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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Peter 4

 

 

Verses 1-6

1 Peter 4:1-6. Our voluntary suffering in the way of righteousness denotes our fellowship with Christ, and our breaking with sin. Let there be therefore no return, on the part of converts, to the evil life of paganism, even when urged to it by old comrades. They too must face the Divine judgment, which is the same for all, and rules throughout the universe, so that none, alive or dead, can escape this standard, or find any way of salvation save through obedience.

1 Peter 4:1. mind: better, "thought" (mg.).

1 Peter 4:6. This verse has been termed the hardest to explain in the NT. In the light of our explanation of 1 Peter 3:19 it need not be so, for this is a natural sequence to that passage. These to whom Enoch preached also served their term of punishment. Justice was meted out to them in a way to which no human system of law could take exception, and yet God might have mercy upon them and upon all who turned to Him in true repentance. The reality of judgment is as necessary for men to recognise, as the reality of mercy.

[Possibly the meaning is: Christ preached to the dead that the sinful principle (the flesh) might be destroyed, and that they might be spiritually quickened. The order of the words favours this; and since it is a Pauline common-place that the believer, while still in the body, is no longer in the flesh, the converse that the sinner is still in the flesh when he is no longer in the body is not intrinsically more paradoxical, but strange because unfamiliar.—A. S. P.]


Verses 7-11

1 Peter 4:7-11. The conception that the consummation of all things is at hand fills the thought of the section with urgency. All work is to be done in that spirit of earnest, prayerful readiness that all life may prove a practical thanksgiving to God as it reflects the life of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:8. love covereth a multitude of sins (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:5 f., James 5:20*). "The love of Christ covers sins (Luke 7:47); and love of the brethren, flowing as it does from the love of Christ, may be regarded as a kind of secondary atonement. Brother becomes a Christ to brother, and in so far as he renews the great Sacrifice, becomes a partaker in its effects and a channel through which the effects are made operative for others" (Bigg).

1 Peter 4:9. hospitality: this new conception was one of the greatest contributions of the Christian Church to the society of the time. This and all the gifts subsequently named are to be used with the clear recollection that they are God's gifts. As Gunkel says, "the peculiar ‘gifts' of the early Church are no longer ours, but the ideal of a community in which each serves his neighbour, and in which each regards his position as a call of God—this remains with us."


Verses 12-19

1 Peter 4:12-19. The section repeats ideas that have already appeared (1 Peter 2:18-24, 1 Peter 3:13-17), only they are emphasized by the imminence (1 Peter 4:17) of severe trial.

1 Peter 4:15. a meddler: the original word seems to be a coinage of the writer, and its exact significance is difficult to define. It may be used politically as "a revolutionary" or as "a stirrer up of strife" in the home or society of the Christians. Again, it may be used of conformity to pagan practice, but this is unlikely in the context.

1 Peter 4:16. There may here be still the echo of the nickname, though it became accepted gladly by the Christians themselves as their title. Perhaps this passage had some part in that process (cf. art. "Christian" in HDB).

1 Peter 4:19. Creator: this title is found only here in the NT, and is specially significant as pointing to God as the source of all, and His will as behind all chance and change.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-peter-4.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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