Vincent's Word Studies
The Epistles of Peter
The life and character of the apostle Peter are familiar to all readers of the Gospels and Acts. It has already been shown in the Introduction to the Gospel of Mark how the style and diction of that gospel exhibit the influence of Peter, and how the characteristics which appear in the Acts, in those scenes in which Peter was the only or the principal actor, reappear in the second gospel. If these epistles are from his pen, we may therefore expect to find in them traces of the keen-sightedness, the ready application of what is observed, and the impulsiveness and promptness which appear in the other two books, always allowing for the difference between a narrative and a hortatory style.
It has been observed that "the sight, and what it should do and reap, fills a great space in Peter's letters." Accordingly, we read that God's salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time (1, 1 Peter 1:5); the angels desire to look into the mysteries of the gospel (1, 1 Peter 1:12); Christ was manifested at the end of the times (1, 1 Peter 1:20); the Gentiles shall behold your good works (1, 1 Peter 2:12); unbelieving husbands shall be convinced by beholding the chaste behavior of their wives (1, 1 Peter 3:2); the apostle was a witness of Christ's sufferings (1, 1 Peter 5:1), and an eye-witness of his majesty (2, 2 Peter 1:16); the elders must exercise oversight of the flock (1, 1 Peter 5:2). Similarly he speaks of the day of visitation, or, lit., overlooking (1, 1 Peter 2:12); Christ is the bishop, lit., overseer, of souls (1, 1 Peter 2:25); he who lacks Christian graces is blind, seeing only what is near (2, 2 Peter 1:9); Lot was vexed at seeing the wickedness of his neighbors (2, 2 Peter 2:8); the wicked have eyes full of adultery (2, 2 Peter 2:14).
Equally apparent is his readiness to apply what he sees and hears. "Not one thought," says Canon Cook, "connected with the mystery of salvation is presented without an instant and emphatic reference to what a Christian ought to feel, and what he ought to do. No place in the spiritual temple is so humble that he who holds it has not before him the loftiest sphere of spiritual action and thought. Injunctions which touch the heart most powerfully are impressed upon us as we contemplate the eternal glory, the manifestations of Christ's love." Thus we have sanctification of the spirit unto obedience (1, 1 Peter 1:2); be holy in living (1, 1 Peter 1:15). The first epistle abounds in exhortations to personal religion (1 Peter 2:10-18; 1 Peter 3:1-16; 1 Peter 4:1-11; 1 Peter 5:1-9). Christian graces shall make believers to be neither idle nor unfruitful (2, 2 Peter 1:8); they shall not fall if they do these things (2, 2 Peter 1:10); he exhorts to holy living and godliness (2, 2 Peter 3:11).
It is in such pointed and practical exhortations as these that the prompt and energetic character of the apostle reappears. Dr. Davidson observes that the writer is "zealous, but mild, earnest, but not fervid;" a statement which is adapted to provoke a smile from one who has felt the nervous grip of the first epistle, and which becomes palpably absurd if we admit, as of course Dr. Davidson does not, the authenticity of the second. The "mild tone" assuredly is not dominant there; but, in any event, it would be strange if the letters did not show traces of the mellowing of years, and of the ripening of the spirit of Christ in this once passionate and headstrong disciple. The second chapter of the second epistle is no feeble reminder of the Peter who smote off the ear of Malchus.
The graphic and picturesque character of these letters is notable. In the two epistles, containing eight chapters, the longest of which consists of but twenty-five verses, there are one hundred and nineteen words which occur nowhere else in the New Testament. Picture-words abound, such as ὠρυόμενος, roaring (1, 1 Peter 5:8); ὁπλίσασθε, arm yourselves (1, 1 Peter 4:1); ἐπικάλυμμα, cloke (1, 1 Peter 2:16) ; φιμοῦν, put to silence, lit., muzzle (1, 1 Peter 2:15); σκολίς, froward, lit., awry or twisted (1, 1 Peter 2:18); ἐκτενῶς, fervently, lit., on the stretch (1, 1 Peter 1:22); ἀπόθεσις, putting off (2, 2 Peter 1:14); ἔξοδος, decease (2, 2 Peter 1:15); διαυγάζειν, dawn (2, 2 Peter 1:19); αὐχμηρός, dark or dry (2, 2 Peter 1:19); ἐπίλυσις, interpretation, lit., untying (2, 2 Peter 1:20); στρεβλοῦσιν, wrest, as with a windlass (2, 2 Peter 3:16), and many others.
