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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Peter 2:17

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Honour all men - That is, Give honor to whom honor is due, Romans 13:7. Respect every man as a fellow creature, and as one who may be a fellow heir with you of eternal life; and therefore be ready to give him every kind of succor in your power.

Love the brotherhood - All true Christians, who form one great family of which God is the head.

Fear God - Who gives you these commandments, lest he punish you for disobedience.

Honour the king - Pay that respect to the emperor which his high authority requires, knowing that civil power is of God; that the authority with which he, in the course of his providence, has invested him, must be respected in order to its being obeyed; and that if the man be even bad, and as a man be worthy of no reverence, yet he should be respected on account of his office. If respect be banished, subordination will flee with it, and anarchy and ruin will rise up in their place. Truly religious persons are never found in seditions. Hypocrites may join themselves with any class of the workers of iniquity, and say, Hail, brethren!


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-peter-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Honor all men - That is, show them the respect which is due to them according to their personal worth, and to the rank and office which they sustain. See the notes at Romans 13:7.

Love the brotherhood - The whole fraternity of Christians, regarded as a band of brothers. The word used here occurs only in this place and in 1 Peter 5:9, where it is rendered “brethren.” The idea expressed here occurs often in the New Testament. See the notes at John 13:34-35.

Fear God - A duty everywhere enjoined in the Bible, as one of the first duties of religion. Compare Leviticus 25:17; Psalm 24:7; Psalm 25:14; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 23:17; See the Romans 3:18 note; 2 Corinthians 7:1 note. The word fear, when used to express our duty to God, means that we are to reverence and honor him. Religion, in one aspect, is described as the fear of God; in another, as the love of God; in another, as submission to his will, etc. A holy veneration or fear is always an elementary principle of religion. It is the fear, not so much of punishment as of his disapprobation; not so much the dread of suffering as the dread of doing wrong.

Honor the king - Referring here primarily to the Roman sovereign, but implying that we are always to respect those who have the rule over us. See the notes at Romans 13:1-7. The doctrine taught in these verses Romans 13:13-14 is, that we are faithfully to perform all the relative duties of life. There are duties which we owe to ourselves, which are of importance in their place, and which we are by no means at liberty to neglect. But we also owe duties to our fellow-men, to our Christian brethren, and to those who have the rule over us; and religion, while it is honored by our faithful performance of our duty to ourselves, is more openly honored by our performance of our duties to those to whom we sustain important relations in life. Many of the duties which we owe to ourselves are, from the nature of the case, hidden from public observation. All that pertains to the examination of the heart; to our private devotions; to the subjugation of our evil passions; to our individual communion with God, must be concealed from public view. Not so, however, with those duties which pertain to others. In respect to them, we are open to public view. The eye of the world is upon us. The judgment of the world in regard to us is made up from their observation of the manner in which we perform them. If religion fails there, they judge that it fails altogether; and however devout we may be in private, if it is not seen by the world that our religion leads to the faithful performance of the duties which we owe in the various relations of life, it will be regarded as of little value.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-2.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Peter 2:17

Honour all men.

Various political duties

I. Personal courtesy. It is our duty to make manners a part of religion.

1. Respect.

2. Consideration. Put yourself in others’ ways and plans and difficulties.

3. Kindness.

II. Affectionate brotherhood. It is only reasonable we should “love the brotherhood,” for we are-

1. Sharers of the same discipline.

2. Heirs of the same blessings.

3. Travellers along the same road.

III. Dutiful worshippers. “Fear God.”

IV. Sanctified loyalty. “Honour the King.”

1. Independently of the ruler’s character.

2. Independently of personal distinction.

Honour all men

First, the duty, what it is, and then how that duty is either extended or limited in regard of the object. The duties are honour and love. The first, by opening the duty, and what we are to do. The next, by inquiring into the obligation, and why we are so to do. The last, by examining our performance, and whether we do therein as we ought to do or no. And first of the former precept, Honour all men. Honour, properly, is an acknowledgment or testification of some excellency in the person honoured, by some reverence or observance answerable thereunto. Thus we honour God above all as being transcendently excellent, and thus we honour our parents, our princes, our betters, or superiors in any kind. The word honour in this place imports all that esteem or regard, be it more or less, which is due to any man in respect of his place, person, or condition, according to the eminency, merit, or exigency of any of them respectively, together with the willing performance of such just and charitable offices upon all emergent occasions as in proportion to any of the said respects can be reasonably expected. In which sense it is a possible thing for us to honour, not only our superiors that are over us or above us, but our equals too that are in the same rank with us, yea, even our inferiors also that are below us or under us. And in this latitude you shall find the word honour sometimes used in the Scriptures, though not so frequently as in the proper signification. You have one example of it in the seventh verse of the next chapter, where St. Peter enjoineth husbands to give honour to the wife as to the weaker vessel. It was far from his meaning doubtless that the husband should honour the wife with the honour properly so called, that of reverence or subjection, for that were to invert the right order of things and to pervert God’s ordinance. In like manner we are to understand the word honour here in the text, in such a notion as may include all those fitting respects which are to be given to equals and inferiors also, which is a kind of honour too but more improperly so called. And then it falleth in, all one with that of St. Paul (Romans 13:7). “Render therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour.” Now we see in the meaning of the words both what duty we are to perform and to whom. It may next be demanded upon what tie we stand thus bound to honour all men? I answer-there lieth a three-fold tie upon us, to wit, of justice, of equity, of religion. A tie of justice first, whose most proper office it is to give to every one that which of right appertaineth to him. It is a thing not unworthy the observing that all those words which usually signify honour in the three learned languages do either primarily signify or else are derived from such words as do withal signify either a price or a weight. Now by the rules of commutative justice the price of every commodity ought to be according to the true worth of it. A false weight is abominable, and so is every one that tradeth with it; and certainly that man maketh use of a false beam that setteth light by his brother whom he ought to honour. The next tie is that of equity. “Whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” We care not how much honour cometh to ourselves from others, how little goeth from ourselves to others. Let every man therefore in God’s name take to himself that portion of honour and respect that is due to him, and good luck may he have with his honour. Provided always that he be withal sure of these two things first, that he take no more than his due, for this is but just; and then, that he be as willing to give as to take, for that is but equal. He that doth otherwise is partial and unreasonable. And thus we are tied in equity to honour all men. There is yet a third tie, that of religion, in respect of that image of God, which is to be found in man. All honour is in regard of some excellency or other, and there is in man no excellency at all of and from himself, but all the excellency that is in him is such only as God hath been pleased to put upon him. And that excellency is two fold-natural and personal. The natural excellency is that whereby man excelleth other creatures. Personal that whereby one man excelleth another. Of the natural first which ariseth from the image of God stamped upon man in his creation. Besides this natural, God hath put upon man a personal excellency which is an effect of His Providence in the government of the world, as the former was of His power in the creation of it. And here first beginneth the difference that is between one man and another. We have seen hitherto both the duty and obligation of it. What are we to perform, and why? We come now to examine a little how it is performed among us. Slackly and untowardly enough no doubt as all other duties are. Are there not some first, who are so far from honouring all men as the text requireth that they honour no man at all, at least, not as they ought to do? No, not their known superiors? But how much less then their equals or inferiors? There are others, secondly, that may perhaps be persuaded to yield some honour to their betters (that may be but reason) but that they should be bound to honour those that are not so good men as themselves, or at the most but such like as themselves are they see no great reason for that. But there is no remedy; St. Peter here telleth them that must be done too. There is a third sort that corrupt a good text with an ill gloss as thus. The magistrate shall have his tribute, the minister his tithe, and so every other man his due honour, if so be he carry himself worthily and as he ought to do in his place, and so as to deserve it. In good time! But I pray you then, first, who must judge of his carriage and whether he deserve such honour, yea or no? But, secondly, how durst thou distinguish where the law distinguishes not? Where God commandeth He looketh to be answered with obedience, and dost thou think to come off with subtleties and distinctions? Least of all, thirdly, with such a gloss as the apostle hath already precluded by his own comment in the next verse, where he biddeth servants to be subject to their masters, not only to the good and gentle but to the froward also, and such as would be ready to buffet them when they had done no fault. Such masters sure could challenge no great honour from their servants. But tell me, fourthly, in good earnest, dost thou believe that another man’s neglect of his duty can discharge thee from the obligation of thine? Lastly, when thou sayest thou wilt honour him according to his place if he deserve it, dost thou not observe that thou art still unjust by thy own confession? For where place and merit concur there is a double honour due (1 Timothy 5:17). There is one honour due to the place and another to merit. (Bp. Sanderson.)

The honour of humanity

It has been observed that more attention is commonly given to the specific than to the general precepts of Holy Scripture. Thus, in the verse there is a particular precept, to “honour the king,” which has attracted more notice than the wider principle “honour all men.” The reason is this: The vast field of action which opens before us, when contemplating a general precept, is so fatiguing to the imagination, that we are tempted to give up the task of considering it in something like despair. Nor is this the only reason for the practical disadvantages of general, as compared with specific precepts. As morality is too often taught, these general precepts are rested upon considerations too abstract to exert a real influence upon average men. A general precept, like that before us, must be based on an energetic conviction, in order to give it the needful vividness and force. Of this the precept before us is an eminent illustration. We only bring it down from the neglected region of moral proprieties, we only learn its living and working power, and give it a clothing of flesh arid blood, when we place it in the light of the great Christian doctrines of which it is the practical and animated expression. What is honour? It is, first of all, a sentiment which prompts us to acknowledge, and to do homage to, some form of truth. It must spring from a sense of merit of some kind in the object which provokes it; and, therefore, it must begin from within. Honour, then, in the first place, is a genuine movement of the soul; but, secondly, it is often a substantial expression of that movement in the outward visible world of sense. Whether it be embodied in a gesture, or in a title, or in a gift of money, it is at bottom an acknowledgment of superior worth, attaching, it may be, to an individual, or to an office, or to an institution. It is a practical expression of the sentiment of honour, quickened into activity by a worthy object. When, then, St. Peter says that we are to “honour all men,” he means, no doubt, that if opportunity arises we are to give practical expression to the disposition to honour them. But he means, first of all, that this disposition should itself exist. And it is here that we reach the point at which the need is felt of basing the precept upon a conviction. Why should we thus be disposed to “honour all men”? It is clear that if man is left to himself, he is by no means disposed to “honour all men.” Why is he bound to make head against this natural inclination? Is it in deference to a sense of self-interest? to a belief that courtesy is a cheap thing, which if it does not make friends, yet keeps clear of making enemies? No! The honour which the apostle prescribes is not an insincere conventionalism, but a true expression of inward respect. Are we then to honour all men in deference to the mere instinct of race? You say that, at least, in this case man should honour his brother man as a reproduction of himself. Does then one brute, nay, the most intelligent of the brutes, honour other brutes? There is nothing in a second animal, who is a mere reproduction of my animal self, which properly commands this tribute of honour; while there is much in him which might incline me to refuse it. But here comes a teacher who repeats the injunction under a new formula. Humanity is the god of Positivist thinkers; man is the highest being whom the consistent philosophy of experience can consent to recognise. Man in his collective capacity, the organism “humanity,” is to be worshipped by each individual man. And from this new cultus, we are told, there is to flow forth a morality, which, in its spirits and its objects, shall be enthusiastically human; against which, as we are further assured, the inferior ethics of Christendom, weighted with the dogmatic teaching of the creeds, will struggle in vain for supremacy in the Europe of the future. But what is the real meaning of this cultus of humanity? Taking humanity as an actual whole, it is to worship that, in which the immoral decidedly preponderates over the moral, the false over the true, the bad over the good.

