Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
ADDRESS TO THE
ELECTED OF THE
THANKSGIVING FOR THE
PROPHETS AND TO
AGAIN OF THE
1. Peter--Greek form of Cephas, man of rock.
an apostle of Jesus Christ--"He who preaches otherwise than as a
messenger of Christ, is not to be heard; if he preach as such, then it
is all one as if thou didst hear Christ speaking in thy presence"
to the strangers scattered--literally, "sojourners of the
dispersion"; only in
and Jas 1:1,
in New Testament, and the Septuagint,
"the outcasts of Israel"; the designation peculiarly given to the
Jews in their dispersed state throughout the world ever since the
Babylonian captivity. These he, as the apostle of the circumcision,
primarily addresses, but not in the limited temporal sense only; he
regards their temporal condition as a shadow of their spiritual calling
to be strangers and pilgrims on earth, looking for the heavenly
Jerusalem as their home. So the Gentile Christians, as the
spiritual Israel, are included secondarily, as having the same high
(1Pe 1:14; 2:10; 4:3)
plainly refers to Christian Gentiles (compare
Christians, if they rightly consider their calling, must never settle
themselves here, but feel themselves travellers. As the Jews in
their dispersion diffused through the nations the knowledge of
the one God, preparatory to Christ's first advent, so Christians, by
their dispersion among the unconverted, diffuse the knowledge of
Christ, preparatory to His second advent. "The children of God
scattered abroad" constitute one whole in Christ, who "gathers them
together in one," now partially and in Spirit, hereafter perfectly and
visibly. "Elect," in the Greek order, comes before "strangers";
elect, in relation to heaven, strangers, in relation to
the earth. The election here is that of individuals to eternal
life by the sovereign grace of God, as the sequel shows. "While each is
certified of his own election by the Spirit, he receives no assurance
concerning others, nor are we to be too inquisitive
[Joh 21:21, 22];
Peter numbers them among the elect, as they carried the
appearance of having been regenerated" [CALVIN].
He calls the whole Church by the designation strictly belonging only to
the better portion of them [CALVIN]. The election
to hearing, and that to eternal life, are distinct.
Realization of our election is a strong motive to holiness. The
minister invites all, yet he does not hide the truth that in none but
the elect will the preaching effect eternal blessing. As the chief
fruit of exhortations, and even of threatenings, redounds to "the
elect"; therefore, at the outset, Peter addresses them. STEIGER translates, to "the elect pilgrims who form the
dispersion in Pontus.", &c. The order of the provinces is that
in which they would be viewed by one writing from the east from
from northeast southwards to Galatia, southeast to Cappadocia, then
Asia, and back to Bithynia, west of Pontus. Contrast the order,
He now was ministering to those same peoples as he preached to on
Pentecost: "Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia and
Judea," that is, the Jews now subject to the Parthians, whose capital
was Babylon, where he labored in person; "dwellers in
Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Bithynia," the Asiatic dispersion
derived from Babylon, whom he ministers to by letter.
2. foreknowledge--foreordaining love
inseparable from God's foreknowledge, the origin from
which, and pattern according to which, election takes place.
and Ro 11:2,
prove "foreknowledge" to be foreordination. God's
foreknowledge is not the perception of any ground of action out
of Himself; still in it liberty is comprehended, and all absolute
constraint debarred [ANSELM in STEIGER]. For so the Son of God was "foreknown" (so the
Greek for "foreordained,"
to be the sacrificial Lamb, not against, or without His will, but His
will rested in the will of the Father; this includes self-conscious
action; nay, even cheerful acquiescense. The Hebrew and
Greek "know" include approval and acknowledging as
one's own. The Hebrew marks the oneness of loving and
choosing, by having one word for both, bachar
(Greek, "hairetizo," Septuagint). Peter descends
from the eternal "election" of God through the new birth, to the
believer's "sanctification," that from this he might again raise them
through the consideration of their new birth to a "living hope"
of the heavenly "inheritance" [HEIDEGGER]. The
divine three are introduced in their respective functions in
through--Greek, "in"; the element in which we are
elected. The "election" of God realized and manifested itself
"IN" their sanctification. Believers are
"sanctified through the offering of Christ once for all"
"Thou must believe and know that thou art holy; not, however, through
thine own piety, but through the blood of Christ"
[LUTHER]. This is the true sanctification of the
Spirit, to obey the Gospel, to trust in Christ
sanctification--the Spirit's setting apart of the saint as
consecrated to God. The execution of God's choice
God the Father gives us salvation by gratuitous election; the Son earns
it by His blood-shedding; the Holy Spirit applies the merit of the Son
to the soul by the Gospel word [CALVIN]. Compare
the Old Testament triple blessing.
unto obedience--the result or end aimed at by God as
respects us, the obedience which consists in faith, and that
which flows from faith; "obeying the truth through the Spirit"
"obedience to the faith," and obedience the fruit of faith.
sprinkling, &c.--not in justification through the atonement once
for all, which is expressed in the previous clauses, but (as the order
proves) the daily being sprinkled by Christ's blood, and so cleansed
from all sin, which is the privilege of one already justified and
"walking in the light."