The same graphic character appears in what may be styled reminiscent words or phrases, in which the former personal experience of the writer is mirrored. Thus, gird yourselves with humility (1, 1 Peter 5:5, see note there) recalls the picture of the Lord girded with a towel and washing the disciples' feet. To look into (1, 1 Peter 1:12) expresses a stooping down to gaze intently, and carries us back to the visit of Peter and John to the sepulchre on the morning of the resurrection, when they stooped down and looked into the tomb. In feed the flock (Rev., tend, 1, 1 Peter 5:2) is reflected Christ's charge to Peter at the lake. The recurrence of the word ἀπροσωπολήμπτως, without respect of persons (1, 1 Peter 1:17), used in a kindred form by Peter, Acts 10:34, would seem to indicate that the scene in the house of Cornelius was present to his mind; and be watchful (1, 1 Peter 5:8) may have been suggested by the remembrance of his own drowsiness in Gethsemane, and of Christ's exhortation to watch. So, too, it is interesting to read the words buffeted (1, 1 Peter 2:20), the tree (τὸ ξύλον, an unusual word, used by him, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39), and stripe or weal (1, 1 Peter 2:24), in the light of the gospel narratives of Christ's sufferings. Christ had called Simon a rock, and a little later a stumbling-block. Peter combines both words into one phrase, a rock of offence (1, 1 Peter 2:8). A very striking instance appears in the reference to the Transfiguration (2, 2 Peter 1:17, 2 Peter 1:18), where he uses the peculiar word ἔξοδος, decease; lit., going out, which occurs in Luke 9:31, and also in Hebrews 11:22. Compare, also, tabernacle, in 2, 2 Peter 1:13, 2 Peter 1:14, with let us make three tabernacles.
Both epistles are pervaded with an Old-Testament atmosphere. The testimony of Old-Testament prophecy, teaching, and history is emphasized (1, 1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 Peter 3:5, 1 Peter 3:6, 1 Peter 3:20; 2, 1 Peter 1:19-21; 1 Peter 2:1, 1 Peter 2:4-8, 1 Peter 2:15, 1 Peter 2:16; 1 Peter 3:2, 1 Peter 3:5, 1 Peter 3:6). Old-Testament quotations and references are brought into the text, though the introductory formulas, because it is written, and wherefore it is contained in scripture, do not occur in the second epistle; and the interweaving, as of familiar expressions, is not so conspicuous there as in the first epistle (see 1, 1 Peter 1:16, 1 Peter 1:24, 1 Peter 1:25; 1 Peter 2:6, 1 Peter 2:7, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Peter 2:10, 1 Peter 2:23,1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:6,1 Peter 3:10,1 Peter 3:14; 1 Peter 4:8, 1 Peter 4:18; 1 Peter 5:5,1 Peter 5:7; 2, 1 Peter 1:19-21; 1 Peter 2:5,1 Peter 2:6, 1 Peter 2:7, 1 Peter 2:15, 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 3:5, 1 Peter 3:6, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 Peter 3:13). The church of Christ is represented as the church of Israel perfected and spiritualized (1, 1 Peter 2:4-10); the exhortation to holiness (1, 1 Peter 1:15, 1 Peter 1:16) is given in the language of Leviticus 11:44; Christ is described (1, 1 Peter 2:6) in the terms of Isaiah 28:16, and Psalm 118:22; and the prophetic utterance of Isaiah concerning the servant of Jehovah (52:13-53:12) reappears in 1, 1 Peter 2:23, 1 Peter 2:24.
