it bibbings, sippings, tipplings, sitting long at it, though not to an alienation of the mind. How much more when they leave not till they have drank the three "outs" first; viz. Wit out of the head, money out of the purse, and ale out of the pot!

And abominable idolatries] Some idolatries then, say the Papists, are not abominable. A sweet inference. That all Papists are idolaters, Dr Reynolds hath plainly and plentifully proved in his learned work De idololatria Romana, never yet answered. Weston writeth that his head ached in reading it. But what a poor shift is that of Vasquez, expressly to maintain that the second commandment belonged to the Jews only; as holding it impossible to answer our arguments against their image worship? Other Popish writers utterly disannul the second commandment, making it a member of the first; and so, retaining the words, they destroy the sense and interpretation.


Verse 4

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

Ver. 4. They think it strange] Gr. ξενιζονται. That they think it a new world, marvelling what is come to you of late. It is I, said the harlot; but it is not I, said the convert, At ego non sum.

Into the same excess] Gr. αναχυσιν, bubbling or boiling, as the raging sea foaming out its own filth.


Verse 5

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Ver. 5. Who shall give account] Of their ungodly deeds and hard speeches, 1:15. Angels did their first execution in the world upon luxurious Sodomites; they will be very active doubtless against such at the last day. See 2 Peter 2:10, and mark that word, chiefly.


Verse 6

6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Ver. 6. For for this cause] {See Trapp on "1 Peter 3:19"}

That they might be judged] Either by God chastising them, 1 Corinthians 11:32, or by themselves, 1 Corinthians 11:31. The gospel melts the hearts of God’s elect with voluntary grief for sin, it makes them condemn themselves in the flesh.

But live according to God] The Father of spirits, with whom the spirits of just men departed are made perfect, Hebrews 12:23. Eusebius and Austin make mention of certain Arabians, who said that the soul dies with the body, and revives not again till the resurrection of the body. This old heresy is now, among many others, dug out of the grave, and held by certain sectarians among us.


Verse 7

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Ver. 7. Be ye therefore sober, &c.] To be sober in prayer (saith one) is to pray with due respect to God’s majesty, without trifling or vain babbling; to let our words be few, Ecclesiastes 5:3. Also it is to keep God’s counsel, not to be proud or boast of success, or speak of the secret sweetnes., of God’s love without calling; it is to conceal the familiarity of God in secret. Or, it is to submit our will to the will of God; being well pleased that He is in any way glorified, though we be not every way gratified.

And watch unto prayer] Against dulness of body, drowsiness of spirit, Satanical suggestions, distractive motions, which else will muster and swarm in the heart like the flies of Egypt.


Verse 8

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Ver. 8. Charity shall cover] This is meant of mutual love, whereby we forgive offences one to another, and not that which should justify us before God in a Popish sense, as appears by the precedent words, and by Proverbs 10:12.


Verse 9

9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

Ver. 9. Without grudgings] Without shucking and hucking. 2 Corinthians 8:12; {See Trapp on "2 Corinthians 8:12"}


Verse 10

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Ver. 10. Even so minister] Clouds when full, pour down, and the spouts run, and the eaves shed, and the presses overflow, and the aromatical trees sweat out their precious and sovereign oils; and every learned scribe brings out his rich treasure, &c. "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal," 1 Corinthians 12:7. There are some that make it their chief work proficere potius quam prodesse, to inform themselves, rather than to instruct others; to know, than to teach. Synesius inveighs against a sort of such in his times, as, having a treasure of rare abilities in them, would as soon part with their hearts as with their conceptions, the canker of whose great skill shall be a swift witness against them. Cardan speaketh of one that had a receipt that would suddenly and certainly dissolve the stone in the bladder; and concludes of him that he was undoubtedly damned, because he never revealed it before he died, to any one. {a} Let men be ready to communicate the good they have, as the moon doth her borrowed light, as the stars are still in motion for the good of others; as the heart receiving spirits from the liver, ministereth them to the brain, and the brain to the other parts of the body.