Grace--the source of "peace."
be multiplied--still further than already.
"Ye have now peace and grace, but still not in perfection; therefore,
ye must go on increasing until the old Adam be dead"
3. He begins, like Paul, in opening his Epistles with giving
thanks to God for the greatness of the salvation; herein he looks
forward (1) into the future
(2) backward into the past
Blessed--A distinct Greek word (eulogetos,
"Blessed BE") is used of God, from that used of
man (eulogemenos, "Blessed IS").
Father--This whole Epistle accords with the Lord's prayer;
1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, 23; 2:2;
end; "In heaven,"
"Hallowed be Thy name,"
1Pe 1:15, 16; 3:15;
"Thy kingdom come,"
"Thy will be done,"
1Pe 2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19;
"forgiveness of sins,"
1Pe 4:8, 1;
1Pe 3:7; 4:7,
for allusions to prayer. "Barak," Hebrew "bless,"
is literally "kneel." God, as the original source of blessing, must be
blessed through all His works.
abundant--Greek, "much," "full." That God's "mercy"
should reach us, guilty and enemies, proves its fulness. "Mercy"
met our misery; "grace," our guilt.
begotten us again--of the Spirit by the word
whereas we were children of wrath naturally, and dead in sins.
unto--so that we have.
lively--Greek, "living." It has life in itself, gives
life, and looks for life as its object [DE
WETTE]. Living is a favorite expression of
1Pe 2:4, 5).
He delights in contemplating life overcoming death in the
believer. Faith and love follow hope
(1Pe 1:8, 21, 22).
"(Unto) a lively hope" is further explained by "(To) an inheritance
incorruptible . . . fadeth not away," and "(unto) salvation
. . . ready to be revealed in the last time." I prefer with
BENGEL and STEIGER to join as
in Greek, "Unto a hope living (possessing life and
vitality) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Faith, the
subjective means of the spiritual resurrection of the soul, is wrought
by the same power whereby Christ was raised from the dead. Baptism is
an objective means
Its moral fruit is a new life. The connection of our sonship with the
resurrection appears also in
Christ's resurrection is the cause of ours, (1) as an efficient cause
(2) as an exemplary cause, all the saints being about to rise after the
similitude of His resurrection. Our "hope" is, Christ rising from the
dead hath ordained the power, and is become the pattern of the
believer's resurrection. The soul, born again from its natural state
into the life of grace, is after that born again unto the life of
"regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His
glory"; the resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the
womb of the earth and entering upon immortality, a nativity into
another life [BISHOP PEARSON]. The four causes of our salvation are; (1) the
primary cause, God's mercy; (2) the proximate cause, Christ's death and
resurrection; (3) the formal cause, our regeneration; (4) the final
cause, our eternal bliss. As John is the disciple of love, so
Paul of faith, and Peter of hope. Hence, Peter, most of
all the apostles, urges the resurrection of Christ; an undesigned
coincidence between the history and the Epistle, and so a proof of
genuineness. Christ's resurrection was the occasion of his own
restoration by Christ after his fall.
4. To an inheritance--the object of our "hope"
which is therefore not a dead, but a "living" hope. The
inheritance is the believer's already by title, being actually assigned
to him; the entrance on its possession is future, and hoped for as a
certainty. Being "begotten again" as a "son," he is an "heir," as
earthly fathers beget children who shall inherit their
goods. The inheritance is "salvation"
(1Pe 1:5, 9);
"the grace to be brought at the revelation of Christ"
"a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
incorruptible--not having within the germs of death. Negations
of the imperfections which meet us on every side here are the chief
means of conveying to our minds a conception of the heavenly things
which "have not entered into the heart of man," and which we have not
faculties now capable of fully knowing. Peter, sanguine, impulsive, and
highly susceptible of outward impressions, was the more likely to feel
painfully the deep-seated corruption which, lurking under the
outward splendor of the loveliest of earthly things, dooms them soon to
rottenness and decay.
undefiled--not stained as earthly goods by sin, either in the
acquiring, or in the using of them; unsusceptible of any stain. "The
rich man is either a dishonest man himself, or the heir of a dishonest
man" [JEROME]. Even Israel's inheritance was
defiled by the people's sins. Defilement intrudes even on our
holy things now, whereas God's service ought to be undefiled.
that fadeth not away--Contrast
Even the most delicate part of the heavenly inheritance, its bloom,
continues unfading. "In substance incorruptible; in
purity undefiled; in beauty unfading" [ALFORD].