The epistles are evidently the work of a Jew. We find, as we might expect, the writer illustrating his positions from Jewish history and tradition, as in his references to Noah, Sarah, Balaam, and his use of the word ῥαντισμὸς sprinkling (1, 1 Peter 1:2), a peculiarly Levitical term. He shows how the spirit of Christ dwelt in the Old-Testament prophets, and how Christians are a royal priesthood.
The resemblance, both in ideas and expressions, to passages in the epistles of Paul and James is marked, especially in the first epistle. It will be instructive to compare the following:
Paul 1 Peter Romans 12:2 1 Peter 1:14 Romans 4:24 1 Peter 1:21 Romans 12:1 1 Peter 2:5 Romans 9:33 1 Peter 2:6-8 Romans 9:25, Romans 9:26 1 Peter 2:10 Romans 13:1-4 1 Peter 2:13, 1 Peter 2:14 Galatians 5:13 1 Peter 2:16 Romans 6:18 1 Peter 2:24 Romans 12:17 1 Peter 3:9 Romans 12:6, Romans 12:7 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Peter 4:11 Romans 8:18 1 Peter 5:1 Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10 1 Peter 1:7 Romans 8:17 1 Peter 4:13 Romans 12:13 1 Peter 4:9 Romans 13:13 1 Peter 4:8 Romans 13:14 1 Peter 4:1 1 Thessalonians 5:6 1 Peter 5:8 1 Corinthians 16:20 1 Peter 5:14 Nor are such resemblances wanting in the second epistle, though they are resemblances in tone, subject, and spirit, rather than verbal. It is in this epistle that Peter designates Paul's writings as scripture (2 Peter 3:16). Compare:
Paul 2 Peter Romans 1:28; Romans 3:20 2 Peter 1:2 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7 2 Peter 1:16 1 Timothy 6:5; Titus 1:11 2 Peter 2:3 1 Corinthians 10:29; Galatians 5:13 2 Peter 2:19 Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22 2 Peter 3:15 Galatians 2:4 2 Peter 2:1
Into the much-vexed question of the authenticity of the second epistle we are not called upon to enter. The point of differences of style between the two epistles is a fair one. There are such differences, and very decided ones, though perhaps they are no more and no greater than can be explained by diversity of subject and circumstances, and the difference in the author's age. Some of the expressions peculiar to the second epistle are - granting things which pertain unto life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3); precious and exceeding great (2 Peter 1:4 :); adding all diligence, and supply virtue (2 Peter 1:5); an entrance richly supplied (2 Peter 1:11); receiving forgetfulness (2 Peter 1:9); sects of perdition (2 Peter 2:1); cast down to Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4); the world compacted out of water and by means of water, (2 Peter 3:5), etc.
But, while allowing for these differences, and recognizing the weakness of the external evidence for the authenticity of the epistle, the internal evidence of style and tone seems to us to outweigh the differences, and to show that both epistles were from the same hand. There is the same picturesqueness of diction, and a similar fertility of unusual words. Of the one hundred and twenty words which occur only in the writings of Peter, fifty-seven are peculiar to the second epistle; and, what is still more noteworthy, only one of these words, ἀπόθεσις, putting off, is common to the two epistles - a fact which tells very strongly against the hypothesis of a forgery. That hypothesis, it may be observed, is in the highest degree improbable. The Christian earnestness, the protest against deception, the tender and adoring reminiscence of Christ, the emphasis upon the person and doctrine of the Lord Jesus which mark this epistle, imply a moral standard quite inconsistent with the perpetration of a deliberate forgery.
Comparisons of expressions in this epistle with those used or inspired by Peter in the Acts of the Apostles exhibit a close correspondence; and a correspondence, which, however, must not be too strongly pressed, appears on a comparison with certain passages in the gospels. Thus the verb δωρέομαι, to give, occurs only in Mark 15:45, and 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:4 (see Introduction to Mark, on the relations between Mark and Peter); and the recurrence of the words exodus, or decease, and tabernacle in the same connection (2 Peter 1:13-15, 2 Peter 1:17, 2 Peter 1:18) is very striking from the pen of one who, at the Transfiguration, heard the heavenly visitants conversing of Christ's decease, and who proposed to build tabernacles for their abode. The repeated use of the word στηρίζω, stablish, and its derivatives (2 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 3:17; 2 Peter 2:14; 2 Peter 3:16) is also suggestive, in view of the admonition of Jesus to Peter by the same word - strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:32).
