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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
1 Peter 2



Other Authors
Verse 1

All ( πᾶσαν - πάντα )

Lit., every, or all manner of.

Evil-speaking ( καταλαλιάς )

Lit., speakings against. A rare word. Only here and 2 Corinthians 12:20.

Verse 2

New-born ( ἀρτιγέννητα )

Peculiar to Peter, and only in this passage. Lit., born but just now ( ἄρτι ).

Babes ( βρέθη )

The word signifying peculiarly a child at birth, or of tender years. See Luke 18:15; Acts 7:19. Of the infant Jesus, Luke 2:12, Luke 2:16. Here marking the recency of Christian life in the converts addressed.

Desire ( ἐπιποθήσατε )

The compound is intensive; earnestly desire. So Rev., long for. Compare Philemon 2:26.

The sincere milk of the word ( τὸ λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα )

The A. V. has rendered λογικὸν , of the word; but wrongly. It describes the quality of the milk as spiritual or rational, as opposed to literal and ceremonial. In the only other place where it occurs (Romans 12:1) it is rendered reasonable; which Rev. gives here in margin.

Sincere ( ἄδολον ) is another epithet of the milk

Lit.,without guile, unadulterated. Compare guile in 1 Peter 2:1. Laying aside guile, desire the guileless milk, etc. Hence Rev. renders the whole passage, Long for the spiritual milk which is without guile.

That ye may grow thereby

The best texts add, unto salvation.

Verse 3

Ye have tasted ( ἐγεύσασθε )

Aorist tense. More literally, ye tasted. “A taste excites the appetite” (Bengel). Compare long for, 1 Peter 2:2, and Psalm 34:8.

Gracious ( χρηστὸς )

Actively benignant, “as distinguished from other adjectives which describe goodness on the side of its sterling worth and its gentleness (Salmond). See on Matthew 11:30.

Verse 4

Coming ( προσερχόμενοι )

Indicating a close ( πρός ) and an habitual (present participle) approach and an intimate association.

A living stone ( λίθον ζῶντα )

Omit as unto. So Rev. The words are in apposition with whom (Christ). Compare Peter's use of the same word, stone, in Acts 4:11, and Matthew 21:42. It is not the word which Christ uses as a personal name for Peter ( Πέτρος )so that it is not necessary to infer that Peter was thinking of his own new name.

Disallowed ( ἀποδεδοκιμασμένον )

Rev., rejected. See on the simple verb, 1 Peter 1:7. The word indicates rejection after trial.

Of God ( παρὰ Θεῷ )

Of in the A. V. is equivalent to by; but πατά has a stronger sense, implying the absolute power of decisive choice which is with God. Render, as Rev., with God; i.e., God being judge; and compare Matthew 19:26; Romans 2:11.

Precious ( ἔντιμον )

At 1 Peter 1:19(precious blood) another word is used ( τίμιος )denoting essential preciousness. The word here indicates the preciousness as recognized or held in honor.

Verse 5

Living stones - built up - a spiritual house

It seems as though Peter must have had in mind the conception embodied in Christ's commission to him, of a building erected upon a rock. The metaphor of a house built of living stones is violent, and sufficiently characteristic of Peter; yet it pictures, in a very striking way, the union of stability, growth, and activity in the ideal church. Note the transition from babes growing (1 Peter 2:2) to stones built up. But, as Salmond remarks, “In Paul we have even bolder instances of apparent confusion of metaphors, as when, in one breath, he represents believers as at once walking, rooted, and built up in Christ (Colossians 2:6, Colossians 2:7).

To offer up ( ἀνενέγκαι )

The usual Old-Testament (Septuagint) term for offering of sacrifice. Lit., to bring up to the altar. Compare Hebrews 13:15. The force of ἀνά , up, appears in the fact of the altar being raised. The word is often used of carrying from a lower to a higher place. Thus Matthew 17:1; Luke 24:51. In this sense 1 Peter 2:24of this chapter is suggestive, where it is said that Christ bare ( ἀνήνεγκεν ) our sins: carried them up to the cross. See note there.

Verse 6

It is contained ( περιέχει )

From περί , round about, and ἔχω , to hold. Hence, to contain or comprehend. So Luke 5:9,he was astonished ( θάμβος αὐτὸν περιέσχεν )lit., astonishment held him, encompassed. Also, Acts 23:25, “He wrote a letter after this manner ( περιέχουσαν τὸν τύπον τοῦτον )lit., containing this form. The verb here is impersonal. The kindred word περιοχή occurs only in Acts 8:32, rendered place; i.e., the passage of scripture: either the contents of the passage or the section of the book circumscribed or marked off.

In the scripture ( ἐν γραφῇ )

The best texts reject the article. Γραφή means a passage of scripture. See on Mark 12:10. Hence Rev., in scripture; margin, in a scripture.

Behold I lay, etc

See Romans 9:33.


See on 1 Peter 2:4.