"laid up for you in heaven,"
Greek perfect, expressing a fixed and abiding state,
"which has been and is reserved." The inheritance is in security,
beyond risk, out of the reach of Satan, though we for whom it is
reserved are still in the midst of dangers. Still, if we be believers,
we too, as well as the inheritance, are "kept" (the same Greek,
by Jesus safely
in heaven--Greek, "in the heavens," where it can neither
be destroyed nor plundered. It does not follow that, because it is
now laid up in heaven, it shall not hereafter be
on earth also.
for you--It is secure not only in itself from all misfortune,
but also from all alienation, so that no other can receive it in your
stead. He had said us
he now turns his address to the elect in order to encourage and exhort
5. kept--Greek, "who are being guarded." He answers the
objection, Of what use is it that salvation is "reserved" for us in
heaven, as in a calm secure haven, when we are tossed in the world as
on a troubled sea in the midst of a thousand wrecks?
[CALVIN]. As the inheritance is "kept"
safely for the far distant "heirs," so must they be "guarded" in their
persons so as to be sure of reaching it. Neither shall it be wanting to
them, nor they to it. "We are guarded in the world as our
inheritance is kept in heaven." This defines the "you" of
The inheritance, remember, belongs only to those who "endure unto the
end," being "guarded" by, or IN "the power of God,
through faith." Contrast
God Himself is our sole guarding power. "It is His power
which saves us from our enemies. It is His long-suffering which
saves us from ourselves" [BENGEL].
"preserved in Christ Jesus";
Php 1:6; 4:7,
"keep"; Greek, "guard," as here. This guarding is effected, on
the part of God, by His "power," the efficient cause; on the part of
man, "through faith," the effective means.
by--Greek, "in." The believer lives spiritually in
God, and in virtue of His power, and God lives in him. "In" marks that
the cause is inherent in the means, working organically through them
with living influence, so that the means, in so far as the cause works
organically through them, exist also in the cause. The power of God
which guards the believer is no external force working upon him from
without with mechanical necessity, but the spiritual power of God in
which he lives, and with whose Spirit he is clothed. It comes down on,
and then dwells in him, even as he is in it
[STEIGER]. Let none flatter himself he is being
guarded by the power of God unto salvation, if he be not walking by
faith. Neither speculative knowledge and reason, nor works of
seeming charity, will avail, severed from faith. It is through faith
that salvation is both received and kept.
unto salvation--the final end of the new birth. "Salvation," not
merely accomplished for us in title by Christ, and made over to us on
our believing, but actually manifested, and finally completed.
ready to be revealed--When Christ shall be revealed, it shall be
revealed. The preparations for it are being made now, and began when
Christ came: "All things are now ready"; the salvation is
already accomplished, and only waits the Lord's time to be manifested:
He "is ready to judge."
last time--the last day, closing the day of grace; the day of
judgment, of redemption, of the restitution of all things, and of
perdition of the ungodly.
6. Wherein--in which prospect of final salvation.
greatly rejoice--"exult with joy": "are exuberantly glad."
Salvation is realized by faith
as a thing so actually present as to cause exulting joy in spite of
for a season--Greek, "for a little time."
if need be--"if it be God's will that it should be so"
[ALFORD], for not all believers are afflicted. One
need not invite or lay a cross on himself, but only "take up" the cross
which God imposes ("his cross");
is not to be pressed too far. Not every believer, nor every sinner, is
tried with afflictions [THEOPHYLACT]. Some falsely
think that notwithstanding our forgiveness in Christ, a kind of
atonement, or expiation by suffering, is needed.
ye are in heaviness--Greek, "ye were grieved." The
"grieved" is regarded as past, the "exulting joy" present.
Because the realized joy of the coming salvation makes the present
grief seem as a thing of the past. At the first shock of
affliction ye were grieved, but now by anticipation ye
rejoice, regarding the present grief as past.
through--Greek, "IN": the element in
which the grief has place.
manifold--many and of various kinds
(1Pe 4:12, 13).
temptations--"trials" testing your faith.
7. Aim of the "temptations."
trial--testing, proving. That your faith so proved "may
be found (aorist; once for all, as the result of its being
proved on the judgment-day) unto (eventuating in) praise," &c., namely,
the praise to be bestowed by the Judge.
than that of gold--rather, "than gold."
though--"which perisheth, YET is tried with
fire." If gold, though perishing
is yet tried with fire in order to remove dross and test its
genuineness, how much more does your faith, which shall never perish,
need to pass through a fiery trial to remove whatever is defective, and
to test its genuineness and full value?
glory--"Honor" is not so strong as "glory." As "praise" is in
words, so "honor" is in deeds: honorary reward.
appearing--Translate as in
"revelation." At Christ's revelation shall take place also the
revelation of the sons of God
"manifestation," Greek, "revelation";
Greek, "manifested . . . manifested," for "appear
. . . appear").