There is the same retrospective character in both epistles. In both the writer teaches that prophecy does not carry its own interpretation; in both he alludes to the small number saved from the flood; both have the same sentiments oil the nature and right use of Christian liberty, and on the value of prophecy; in both ἀρετή, virtue, is attributed to God, a use of the word occurring nowhere else in the New Testament.
The style of both epistles is vigorous rather than elegant, strong, and sometimes rough, the work of a plain, practical man, and of an observer rather than a reasoner, whose thoughts do not follow each other in logical sequence. The fervid spirit of the writer appears in his habit of massing epithets, and repeating his thoughts in nearly the same words and forms (see, for instance, 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:9. Also, 1 Peter 1:7, and 1 Peter 4:12; 1 Peter 1:13, and 1 Peter 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Peter 1:14, and 1 Peter 2:11, 1 Peter 4:2; 1 Peter 2:15, and 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:16; 1 Peter 2:19, and 1 Peter 3:14, 1 Peter 4:14. 2 Peter 1:4, 2 Peter 1:8, 2 Peter 1:17; 2 Peter 2:10, 2 Peter 2:11, 2 Peter 2:12-15; 2 Peter 3:15). Professor Ezra Abbot has brought out some remarkable correspondences between this epistle and the writings of Josephus, and maintains that the author of the letter is largely dependent upon the Jewish historian (Expositor, 2d series, iii., 49). The second epistle of Peter cannot be studied apart from The Epistle of Jude.
List of Greek Words Used by Peter Only
ἀγαθοποιΐ́α well-doing 1, 1 Peter 4:19 ἀγαθοποίος a well-doer 1, 1 Peter 2:14 ἀδελφότης brotherhood 1, 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 5:9 ἄδολος without guile 1, 1 Peter 2:2 ἄθεσμος wicked 2, 2 Peter 2:7; 2 Peter 3:17 αἰσχροκερδῶς for filthy lucre 1, 1 Peter 5:2 ἀκατάπαστος that cannot cease 2, 2 Peter 2:14 ἀλλοτριοεπίσκοπος a busy-body in other men's matters 1, 1 Peter 4:15 ἅλωσις capture 2, 2 Peter 2:12 ἀμαθής unlearned 2, 2 Peter 3:16 ἀμάραντινος unfading 1, 1 Peter 5:4 ἀμαράντος unfading 1, 1 Peter 1:4 ἀμώμητος blameless 2, 2 Peter 3:14 ἀναγεννάω to beget again 1, 1 Peter 1:3, 1 Peter 1:23 ἀναγκαστῶς by constraint 1, 1 Peter 5:2 ἀναζώννυμι gird up 1, 1 Peter 1:13 ἀνάχυσις excess 1, 1 Peter 4:4 ἀνεκλάλητος unspeakable 1, 1 Peter 1:8 ἀντιλοιδορέω to revile again 1, 1 Peter 2:23 ἀπογίνομαι to be dead 1, 1 Peter 2:24 ἀπόθεσις putting away 1, 1 Peter 3:21; 2, 1 Peter 1:14 ἀπονέμω assign, impart 1, 1 Peter 3:7 ἀποφεύγω to escape 2, 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:18, 2 Peter 2:20 ἀπροσωπολήμπτως without respect of persons 1, 1 Peter 1:17 ἀργέω linger 2, 2 Peter 2:3 ἀρτιγέννητος new-born 1, 1 Peter 2:2 ἀρχιποίμην chief shepherd 1, 1 Peter 5:4 ἀστήρικτος unsteadfast 2, 2 Peter 2:14; 2 Peter 3:16 αὐχμηρός dry, dark 2, 2 Peter 1:19 βιόω live 1, 1 Peter 4:2 βλέμμα seeing 2, 2 Peter 2:8 βόρβορος mire 2, 2 Peter 2:22 βραδυτής slackness 2, 2 Peter 3:9 γυναικεῖος female (adj.) 1, 1 Peter 3:7 διαυγάζω to dawn 2, 2 Peter 1:19 δυσνόητος hard to be understood 2, 2 Peter 3:16 ἐγκατοικέω