I. What, then, are the motives which should lead a Christian to honour all men?

1. The first is, that all men are made in the image of God. “God created man in His own image, after His likeness.” This image and likeness consist in the fact that, first of all, man is an intelligent being, conscious of, and able steadily to reflect upon, his own existence; and, next, that his will is free. In each of these respects he is unlike any one of the lower creatures; in each he is like God. All men are endued with an immortal, conscious, self-determining principle of life. Or rather that principle is each man’s true self, around which all else that belongs to him is clustered, and to which it stands in the relation of a property, or it may be of an accident.

2. Our Lord’s death upon the Cross is a second reason for honouring all men. His death was indeed a true sacrifice offered to the justice and majesty of God, but it was also an act of homage and honour to the worth of the human spirit. It was to enlighten the conscience of man, it was to purify man’s soul from the stains, and to free it from the burden of sin, it was to restore man to his true and native dignity among the firstborn of creation, that our Saviour died.

3. From these two motives a Christian will gather a third, which must lead him to honour all men, both in feeling and in act. I refer to the capacity of every man, be he who or what he may, while in this world, for improvement, for goodness. This generous faith in humanity is a creation of the gospel. The glory, the sinlessness, the ineffable majesty of the ascended Christ is the measure of the hopes of man. And from that throne of His in the highest heavens there descends upon the race which He has ennobled, and which He yearns to glorify and to save, an interest, a radiance in Christian eyes, an inheritance of a title to honour, which has made the precept of the apostle one of the main factors of the moral life of Christendom.

II. But is the precept to be understood literally? Does “all men” mean all members, all classes of the human family? Let me ask, in return, Why not? Let us look at some of the barriers which have been raised against man’s universal right to honour by the prejudices of man.

1. There is, first of all, and, morally speaking, lowest of all, the barrier of wealth. Wealth honours wealth; income pays respect to income; but it is wont to cherish, in its secret heart, an unmeasured contempt for poverty. To believe that a man with £60 a year is just as much deserving of respect as a man with £6,000, you must be seriously a Christian.

2. A second barrier is the spirit of station or of class, founded whether upon success in life, or upon the circumstances of birth. That an aristocracy has, in God’s providential government of society, distinct and great functions to perform, is a position which is not for one moment to be denied; since the experience of history seems to show that society creates a higher class by a natural process, and we in England know how largely such a class may, if it will, serve its country. But when it develops an exclusive spirit, which divides humanity into two sections, those within and those without the imaginary barrier, it comes into collision with the teaching of the gospel. The Divine image, expressed in man’s intelligence and freedom; the atoning blood, giving the measure of man’s preciousness in the eyes of God; the glorified manhood of Jesus, revealing to man his capacity for glory;-these are the privileges of no class or station; they are the right and the possession of humanity.

3. A third barrier is that of race or country. Patriotism, no doubt, has its providential purpose; and the instinct of race is but an expansion of the instinct of the family. Both are based upon a natural foundation and have a Divine sanction; but in their exaggeration both may foster sentiments which are crimes against humanity. When we hear of the African savage who a few months since floated his canoe in a lake of human blood, that he might fitly observe his father’s obsequies, we may for a moment look hard at the precept to honour all men. Yet, all crime being, in the eyes of absolute justice, strictly relative to opportunities, it may well be that this pagan prince stands higher before heaven than do you or I, when we lose our tempers in conversation, or say our prayers without thinking of the solemn work in which we are engaged.

4. The absence of intelligence is often held to constitute a fourth barrier against this honour of man as man. To make intelligence, in the sense of cultivated intellect, the real test of a claim to honour, would secure such honour to Voltaire, and (may we not add?) to Satan, while denying it to the apostles of Christ. To make intelligence, in the sense of the common faculty which is capable of reflecting on self and of knowing God, the ground of that claim, is to own that a debt of honour is due to the whole human family. The precept before us, however, is not adverse to our recognising the specific titles to honour which individuals or classes may possess. It only insists upon a broader basis of such right to honour than that which any of these titles suggest. It is entirely in harmony with the honourable recognition of moral worth, because moral worth enriches and intensifies what is best in humanity, namely, the freedom and power of man’s will. It does not force us to condone either the wilful propagation of error or the guilt of crime. It does not imply indifference to the interests either of truth or virtue.

III. The practical bearings of this suggestive precept are so numerous that it will be necessary to confine ourselves to the following, by way of conclusion.

1. “Honour all men” is a fitting motto for the spirit of much of our study.

2. Here is the Christian rule for social intercourse. Honour high station, honour authority, honour genius, honour courage, honour even success, if you will; but do not limit your honour to these things. If you honour the representative men of humanity, those who embody and intensify its great qualities or interests, do not forget that that which you honour in them is shared in a measure by all.

3. Lastly, in this precept we may discover the true spirit of Christian works of mercy. All the plans which Christian charity really devises and sets on foot are based on the principle of respect for man. Christian charity relieves poverty, not as conferring a favour, but as satisfying what is in some sense a right-the right of humanity to live, and to ask in God’s name at the hands of property the means of livelihood. (Canon Liddon.)

The honour due to all men

There is no need of argument to prove the kindliness of Christianity, compared with every other system of belief. Its regard for life and its sympathy with human weakness may be seen upon the surface of every Christian land. To this we owe our hospitals and refuges, and all the multitude of charitable institutions which mitigate human suffering. But it is by no means sufficient merely to notice this as a fact. It is of great moment that we search into the principle from which it springs, and that principle is shortly but forcibly brought out in the precept of St. Peter-“Honour all men.” Now it is important that we should see why this precept was confined to Christianity. It was so, first, because its teaching made it for the first time possible, truly, and with reason, to fulfil it. Before this, dark shades rested upon the nature of man. Different qualities of man might be honoured, but right reason could scarcely honour man-poor, fallen, wretched, debased man. So it was of old. But so it was not after Christ our Lord had come upon the earth. His incarnation has dispelled this darkness. For it clearly showed that the sin which dwelt in man and mocked him, by pretending to be a part of himself, was no true part of himself. For in that very humanity, the Son of God had tabernacled without spot of sin. But besides this Christianity alone made all men brothers. Its blessed communion makes all equal, not by putting down the distinctions of earth, confounding the ranks of society, but by raising the manhood in each of us to its true worthiness, by teaching the master to treat the servant “not now as a servant” but “above a servant,” as a “brother beloved”; by showing all that as “partakers of the benefit,” as members of Christ, they have a unity which the petty distinctions of earth cannot dissever; a true dignity, which its seeming degradations cannot obscure. See, then, how great a part of Christianity is contained in this precept. How growth in its spirit is a necessary and certain accompaniment of growth in true, living, practical religion, as it stands opposed to the sickliness of sentimentality. But to see this still more clearly, look at the example of our Master, Christ; see in Him the perfection of this grace. How did He look at man? Who ever saw so far into all the feebleness, uncertainty, and wickedness of those who came around Him, as He did whilst He walked up and down this crowded wilderness? Who ever read the hidden evil of men’s hearts as He did? Yet, how did He look upon all? Was there one over whom, as being a man, He did not yearn; was there one sharer of humanity whom, as man, He did not honour-one lost one whom He did not “seek,” and was not ready “to save”? And this was the secret of His deep tenderness towards sinners, His unwearied forbearance-His most compassionate love, His sympathy with every; one of the fallen but redeemed race. And we, if we would have these graces in our measure, must seek for their spring head-we must strive for this great power of “honouring all men”-of seeing in all the true manhood; seeing in all the true value of life; earnestly believing that in all is that which Christ our Master took unto Himself, and in taking to Himself sanctified and purified and made capable of a true and real worthiness. And if we would make any progress in this high grace, we must not hide from ourselves the difficulties which will surely beset its exercise. For these are many and great and will be too much for us, if without counting the cost, we endeavour to encounter them. First, there is selfishness, that deep root of inner corruption which is the absolute antagonist of such a spirit-for this, which leads every man to “mind his own things,” to grasp at everything within his reach, to rate himself, his own plans, his own pleasures, first, must of necessity rob him of the power of “honouring others.” But besides selfishness, there is the whole current of worldly society to be withstood. In spite of the great healing which the gospel of Christ has wrought, its waters are still bitter and turbulent, and they flow for the most part right against the stream of heavenly things.

1. Then let me say, if you would “honour all men,” begin by truly honouring yourselves. A true Christian honour of ourselves leads us to feel most deeply the taint and degradation of the sin which dwells in us, which is so unworthy of our redeemed station. Instead of feeling self-sufficient, we see that only in Christ, only as one of the ransomed family, as dwelt in by Him, as justified through Him, can we have hope. And thus we join ourselves to our brethren in Christ; we and they are one in hope, only we know more of our own loss and misery than we can know of theirs: and therefore we are lowly, and honour them in Christ, their God and ours. So also does a Christian honour of ourselves oppose itself to vanity. How to such an one can the ignorant applause of his fellows be anything but a mockery? Again, his reverence for the redeemed manhood in himself makes him fear lest sensuality should cloud it; lest it should be turned into the heaviest curse by separation from Christ. This makes him most tender of the welfare of the souls of others-he yearns over them; he would “eat no meat while the world lasteth,” rather than make “a brother to offend.”

2. And as honouring ourselves is the first rule that I would give, so the second is-seek to practise yourselves in honouring others. God has so formed us that our spiritual and moral cure is to be wrought by the blessing of His grace upon our practical efforts. We must gain tender, sympathetic hearts, hearts which indeed honour our brethren, not by cultivating abstract sensibilities, but by practising kindly actions. (Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

Honour all men

“Honour all men Honour the king.” It is the same word in both cases. Honour is the thing due to king and to man. But in the Greek the tense is different; honour all men as various occasions arise for it; but in the other three cases the object and the occasion are known; give present love and fear and honour to a visible brotherhood, and a present God, and a known ruler. It is as though the apostle prefaced the special precepts with this more general one. Honour all men everywhere; nothing is to annul this, the charter of the whole redeemed race; but specially love the Christian brotherhood, and fear the God so visibly present among them, and honour the appointed king.

1. Man is honourable among the creatures of God for his knowledge and power of thought. By the light of God that is in him, man sees God in the world of matter and life. The finger point of the most wise Artificer is upon every part.

2. But that which is at once the glory and the shame of man, is his power to choose, his will.

3. And this power of action is also a power of obedience to the law of God.

4. And, lastly, man is immortal. “God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” We are immortal, for the hope of a future life, awakened and fostered by our Lord, cannot be meant to end in a delusion. Honour all men, then; honour those to whom God has given the discerning soul, and the deciding will, and the guiding conscience, and the inheritance of eternal life. (Abp. Thomson.)