8. not having seen, ye love--though in other cases it is
knowledge of the person that produces love to him. They
are more "blessed that have not seen and yet have believed," than they
who believed because they have seen. On Peter's own love to Jesus,
Though the apostles had seen Him, they now ceased to know Him merely
after the flesh.
in whom--connected with "believing": the result of which is "ye
rejoice" (Greek, "exult").
now--in the present state, as contrasted with the
future state when believers "shall see His face."
full of glory--Greek, "glorified." A joy now already
encompassed with glory. The "glory" is partly in present
possession, through the presence of Christ, "the Lord of glory," in the
soul; partly in assured anticipation. "The Christian's joy is
bound up with love to Jesus: its ground is faith; it is
not therefore either self-seeking or self-sufficient"
9. Receiving--in sure anticipation; "the end of your faith,"
that is, its crowning consummation, finally completed "salvation"
(Peter here confirms Paul's teaching as to justification by
faith): also receiving now the title to it and the
first-fruits of it. In
the "salvation" is represented as already present, whereas "the
prophets" had it not as yet present. It must, therefore, in this verse,
refer to the present: Deliverance now from a state of wrath:
believers even now "receive salvation," though its full "revelation" is
of . . . souls--The immortal soul was what was
lost, so "salvation" primarily concerns the soul; the body shall
share in redemption hereafter; the soul of the believer is saved
already: an additional proof that "receiving . . . salvation"
is here a thing present.
10. The magnitude of this "salvation" is proved by the
earnestness with which "prophets" and even "angels" searched into it.
Even from the beginning of the world this salvation has been testified
to by the Holy Spirit.
prophets--Though there is no Greek article, yet
English Version is right, "the prophets" generally
(including all the Old Testament inspired authors), as
"the angels" similarly refer to them in general.
inquired--perseveringly: so the Greek. Much more is
manifested to us than by diligent inquiry and search the prophets
attained. Still it is not said, they searched after it, but
concerning (so the Greek for "of") it. They were already
certain of the redemption being about to come. They did not like us
fully see, but they desired to see the one and the same
Christ whom we fully see in spirit. "As Simeon was anxiously desiring
previously, and tranquil in peace only when he had seen Christ, so all
the Old Testament saints saw Christ only hidden, and as it were
absent--absent not in power and grace, but inasmuch as He was not yet
manifested in the flesh" [CALVIN]. The prophets,
as private individuals, had to reflect on the hidden and
far-reaching sense of their own prophecies; because their words, as
prophets, in their public function, were not so much their own as
the Spirit's, speaking by and in them: thus Caiaphas. A striking
testimony to verbal inspiration; the words which the inspired
authors wrote are God's words expressing the mind of the Spirit, which
the writers themselves searched into, to fathom the deep and precious
meaning, even as the believing readers did. "Searched" implies that
they had determinate marks to go by in their search.
the grace that should come unto you--namely, the grace of the
New Testament: an earnest of "the grace" of perfected "salvation
. . . to be brought at the (second) revelation of Christ."
Old Testament believers also possessed the grace of God; they were
children of God, but it was as children in their nonage, so as to be
like servants; whereas we enjoy the full privileges of adult sons.
11. what--Greek, "In reference to what, or what
manner of time." What expresses the time absolutely: what
was to be the era of Messiah's coming; what manner of time; what
events and features should characterize the time of His coming. The
"or" implies that some of the prophets, if they could not as
individuals discover the exact time, searched into its
characteristic features and events. The Greek for "time" is
the season, the epoch, the fit time in God's purposes.
Spirit of Christ . . . in them--
in oldest manuscripts, "the Spirit of Jesus";
So JUSTIN MARTYR says, "Jesus
was He who appeared and communed with Moses, Abraham, and the other
patriarchs." CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA calls Him "the Prophet of prophets, and Lord
of all the prophetical spirit."
did signify--"did give intimation."
of--Greek, "the sufferers (appointed) unto
Christ," or foretold in regard to Christ. "Christ," the
anointed Mediator, whose sufferings are the price of our
(1Pe 1:9, 10),
and who is the channel of "the grace that should come unto you."
the glory--Greek, "glories," namely, of His resurrection,
of His ascension, of His judgment and coming kingdom, the necessary
consequence of the sufferings.
that should follow--Greek, "after these (sufferings),"
1Pe 3:18-22; 5:1.
Since "the Spirit of Christ" is the Spirit of God, Christ is
God. It is only because the Son of God was to become our Christ that He
manifested Himself and the Father through Him in the Old Testament, and
by the Holy Spirit, eternally proceeding from the Father and Himself,
spake in the prophets.