dwell among 2, 2 Peter 2:8 ἐγκομβόομαι gird 1, 1 Peter 5:5 ἑκάστοτε always 2, 2 Peter 1:15 ἔκπαλαι from of old 2, 2 Peter 2:3; 2 Peter 3:5 ἐκτενής intense 1, 1 Peter 4:8 ἔλεγξις rebuke 2, 2 Peter 2:16 ἐμπαιγμονή mockery 2, 2 Peter 3:3 ἐμπλοκή plaiting 1, 1 Peter 3:3 ἔνδυσις putting on 1, 1 Peter 3:3 ἐντρυφάω Revelation 2, 2 Peter 2:13 ἐξακολουθέω follow (out) 2, 2 Peter 1:16; 2 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 2:15 ἐξέραμα vomit 2, 2 Peter 2:22 ἐξεραυνάω search diligently 1, 1 Peter 1:10 ἐπάγγελμα promise 2, 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 3:13 ἐπερώτημα inquiry, appeal 1, 1 Peter 3:21 ἐπικάλυμμα cloke 1, 1 Peter 2:16 ἐπίλοιπος remaining 1, 1 Peter 4:2 ἐπίλυσις interpretation 2, 2 Peter 1:20 ἐπιμαρτυρέω testify 1, 1 Peter 5:12 ἐπόπτης eye-witness 2, 2 Peter 1:16 ἐποπτεύω behold 1, 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 3:2 ἱεράτευμα priesthood 1, 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9 ἰσότιμος like-precious 2, 2 Peter 1:1 κατακλύζομαι to be overflowed 2, 2 Peter 3:6 καυσόω to burn with intense heat 2, 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12 κλέος glory 1, 1 Peter 2:20 κραταιός mighty 1, 1 Peter 5:6 κτιστής creator 1, 1 Peter 4:19 κυλισμός wallowing 2, 2 Peter 2:22 κήθη forgetfulness 2, 2 Peter 1:9 μεγαλοπρεπής excellent 2, 2 Peter 1:17 μίασμα defilement 2, 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 2:10 μιασμός μνήμη remembrance 2, 2 Peter 1:15 μυωπάζω to be shortsighted 2, 2 Peter 1:9 μώλωψ stripe, weal 1, 1 Peter 2:24 μῶμος blemish 2, 2 Peter 2:13 ὀινοφλυγία wine-bibbing 1, 1 Peter 4:3 ὀλίγως but a little, just 2, 2 Peter 2:18 ὁμίχλη mist 2, 2 Peter 2:17 ὁμόφρων like-minded 1, 1 Peter 3:8 ὁπλίζομαι arm one's self 1, 1 Peter 4:1 παρανομία transgression 2, 2 Peter 2:16 παραφρονία madness 2, 2 Peter 2:16 παρεισάγω bring in privily 2, 2 Peter 2:1 παρεισφέρω add 2, 2 Peter 1:5 πατροπαράδοτος handed down from the fathers 1, 1 Peter 1:18 περίθεσις wearing 1, 1 Peter 3:3 πλαστός feigned 2, 2 Peter 2:3 πότος carousing 1, 1 Peter 4:3 προθύμως willingly 1, 1 Peter 5:2 προμαρτύρομαι testify beforehand 1, 1 Peter 1:11 πτόησις terror 1, 1 Peter 3:6 ῥοιζηδόν with a great noise 2, 2 Peter 3:10 ῥύπος filth 1, 1 Peter 3:21 σθενόω strengthen 1, 1 Peter 5:10 σειρός a pit 2, 2 Peter 2:4 σπορά seed 1, 1 Peter 1:23 στηριγμός steadfastness 2, 2 Peter 3:17 στρεβλόω wrest 2, 2 Peter 3:16 συμπαθής compassionate 1, 1 Peter 3:8 συμπρεσβύτερος fellow-elder 1, 1 Peter 5:1 συνεκλεκτός elected together 1, 1 Peter 5:13 συνοικέω dwell with 1, 1 Peter 3:7 ταπεινόφρων humble-minded 1, 1 Peter 3:8 ταρταρόω cast down to hell 2, 2 Peter 2:4 ταχινός quick, swift 2, 2 Peter 1:14; 2 Peter 2:1 τελείως perfectly 1, 1 Peter 1:13 τεφρόω turn to ashes 2, 2 Peter 2:6 τήκομαι melt 2, 2 Peter 3:12 τοιόσδε such 2, 2 Peter 1:17 τολμητής daring 2, 2 Peter 2:10 ὑπογραμμός example 1, 1 Peter 2:21 ὑποζύγιον beast of burden 2, 2 Peter 2:16 ὑπολιμπάνω leave 1, 1 Peter 2:21 ὗς sow 2, 2 Peter 2:22 φιλάδελφος loving as a brother 1, 1 Peter 3:8 φωσφόρος day-star 2, 2 Peter 1:19 ψευδοδιδάσκαλος false teacher 2, 2 Peter 2:1 ὠρύομαι roar 1, 1 Peter 5:8 Of these, fifty-five are peculiar to the second epistle, and only one, ἀπόθεσις, putting off, is common to the two epistles.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