Verse 7

He is precious ( ἡ τιμὴ )

Wrong. Render, as Rev., For you therefore which believe is the preciousness (honor, in margin).

Is made the head of the corner ( ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας )

Rev., correctly, “was made.” The preposition εἰς , untocarrying the idea of coming unto the place of honor, is not rendered in A. V. or Rev. Lit., it would be, was made or became unto the head, etc.

Verse 9

Generation ( γένος )

Better, Rev., race: a body with a common life and descent.

Nation ( ἔθνος )People ( λαὸς )

The distinction between these three words cannot be closely pressed. Race emphasizes the idea of descent; nation, of community. Λαὸς people, occurring very often in the Septuagint, is used there mostly of the Israelites, the chosen people. The same use is also frequent in the New Testament; but it is employed in a more general sense, as by Luke 2:10. It would seem that this idea, however, in its metaphorical and Christian application, the chose Israel of God, directed Peter's choice of the word, since he adds, a people for God's own possession.

Peculiar ( εἰς περιποίησιν )

Lit., a people for acquisition. Rev., a people for God's own possession. Wyc., a people of purchasing. Cranmer, a people which are won. The word occurs 1 Thessalonians 5:9, rendered obtaining (Rev.); Ephesians 1:14, God's own possession (Rev.). See Isaiah href="/desk/?q=isa+43:21&sr=1">Isaiah 43:21(Sept., see above), and is rendered praise. See, also, Isaiah 42:12 (Sept.), “Declare his praise ( ἀρετὰς ) in the islands.”

Verse 10

People ( λαὸς )

See on 1 Peter 2:9, and note the choice of the term here. A people of God. Compare Romans 9:25, Romans 9:26.

Verse 11

Beloved ( ἀγαπητοί )

A favorite term with Peter, occurring eight times in the epistles. See the phrase, our beloved. Barnabas and Paul, Acts 15:25, in the letter sent by the council at Jerusalem to the Gentile Christians, the account of which, doubtless, came from Peter. Compare our beloved brother Paul, 2 Peter 3:15.

Strangers ( παροίκους )

Rev., sojourners. Compare 1 Peter 1:17, “the time of your sojourning ( παροικίας )Which ( αἵτινες )

The compound pronoun denotes a class, of that kind which, classifying all fleshly desires in one category.

Verse 12


Rev., behavior. See on 1 Peter 1:15.

Whereas ( ἐν ᾧ )

Rev., correctly, wherein; in the matter in which.

They speak against ( καταλαλοὔσιν )

Compare evil-speakings, 1 Peter 2:1, and Acts 28:22.

Which they shall behold ( ἐποπτεύοντες )

Rev., beholding. Used by Peter only, here and 1 Peter 3:2. The kindred noun ἐπόπτης , an eye-witness, occurs only at 2 Peter 1:16. It is a technical word, meaning one who was admitted to the highest degree of initiation in the Eleusinian mysteries. Here it conveys the idea of personal witness; behold with their own eyes.

Evil-doers ( κακοποιῶν )

The word occurs four times in Peter, and nowhere else in the New Testament except John 18:30, where it is applied by the priests to Christ himself.

Visitation ( ἐπισκοπῆς )

The radical idea of the word is that of observing or inspecting. Hence ἐπίσκοπος , an overseer or bishop. Visiting grows naturally out of this, as visitare from visere, to look at attentively. See Introduction, on Peter's emphasis upon sight; and compare behold, in this verse. The “day of visitation” is the day of looking upon: “When God shall look upon these wanderers, as a pastor over his flock, and shall become the overlooker or bishop of their souls” (1 Peter 2:25, Lumby).

Verse 13

Submit yourselves ( ὑποτάγητε )

Rev., be subject. See Romans 13:1sq.

Ordinance of man ( ἀνθρωπίνῃ κτίσει )

Lit., to every human creation or institution. Rev., creation, in margin.


The emperor, styled king by Greek writers.

Verse 14

Sent ( πεμπομένοις )

The present participle. In the habit of being sent: sent from time to time.

By him

The king; not the Lord.

Punishment ( ἐκδίκησιν )

Not strong enough. Better, vengeance, as Rev. Compare Luke 18:7; Romans 12:19.

Them that do well ( ἀγαθοποιῶν )

Only here in New Testament.

Verse 15

Put to silence ( φιμοῦν )

A very graphic word, meaning to muzzle or gag. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18. See on Matthew 22:12.

Ignorance ( ἀγνωσίαν )

In classical Greek it is an ignorance arising from not coming into contact with the person or thing to be known. It occurs only once again in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15:34. Here it signifies not want of acquaintance, but of understanding; a state of ignorance.

Of foolish men ( τῶν ἀφρόνων ἀνθρώπων )

Of the foolish men; the article referring to those just mentioned, who speak against them as evil-doers.

Verse 16

Using ( ἔχοντες )

Lit., having or holding.