12. Not only was the future revealed to them, but this also,
that these revelations of the future were given them not for
themselves, but for our good in Gospel times. This, so far from
disheartening, only quickened them in unselfishly testifying in the
Spirit for the partial good of their own generation (only of
believers), and for the full benefit of posterity. Contrast in Gospel
Not that their prophecies were unattended with spiritual instruction as
to the Redeemer to their own generation, but the full light was not to
be given till Messiah should come; it was well that they should have
this "revealed" to them, lest they should be disheartened in not
clearly discovering with all their inquiry and search the full
particulars of the coming "salvation." To Daniel
(Da 9:25, 26)
the "time" was revealed. Our immense privileges are thus brought
forth by contrast with theirs, notwithstanding that they had the great
honor of Christ's Spirit speaking in them; and this, as an incentive to
still greater earnestness on our part than even they manifested
us--The oldest manuscripts read "you," as in
This verse implies that we, Christians, may understand the
prophecies by the Spirit's aid in their most important part, namely, so
far as they have been already fulfilled.
with the Holy Ghost sent down--on Pentecost. The oldest
manuscripts omit Greek preposition en, that is, "in";
then translate, "by." The Evangelists speaking by the Holy Spirit were
infallible witnesses. "The Spirit of Christ" was in the prophets also
but not manifestly, as in the case of the Christian Church and its
first preachers, "SENT down from heaven." How
favored are we in being ministered to, as to "salvation," by prophets
and apostles alike, the latter now announcing the same things as
actually fulfilled which the former foretold.
which things--"the things now reported unto you" by the
evangelistic preachers "Christ's sufferings and the glory that should
(1Pe 1:11, 12).
angels--still higher than "the prophets"
Angels do not any more than ourselves possess an
INTUITIVE knowledge of redemption. "To look into"
in Greek is literally, "to bend over so as to look deeply into
and see to the bottom of a thing." See on
on same word. As the cherubim stood bending over the mercy seat, the
emblem of redemption, in the holiest place, so the angels intently gaze
upon and desire to fathom the depths of "the great mystery of
godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen
Their "ministry to the heirs of salvation" naturally disposes them to
wish to penetrate this mystery as reflecting such glory on the love,
justice, wisdom, and power of their and our God and Lord. They can
know it only through its manifestation in the Church, as they
personally have not the direct share in it that we have. "Angels have
only the contrast between good and evil, without the power of
conversion from sin to righteousness: witnessing such conversion in the
Church, they long to penetrate the knowledge of the means whereby it is
brought about" [HOFMAN in ALFORD].
13. Wherefore--Seeing that the prophets ministered unto you in
these high Gospel privileges which they did not themselves fully share
in, though "searching" into them, and seeing that even angels "desire
to look into" them, how earnest you ought to be and watchful in respect
gird up . . . loins--referring to Christ's own words,
an image taken from the way in which the Israelites ate the passover
with the loose outer robe girded up about the waist with a girdle, as
ready for a journey. Workmen, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, and
warriors (all of whom are types of the Christians), so gird themselves
up, both to shorten the garment so as not to impede motion, and to gird
up the body itself so as to be braced for action. The believer is to
have his mind (mental powers) collected and always ready for Christ's
coming. "Gather in the strength of your spirit" [HENSLER]. Sobriety, that is, spiritual
self-restraint, lest one be overcome by the allurements of the
world and of sense, and patient hopeful waiting for Christ's
revelation, are the true ways of "girding up the loins of the mind."
to the end--rather, "perfectly," so that there may be nothing
deficient in your hope, no casting away of your confidence.
Still, there may be an allusion to the "end" mentioned in
Hope so perfectly (Greek, "teleios") as to reach unto
the end (telos) of your faith and hope, namely, "the
grace that is being brought unto you in (so the Greek) the
revelation of Christ." As grace shall then be perfected,
so you ought to hope perfectly. "Hope" is repeated from
The two appearances are but different stages of the
ONE great revelation of Christ, comprising the New
Testament from the beginning to the end.
14. From sobriety of spirit and endurance of hope
Peter passes to obedience, holiness, and reverential
As--marking their present actual character as "born again"
(1Pe 1:3, 22).
obedient children--Greek, "children of obedience":
children to whom obedience is their characteristic and ruling
nature, as a child is of the same nature as the mother and father.
"the children of disobedience." Compare
"obeying the Father" whose "children" ye are. Having the obedience of
and so of practice (compare
1Pe 1:16, 18).