{a} Non dubito quin iste sit apud inferos.


Verse 11

11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Ver. 11. If any man speak] i.e. Preach. Every sound is not music, so neither is every pulpit discourse preaching.

As the oracles of God] Those lively and life giving oracles, the Holy Scriptures. These he must expound with all gravity and sincerity, not seeking himself, nor setting forth his own wit and eloquence, so putting the sword of the Spirit into a velvet scabbard, that it cannot prick and pierce the heart. Loquamur verba Scripturae (saith Ramus) utamur sermone Spiritus sancti; denique divinam sapientiam et linguam nostra infantia et sophistica ne corrigamus: i.e. Let us speak the very words of the Scripture, let us use the speech of the Holy Spirit; and not think to correct the divine wisdom and eloquence with our babbling and sophistry. It is not for us to witwanton it with God; his holy things must be handled sancte magis quam scite (as he once told the wanton vestal), that is, with fear and reverence rather than with wit and dalliance.

Which God giveth] χορηγει, liberally and magnificiently.


Verse 12

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Ver. 12. Think it not strange] Ne tanquam hospites percellamini. Stand not wondering, and as if struck into a maze. Fain would this flesh make strange that which the spirit doth embrace, saith Mr Saunders, martyr, in a letter to his wife. O Lord, how loth is this loitering sluggard to pass forth in God’s path. It fantasieth forsooth much fear of fray-bugs. {a} And were it not for the force of faith which pulleth it forward by the rein of God’s most sweet promise, and of hope which pricks on behind, great adventures there were of fainting by the way. But blessed and everlastingly blessed be our heavenly Father, &c.

Concerning the fiery trial] John Brown of Ashford, through the cruel handling of Archbishop Warham, and Fisher, bishop of Rochester, was so piteously intreated (saith Mr Fox) that his bare feet were set upon the hot burning coals, to make him deny his faith; which notwithstanding he would not do, but patiently abiding the pain, continued in the Lord’s quarrel unremovable. See the like of Rose Allen, Acts and Mon. 1820.

As though some strange thing] Forecast afflictions, which being foreseen come no whit the sooner, but far the easier, it is a labour well lost, if they come not, well spent if they do; whereas coming upon the sudden, they find weak minds secure, make them miserable, leave them desperate. Bishop Latimer ever affirmed, that the preaching of the gospel would cost him his life, to the which he no less cheerfully prepared himself, than certainly was persuaded that Winchester was kept in the Tower for the same purpose; and the event did too truly prove the same. Being sent for to London by a pursuivant, and coming through Smithfield, he merrily said, "That Smithfield had long groaned for him." To the lieutenant of the Tower he said, "You look, I think, that I should burn; but except you let me have some fire, I am like to deceive your expectation; for I am like here to starve for cold."

{a} An object of fear; a bogy, spectre. ŒD


Verse 13

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Ver. 13. But rejoice] As the apostles did, Acts 5:41. {See Trapp on "Acts 5:41"}

inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings] So they are called: 1. Because they are for his sake. 2. Because he suffereth with us; though not with a sense of pain, yet with a sense of pity; for in all our afflictions he is afflicted. 3. We fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ, &c., Colossians 1:24. {See Trapp on "Colossians 1:24"}

With exceeding joy] Gr. αγαλλιωμενοι, dancing a galliard, leaping levaltos, lifting up your heads, because your redemption draweth nigh. Vincentius, laughing at his tormentors, said that death and tortures were to Christians iocularia et ludicra, matters of sport and pastime; and walking upon hot burning coals, he boasted that he walked upon roses. Other martyrs said that they felt no more pain in the fire than if they lay upon a bed of down. Constantine embraced Paphnutius, and kissed his lost eye; so will Christ deal at the last day by his suffering servants.


Verse 14

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Ver. 14. Happy are ye] μακαριοι. {See Trapp on "Matthew 5:11"} {See Trapp on "Matthew 5:12"} The word signifies, ye are out of harm’s way; out of the reach of danger.