Honour all

This was one of the rules which St. Peter gave to the Christians of his day. They were placed in the midst of Jews and heathens, On every side there were enemies, slanderers, persecutors; they were surrounded by foolish men living in fleshly lusts, froward and hard tempered-and yet with all this they were to honour all men. These were not excluded. It is a common thing for men to say that the rich and the clever despise the poor, ignorant, hard-working classes below them. Often that way of speaking is false. There are many exceptions to it. But often, we must confess with pain, it is true. Younger men among those classes have their favourite words of contempt by which they try to set themselves up above others, and to mark off those who are as much heirs of God’s kingdom as they are themselves, as people to be laughed at or insulted. And so they do not honour all men. And this want of the will to honour affects all relations of life. It disturbs the peace and happiness of families. No position of life affords greater opportunities for exercising kindness than that of the master or mistress of servants-the employer of workmen. And yet everywhere we find the duties of that position neglected. Men do not “honour” those who are thus placed, by the providence of God, in dependence on them. Do not think that this commandment is easier for one class of men to perform than for others. Those who look up to most other men as being above them in rank and riches, are just as faulty in this matter as the haughtiest and highest. Many of you must feel in your heart of hearts that all the time when you have seemed outwardly most respectful, there has been no reality, no truthfulness in it. You have honoured not the man, but his money, or his station, or his opinions, or you have hoped to gain some thing from him, or you have been afraid of his displeasure. And that want of true honour which we note in these instances is seen yet more in the acts and the speech of poor men, too often even towards each other. Go into the streets and courts of any of our great cities; listen to the disputes which are to be met with at every corner, and what strikes one most is the abuse and scorn which men of the same class, who are fellow workers often, and have a common interest, pour out upon each other. They show no respect, no consideration, no “honour.” One step further we must go to reach the worst form of the evil. In all ranks of society you will find men who ought to know better, who pride themselves on reading their Bibles, and keeping out of the sins of their neighbours, and caring for their own souls. They, we might think, will surely “honour all men,” and that not with a false show of honour, but in earnest. A man’s knowledge of the Bible may serve not to make him truer, better, severer in judging himself, but to give him greater cleverness in picking out texts against his neighbours. He loves to think of himself as chosen, saved from hell, and sometimes seems almost as if he liked to think also of other men as going the wrong way, so that he sees them led captive by the devil without any effort to save them, without doing anything to gain their affection and respect. I do not say that this evil is universal. Can you not imagine what a man would be in whose soul the words, “honour all men-all without exception-the youngest, the poorest, the most sinning,” had been traced as with the finger of God, never to be blotted out? Would there not be in such a man an unequalled courtesy, a gentleness and yet openness of speech which would win all men’s confidence? I can think of such an one in any station of life, as a man himself to be loved, trusted, honoured, Read St. Paul’s Epistles, take that single letter even, which he wrote to Philemon, and tell me if you do not find there precisely such a character as that which I have tried to describe. See how he behaves to governors and kings and centurions, and captains of ships and gaolers and peasants, and everywhere you find the same freedom from all violence and selfishness and rudeness. And this, doubtless, was the secret of the wonderful power which he had over the hearts of other men, winning their respect even in spite of them, gaining affection and love from the roughest hearts which seemed at first dead to all such feelings. But there is a higher example in this matter, even than St. Paul’s. Was there not in Jesus of Nazareth one Who was meek and lowly in heart, taking upon Himself the form of a servant that He might save all who were willing to come to Him? Here then, once for all, is an example of the width and depth of this commandment of God. And this which supplies the example furnishes also the motive. Do not think that St. Peter would have enforced the rule of honouring all men on those grounds on which we sometimes try to persuade our children or our dependents to be respectful. It was not because that was the way to lead a quiet life, to get on in the world: to gain the favour of the great, to avoid persecution and ill-will; but much rather because Christ had taught him to think of a Father in heaven, who was inviting all men to become His children; because he believed that Christ had come to redeem all men, to manifest Himself as their brother and their friend. How could he despise those whom the Lord had not despised? How could he refuse to honour one for whom Christ had not refused to suffer and to die? (Dean Plumptre.)

No man to be despised

No nobler tribute could be paid to a memory than that which was written of the martyred bishop, Pattison, by one of his simple converts in the Southern seas-“He did not despise anyone, nor reject anyone with scorn, whether it were white man or black man; he thought of them all as one, and he loved them all alike.” (Canon Duckworth.)

The respect due to human nature

Among the many blessings of Christianity, I regard as not the least the new interest which it awakens in us towards everything human, the new importance which it gives to the soul, the new relation which it establishes between man and man. Christianity has as yet but begun its work of reformation. Under its influences a new order of society is advancing, surely though slowly; and this beneficient change it is to accomplish in no small measure by revealing to men their own nature, and teaching them to “honour all” who partake it. The soul is to be regarded with a religious reverence hitherto unfelt. There is nothing of which men know so little as themselves. Men have as yet no just respect for themselves and of consequence no just respect for others. The true bond of society is thus wanting, and accordingly there is a great deficiency of Christian benevolence. It may be said that Christianity has done much to awaken benevolence, and that it has taught men to call one another brethren. Yes, to call one another so, but has it as yet given the true feeling of brotherhood? Do we feel that there is one Divine life in our own and in all souls? Here is a tie more sacred, more enduring, than all the ties of this earth. Is it felt, and do we in consequence truly honour one another? Sometimes, indeed, we see men giving profound respect to their fellow creatures; but to whom? To great men; to men distinguished by a broad line from the multitude. But this is not to “honour all men,” and the homage paid to such is generally unfriendly to that Christian estimate of human beings for which I am now pleading. The great are honoured at the expense of their race. They absorb the world’s admiration, and their less gifted fellow beings are thrown by their brightness into a deeper shade, and passed over with a colder contempt. To show the grounds on which the obligation to honour all men rests, I might take a minute survey of that human nature which is common to all, and set forth its claims to reverence. But leaving this wide range, I observe that there is one principle of the soul which makes all men essentially equal, which places all on a level as to means of happiness, which may place in the first rank of human beings those who are the most depressed in worldly condition. I refer to the sense of duty, to the power of discerning and doing right, to the inward monitor which speaks in the name of God, to the capacity of virtue or excellence. This is the great gift of God. We can conceive no greater. Through this the ignorant and the poor may become the greatest of the race; for the greatest is he who is most true to the principle of duty. The idea of right is the primary revelation of God to the human mind, and all outward revelations are founded on and addressed to it., He in whom the conviction of duty is unfolded, becomes subject from that moment to a law, which no power in the universe can abrogate. He forms a new and indissoluble connection with God, that of an accountable being. He begins to stand before an inward tribunal, on the decisions of which his whole happiness rests; lie hears a voice, which, if faithfully followed, will guide him to perfection, and in neglecting which he brings upon himself inevitable misery. We little understand the solemnity of the moral principle in every human mind. Did we understand it, we should look with a feeling of reverence on every being to whom it is given. I proceed to observe that, if we look next into Christianity, we shall find this duty enforced by new and still more solemn considerations. This whole religion is a testimony to the worth of man in the sight of God, to the importance of human nature, to the infinite purposes for which we were framed. Men viewed in the light of this religion are beings cared for by God, to whom He has given His Son, on whom He pours forth His Spirit and whom He has created for the highest good in the universe, for participation in His own perfections and happiness. I estimate political revolutions chiefly by their tendency to exalt men’s conceptions of their nature, and to inspire them with respect for one another’s claims. (W. E. Channing.)

Honour all men

Honour in a narrower sense is not universally due to all, but peculiar to some kinds of persons. Of this the apostle speaks (Romans 13:8). We owe not the same measure of esteem to all. We may, yea, we ought to take notice of the different outward quality or inward graces and gifts of men; nor is it a fault to perceive the shallowness and weakness of men with whom we converse, and to esteem more highly those on whom God hath conferred more of such things as are truly worthy of esteem. But unto the meanest we do owe some measure of esteem, first, negatively. We are not to entertain disdainful thoughts of any, how worthless and mean soever. We are also to observe and respect the smallest good that is in any. Although a Christian be never so base in his outward condition, in body or mind, yet they who know the worth of spiritual things, will esteem the grace of God that is in him, in the midst of all these disadvantages, as a pearl in a rough shell. The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up, for possibly, said they, the name of God may be on it. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on. It may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not. Wheresoever thou findest the least trait of Christ’s image, if thou lovest Him, thou wilt honour it. Or if there be nothing of this to be found in him thou lookest on, yet observe what common gift of any kind God hath bestowed on him, judgment, or memory, or faculty in his calling, or any such thing, for these in their degree are to be esteemed, and the person for them. Or imagine thou canst find nothing else in some men, yet honour thy own nature, esteem humanity in them, especially since humanity is exalted in Christ to be one with the Deity. Account of the individual as a man. The outward behaviour wherein we owe honour to all, is nothing but a conformity to this inward temper of mind; for he that inwardly despiseth none but esteemeth the good that is in the lowest, or at least esteemeth them in that they are men, will use no outward sign of disdain of any. He will not have a scornful eye nor a reproachful tongue to move at any, not the meanest of his servants, nor the worst of his enemies; but, on the contrary, will acknowledge the good that is in every man, and give unto all that outward respect that is convenient for them and that they are capable of, and will be ready to do them good as he hath opportunity and ability. (Abp. Leighton.)

The duty of honouring all men

All mankind are to be honoured-

1. Because all men are the children of one Almighty Father, and were made originally in His glorious image.

2. Because all men were made of one blood.

3. Because all men are gifted with the same common immortality.

4. Because all men have been redeemed by one common Saviour.

5. Because all men are susceptible of the same spiritual and everlasting life. (H. Stowell, M. A.)

The honour due to all men

I. To different classes.

1. Superiors.

2. Equals (Romans 12:10).

3. Inferiors. I remember to have heard a friend once say, after passing and noticing a poor man, “When I meet a human being I always wish to consider that I meet a brother.”

II. To different characters.

1. The good. “Go and do likewise.” You cannot honour a good man more than by treading in his steps.

2. The bad.

III. Different ages.

1. Old age. The ancient Spartans were famous for the respect they paid to the aged; so that it was not unusual to say, “It is a pleasure to grow old in Lace demon.” Let this pleasure be enjoyed by the aged among us.

2. The young are to be honoured by tender and faithful solicitude for their welfare; by a concern for the right formation of their characters, and the fixing of right principles in their minds. And if they are yet under authority, by affectionate care of them, their persons, their morals, their company, their habits, and especially their souls.

IV. Different situations and circumstances.

1. The afflicted. Bear one another’s burdens. Mutual sympathy is mutual honour.

2. The prosperous. You will honour yourself, as well as your neighbour, when you rejoice in his prosperity, and feel your own happiness increased by witnessing his.

3. The perplexed. Feel for and assist them.

4. Relations and strangers, countrymen and foreigners, those who belong to our own party or denomination and those who belong to others, all have some claim upon us. More especially let us honour an upright conscience wherever it exists, although its conclusions may be different from our own. (Essex Remembrancer.)

The value of man

Both creation and redemption teem with evidences that God sets a high value on His creature man. All the relations and uses of minerals, plants, and animals have been arranged for man’s benefit; for no other creature is capable of observing or turning them to account. But the grandest evidence of the value which God sets on man appears in the mission, ministry, and sacrifice of Christ. So high in heaven was the estimate of even ruined man, that when no other price could buy the captive back the Son of God gave Himself, the just for the unjust. Value highly immortal beings made in their Creator’s likeness, and capable yet of living to His praise. We act according to our estimates. Estimate humanity aright in the habit of your hearts, and your conduct will fashion itself naturally accordant, as a river finds its way to the sea. Value the whole man, and not merely a part. In particular, and for obvious practical purposes, value his soul as well as his body, and his body as well as his soul. So did Christ; and therefore so should we. The body’s sufferings did not occupy His attention to the neglect of the soul’s sins; the soul’s sins did not occupy His attention to the neglect of the body’s sufferings. (W. Arnot.)

Value all men

There is no respect of persons with God, and there should be none with men. When you fail to value aright any man or class of men, you are fighting against God, and will certainly be hurt. Nothing is gained by a false estimate of the value of any man. The circles of Providence, like the celestial bodies, correct aberrations, and right themselves as they go round. Value the young. How precious these germs are! They will be the men and women of the generation when we become children again. Value the poor and ignorant. In that state Christ valued you, believer. He did not pass you because you were worthless. Value the rich. He is as precious as the poor, and will be as worthy, if he is redeemed, when he walks with his Redeemer in white. Value the vicious. Although they wallow in a deep mire today, they have fallen from a high estate, and may yet regain it. That poor staggering drunkard is worth more than worlds, if he were won. They who hope in Christ should not count any case hopeless. Value yourself. Do not hold yourself cheap, ye who may have Christ for your brother and heaven for your home. (W. Arnot.)