"Faith is the highest obedience, because discharged to the highest
fashioning--The outward fashion (Greek,
"schema") is fleeting, and merely on the surface. The "form," or
conformation in the New Testament, is something deeper and more
perfect and essential.
the former lusts in--which were characteristic of your state of
ignorance of God: true of both Jews and Gentiles. The sanctification is
first described negatively
"not fashioning yourselves," &c.; the putting off the old man, even in
the outward fashion, as well as in the inward
conformation), then positively
putting on the new man, compare
Eph 4:22, 24).
"Lusts" flow from the original birth-sin (inherited from our first
parents, who by self-willed desire brought sin into the world), the
lust which, ever since man has been alienated from God, seeks to
fill up with earthly things the emptiness of his being; the manifold
forms which the mother-lust assumes are called in the plural
lusts. In the regenerate, as far as the new man is
concerned, which constitutes his truest self, "sin" no longer exists;
but in the flesh or old man it does. Hence arises the conflict,
uninterruptedly maintained through life, wherein the new man in the
main prevails, and at last completely. But the natural man knows only
the combat of his lusts with one another, or with the law, without
power to conquer them.
15. Literally, "But (rather) after the pattern of Him who hath
called you (whose characteristic is that He is) holy, be (Greek,
'become') ye yourselves also holy." God is our grand model. God's
calling is a frequently urged motive in Peter's Epistles. Every
one that begets, begets an offspring resembling himself [EPIPHANIUS]. "Let the acts of the offspring indicate
similarity to the Father" [AUGUSTINE].
conversation--deportment, course of life: one's way of going
about, as distinguished from one's internal nature, to which it must
outwardly correspond. Christians are already holy unto God by
consecration; they must be so also in their outward walk and
behavior in all respects. The outward must correspond to the inward
16. Scripture is the true source of all authority in
questions of doctrine and practice.
Be ye . . . for I am--It is I with whom ye have to do.
Ye are mine. Therefore abstain from Gentile pollutions. We are too
prone to have respect unto men [CALVIN]. As I am
the fountain of holiness, being holy in My essence, be ye
therefore zealous to be partakers of holiness, that ye may be as
I also am [DIDYMUS]. God is essentially holy: the
creature is holy in so far as it is sanctified by God. God, in giving
the command, is willing to give also the power to obey it, namely,
through the sanctifying of the Spirit
17. if ye call on--that is, "seeing that ye call on," for
all the regenerate pray as children of God, "Our Father
who art in heaven"
the Father--rather, "Call upon as Father Him who without
acceptance of persons
not accepting the Jew above the Gentile,
properly said of a judge not biassed in judgment by respect of persons)
judgeth," &c. The Father judgeth by His Son, His Representative,
exercising His delegated authority
This marks the harmonious and complete unity of the Trinity.
work--Each man's work is one complete whole,
whether good or bad. The particular works of each are manifestations of
the general character of his lifework, whether it was of faith and love
whereby alone we can please God and escape condemnation.
pass--Greek, "conduct yourselves during."
sojourning--The outward state of the Jews in their
dispersion is an emblem of the sojourner-like state of
all believers in this world, away from our true Fatherland.
fear--reverential, not slavish. He who is your Father, is also
your Judge--a thought which may well inspire reverential fear. THEOPHYLACT observes, A double fear is mentioned in
Scripture: (1) elementary, causing one to become serious; (2)
perfective: the latter is here the motive by which Peter urges
them as sons of God to be obedient. Fear is not here opposed to
assurance, but to carnal security: fear producing
vigilant caution lest we offend God and backslide. "Fear and
hope flow from the same fountain: fear prevents us from
falling away from hope" [BENGEL]. Though
love has no fear IN it, yet in our
present state of imperfect love, it needs to have fear going ALONG WITH It as a subordinate principle. This fear
drowns all other fears. The believer fears God, and so has none else to
fear. Not to fear God is the greatest baseness and folly. The martyrs'
more than mere human courage flowed from this.
18. Another motive to reverential, vigilant fear
of displeasing God, the consideration of the costly price of our
redemption from sin. Observe, it is we who are bought by the
blood of Christ, not heaven. The blood of Christ is not in Scripture
said to buy heaven for us: heaven is the "inheritance"
given to us as sons, by the promise of God.
"gold that perisheth,"
silver and gold--Greek, "or." Compare Peter's own words,
an undesigned coincidence.
redeemed--Gold and silver being liable to corruption themselves,
can free no one from spiritual and bodily death; they are therefore of
too little value. Contrast
Christ's "precious blood." The Israelites were ransomed with
half a shekel each, which went towards purchasing the lamb for
the daily sacrifice
But the Lamb who redeems the spiritual Israelites does so "without
money or price." Devoted by sin to the justice of God, the Church of
the first-born is redeemed from sin and the curse with Christ's
In all these passages there is the idea of substitution, the
giving of one for another by way of a ransom or equivalent. Man is
"sold under sin" as a slave; shut up under condemnation and the curse.
