Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Yet if any man suffer as a Christian.—St. Peter purposely uses the name which was a name of derision among the heathens. It is not, as yet, one by which the believers would usually describe themselves. It only occurs twice besides in the New Testament—in Acts 11:26, where we are told of the invention of the nickname (see Note there), and in Acts 26:28, where Agrippa catches it up with the insolent scorn with which a brutal justice would have used the word “Methodist” a century ago. So contemptible was the name that, as M. Renan says (p. 37), “Well-bred people avoided pronouncing the name, or, when forced to do so, made a kind of apology.” Tacitus, for instance, says: “Those who were vulgarly known by the name of Christians.” In fact, it is quite an open question whether we ought not here (as well as in the two places of Acts above cited) to read the nickname in its barbarous form: Chrestian. The Sinaitic manuscript has that form, and the Vatican has the form Chreistian; and it is much harder to suppose that a scribe who commonly called himself a Christian would intentionally alter it into this strange form than to suppose that one who did not understand the irony of saying a Chrestian should have written the word with which he was so familiar.
Let him not be ashamed.—Although the name sounds worse to the world than “murderer,” or “thief,” or “malefactor.”
On this behalf.—This is a possible rendering, but it is more pointed to translate literally, but let him glorify God in this name—i.e., make even this name of ridicule the ground of an act of glory to God.1 Peter 3:17. On the import of the word Christian, and the reasons why the name was given to the disciples of the Lord Jesus, see the notes at Acts 11:26.
Let him not be ashamed -
(1) Ashamed of religion so as to refuse to suffer on account of it.
(2) ashamed that he is despised and maltreated.
He is to regard his religion as every way honorable, and all that fairly results from it in time and eternity as in every respect desirable. He is not to be ashamed to be called a Christian; he is not to be ashamed of the doctrines taught by his religion; he is not to be ashamed of the Saviour whom he professes to love; he is not to be ashamed of the society and fellowship of those who are true Christians, poor and despised though they may be; he is not to be ashamed to perform any of the duties demanded by his religion; he is not to be ashamed to have his name cast out, and himself subjected to reproach and scorn. A man should be ashamed only of that which is wrong. He should glory in that which is right, whatever may be the consequences to himself. Christians now, though not subjected to open persecution, are frequently reproached by the world on account of their religion; and though the rack may not be employed, and the fires of martyrdom are not enkindled, yet it is often true that one who is a believer is called to "suffer as a Christian." He may be reviled and despised. His views may be regarded as bigoted, narrow, severe. Opprobrious epithets, on account of his opinions, may be applied to him. His former friends and companions may leave him because he has become a Christian. A wicked father, or a frivilous and worldly mother, may oppose a child, or a husband may revile a wife, on account of their religion. In all these cases, the same spirit essentially is required which was enjoined on the early Christian martyrs. We are never to be ashamed of our religion, whatever results may follow from our attachment to it. Compare the notes at Romans 1:16.
But let him glorify God on this behalf - Let him praise God that he is deemed not unworthy to suffer in such a cause. It is a matter of thankfulness:
(1) that they may have this evidence that they are true Christians;
(2) that they may desire the advantages which may result from suffering as Christ did, and in his cause. See the notes at Acts 5:41, where the sentiment here expressed is fully illustrated. Compare the Philippians 3:10 note; Colossians 1:24 note.
let him not be ashamed—though the world is ashamed of shame. To suffer for one's own faults is no honor (1Pe 4:15; 1Pe 2:20),—for Christ, is no shame (1Pe 4:14; 1Pe 3:13).
but let him glorify God—not merely glory in persecution; Peter might have said as the contrast, "but let him esteem it an honor to himself"; but the honor is to be given to God, who counts him worthy of such an honor, involving exemption from the coming judgments on the ungodly.
on this behalf—The oldest manuscripts and Vulgate read, "in this name," that is, in respect of suffering for such a name.Yet if any man suffer as a Christian; if his Christianity be his only crime, and the cause of his sufferings.
Let him not be ashamed: see 2 Timothy 2:12.