See on Matthew 16:18. As Paul in his letters does not call himself by his original name of Saul, so Peter calls himself, not Simon, but Peter, the name most significant and precious both to himself and to his readers, because bestowed by his Lord. In the opening of the second epistle he uses both names.
Of all the catholic epistles, Peter's alone puts forward his apostleship in the introduction. He is addressing churches with which he had no immediate connection, and which were distinctively Pauline. Hence he appeals to his apostleship in explanation of his writing to them, and as his warrant for taking Paul's place.
To the strangers - elect (1 Peter 1:2, ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις)
The Rev., properly, joins the two words, elect who are sojourners, instead of continuing elect with according to the foreknowledge, etc., as A. V.
Regarding all whom he addressed as subjects of saving grace. The term corresponds to the Old-Testament title of Jehovah's people: Isaiah 65:9, Isaiah 65:15, Isaiah 65:22; Psalm 105:43. Compare Matthew 20:16; Matthew 22:14; Romans 8:33.
Persons sojourning for a brief season in a foreign country. Though applied primarily to Hebrews scattered throughout the world (Genesis 23:4; Psalm 39:12), it has here a wider, spiritual sense, contemplating Christians as having their citizenship in heaven. Compare Hebrews 11:13. The preposition παρά, in composition, implies a sense of transitoriness, as of one who passes by to something beyond.
Lit., of the dispersion; from διασπείρω, to scatter or spread abroad; σπείρω meaning, originally, to sow. The term was a familiar one for the whole body of Jews outside the Holy Land, scattered among the heathen.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
According to (κατὰ)
In virtue of; in accordance with.
Only here and Acts 2:23, in Peter's sermon at Pentecost. He is distinguishing there between foreknowledge and determinate counsel.
Implying that the relation contemplated by the divine foreknowledge is a new relation of sonship.
In sanctification (ἐν ἁγιασμῷ)
Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The spiritual state in which the being elected to salvation is realized. The word is peculiarly Pauline, occurring eight times in Paul's epistles, and besides only here and Hebrews 12:14.
Unto obedience (εἰς)
Note the three prepositions: according to (κατά) the foreknowledge; in (ἐν) sanctification; unto (εἰς) obedience. The ground, sphere, and end of spiritual sanctification.
Here in a passive sense - the being sprinkled. Properly, the ritualistic act of sprinkling blood or water. See Numbers 19:19, Numbers 19:21. Compare Hebrews 9:13; Hebrews 12:24 :; Numbers 19:9, Numbers 19:13, where the water in which were the ashes of the red heifer is called ὕδωρ ῥαντισμοῦ, water of sprinkling (Septuagint), which the A. V. and Rev. Old Testament render water of separation. The word and its kindred verb occur only in Hebrews and Peter.