The ransom was, therefore, paid to the righteously incensed Judge, and
was accepted as a vicarious satisfaction for our sin by God, inasmuch
as it was His own love as well as righteousness which appointed it. An
Israelite sold as a bond-servant for debt might be redeemed by one of
his brethren. As, therefore, we could not redeem ourselves, Christ
assumed our nature in order to become our nearest of kin and brother,
and so our God or Redeemer. Holiness is the natural fruit of redemption
"from our vain conversation"; for He by whom we are redeemed is
also He for whom we are redeemed. "Without the righteous
abolition of the curse, either there could be found no deliverance, or,
what is impossible, the grace and righteousness of God must have come
in collision" [STEIGER]; but now, Christ having
borne the curse of our sin, frees from it those who are made God's
children by His Spirit.
vain--self-deceiving, unreal, and unprofitable: promising good
which it does not perform. Compare as to the Gentiles,
as to human philosophers,
as to the disobedient Jews,
conversation--course of life. To know what our sin is we must
know what it cost.
received by tradition from your fathers--The Jews' traditions.
"Human piety is a vain blasphemy, and the greatest sin that a man can
commit" [LUTHER]. There is only one Father to be
the same antithesis [BENGEL].
19. precious--of inestimable value. The Greek order is,
"With precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish (in itself)
and without spot (contracted by contact with others), (even the
blood) of Christ." Though very man, He remained pure in Himself
("without blemish"), and uninfected by any impression of sin from
without ("without spot"), which would have unfitted Him for being
our atoning Redeemer: so the passover lamb, and every sacrificial
victim; so too, the Church, the Bride, by her union with Him. As
Israel's redemption from Egypt required the blood of the paschal lamb,
so our redemption from sin and the curse required the blood of Christ;
from eternity, as the passover lamb was taken up on the tenth day of
20. God's eternal foreordination of Christ's redeeming
sacrifice, and completion of it in these last times for us, are
an additional obligation on us to our maintaining a holy walk,
considering how great things have been thus done for us. Peter's
language in the history corresponds with this here: an undesigned
coincidence and mark of genuineness. Redemption was no afterthought, or
remedy of an unforeseen evil, devised at the time of its arising. God's
foreordaining of the Redeemer refutes the slander that, on the
Christian theory, there is a period of four thousand years of nothing
but an incensed God. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of
manifest--in His incarnation in the fulness of the time. He
existed from eternity before He was manifested.
in these last times--
"the ends of the world." This last dispensation, made up of "times"
marked by great changes, but still retaining a general unity, stretches
from Christ's ascension to His coming to judgment.
21. by him--Compare "the faith which is by Him,"
Through Christ: His Spirit, obtained for us in His resurrection
and ascension, enabling us to believe. This verse excludes all who do
not "by Him believe in God," and includes all of every age and clime
that do. Literally, "are believers in God." "To believe
IN (Greek, 'eis') God"
expresses an internal trust: "by believing to love God, going
INTO Him, and cleaving to Him, incorporated into
His members. By this faith the ungodly is justified, so that
thenceforth faith itself begins to work by love"
[P. LOMBARD]. To believe
ON (Greek, "epi," or dative case)
God expresses the confidence, which grounds itself on
God, reposing on Him. "Faith IN (Greek,
'en') His blood"
implies that His blood is the element IN which
faith has its proper and abiding place. Compare with this verse,
"Repentance toward (Greek, 'eis,' 'into,' turning
towards and going into) God and faith toward
(Greek, 'eis,' 'into') Christ": where, as there is but
one article to both repentance and faith, the two are
inseparably joined as together forming one truth; where "repentance"
is, there "faith" is; when one knows God the Father spiritually, then
he must know the Son by whom alone we can come to the Father. In Christ
we have life: if we have not the doctrine of Christ, we have not God.
The only living way to God is through Christ and His sacrifice.
that raised him--The raising of Jesus by God is the special
ground of our "believing": (1) because by it God declared openly His
acceptance of Him as our righteous substitute; (2) because by it and
His glorification He received power, namely, the Holy Spirit, to impart
to His elect "faith": the same power enabling us to believe as raised
Him from the dead. Our faith must not only be IN
Christ, but BY and THROUGH
Christ. "Since in Christ's resurrection and consequent dominion our
safety is grounded, there 'faith' and 'hope' find their stay"
that your faith and hope might be in God--the object and effect
of God's raising Christ. He states what was the actual result
and fact, not an exhortation, except indirectly. Your
faith flows from His resurrection; your hope from
God's having "given Him glory" (compare
"glories"). Remember God's having raised and glorified Jesus as the
anchor of your faith and hope in God, and so keep alive these graces.