But let him glorify God on this behalf; i.e. on the account of his sufferings; let him bless God for keeping him from suffering as an evil-doer, and for counting him worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake, Acts 5:41, as well as for giving him patience, and courage under sufferings. Acts 11:26,
let him not be ashamed; neither of Christ, and his Gospel, for which he suffers, nor of the name he bears, nor of the punishment he endures, however ignominious and shameful it may be among men; but let him, as his Lord and master did, endure the cross, and despise the shame, Hebrews 12:2
but let him glorify God on this behalf: that he bestows this gift upon him to suffer for Christ, as well as to believe in him; and that he does him so much honour to call him to such service, and to strengthen him in it, so as to take it joyfully, and endure it patiently and cheerfully. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, and also the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, instead of "in this behalf", read "in this name"; that is, of a Christian.Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Peter 4:16. Antithesis to the foregoing.
εἰ δὲ ὡς Χριστιανὸς (sc. τὶς πάσχει) μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω] The name Χριστιανός, besides here, is to be found only in Acts 11:26, where its origin is mentioned (cf. Meyer in loc.), and Acts 26:28.
ὡς Χρ., i.e. because of his being a Christian, synonymous with ἐν ὀνόματι Χριστοῦ, 1 Peter 4:14. Calvin: non tam nomen quam causam respicit.
μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω: “let him not consider it a disgrace;” cf. Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12.
δοξαζέτω δὲ τὸν Θεόν] cf. Acts 5:41. Bengel: Poterat Petr., antitheti vi, dicere: honori sibi ducat, sed honorem Deo resignandum esse docet.
ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ] goes back to πάσχειν ὡς Χριστιανός; de Wette regards it as synonymous with the reading: ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ, 2 Corinthians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:3 : “in this matter,” “in this respect;” ὄνομα can, however, be retained in its strict sense (Wiesinger), in which case it will mean the name Χριστιανός; ἐν will then designate this name as the reason of the δοξάζειν (see Winer, p. 362 [E. T. 484]). Hofmann, who gives the preference to the reading ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ, “in this respect,” refers the word to what follows, thus attributing to δοξαζέτω an application different from that of μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω. When, then, he states that the cause for praise arises from this circumstance, that the Christian’s sufferings are appointed by God, he is introducing a thought in no way alluded to, and still less expressed, by the apostle.
 Schott interprets μέρος artificially as, “that piece of life apportioned to Christians, which consists in suffering.”1 Peter 4:16. εἰδὲ ὡς χριστιανὸς, if one suffers as a follower of Christ, in the name of Christ (14). See on Acts 9:26 and Introduction.—μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω echoes the saying, Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words of him also the Son of Man shall be ashamed when He cometh in the glory; so St. Paul says I suffer thus but am not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:12; cf. 2 Timothy 1:8).—δοξαζέτω τὸν θεόν, by martyrdom if necessary, for this sense the phrase has acquired already in John 21:19.—ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ = Mark 9:41.16. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian] The occurrence of a name which has played so prominent a part in the history of mankind requires a few words of notice. It did not originate with the followers of Christ themselves. They spoke of themselves as the “brethren” (Acts 14:2; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:3; Acts 15:22, &c.), as “the saints,” i.e. the holy or consecrated people (Matthew 27:52; Acts 9:13; Acts 9:32; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 6:1; Ephesians 1:1, &c.), as “those of the way,” i.e. those who took their own way, the way which they believed would lead them to eternal life (Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9; Acts 24:22). By their Jewish opponents they were commonly stigmatized as “the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5), the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the city out of which no good thing could come (John 1:46). The new name was given first at Antioch (Acts 11:26), shortly after the admission there, on a wider scale than elsewhere, of Gentile converts. Its Latin form, analogous to that of Pompeiani, Mariani, for the followers of Pompeius or Marius, indicated that the new society was attracting the attention of official persons and others at Antioch. The word naturally found acceptance. It expressed a fact, it was not offensive, and it might be used by those who, like Agrippa, though they were not believers themselves, wished to speak respectfully of those who were (Acts 26:28). Soon it came to be claimed by those believers. The question, Are you a Christian? became the crucial test of their faith. By disowning it, as in the case of the mildly repressive measures taken in these very regions by Pliny in the reign of Trajan, they might purchase safety (Pliny, Epp. x. 96). The words now before us probably did much to stamp it on the history of the Church. Men dared not disown it. They came to exult in it. Somewhat later on they came to find in it, with a pardonable play upon words, a new significance. The term Christiani (= followers of Christ) was commonly pronounced Chrestiani, and that, they urged, shewed that they were followers of Chrestus, i.e. of the good and gentle one. Their very name, they urged, through their Apologist, Tertullian (Apol. i. 3), was a witness to the falsehood of the charges brought against them.