The foreknowledge of the Father, the sanctification of the Spirit, the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ the Son. The Father foreknowing, the Son atoning, the Spirit applying the Son's work in sanctifying. "The mystery of the Trinity and the economy of our salvation are intimated in this verse" (Bengel).
Grace and peace (χάρις - εἰρήνη)
Pauline terms. See Romans 1:7. The salutation is peculiar by the addition of be multiplied, which occurs 2 Peter 1:2; Jde 1:2, and nowhere else in the salutations of the epistles. It is found, however, in the Septuagint, Daniel 4:1 (Sept. 3:31), and Daniel 6:25. Professor Salmond observes: "If the Babylon from which Peter writes can be taken to be the literal Babylon (see on 1 Peter 5:13), it might be interesting to recall the epistles introduced by salutations so similar to Peter's, which were written from the same capital by two kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, of two great dynasties, and addressed to all their provinces."
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
εὖ, well, λόγος, a word. Well-spoken-of; praised; honored. Used in the New Testament of God only. The kindred verb is applied to human beings, as to Mary (Luke 1:28): "Blessed (εὐλογημένη) art thou." Compare the different word for blessed in Matthew 5:3, etc. (μακάριοι), and see notes there. The style of this doxological phrase is Pauline. Compare 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3.
Hath begotten us again (ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς)
The verb is used by Peter only, and by him only here and 1 Peter 1:23. It is in the aorist tense, and should be rendered, as Rev., begat; because regeneration is regarded as a definite historical act accomplished once for all, or possibly because Peter regards the historical act of Christ's resurrection as virtually effecting the regeneration. The latter sentiment would be Pauline, since Paul is wont to speak of Christians as dying and rising with Christ. Romans 7:4; Romans 6:8-11.
Better, as Rev., literally rendering the participle, living: a favorite word with Peter. See 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 4:5, 1 Peter 4:6; and compare Acts 9:41, where Peter is the prominent actor; and Acts 10:42, where he is the speaker.
Peter is fond of this word also (see 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 3:5, 1 Peter 3:15), which, in classical Greek, has the general signification of expectancy, relating to evil as well as to good. Thus Plato speaks of living in evil hope ("Republic," i., 330); i.e., in the apprehension of evil; and Thucydides, of the hope of evils to come; i.e., the expectation or apprehension. In the New Testament the word always relates to a future good.
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
An inheritance (κληρονομίαν)
A Pauline word, from κλῆρος, a lot, and νέμομαι, to distribute among themselves. Hence an inheritance is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general distribution. In the New Testament the idea of chance attaching to the lot is eliminated. It is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by special gift. So of the vineyard seized by the wicked husbandmen: "Let us seize on his inheritance" (Matthew 21:38); of Abraham in Canaan: "God gave him none inheritance" (Acts 7:5); "an eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15).
Incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away
Note Peter's characteristic multiplication of epithets. Incorruptible (ἄφθαρτον). From ἀ, not, and φθείρω, to destroy or corrupt. Undefiled (ἀμίαντον). From ἀ, not, and μιαίνω, to defile, though the verb means especially to defile by staining, as with color; while μολύνω, also translated defile (1 Corinthians 8:7), is to besmirch, as with mire. We might render unstained, though the word is not used with any conscious reference to its etymology. That fadeth not away (ἀμάραντον) Used by Peter only, and but once. From ἀ, not, and μαραίνομαι, to wither. The loveliness of the heavenly inheritance is described as exempt from the blight which attaches to earthly bloom. As between ἄφθαρτον, incorruptible, and ἀμάραντον, unwithering, the former emphasizes the indestructibility of substance, and the latter of grace, and beauty. The latter adjective appears in the familiar botanical name amaranth. It will be observed that all of these three epithets are compounded with the negative particle ἀ, not. Archbishop Trench aptly remarks that "it is a remarkable testimony to the reign of sin, and therefore of imperfection, of decay, of death throughout this whole fallen world, that as often as we desire to set forth the glory, purity, and perfection of that other, higher world toward which we strive, we are almost inevitably compelled to do this by the aid of negatives; by the denying to that higher order of things the leading features and characteristics of this." Compare Revelation 21:1, Revelation 21:4, Revelation 21:22, Revelation 21:23, Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:3, Revelation 22:5.