Apart from Christ we could have only feared, not believed and
hoped in God. Compare
1Pe 1:3, 7-9, 13,
on hope in connection with faith; love is introduced in
22. purified . . . in obeying the truth--Greek,
"in your (or 'the') obedience of (that is, 'to')
the truth (the Gospel way of salvation)," that is, in the fact of your
believing. Faith purifies the heart as giving it the only pure
motive, love to God
"obedience to the faith").
through the Spirit--omitted in the oldest manuscripts. The Holy
Spirit is the purifier by bestowing the obedience of faith
unto--with a view to: the proper result of the purifying
of your hearts by faith. "For what end must we lead a chaste life? That
we may thereby be saved? No: but for this, that we may serve our
1Pe 2:1, 2,
"laying aside . . . hypocrisies . . .
love of the brethren--that is, of Christians. Brotherly
love is distinct from common love. "The Christian loves
primarily those in Christ; secondarily, all who might be in Christ,
namely, all men, as Christ as man died for all, and as he hopes that
they, too, may become his Christian brethren"
[STEIGER]. BENGEL remarks
that as here, so in
"brotherly love" is preceded by the purifying graces, "faith,
knowledge, and godliness," &c. Love to the brethren is the evidence of
our regeneration and justification by faith.
love one another--When the purifying by faith into love of
the brethren has formed the habit, then the act
follows, so that the "love" is at once habit and act.
with a pure heart--The oldest manuscripts read, "(love) from the
fervently--Greek, "intensely": with all the powers
on the stretch
23. Christian brotherhood flows from our new birth of an
imperishable seed, the abiding word of God. This is the consideration
urged here to lead us to exercise brotherly love. As natural
relationship gives rise to natural affection, so spiritual relationship
gives rise to spiritual, and therefore abiding love, even as the
seed from which it springs is abiding, not transitory as earthly
of . . . of . . . by--"The word of God" is
not the material of the spiritual new birth, but its mean or medium. By
means of the word the man receives the incorruptible seed of
the Holy Spirit, and so becomes one "born again":
"born of water and the Spirit": as there is but one Greek
article to the two nouns, the close connection of the sign and
the grace, or new birth signified is implied. The word is the
remote and anterior instrument; baptism, the proximate and
sacramental instrument. The word is the instrument in relation to the
individual; baptism, in relation to the Church as a society
We are born again of the Spirit, yet not without the use of
means, but by the word of God. The word is not the beggeting principle
itself, but only that by which it works: the vehicle of the
mysterious germinating power [ALFORD].
which liveth and abideth for ever--It is because the Spirit of
God accompanies it that the word carries in it the germ of life. They
who are so born again live and abide for ever, in contrast to
those who sow to the flesh. "The Gospel bears incorruptible fruits, not
dead works, because it is itself incorruptible"
[BENGEL]. The word is an eternal divine power. For
though the voice or speech vanishes, there still remains the kernel,
the truth comprehended in the voice. This sinks into the heart and is
living; yea, it is God Himself. So God to Moses,
"I will be with thy mouth" [LUTHER]. The life is
in God, yet it is communicated to us through the word.
"The Gospel shall never cease, though its ministry shall"
[CALOVIUS]. The abiding resurrection glory
is always connected with our regeneration by the Spirit.
Regeneration beginning with renewing man's soul at the
resurrection, passes on to the body, then to the whole world of
24. Scripture proof that the word of God lives for ever, in
contrast to man's natural frailty. If ye were born again of flesh,
corruptible seed, ye must also perish again as the grass; but now that
from which you have derived life remains eternally, and so also will
render you eternal.
flesh--man in his mere earthly nature.
as--omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts.
of man--The oldest manuscripts read, "of it" (that is, of the
flesh). "The glory" is the wisdom, strength, riches, learning, honor,
beauty, art, virtue, and righteousness of the
NATURAL man (expressed by "flesh"), which all are
not OF MAN (as English Version reads)
absolutely, for the glory of man, in his true ideal realized in
the believer, is eternal.
withereth--Greek, aorist: literally, "withered," that is,
is withered as a thing of the past. So also the Greek for
"falleth" is "fell away," that is, is fallen away: it no sooner
is than it is gone.
thereof--omitted in the best manuscripts and versions. "The
grass" is the flesh: "the flower" its glory.
this is the word . . . preached unto you--That is
eternal which is born of incorruptible seed
but ye have received the incorruptible seed, the word
therefore ye are born for eternity, and so are bound now to live for
(1Pe 1:22, 23).
Ye have not far to look for the word; it is among you, even the joyful
Gospel message which we preach. Doubt not that the Gospel preached
to you by our brother Paul, and which ye have embraced, is the
eternal truth. Thus the oneness of Paul's and Peter's creed
appears. See my
showing Peter addresses some of the same churches as Paul labored among
and wrote to.