Honour all men

1. As made in the image of God.

2. As capable of heaven.

3. As having some special talent to trade with. (J. Trapp.)

The poor-two ways of treating

Dr. Joseph Parker says there are two ways of accosting a poor man-one which tells him he is a man and another which only tells him he is poor.

Dignity of man

M. Boudon, an eminent surgeon, was one day sent for by the Cardinal du Bois, prime minister of France, to perform a very serious operation upon him. The cardinal, on seeing him enter the room, said to him, “You must not expect to treat me in the same rough manner you treat your poor miserable wretches at your hospital of the Hotel Dieu.” “My lord,” replied M. Boudon with great dignity, “every one of those miserable wretches, as your Eminence is pleased to call them, is a prime minister in my eyes.” (J. Percy.)

Respect for manhood

It is said of Burns the poet, that walking along the streets of Edinburgh with a fashionable acquaintance, he saw a poorly dressed peasant, whom he rushed up to and greeted as a familiar friend. His companion expressed his surprise that he could lower himself by speaking to one in so rustic a garb. “Fool!” said the poet, with flashing eye, “it was not the dress, the peasant’s bonnet and hodden gray, I spoke to, but the man within-the man who beneath that bonnet has a head, and beneath that hodden gray a heart better than a thousand such as yours.” (J. C. Lees, D. D.)

Honour all

At this time the great majority of human beings was neglected and despised by the wise and learned, as well as dishonoured and oppressed by the rich and powerful and governing classes. With feelings of reverence and awe the traveller gazes, not only on the crumbling shrine and hallowed dust of Iona, but on the ruins, accursed and hopeless though they be, of wicked Nineveh and proud Babylon. But here is a ruin in which God once dwelt, and in which He desires yet again, and eternally, to dwell. Surely it is not for those whom grace, and grace alone, has saved from a like degradation, to exult over the desolation, or even to pass it by with indifference. “Honour all men”-if not for what they have made themselves, at least for what the Creator and Redeemer designed them to be. Honour that kindly thought of God toward them by striving, as best you may, for its realisation. And, when all your efforts seem to prove abortive, still honour it, and the objects of it, by your prayers and tears. (J. Lillie, D. D.)

Love the brotherhood.-

Love the brotherhood

As the clouds which soar in the air are to the universal mass of waters, so are the brotherhood of God’s renewed children to the whole human family. Of mankind these brothers are in origin and nature; but they have been drawn out and up from the rest by an unseen omnipotent law.

1. Love to the brotherhood is an instinctive emotion. It is not an accident, but a nature. It springs in renewed hearts, as love of her offspring springs in a mother’s breast. It is the result not of an artificial policy, but of a natural law. The new creature exercises instincts as well as the old.

2. The Lord Jesus was not satisfied with the measure of this affection which existed among His followers during His personal ministry. “That they all may be one,” was His prayer; “Love one another,” was His command.

3. Those who are destitute of this affection themselves are acute enough to observe the want or weakness of it in Christians.

4. Brotherly love among Christians, when it really exists, honours the Lord and propagates the gospel. It has convinced many who resisted harder arguments.

5. It is the most pleasant of all emotions to the person who exercises it.

6. Love of the brotherhood is the command of God, and, consequently, the duty of men; but another thing goes before it to prepare its way. Before you can love the brotherhood, you must be a brother. It is the new creature that experiences this hallowed affection. (W. Arnot.)

The brethren and the brotherhood

(with 1 Peter 1:22):-There is a great difference between loving “the brethren” and loving “the brotherhood.” “The brotherhood” is the society of “the brethren”-the Church. Each needs the other. “The love of the brotherhood” divorced from “the love of the brethren” will always lead to superstition, to an undue reverence for form and custom, to some sort of tyranny. “The love of the brethren” separated from “the love of the brotherhood” will always minister to foolish divisions, to confusion of faith, to ecclesiastical anarchy. St. Peter, who said “Love the brotherhood,” said also “Love as brethren.”

1. We ought to love the brethren. Religion is for men. The mission of the Church is to help everybody who needs help. There is constant need of humanising the work of the Church, that is, of emphasising the supreme purpose for which the Church exists-to make the world better.

2. On the other hand, while we ought to love the brethren, we ought also to love the brotherhood. Christ Himself directs us to “hear the Church.” The customs of the ancient society, the ways of the Church, ought not to be readily laid aside. The probability is that the brotherhood is wiser than any of the brethren. (Bp. Hodges.)

Love the brotherhood

Now of the obligation of this duty there are two main grounds-goodness and nearness.

We must love the brotherhood for their goodness. All goodness is lovely. There groweth a love due to every creature of God from this, that every creature of God is good. Some goodness God has communicated to everything to which He gave a being: as a beam of that incomprehensible light, and a drop of that infinite ocean of goodness, which He Himself is. But a greater measure of love is due to man than to other creatures, by how much God hath made him better than them. And to every particular man that hath any special goodness in him there is a special love due. He that hath good natural parts, if he have little in him that is good besides, yet is to be loved even for those parts, because they are good. He that hath but good moralities only, leading a civil life, though without any probable evidences of grace appearing in him, is yet to be loved of us, if but for those moralities, because they also are good. But he that goeth higher, and by the goodness of his conversation showeth forth the graciousness of his heart, deserveth by so much a higher room in our affections than either of the former, by how much grace exceedeth in goodness both nature and morality. Since then there is a special goodness in the brethren in regard of that most holy faith which they possess, and that blessed name of Christ which is called upon them, we are therefore bound to love them with a special affection. The other ground of loving the brotherhood is their nearness. The nearer, the dearer, we say; and there are few relations nearer than that of brotherhood. But no brotherhood in the world is so closely and surely knit together, and with so many and strong ties, as the fraternity of Christians.

1. We are brethren by propagation. Children of the one eternal God, the common Father of us all, and of the one Catholic Church, the common mother of us all. And we have all the same elder brother, Jesus Christ, the firstborn among many brethren.

2. We are brethren by education - foster brethren; as Herod and Manaen were. They that have been nursed and brought up together in their childhood for the most part have their affections so seasoned and settled then that they love one another the better while they live.

3. We are brethren by covenant, sworn brothers at our holy baptism, when we dedicated ourselves to God’s service as His soldiers by sacred and solemn vow. Do we not see men that take the same oath pressed to serve in the same wars and under the same captains?

4. We are brethren by cohabitation. We are all of one house and family; not strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Lastly, we are brethren by partnership in our Father’s estate. Co-partners in the state of grace; all of us enjoying the same promises, liberties, and privileges whereof we are already possessed in common; and co-heirs in the state of glory, all of us having the same joy, and everlasting bliss in expectancy and reversion. Having all these obligations upon us, and being tied together in one brotherhood by so many bands of unity and affection, I presume we cannot doubt but that it is our bounden duty thus to love the brotherhood. There remaineth now no more to be done but to look to our performances that they be right. Not but that we may make a difference between one brother and another in the measure and degree of our love, according to the different measures and degrees, either of their goodness considered in themselves or of their nearness in relation to us. (Bp. Sanderson.)

Love the brotherhood

No one will deny that these emphatic words express a great leading principle of the gospel. But in order to respond, in heart and conduct, to this teaching of St. Peter we must understand what the brotherhood is; we must know something of its institution; we must be assured of its continued existence; we must be instructed in the purposes which it has to fulfil, and in the powers and privileges with which it is endowed. On all these points the first Christians had a more perfect, because a more practical, knowledge than Christians in general have now. To them the brotherhood was not an abstract speculation, but a thing of life and reality. They were required to consider it, act towards it; and they did so. But now the case is different, In the present state of the Christian world the generality of Christians have no practical acquaintance with the brotherhood as such; at least they are not conscious of any. It is to them a thing invisible, inaudible, unapproachable; and so indeed they call it. They cannot therefore act towards the brotherhood as a whole, but only towards individuals. When they see a man leading a holy life, sound in the faith, they love him as a brother in the Lord. And they do well. But it is one thing to love a brother, or a number of brethren, as individuals, and another thing to love the brotherhood itself. And the difference is most important. For on the one hand, though we should love numberless individuals, on account of their personal graces, yet this would never lead us on to the love of the brotherhood as such; whereas if we begin by loving the brotherhood, then our love will manifest itself towards all those who belong to it. But we are to observe another vast difference, in a practical point of view. Consider the many good offices which Christians are encouraged to seek at each other’s hands, and of which they stand so greatly in need in their present condition as strangers and pilgrims upon earth-exhortation, admonition, edification in the truth, guidance, governance, consolation, reproof, intercession, cooperation. All these most necessary offices would, if faithfully discharged, keep alive in us a constant sense of mutual dependence, and quicken mutual love. But how lamentably are they neglected. And why are they neglected? We think of each other not as members and representatives of our holy brotherhood, but as individuals. The feelings of love which would lead us to seek whatever help we severally require, are not indeed destroyed in us; but for the most part they now spring from nothing deeper than our own opinion (based on our own limited experience) of each other’s character; and therefore one while they are powerless, bearing no fruit at all, and another while they are mischievous and their fruit unwholesome. What, then, is to become of those strong affections which are ever seeking some object whereon to rest in peace and security? He who knows our wants, has also abundantly provided for them. He has taught us not to place our hope of guidance and protection in this man or that, or in any number of men; but to seek a nobler alliance, and make a more exalted choice. It is not the might, nor the multitude, nor the wisdom, nor the talents, nor the piety of men, which He hath set before us as the best object of our present love and confidence; but it is communion with Himself our Heavenly Father, and with the holy angels, and with the spirits of the just made perfect, and with all good men on earth, by the Holy Ghost, in the mystical body of Christ. Here is an object worthy of our hearts, and able to satisfy their wants; here is the brotherhood which St. Peter bids us love-the great Christian brotherhood, the communion of saints, the Church of the living God. But this brotherhood being so high and holy a thing, how and where can it be seen on earth? The first Christians loved the brotherhood in its outward and visible parts-in its members, its ministers, its sacraments, its ordinance, and its laws; loved it, I say, and sought it, revered, believed, obeyed it, for the sake of the Awful Presence which they knew to be dwelling in it, and acting by and through it. In its weak, despised, and suffering appearance, they saw the marks of the Lord Jesus, the humiliation of His Cross; in its energy and holiness, its victories and conversions, they beheld the power of His resurrection. Him they beheld in all its ways and works; and therefore all its ways and works were precious in their sight. No wonder that they loved the brotherhood; for in its prayers, its sacraments, its ministry, they heard the prevailing intercession, the pardoning voice, the life-giving truth-they saw the dispensing hand, the protecting arm, the all-judging eye, the gracious yet most awful form of their ascended Saviour. In a word, they saw in it His chosen representative-the Apostolic Church, by which He completes on earth His three-fold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. So when those early believers came themselves to be admitted into this glorious brotherhood, though men were the instruments by whom the gate of baptism was opened to them, yet were they well assured that their election was of God. Well might they set themselves in earnest to follow their heavenly profession, knowing the grace to which they had been called, labouring to make their calling and election sure, trembling at the bare imagination of letting slip so great salvation. For truly they found themselves in the midst of heavenly sights and heavenly sounds, which many prophets and kings bad desired to see and hear, but had not seen or heard: they found themselves called to the enjoyment of those promises which the saints of old had seen afar off. Such was the Christian brotherhood to the first followers of Christ, when its members were few, its outward condition weak, despised, oppressed. Now it has gone forth into all lands, and gathered into itself many people, and it is oppressed no longer. Is it then to us the same inestimable treasure which it appeared to the first Christians? Alas! far otherwise. The world, in drawing near to it, has too often flung over it the shadow of its own bad principles and unrighteous practices, and thereby has partially obscured its brightness. Many even of its own children regard it rather as a useful instrument of man than as a great unsearchable mystery of God, But still, we humble trust, the presence of the Lord abideth in it. Still it has peace and plenteousness for those who will repose in it with calm believing hearts. Only let us have faith to use the light and strength which yet remains-and more may perhaps be given us. Only let us “love the brotherhood” in the day of its humiliation, and show our love by eschewing those things that are contrary to our profession, and following all such things as are agreeable to the same; and then, unworthy as we are, we may even be allowed to contribute something, if it be but a prayer, towards the renewal of its life and vigour. (R. Ward, M. A.)