on this behalf] Better, perhaps, in this point, or this particular. Many of the best MSS. give, however, in this name, i.e. either the name of Christ, for whom they suffered, or that of Christian, which was the occasion of their suffering.1 Peter 4:16. Μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω, let him not be ashamed) although the world is ashamed of shame—δοξαζέτω, let him glorify) Peter might have said, with the force of an antithesis, let him esteem it an honour to himself: but he teaches that the honour is to be resigned to God. Let him glorify God, who regards man as worthy of the honour of sufferings, and who at the same time bestows upon him a great benefit, together with an exemption from the punishments of the wicked, which are about to come upon them. There is a similar antithesis in Psalm 79:12-13, Let our enemies be put to shame: let the Lord be glorified.—ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ, in this part) i.e. in respect of sufferings which are of a better kind. See next verse.
 The reading ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ, which had not been approved of by the larger Ed., is openly preferred by Ed. 2, and is confidently exhibited in the Germ. Vers.—E. B.
Ὀνόματι is the reading of AB Vulg. Μέρει is read by Rec. Text on inferior authority.—E.Verse 16. - Yet if any man suffer as a Christian. The word "Christian" occurs only three times in the New Testament - twice in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28), and here. "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." They were originally described amongst themselves as "the disciples," "the brethren," "the believers," "the elect," or" the saints;" by the Jews they were called "the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5), as still in Mohammedan countries. The name was probably invented by the heathen, and used at first as a term of derision; there is something of scorn in Agrippa's use of it. It did not at once become common among the disciples of the Lord. St. Peter (who preached at Antioch (Galatians 2:11), and is said to have been Bishop of Antioch) is the only sacred writer who adopts it instead of the older names, and that only ones, and in connection with threatened persecution. St. James may possibly allude to it in James 2:7. But it was not commonly used among' believers till after New Testament times. Then they began to discern its admirable suitableness. It reminded them that the center of their religion was not a system of doctrines, but a Person, and that Person the Messiah, the Anointed of God. The Hebrew origin of the word, the Greek dress, the Latin termination, seemed to point, like the threefold inscription on the cross, to the universality of Christ's religion to its empire, first over all the civilized nations, and through them, by continually increasing triumphs, over the whole world. It reminded them that they too were anointed, that they had an unction from the Holy One. Its very corruption through heathen ignorance, Christian from χρηστός, good (the Sinaitic Manuscript has χρηστιανός in this place) had its lesson - it spoke of sweetness and of goodness. See the oft-quoted passage from Tertullian: "Sed quum et perperam Chres-tiani nuncupamur a vobis (nam nec nominis certa est notitia penes yes) de suavitate et benignitate compositum est." Let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. The best-supported reading is ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τούτῳ. This may be understood as an idiom, in the same sense as the reading of the Authorized Version; but it is better to translate it literally, in this name, i.e. either the name of Christ, or (more probably, perhaps) that of Christian. The heathen blasphemed that worthy Name; suffering Christians must not be ashamed of it, but, as the holy martyrs did, utter their "Christianus sum" with inward peace and thanksgiving, glorifying God that he had given them grace to bear that honored Name and to suffer for Christ. Bengel says here, "Poterat Petrus dicere, honori sibi ducat: sed honorem Dee resignandum esse docet."
Only three times in the New Testament, and never as a name used by Christians themselves, but as a nickname or a term of reproach. See on Acts 11:26. Hence Peter's idea is, if any man suffer from the contumely of those who contemptuously style him Christian.
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