Resteth upon you] αναπεπαυται, with great delight and content. How strangely were the holy martyrs spiritualized and elevated, carried out of themselves and beyond themselves, as were easy to instance. We read of some godly men so overwhelmed with joy, that they have cried out, Hold, Lord; stay thine hand, I can bear no more! like weak eyes that cannot bear too great a light. "The Spirit of glory and of God" is by the Syriac interpreter rendered "the glorious Spirit of God."

Resteth upon you] sc. by divine abode or dwelling, which the Hebrews call Shechinah. The heart of a believer reproached for the name of Christ is no private place; but a place where God taketh pleasure. It is the house of God; and opposite it is the gate of heaven. He seems here to allude to Isaiah 4:5.


Verse 15

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

Ver. 15. As a busybody] Gr. A bishop in another man’s diocese, a pragmatic person that meddleth with other men’s matters without call or commendation.


Verse 16

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Ver. 16. Suffer as a Christian] Under the Emperor Antoninus the philosopher, there happened a very bitter storm of persecution in France, which swallowed up sundry martyrs, as Maturus, Pothenus, Attalus, and Blandina; which good woman, in the midst of all her sufferings, often cried out, Christiana sum, I am a Christian. By which word she gathered new strength, and became more than a conqueress. (Bucholcer.) So Sabina, another glorious Roman martyr, crying out when she was in prison, and being asked by the jailor how she would endure the fire next day, that made now so much ado in her travail? "Very well," said she, "I doubt not: for now I suffer as a sinner, but then I shall suffer as Christian." (John Manl.) They were wont to say of cowards in Rome, that there was nothing Roman in them. I would we had not cause to say of many Christians, that there is nothing Christian in them. He and he only is a right Christian, and can quit himself accordingly both in doing and dying for Christ (if called thereunto), whose person is united to Christ by the ligament of a lively faith, and whose nature is elevated by the Spirit of regeneration; and whose principles, practices, and aims are divine and supernatural.

Let him not be ashamed] He need not; Christ is not a Master that a man need be ashamed of. He was not ashamed of us, when we had never a rag to our backs, nay, when we were "in our blood, in our blood, in our blood," and no eye pitied us, Ezekiel 16:5-6.

Let him glorify God] viz. for his great preferment, Philippians 1:28. {See Trapp on "Philippians 1:28"}


Verse 17

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Ver. 17. Judegment must begin] The mortality at Corinth began at the believers, 1 Corinthians 11:30. Infidels escaped scotfree. God’s cup is first sent to Jerusalem. There was bread in Moab, when there was none in Israel, Ruth 1:1. The stormy shower lighteth first on the high hills, and having washed them, settleth with all the filth in the valleys.


Verse 18

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Ver. 18. Scarcely be saved] Hard and scarce; not at all from outward miseries (whereof he is sure to have his back’s burden), and not without somewhat ado from hell’s torments. The wise virgins had no oil to spare; the twelve tribes served God instantly and constantly day and night, and all little enough, Acts 26:7.

Where shall the ungodly, &c.] Surely nowhere: not before saints and angels, for holiness is their trade. Not before God, for he is of "more pure eyes," &c. Not before Christ, for he shall come in flaming fire rendering vengeance. Not in heaven, for it is an undefiled inheritance, &c.


Verse 19

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Ver. 19. Commit the keeping] As a precious depositum. So did our Saviour both in his lifetime, 1 Peter 2:23, and at his death, Luke 23:46. So did Stephen and all the holy martyrs after him. Archbishop Cranmer often repeated these words in the flame, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." A certain Spanish monk that stood by and heard him, ran to a nobleman there present, and cried out that Cranmer died in great desperation, ratus desperationis fuisse voces, as conceiving those to be words of despair.

As unto a faithful] Who will rather unmake all than we shall miscarry. And doth still manage all occurrences to the glory of his name and the good of those that trust in him, Psalms 124:8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-peter-4.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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