Fear God.

Fear God

There are two principal species of fear, as we may readily perceive by consulting our own emotions-the fear of apprehension, and the fear of respect. The first has for its foundation that evil which he who is feared can inflict; the second arises from the high idea we have of him for whom we entertain this sentiment. The first is exercised towards a being who, we suppose, has the will and the power to hurt us; the second is felt when, apprehending nothing from his anger, we entertain esteem and veneration for him.

1. Let us commence with the fear of respect. This is always felt by the true believer. Can he avoid feeling it, when he views on one hand the splendour of the perfections of God, and on the other his own littleness and baseness?

2. With respect to the fear of apprehension, which has as its foundation the evils which God can inflict on us, it is of two different kinds; we may fear to offend and displease God, and we may fear to be punished for it. When the former is the motive of this fear, it is called filial fear, because it is the sentiment of an affectionate child towards its parent. This fear has as its source love and gratitude.

3. With respect to the other kind of fear of apprehension, that which is founded only on the dread of future punishment, it is (considered absolutely and in itself) neither morally good nor evil. Not morally good, since we see it every day felt by the most wicked, and since the devils themselves tremble under it. Not morally evil, since it is a sentiment that reason would require; since God has used the threatenings of this punishment to deter men from sin. It becomes morally good only when united with filial fear. It is morally evil when accompanied with love of sin, with distrust, and despair. It then acquires the name of servile fear. (H. Kollock, D. D.)

The fear of God

1. There is, first of all, a fear of God which to me appears to be a reproduction, measure, or colour of the national life, different as the nations differ. I believe it to be impossible to bring a Frenchman and a German, or a Scotchman and an Irishman, or any two men that reach back into a radical difference of race, to regard God in the same way.

2. But, in our own nation, where so many nativities centre, the idea of God and the consequent fear of God differ very greatly. The first and lowest form is a fear of God as a gaoler and executioner, who stands and waits until that sure detective, Death, shall hunt the criminal down and bring him into court. The pagan, on this plane of belief, is wiser than the Christian. He says boldly that the doer of this is the evil spirit, and so he tries to be on good terms with him. But wherever such a fear has a real place in the soul of man or woman, African, Indian, or Saxon, in that soul the love of God, or even a true fear of God, is utterly out of the question. It destroys every fair blossom of the soul; it leaves nothing to ripen, nothing beautiful even to live.

3. Then, to the eye of the resolute Christian thinker-who dares not, as Coleridge has said, “love even Christianity better than the truth, lest he shall come to love his own sect better than Christianity, and at last himself better than all”-there is another form of the fear of God, not the best by far, but far better than this utterly slavish fear. I mean that in which God becomes the embodiment of pure bargain, exacting from us to the uttermost penny whatever is due. Here God appears with tie guards and sanctities of the law about Him, self-imposed and self-respected. The man need not contract the debt if it does not please him, but if he does contract it he must pay, or another must pay for him. Then the Son of the Great Creditor gives His own body to the knife, and bears the intolerable agony instead of the debtor. Now there is a touch of sublimity in this conception. Yet when we come to question the system it will not stand. The moment you open the idea with the master key of the Fatherhood of God you begin to see that it cannot be true.

4. But a far higher fear of God is to fear Him as we fear the surgeon who must cut out some dreadful gangrene in order to save the life, Such a fear as this really touches the outskirts of love-it is love and fear blended. When I went to Fort Donelson to nurse our wounded men, it was my good fortune to be the personal attendant of a gentleman whose skill as a surgeon was only equalled by the wonderfully deep, loving tenderness of his heart, as it thrilled in every tone of his voice and every touch of his hand. And it all comes up before me now how he would come to the men, fearfully mangled as they were, and how the nerve would shrink and creep, and how, with a wise, hard, steady skill he would cut to save life, forcing back tears of pity only that he might keep his eye clear for the delicate duty, speaking low words of cheer in tones heavy with tenderness; then, when all was over, and the poor fellows, fainting with pain, knew that all was done that could be done, and done only with a severity whose touch was love, how they would look after the man as he went away, sending unspoken benedictions to attend him. Now a fear like this is almost the loftiest fear of God that has come to the human soul.

5. Then, finally, there is a fear of God which is more of love than fear-a fear that has no torment. There is an inspiration by which our duties rise up before us, vested in a nobleness like that which touches the landscape for a great painter. The true artist works ever with a touch of fear. He stands at his task, his heart trembling with the great pulses of his conception. He is fearful exactly as he sees the perfection of the thing he is trying to embody. Now, believe me, God hides some ideal in every human soul. At some time in our life we feel a trembling, fearful longing to do some good thing. (R. Collyer, D. D.)

Honour the king.-

Good subjects

For the coherence of these words with the former, note-

1. That the duties to God and our neighbours, the duties of the first and second table, are to accompany one another; they must not be sundered (1 John 4:21).

2. That the knowledge and fear of God is the fountain of all our duties to men in their several places. None can be a good servant, one to be entrusted with business of weight, with hope of blessing, but such a one as feareth God; so no man can truly honour the king and be an absolute good subject except he fear God.

Uses:

1. Let all that fear God show it in their several places by the performance of their duties to men, especially of subjection to their governors, that so they may bring the same in esteem, and procure credit thereto.

2. Would any be good subjects, let them begin at the right end, perform their duties in the right manner, even for conscience sake, as being required of God.

3. Magistrates are to trust those most which do most fear God, and accordingly to use them kindly and countenance them as being indeed their most loyal subjects; yea, to further the gospel what in them lies, whereby people may be brought to fear God. (John Rogers.)

A royalty free from dispute

The most unreasonable things in the world become most reasonable because of the unruly lives of men. What is less reasonable than to choose the eldest son of a queen to guide a State? For we do not choose as steersman of a ship that one of the passengers who is of the best family. Such a law would be ridiculous and unjust, but since men are so themselves, and ever will be, it becomes reasonable and just. For would they choose the most virtuous and able, we at once fall to blows, since each asserts that he is the most virtuous and able. Let us then affix this quality to something which cannot be disputed. This is the king’s eldest son. That is clear, and there is no dispute. Reason can do no better, for civil war is the worst of evils. (Blaise Pascal.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Peter 2:17". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-peter-2.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

It is perhaps best to understand this verse in two parts: (1) honor all men, but go much further than this and love the brotherhood particularly, and (2) fear God first, and in all that is consistent with the fear of God, honor the king. It appears that "fear God," standing just ahead of "honor the king," has some qualification in it with reference to the latter command. It is much like the Saviour's admonition to "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:11).

Honor all men ... This is a difficult commandment, but no more so than Paul's admonition for every man to "count others better than himself' (Philippians 2:3). See comment on this under that reference in my Commentary on Philippians. Every man is entitled to honor because of one trait or another.

Love the brotherhood ... Paul also commanded the same thing (Galatians 6:10). The Greek term for "brotherhood" which Peter used here and in 1 Peter 5:9 occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.[46]

Fear God ... The beginning of all spiritual wisdom is in this (Proverbs 6:7); and the commandment is actually a short form of the entire duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

ENDNOTE:

[46] C. J. Polkinghorne, op. cit., p. 591.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-peter-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Honour all men,.... To whom honour is due, according to the place, station, and circumstances in which they are, the gifts of providence and grace bestowed on them, and the usefulness they are of, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor, believers or unbelievers: it is a saying of Ben ZomaF5Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 1. ,

"who is to be honoured, or is worthy of honour מכבד את הבריות, "he that honoureth creatures";

meaning men in general, or the Gentiles particularly, who were sometimes so called by the Jews; See Gill on Mark 16:15, and may be meant by "all men" here:

love the brotherhood; or "your brethren", as the Syriac version renders it: the whole company of the brethren in Christ, who are born of God, are members of Christ, and of the same body, and have the same spirit, belong to the same family, and are of the household of faith, let them be of whatsoever nation, or in whatsoever circumstances of life. The Jews had not that good opinion of, nor that affection for the Gentiles, but were ready to treat them with indifference, neglect, and contempt; and not only those that knew not God, but even believing Gentiles themselves; and which is the reason of these exhortations, that they should despise no man, but honour all; and especially should express their love, both by words and deeds, to those that were in the same spiritual relation with them, and that without any difference, on account of their being of another nation:

fear God; not with a servile, but a filial fear, the new covenant grace of fear; which springs from the goodness of God, has that for its object, and is increased by the fresh instances and discoveries of it; and which shows itself in a reverential affection for God, a strict regard to his worship and ordinances, and a carefulness of offending him. This is placed between what goes before, and follows after, to show the influence it has on each of them; for where the fear of God is, there will be due respect shown to all men, more or less, and an hearty and affectionate love to all the saints, as brethren, and a proper regard to those that are set in high places of dignity and power:

honour the king; Caesar, the Roman emperor, though a wicked, persecuting Nero, and so any other king or governor; who, so far as he acts the part of a civil magistrate, preserves the peace, the property, and liberty of his subjects, is a terror to evil works, and an encourager of good ones, and rules according to the laws of God, and civil society, is deserving of great honour and esteem from men; and which is to be shown by speaking well of him; by a cheerful subjection to him; by an observance of the laws, and by payment of tribute, and doing everything to make him easy, and honourable in his government: advice much like this is given by IsocratesF6Paraen. ad Demos Orat. 1. ,

"fear God, honour parents, revere friends, and obey the laws.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-peter-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

20 d Honour all [men]. Love the e brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

(20) He divides the civil life of man, by occasion of those things of which he spoke, into two general parts: that is, into those duties which private men owe to private men, and especially the faithful to the faithful, and into that subjection by which inferiors are bound to their superiors, but so that kings are not made equal to God, seeing that fear is due to God, and honour to kings.

(d) Be charitable and dutiful towards all men.

(e) The assembly and fellowship of the brethren. (Zechariah 11:14)


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-peter-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Honour all menaccording to whatever honor is due in each case. Equals have a respect due to them. Christ has dignified our humanity by assuming it; therefore we should not dishonor, but be considerate to and honor our common humanity, even in the very humblest. The first “honor” is in the Greek aorist imperative, implying, “In every case render promptly every man‘s due” [Alford]. The second is in the present tense, implying, Habitually and continually honor the king. Thus the first is the general precept; the three following are its three great divisions.

Love — present: Habitually love with the special and congenial affection that you ought to feel to brethren, besides the general love to all men.

Fear God … the king — The king is to be honored; but God alone, in the highest sense, feared.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-peter-2.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Honour all men (παντας τιμησατεpantas timēsate). Not with the same honour. Constative use of the aorist imperative.