Cloke ( ἐπικάλυμμα )

Only here in New Testament. Lit., a veil. The idea is that of using Christian freedom as a mask for ungodly license. Paul uses the kindred verb (Romans 4:7) of the covering of sins. On the sentiment, compare Galatians 5:13.

Verse 18

Servants ( οἰκέται )

Household servants. So Rev., in margin. Not a common term in the New Testament, occurring only in three other passages: Luke 16:13; Acts 10:7; Romans 14:4. Some suppose that Peter intended to cover by it freedmen and other dependants in the household, or that he uses it with a conciliatory purpose, as presenting the slave in closer relation with the family.

Gentle ( ἐπιεικέσιν )

A common derivation of this word is from εἴκω , to yield. Hence the meaning, mind, yielding, indulgent. But the true derivation is from εἰκός , reasonable; and the word implies rather the not being unduly rigorous: “Wherein not strictness of legal right, but consideration for one another, is the rule of practice” (Alford). Compare Philemon 4:5, where, for moderation ( τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ), Rev. gives forbearance, with gentleness in margin. According to Aristotle, the word stands in contrast with ἀκριβοδίκαιος , one who is exactingly just, as one who is satired with less than his due.

Froward ( σκολιοῖς )

Lit., crooked. See Luke 3:5. Peter uses the word in Acts 2:40(untoward )and Paul, in Philemon 2:15(crooked )The word froward is Anglo-Saxon fream-ward or from-ward, the opposite of to-ward. (See untoward, above.) Thus Ben Jonson:

“Those that are froward to an appetite;”

i.e., averse. Compare the phrases to-God-ward (2 Corinthians 3:4); to-us-ward.

Verse 19

Conscience toward God ( συνείδησιν Θεοῦ )

Rev., in margin, conscience of God. The idea is not conscientiousness in the ordinary sense, but the conscious sense of one's relation to God; his consciousness of God. Thus one suffers patiently, not from a conscientious sense of duty, but from an inner consciousness of his relation to God as a son, and to Christ as a joint-heir, which involves his suffering with him no less than his being glorified with him.

Verse 20

What glory ( ποῖον κλέος )

Lit., what kind of glory. This word for glory occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.

Buffeted ( κολαφιζόμενοι )

See Matthew 26:67: struck with the fist. This whole passage, 1 Peter 2:19-24, bears the mark of Peter's memories of the scene of Christ's last sufferings (see Introduction) - the blows of the servants, the scorn of the high-priest, the silent submission of Jesus, the cross, the stripes.

Verse 21

Leaving ( ὑπολιμπάνων )

Only here in the New Testament.

An example ( ὑπογραμμὸν )

Only here in the New Testament. A graphic word, meaning a copy set by writing-masters for their pupils. Some explain it as a copy of characters over which the student is to trace the lines.

Follow ( ἐπακολουθήσητε )

Lit., follow upon. The compound verb implies close following. From writers andpainters, the metaphor changes now to a guide.

Verse 22

Found ( εὑρέθη )

Stronger than the simple was, and indicating a guilelessness which had stood the test of scrutiny. Compare Matthew 26:60; John 18:38; John 19:4, John 19:6. Christ's sinlessness had also stood the test of Peter's intimacy.

Verse 23

Reviled - again ( ἀντελοιδόρει )

Only here in the New Testament.

Committed himself ( παρεδίδου )

But this gives a reflexive force to the verb which has no parallel. Commentators are divided, some supplying his cause, as Rev., in margin; others, his judgment; others, his revilers. Better, the subject of the contest - his insults and injuries. Salmond renders, but left it to him, etc.

Judgeth righteously

Compare without respect of person, 1 Peter 1:17.

Verse 24

Bare ( ἀνήνεγκεν )

See on 1 Peter 2:5. Bare up to the cross, as to an altar, and offered himself thereon.

The tree ( ξύλον )

Lit., wood. Peter uses the same peculiar term for the cross, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39.

Being dead ( ἀπογενόμενοι )

Rev., more strictly, having died. Used here only in the New Testament. The rendering of the verb can be given only in a clumsy way, having become off unto sin; not becoming separate from sins, but having ceased to exist as regards them. Compare Romans 6:18.

Stripes ( μώλωπι )

Lit., bruise. So Rev., in margin. Only here in New Testament; meaning a bloody wale which arises under a blow. “Such a sight we feel sure, as we read this descriptive passage, St. Peter's eyes beheld on the body of his Master, and the flesh so dreadfully mangled made the disfigured form appear in his eyes like one single bruise” (Lumby).

Verse 25

For ye were as sheep going astray ( ἦτε γὰρ ὡς πρόβατα πλανώμενοι );

i.e., as commonly understood, ye were like straying sheep. But the ye were should be construed with the participle going astray, the verb and the participle together denoting habitual action or condition. Render, as Rev., ye were going astray like sheep. See on Mark 12:24.


See on 1 Peter 2:12.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 31st, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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