Love the brotherhood (την αδελποτητα αγαπατεtēn adelphotēta agapāte). Present active imperative of αγαπαωagapaō keep on doing it. Note the abstract αδελποτηςadelphotēs (from αδελποςadelphos brother) in the collective sense, rare save in ecclesiastical literature, though in 1 Maccabees 12:10; 4Macc. 10:3, and in late papyri. It is a word for all Christians.

Fear God (τον τεον ποβειστεton theon phobeisthe). In both senses of reverence and dread, and keep it up (present middle imperative).

Honour the king (τον βασιλεα τιματεton basilea timāte). Keep that up also. A fine motto in this verse.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-peter-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Honour all men — As being made in the image of God, bought by his Son, and designed for his kingdom.

Honour the king — Pay him all that regard both in affection and action which the laws of God and man require.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-peter-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Verse 17

Honor all men; treat them with the respect and the consideration which are their due.


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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-peter-2.html. 1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

17.] A pithy general statement ( πάντας τιμήσατε, see below) of the whole department of Christian duty of which the Apostle is now speaking: then a note of transition, by the three following commands, to the next paragraph, where he severs the general into the special duties. Give honour to all men (i. e. by the force of the aor. imperat., to each man according as the case, which requires it, arises, q. d. ‘in every case render promptly every man’s due:’ = ἀπόδοτε πᾶσιν τὰς ὀφειλάς, Romans 13:7. So that the distinction between this and τιμᾶτε below is a clear one: see there. And by this force of the aor., this first precept assumes a place of general and wide-reaching reference, which then is severed by the three following present imperatives into three great branches, before the relations of ordinary life are introduced 1 Peter 2:18, with participial forms). Love (as your habit of mind and act, pres.) the brotherhood (the aggregate of οἱ ἀδελφοί: see ref. and compare ἱεράτευμα above, 1 Peter 2:9), fear God, honour (both these latter as continuing habits, frames of mind and courses of action) the king.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-peter-2.html. 1863-1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

This is a summary of what is gone before; for he intimates that God is not feared, nor their just right rendered to men, except civil order prevails among us, and magistrates retain their authority. That he bids honor to be rendered to all, I explain thus, that none are to be neglected; for it is a general precept, which refers to the social intercourse of men. (29) The word honor has a wide meaning in Hebrew, and we know that the apostles, though they wrote in Greek, followed the meaning of words in the former language. Therefore, this word conveys no other idea to me, than that a regard ought to be had for all, since we ought to cultivate, as far as we can, peace and friendship with all; there is, indeed, nothing more adverse to concord than contempt.

What he adds respecting the love of brethren is special, as contrasted with the first clause; for he speaks of that particular love which we are bidden to have towards the household of faith, because we are connected with them by a closer relationship. And so Peter did not omit this connection; but yet he reminds us, that though brethren are to be specially regarded, yet this ought not to prevent our love from being extended to the whole human race. The word fraternity, or brotherhood, I take collectively for brethren.

Fear God I have already said that all these clauses are applied by Peter to the subject he was treating. For he means, that honor paid to kings proceeds from the fear of God and the love of man; and that, therefore, it ought to be connected with them, as though he had said, “Whosoever fears God, loves his brethren and the whole human race as he ought, and will also give honor to kings.” But, at the same time, he expressly mentions the king, because that form of government was more than any other disliked; and under it other forms are included.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-peter-2.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

BROTHERHOOD

‘Love the brotherhood’

1 Peter 2:17

This is an instruction which commends itself to our conscience, but which we find difficult to obey. The love of brethren seems, in itself, a reasonable requirement; and it is so decisively demanded by our Lord Himself (see John 13:14; John 13:34-35; John 15:12-13; John 15:17), that it ought to take a front place in the rank of Christian obligations.

The reference in the text is undoubtedly to the Christian brotherhood; yet we need not wholly exclude others from our thought.

I. The human brotherhood.—All men are related to Jesus Christ. For them He lived and died; He is addressing and visiting them all; He is claiming all as His subjects and servants; He is the one hope and refuge of mankind. As thus related to Him we may bring them within our view as we think of ‘the brotherhood.’

II. The Christian nation.—We distinguish one nation from another by the faith their populations hold and the principles they practise. Thus regarded, we are a Christian people. But we are very far from such a ‘brotherhood’ as St. Peter had in view.

III. The disciples of Christ.

(a) The inner circle of all those who, in any country and in any society, are looking towards the Saviour.

(b) The innermost circle of those who are closely bounded together in Christian fellowship, striving together for the faith of the Gospel.

Illustration

‘Remember where you are, if you be lively members of the body of Christ. You have been chosen out of the world, gathered into a fold of which Christ is the door, adopted into a home for the members of which He prayed to the Eternal Father “that they may be one, as We are.” If you be true to your character, you will find in the peace of love and unity of your Christian home not only a solace for the troubles of the world, but a counter-attraction against its sinful pleasures and shelter against its dangers. And, moreover, that love and union, which ministers to your joy, serves to the glory of God, and wins souls from the world into the Church.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

THE ATTITUDE OF BROTHERHOOD

‘Loving the brotherhood’ includes many more thoughts and feelings than one.

I. Towards those that are within the human brotherhood it becomes us to show—

(a) A profound compassion;

(b) An intelligent solicitude;

(c) A courageous and Christian endeavour.

II. Towards those that are within the Christian brotherhood it becomes us to show—

(a) A deep fraternal sympathy;

(b) A genuine esteem;

(c) A cordial affection.

How can we love those who, while they may belong to ‘the brotherhood,’ show themselves unamiable at nearly every point? There is one way by which even this difficulty may be surmounted. We must regard ‘the brotherhood’ with Christian eyes.


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-peter-2.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Ver. 17. Honour all men] As made in the image of God, as capable of heaven, and as having some special talent to trade with.

Honour the king] i.e. the Roman emperor, who disclaimed the name of a king to avoid the hatred of the people, and yet sought the full right of kings, and so to destroy the liberty of the people. But kings that will be honoured must be just, "ruling in the fear of God," 2 Samuel 23:3.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-peter-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Peter 2:17

The Obligation of Christians to the World and the Church.

I. "Honour all men." Christians in deed and truth, called by the grace of God to be a peculiar people, separate from the world, have this rule laid upon them. Why? Because in all men, even in those who refuse the Gospel, in the worshippers of the world, in those who are strangers to the family of Christ, there is something worthy of honour. The most depraved of the human race has an infinite price set upon his life; the blood of the meanest does not fall to the ground unavenged. There is a Divine light, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"; and for the sake of that, honour is due unto him, though by choosing darkness rather than light he has dishonoured himself. You owe to all men courtesy, generosity, charity, respect, and (what is perhaps harder than all) justice.

II. Having fulfilled this law, draw the line broadly and distinctly between it and the second rule: "Love the brotherhood." Remember where you are, if you be lively members of the body of Christ. You have been chosen out of the world, gathered into a fold of which Christ is the door, adopted into a home for the members of which He prayed to the Eternal Father "that they may be one, as We are." If you be true to your character, you will find in the peace of love and unity of your Christian home not only a solace for the troubles of the world, but a counterattraction against its sinful pleasures and shelter against its dangers. And, moreover, that love and union, which ministers to your joy, serves to the glory of God, and wins souls from the world into the Church.

C. W. Furse, Sermons at Richmond, p. 143.


References: 1 Peter 2:17.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 405; vol. xiii., p. 274; R. D. B. Rawnsley, Village Sermons, 4th series, p. 51; Homilist, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 25; F. W. Farrar, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 17; R. Duckworth, Ibid., vol. xxiv., p. 211; J. G. Rogers, Ibid., vol. xxvii., p. 117.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-peter-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Peter 2:17. Fear God See Proverbs 24:21. Perhaps no finer or stronger instances of the laconic stile are to be found, than in this place. It is remarkable, that they are required to honour the emperor, though so great a persecutor, and of so abandoned a character as Nero himself. But St. Peter did not mean that they should obey any of his wicked and unlawful injunctions; (Acts 5:29.) that they should betray their country, or give up any of their just rights and privileges, when they could preserve them. He only intimated, that being Christians altered nothing in their civil rights or duties; and therefore, under that pretence of their being the Lord's people, and the disciples of Jesus, they were not to presume that they had any new civil rights or immunities granted them.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-peter-2.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here are four very important duties recommended to us in this short verse.

1. To honour all men; no man is to be despised by us, but every man duly respected according to his place and station. There is a common honour, and a tribute of civil respect, payable to every man; though some men forfeit it by acting below men; a vile person is contemptible, though great; bare greatness is no guard against contempt; but the rags of a good man cannot obscure is worth, nor hinder him from true honour in the hearts and from the tongues of wise men: honour all men, but especially good men.

2. Love the brotherhood; as there is general respect due to all men, so there is a special love due to the brethren, to all the saints, of what nation and country soever, of what estate and condition soever, high and low, rich and poor, of what judgment and opinion soever; therefore the apostle calls upon us to love the brotherhood, the whole fraternity and society of Christians, by what unhappy means and characters of reproach soever distinguished: there is no better evidence of the life of grace in ourselves, than the love of grace in another.

3. Fear God; that is, live in a religious dread of his name, as a glorious God, and a gracious Father; have a reverential awe and fear of his majesty immoveably fixed and implanted in your souls; to the production of which a double apprehension is necessary, namely, the inconceivable majesty of God, and the miserable vileness of the sinner.

4. Honour the King; this duty consists in reverencing their persons, in obeying their lawful commands, in a cheerful payment of their dues, in praying affectionately for them, and in praising God for the blessing of their government. Nero, the worst of kings, and the persecutor of Christians, was now on the throne, yet the command is express to honour him.

And if we consider the words in their connexion and conjunction one with another, Fear God, and honour the king, we learn, That religion and the fear of God do best qualify persons to be good subjects, this is the true and steady principle of loyalty; that obedience to governors that is lasting, is for conscience-sake to the command of God: where there is no fear of God in the heart, there will be no regard to the command of God in the life.

Lastly, These words may be considered, as in their conjunction, so in their order in which they stand; first, fear God, and then honour the king; intimating that the fear of God must be the rule and guide of our subjection unto governors; it is no disparagement to our superiors to be under God, and so to be looked upon by their subjects; let such as pretend to fear God, show it by being loyal subjects, evidence it by their awful and religious fear of God.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-peter-2.html. 1700-1703.

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

1 Peter 2:17. Four hortatory clauses suggested to Peter by the term ἀγαθοποιοῦντας; in the last he returns, by way of conclusion, to the principal theme. In the first three there is a climax.(143)

πάντας τιμήσατε] πάντας must not, with Bengel, be limited to those: quibus honos debetur, Romans 13:7,(144) nor to those who belong to the same state (Schott); it expresses totality without any exception.

τι΄ᾷν is not equivalent to ὑποτάσσεσθαι (de Wette); but neither is it equal to, civiliter tractare (Bengel); the former is too strong, the latter too weak; it is the opposite, positively stated, of καταφρονεῖν, and means: to recognise the worth ( τι΄ή) which any one possesses, and to act on the recognition (Brückner, Weiss, Wiesinger, Schott). This exhortation is all the more important for the Christian, that his consciousness of his own dignity can easily betray him into a depreciation of others. It refers to the τι΄ή which is due to man as man, and not first in respect of any particular position he may hold (Flacius: unicuique suum locum et debita officia exhibete.)

τὴν ἀδελφότητα ἀγαπᾶτε] ἀδελφότης, also in chap. 1 Peter 5:9, corresponding to our: brotherhood, i.e. the totality of the Christian brethren, cf. ἱεράτευμα, 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9. The apparent contradiction of Matthew 5:44, here presented, where love to enemies is also enjoined, is to be explained on the following principle: that the ἀγάπη is differently conditioned, according as it has different objects. In perfect harmony with its inmost nature, it can exist only between Christians, for only among them is there community of life in God, cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:22. Pott interprets ἀγαπᾷν here superficially by “entertain goodwill to.”

τὸν θεὸν φοβεῖσθε] cf. chap. 1 Peter 1:17; a command not only of the Old, but of the New Testament, inasmuch as a lowly awe before the holy God is an essential feature of the filial relation to God.

τὸν βασιλέα τι΄ᾶτε] Reiteration of the command (1 Peter 2:13) as a conclusion to the whole passage; cf. Proverbs 24:21, φοβοῦ τὸν θεὸν, υἱὲ, καὶ βασιλέα.

τι΄ᾷτε has here the same meaning as previously: “show to the king the respect which pertains to him as king;” what that is the apostle has explained in 1 Peter 2:13. Hornejus(145) incorrectly thinks that in the conjunction of the last two commands, he can here discover an indication of the limits by which obedience to the king is bounded.

The difference in the tenses of the imperative, in the first exhortation the imperat. aor., in the three others the imperat. pres., is to be regarded as accidental, rather than as in any way arising from the substance of the command.(146)


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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-peter-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Peter 2:17. πάντας, all) to whom honour is due: Romans 13:7.— τιμήσατε, honour) They who are unconnected with us, are to be treated with courtesy; brethren, with familiarity. This Aorist is followed by three Presents. The king must be honoured in such a way, that the love of the brotherhood, and the fear of God, be not violated.— τὸν ἀδελφότητα, the brotherhood) The abstract, ch. 1 Peter 5:9. Brethren are to be loved, because they are brethren.— τὸν θεὸν, God) Proverbs 24:21, Septuagint, φοβοῦ τὸν θεὸν, υἱὲ, καὶ βασιλέα, “Fear God, my son, and the king.”— τὸν βασιλέα, the king) 1 Peter 2:13.— τιμᾶτε, honour) in action also, and not in feeling only.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-peter-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Honour all men; viz. according as honour is due to them, according to their dignity, power, gifts, &c.: see Romans 12:10 Romans 13:7 Philippians 2:3.

Love the brotherhood; though all may challenge suitable respects, yet there is a more special affection owing to believers, 1 Peter 1:22 Galatians 6:10.

Fear God; with a filial fear or reverence. This command is interposed, either to show what is the true spring and fountain from which all the duties we perform to men are to proceed, viz. the fear of God, because where that doth not prevail no duty to men can be rightly performed; (they love the brotherhood best, and honour the king most, that truly fear God); or to show the due bounds of all the offices we perform to men, that nothing is to be done for them which is inconsistent with the fear of God. Honour the king; with that honour which is peculiarly due to him above all others.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-peter-2.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Honor all men; by showing them proper respect.

The brotherhood; Christians, who are all equally children of God.

Fear God; in such a manner as shall lead you to obey him.

The king; the one who is at the head of civil government. True religion teaches us to conduct with propriety in all conditions and relations of life, and to exercise those feelings towards others which we ought to wish others to exercise towards us.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-peter-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

17. τιμήσατεἀγαπᾶτεφοβεῖσθετιμᾶτε. Here we have an aorist imperative followed by three present imperatives. The usual distinction between aorist and present imperatives is that the present is used in general precepts and the aorist in individual cases, the aorist denoting “point” action and the present “linear,” see J. H. Moulton’s Grammar, p. 129. Sometimes, however, the aorist imperative is used in general precepts to inculcate a new duty not previously recognized. So in Romans 6:13, μηδὲ παριστάνετε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν ὅπλα ἀδικίας τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀλλὰ παραστήσατε ἑαυτοὺς τῷ θεῷ, the present imperative may mean, do not continue your old practice of presenting your members as instruments of unrighteousness for sin to use, but begin a new practice and present yourselves to God. But another explanation is, do not time after time present … but present yourselves once and for all to God, the aorist denoting something which is to be done to the end as a complete whole. So here some would explain that to “honour all men” is a new duty never realized until now, whereas honour to the king is an old duty which is not to be abandoned, although he can no longer be worshipped as a God. The objection to this view, however, is that love for the brotherhood, for which the present imperative is used, would also be a new duty not possible until they were admitted into God’s family. Possibly the aorist πάντας τιμήσατε states the Christian’s duty as a whole to be fulfilled to the end and the three present imperatives expand it by three general precepts.

But St Peter has a marked preference for aorist imperatives which he uses 22 times (against 9 presents) as being more forcible, but in expanding his injunction he borrows a passage from the O.T. in which the present imperative φοβοῦ occurred and therefore he assimilates the other two imperatives to it.

τὸν θεὸν φοβεῖσθε, τὸν βασιλέα τιμᾶτε. The words are borrowed from Proverbs 24:21, “My son, fear God and the king,” but instead of coupling God and the king together with the same verb φοβεῖσθε St Peter treats “honour the king” as a subordinate form of the reverence due to God, just as “honour to all men” is a subordinate form of that love which can only reach its highest form in the reciprocal love of Christians as brothers.


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"Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-peter-2.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.’

Thus the Christian’s freedom should mean that he shows due respect and consideration to all people. He ‘honours all men’. This is to be a general attitude of life fixed once and for all (aorist imperative). And he is especially to continually (present imperative) love his fellow-Christians, to continually walk in the fear of God, and to continually pay due honour to the overall ruler. This is not, of course in order of priority. Loving the brotherhood and fearing God is the heart of the matter. They are the first essential. Honouring all men on principle, and continually honouring the overall ruler are the way in which these are outwardly manifested to the outside world.

This remarkable brief description of Christian responsibility is a reminder of four great responsibilities:

· The first covers our attitude towards all. All are to be treated with honour, both Christian and non-Christian. The Christian degrades no one. He is not at enmity with the world of men, even when the world of men are at enmity with him. He recognises that all are God’s creatures, and should therefore be treated with respect and consideration, even when often they do not deserve it. No Christian should ever have contempt for a fellow human being, however he may view his behaviour. He remembers what he is himself, but for the grace of God. Nor does he use violence towards any (except in self-defence), for that is to demean his fellow-creature.

· The second covers our special relationship with the sojourning community, the true people of God, that is, all who are Christ’s. As fellow-pilgrims we are to love and support each other continually along the way, even if we do have secondary doctrinal differences. For to fail to love a brother or sister is to fail to love God (1 John 4:20).

· The third establishes the fact that the fear of God will ensure our conformity to all these other requirements and overrules all. We are to walk continually under the Kingly Rule of God and in His ‘fear’.

· And fourthly it is because of this fear of God that we will honour the kingships that He has set in place because we know that that is what He wants. Due respect and honour must therefore be shown to those who are set to rule over us, because we recognise in them agents appointed by God. But all in the end must be subject to the fear of God. Thus if they do flagrantly act contrary to God and His ways to such an extent that it become totally unacceptable, it may sometimes be necessary to remove them from office for the good of all. But this should only be when all else has failed. Normally the stability of society is best ensured by non-precipitate action.

‘Fear God, honour the king.’ This may well have in mind Proverbs 24:21, ‘fear the LORD and the king’, with Peter putting the fear of God into the ascendancy. It is God that they must fear, and that will result in honouring the king. (In the context of areas where emperor worship was popular, to equate the two would have been dangerous doctrinally).

Household Servants Are To Be Obedient To Their Masters.

The Christian’s attitude towards the state having been established, the thought now moves on to the question of a more local authority, the responsibility of household servants towards their masters, that is towards heads of households, whether large or small. And it is soon apparent that here is where the Christians were having problems.

Some large households of, say, provincial governors or local aristocrats and large landowners would have been of many thousands. Others would consist of only a few. But Peter makes no distinction between them, nor between slaves and freemen. His concern is rather with how all household servants, whether slave or free, should behave towards their masters. For many among his readers/hearers would be household servants. The fact that as compared with Ephesians and Colossians no parallel instructions are given with regard to masters might suggest that few masters in that particular area had become Christians. This is in decided contrast with the Colossians 4:1; Ephesians 6:9.

Peter’s response to the situation is to point out how the genuine Christian servant must behave. He must remember that he is a representative and servant of Christ and, by being responsive and obedient, he is to behave honourably and be a good witness for his Master out of the fear of God. Otherwise he will only bring dishonour on Christ. And this is to be so even if he is harshly treated. Indeed then he must follow the example of his Master in taking his unfair treatment graciously, looking to the Lord for his recompense, and recognising that his suffering is a part of the forwarding of God’s purposes in the world. If his ill treatment is undeserved then his patient endurance of it will be ‘acceptable to God’, that is well pleasing and deserving of reward. He will not lose out by it. For after all that was how the Lord Himself behaved, Who had Himself given a similar example when He had died to bear our sins.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-peter-2.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Honour all—Rendering due regard to every man, whatever his condition; a general injunction to the blamelessness required in 1 Peter 2:12, followed by several specifications. Love is due to the whole body of Christian brethren. To God belongs fear, involving reverence and service.

Honour the king—Both for his office’ sake and because God commands it, even though he be Nero.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-peter-2.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

These four injunctions summarize our social obligations. The first two and the last two are pairs. We should respect everyone, but we should love fellow believers. God deserves fear whereas the emperor is worthy of respect. These two pairs connect with Jesus" teachings that we should love our enemies ( Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27; Luke 6:35) and render to Caesar what is his and to God what is His ( Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25). [Note: Michaels, p123.]

All people are worthy of honor if for no other reason than because they reflect the image of God. Our primary responsibility to other Christians is to show them love (cf. 1 Peter 1:22; John 13:35). Our primary responsibility to God is to show Him fear (reverence, cf. 1 Peter 1:17). Peter added a final word about the king. He probably did so because his readers found it especially difficult to honor the Roman emperor, who was evidently Nero when Peter wrote this epistle (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

"Peter called believers to a different spirit, a spirit of deference-even while experiencing undeserved persecution. The word "deference" conveys the idea of thoughtful consideration of another individual"s desires or feelings or the courteous, respectful, or ingratiating regard for another"s wishes....

""Deference" refers to a proper attitude that results in behavior characterized by respect." [Note: James R. Slaughter, "The Importance of Literary Argument for Understanding1Peter," Bibliotheca Sacra152:605 (January-March1995):77 , 78.]

Respect is not the same as honor. We may not respect someone, but we can and should still honor him or her. For example, I have a friend whose father was an alcoholic. My friend did not respect his father who was frequently drunk, often humiliated his wife and children, and failed to provide for his family adequately. Nevertheless my friend honored his father because he was his father. He demonstrated honor by taking him home when his father could not get home by himself. He sometimes had to defend him from people who would have taken advantage of him when he was drunk.

Similarly we may not be able to respect certain government officials because of their personal behavior or beliefs. Still we can and should honor them because they occupy an office that places them in a position of authority over us. We honor them because they occupy the office; we do not just honor the office. Peter commanded us to honor the king and all who are in authority over us, not just the offices they occupy. We may not respect someone, but we can and should honor them by treating them with respect. Respecting people and treating them with respect are two different things. Feeling respect for someone is different than showing respect for someone. Honoring others is our responsibility; earning our respect is theirs. This is especially difficult when those in authority are persecuting us.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-peter-2.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Peter 2:17. Honour all men. A group of four precepts now follows, which Leighton compares to ‘a constellation of very bright stars near together.’ They are remarkable for the clear-cut form of expression in which they are cast, and for their absolute tone. Each is perfectly intelligible in itself. But it is not easy to discover the relation, if any, in which they stand to each other, and the reason for their introduction at this particular point. The first deals with what is due to men as such. For the ‘all men’ is not to be limited to ‘all to whom honour is due’ (Bengel), nor to all governors such as those already mentioned. Apart from all questions of station or even quality, and besides what we owe them in the distinctive relations of brotherhood and magistracy, all men are to receive our honour. By this is meant not exactly the ‘submission’ previously enjoined, nor even the somewhat conditioned esteem which Huther (with Weiss, Wiesinger, Schott, etc.) calls ‘recognising the worth which any one possesses, and acting on that recognition,’ but, more broadly still, the practical acknowledgment of the dignity of man as such, and of his natural claims upon our consideration and respect. It is the recognition of what all men are as bearers of the Divine image, ‘the idea of a dignity belonging to man as man,’ which, as Neander says, ‘was unknown to the times preceding Christianity’ (see also Dr. John Brown in loc.).

love the brotherhood. The followers of Christ were distinguished by Himself from the mass of men as brethren (Matthew 23:8), and that name they seem to have adopted naturally as their own earliest designation. The ‘brethren’ in their social or corporate capacity are the ‘brotherhood,’ and to this fellowship we owe the deeper debt of personal affection. The precept has been given already in rich detail (1 Peter 1:22). It is re-introduced here, however, in an entirely new connection.

fear God. With this compare Christ’s own words in Luke 12:4-5, and see also note on 1 Peter 1:17. The reverential awe which is due from the subject to supreme authority, and from the child to supreme perfection, which makes it to the one a dread and to the other a pain to offend, is what is to be rendered (cf. for its New Testament position, Heb. 13:28; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Philippians 2:12, etc.) to Him who is the Maker of all men, the Father of the brotherhood, the King of kings.

honour the king. That is, in the practical form of fealty, and, where that is impossible, in submission. The two latter precepts occur together, and in the same order, in Proverbs 24:21.—Are these four precepts so many pearls unstrung? Or are they a connected series, in which the one limits or defines the other? By some they are regarded as four particulars in which the previous ‘well-doing’ (1 Peter 2:15) is to be exhibited. In this case, too, a climax is usually discovered in the first three, while the fourth is taken to be a return to the relation which suggested the general statement of’ well-doing’ (Huther, etc.). Others think the first a general statement, of which the three following are applications (Alford, etc.). But this can scarcely suit the third at least. Others consider them to cover the two great departments of life, the civil and the religious, and to show how duty in the former is limited or defined by duty in the latter (Schott). If any inherent connection is to be found at all, it is in this last direction that it is to be sought. The closing precept indicates that Peter has still in view the civil and political duties. The verse, therefore, is introduced perhaps as a final qualification or explanation of his statement of these duties. It is appended as a safeguard against the supposition that such ‘submission’ to rulers must interfere with other obligations. The general principle of giving to all their dues, he means, is unaffected by what has been said. Honour to men as such, and the deeper sentiment of love to the brotherhood, reverence to God and honour to the king, are in no manner of conflict. The one is not to be rendered at the cost of the other.—The last three precepts are expressed in the present tense, as dealing with habitual modes of conduct. The first precept is given in a tense which does not express habit or continuance. The difference is explained by some (e.g. Alford) as due to the fact that the honour which is to be rendered to all men is presented here as a due which is to be given promptly and at once to each as occasion arises.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-peter-2.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Peter 2:17. Sweeping clause based partly on Romans 13:7 f. (cf. Matthew 22:21), partly on Proverbs 24:21, φοβοῦ τὸν θεὸν υἰὲ καὶ βασιλέα καὶ μηθετέρῳ αὐτῶν ἀπειθήσῃς.— πάντας τιμήσατε. The aorist imperative is used because the present would be ambiguous; cf. ἀπόδοτε, Rom. l.c., and for matter, Romans 12:10, τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι, since πάντας covers both the brotherhood and the emperor.— οἱ οἰκέται, vocative; the word is chosen as being milder than δοῦλος and also as suggesting the parallel between slaves and Christians who are God’s household (1 Peter 2:5)— ὑποτασσόμενοι has force of imperative resuming ὑποτάγητε or goes with τιμήσατε (1 Peter 2:17) as being a particular application of that general principle.— τοῖς δεσπόταις, to your masters, not excluding God, the Master of all, as is indicated by the insertion of in all fear (cf. 1 Peter 2:17, etc.) and τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς καὶ ἐπιεικέσιν (cf. Psalms 86:4, σὺ κύριος χρηστὸς καὶ ἐπιεικής).— τοῖς σκολιοῖς, the perverse, cf. Philippians 2:15, ἵνα γένησθετέκνα θεοῦ ἄμωμα μέσον γενεᾶς σκολιᾶς καὶ διεστραμμένης, where the full phrase is cited from Deuteronomy 32:5 ( σκ. = עקש), The Vulgate has dyscolis = δυσκόλοις; Hesychius, σκολιός. ἄδικος; Proverbs 28:18, σκολιαῖς ὁδοῖς πορευόμενος χ. πορευόμενος δικαίως.


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-peter-2.html. 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 2:17 ‘Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.’

‘Honor all men’-‘Show honor to everyone’(Wms). 1. ‘Honor’ is in the aorist tense, suggesting that we are to adopt this principle as a definite rule in our lives. 2. Honor is due to all, even the humblest of men, because every man and woman is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26); their soul is worth more than all the world contains (Matthew 16:26); and Jesus died for all men (1 Timothy 2:6). 3. Being a Christian doesn’t give us the right to look down upon others (Luke 18:9). 4. A religion that breeds contempt, arrogance and disrespect is not Christianity. We are to be courteous and respectful of all people. 5. ‘when Peter wrote this letter it was something which was quite new. As we shall go on to see, there were 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire. Everyone of them was considered in the eyes of the law to be, not a person, but a thing, with no rights whatever. In effect, Peter is saying, “…..remember the dignity of every man; remember that every man in this world is a person, and not a thing.” It is still possible to treat people as things. An employer may treat his employees as simply so many human machines for producing so much work…When we regard anyone as existing simply and solely to minister to our comfort, and to further our plans, we are in effect regarding them, not as persons, but as things. And the most tragic danger of all is that we may come to regard those we live with, those who are nearest and dearest to us as existing to make things comfortable for us…..’ (Barclay p. 247) (Romans 13:7)

‘love the brotherhood’-present tense. (John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 1:15; Philippians 2:2). ‘Practice love for the brotherhood’. Not only respect, but a strong and deep love (1 Peter 1:22). 1. The Universal Church is composed of a brotherhood of believers, not a sisterhood of various denominations. Individuals compose the Church, not separate religious bodies (1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27). 2. But too often, we fail to love properly, those who we should love first and foremost, i.e. fellow Christians. Familiarity should never be used as an excuse not to love brethren, as we should.

‘fear God’-reverential fear, awe. Present tense, ‘keep on fearing God’. The fear of offending or causing pain through misconduct (Woods p. 75) ‘Practice reverence to God’ (Wms). Concerning Proverbs 1:7 ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, Barclay notes, ‘the fear of the Lord is the principal part, the very foundation of wisdom…It is only when God is given His proper place in the centre of things that all others things will take their proper place.’ (p. 248) Our ‘love’ for God can never be allowed to degenerate into mere sentimentality. Our love for God, must always respect God, realize He will punish the rebellious, and that if we really love Him, then we wouldn’t want to do anything which would hurt Him.

‘honor the king’-Even if the king is as morally corrupt as was Nero. Even if the king is opposed to Christianity. This would include praying for him (1 Timothy 2:1-2). (Romans 13:7) 1. The verse makes it clear: While we honor the emperor, we do not honor him as God. 2. What wonderful balance we have in the teachings of Jesus Christ! (Matthew 22:21). How practical and at the same time, lofty teachings.

Servants and Masters:


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-peter-2.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Love. App-135.

brotherhood. Greek. adelphotes. Only here and 1 Peter 5:9.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-peter-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Honour all men - according to the honour due in each case. Equals have a respect due to them. Christ has dignified our humanity by assuming it; therefore we should honour our common humanity, even in the humblest. [ Pantas (Greek #3956) timeesate (Greek #5091), aorist-`In every case render promptly every man's due' (Alford). Basilea (Greek #935) timate (Greek #5091), present-habitually honour the king.] The first is the general precept; the three following are its divisions.

Love , [ agapate (Greek #25), present] - habitually love, with the congenial affection you ought to feel to brethren, besides general love to all men.

Fear God. Honour the king. The king is to be honoured; God alone, in the highest sense, feared.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-peter-2.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

Respect all men. "Every human being ought to receive your respect! Love your fellow believers in Christ just as Christ loved you! Fear (reverence) God and respect the Emperor. You can do both, as Jesus showed (Matthew 22:21).


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-peter-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Honour all men.—“These words have very briefly, and yet not obscured by briefness, but withal very plainly, the sum of our duty towards God and men; to men, both in general, honour all men, and in special relations, in their Christian or religious relations, love the brotherhood; and in a chief civil relation, honour the king. And our whole duty to God, comprised under the name of His fear, is set in the middle betwixt these, as the common spring of all duty to men, and of all due observance of it, and the sovereign rule by which it is to be regulated” (Leighton). St. Paul had said that this honour was to be paid to those to whom it was due; St. Peter says that this includes all men; there is not one who can be entirely despised, not one who has quite lost the likeness of Christ; Jews are not at liberty to despise even the idolatrous Gentiles.

Love the brotherhood.—See 1 Peter 5:9, and Note on 1 Peter 1:22. The brotherhood means, of course, all Christian men, who (mystically even now that the Church is divided, but then actually) formed a single confraternity. “All men,” Christian or heathen, are to be “honoured,” but there is a special sense in which love is only possible between fellow-Christians. For the converse proposition, see Matthew 5:44.

Fear God.—This enforces reverence for every law and ordinance of God, and therefore serves fitly to introduce the next precept. Rebellion against Nero is rebellion against God (Romans 13:2. Bengel compares Proverbs 24:21).

Honour the king.—This is the climax. Logically, the foregoing commands have only been inserted for the purpose of bringing out this last more clearly. This was the point on which the Christian religion was assailed, and the putting the readers through their catechism (as it were) of duties in other respects awakes their conscience to receive this precept. 1 Peter 2:13-16 have insisted on the duty of political submission, and then the writer steps back, so to speak, for a final thrust: “so—as to all men you must pay reverence; as to the Christians, love; as to God, fear—so to the emperor you must pay constant reverence.” It is hardly right to say with Bengel that this paragraph is specially written because of the usual disaffection of Jews towards the Roman government; rather it is called for (like the warning of 1 Peter 2:11-12), not by any special temptation within them, but by the particular circumstances of the time, i.e., the calumnies that were afloat against Christians.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-peter-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Honour
or, Esteem.
5:5; Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:32; 1 Samuel 15:30; Romans 12:10; 13:7; Philippians 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:1
Love
1:22; John 13:35; Hebrews 13:1; Zechariah 11:14
Fear
Genesis 20:11; 22:12; 42:18; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 23:17; 24:21; Ecclesiastes 8:2; Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:7; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:21
Honour
1 Samuel 15:30; 1 Chronicles 29:20; Proverbs 24:21

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-peter-2.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Honor all men. The same command is given by Paul in Romans 13:7, but the connection shows that the honor is to be shown to those only to whom it is due. Love the brotherhood. This is the whole band of brethren in Christ, and we should love them all as being in the one body, and not be partial or show favoritism. Fear God. Not the kind of fear that is like being terrified, for if we love Him as we should it will cast out such fear ( 1 John 4:18). We should fear God in the sense of reverencing Him and being unwilling to grieve Him. Honor the king. (See verses13,14.)


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Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Peter 2:17". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/1-peter-2.html. 1952.

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