Lit., which has been reserved, a perfect participle, indicating the inheritance as one reserved through God's care for his own from the beginning down to the present. Laid up and kept is the idea. The verb signifies keeping as the result of guarding. Thus in John 17:11, Christ says, "keep (τήρησον) those whom thou hast given me;" in John 17:12, "I kept them" (ἐτήρουν); i.e., preserved by guarding them. "Those whom thou gavest me I guarded (ἐφύλαξα)." So Rev., which preserves the distinction. Similarly, John 14:15, "keep (τηρήσατε) my commandments;" preserve them unbroken by careful watching. So Peter was delivered to the soldiers to guard him (φυλάσσειν), but he was kept (ἐτηρεῖτο) in prison (Acts 12:4, Acts 12:5). Compare Colossians 1:5, where a different word is used: ἀποκειμένην, lit., laid away.
For you (εἰς)
The use of this preposition, instead of the simpler dative, is graphic: with reference to you; with you as its direct object.
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
A military term. Lit., garrisoned. Rev., guarded. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:32, and the beautiful metaphorical use of the word at Philippians 4:7, "shall guard your hearts." The present participle indicates something in progress, a continuous process of protection. Hence, lit., who are being guarded. "The inheritance is kept; the heirs are guarded" (Bengel).
By (ἐν) the power; through (διὰ) faith; unto (εἰς) salvation
By, indicating the efficient cause; through, the secondary agency; unto, the result.
Stronger than about to be, or destined to be, implying a state of waiting or preparedness, and thus harmonizing with reserved.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
Ye greatly rejoice (ἀγαλλιᾶσθε)
For a season (ὀλίγον)
More literally and correctly, as Rev., for a little while. Compare 1 Peter 5:10. The word is used nowhere else in the New Testament in this sense.
In heaviness (λυπηθέντες)
Lit., having been grieved. Rev., ye have been put to grief.
But Rev., better, in; the preposition not being instrumental, but indicating the sphere or environment in which the grief operates.
Literally the word means variegated. It is used to describe the skin of a leopard, the different-colored veinings of marble, or an embroidered robe; and thence passes into the meaning of changeful, diversified, applied to the changing months or the variations of a strain of music. Peter employs it again, 1 Peter 4:10, of the grace of God, and James of temptations, as here (James 1:2). Compare πολυποίκιλος, manifold, in Ephesians 3:10, applied to the wisdom of God. The word gives a vivid picture of the diversity of the trials, emphasizing this idea rather than that of their number, which is left to be inferred.
Better, trials, as in margin of Rev., since the word includes more than direct solicitation to evil. It embraces all that goes to furnish a test of character. Compare James 1:2.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Only here and James 1:3. Rev., proof. The word means a test. As the means of proof, however, is not only the touchstone itself, but the trace of the metal left upon it, the sense here is the result of the contact of faith with trial, and hence the verification of faith. The expression is equivalent to your approved faith. Compare Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10.
Than of gold
Omit the of, and read than gold. The comparison is between the approved faith and the gold; not between the faith and the proof of the gold.
Though it be tried (δοκιμαζομένου)
Kindred with δοκίμιον, proof, and better rendered by Rev., proved. The verb is used in classical Greek of assaying or testing metals, and means, generally, to approve or sanction upon test. It is radically akin to δέχεσθαι, to receive, and hence implies a proof with a view to determine whether a thing be worthy to be received. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:13; Galatians 6:4; 1 John 4:1. It thus differs from πειράζειν, to try or tempt (see on πειρασμοῖς, 1 Peter 1:6), in that that verb indicates simply a putting to proof to discover what good or evil is in a person; and from the fact that such scrutiny so often develops the existence and energy of evil, the word acquired a predominant sense of putting to the proof with the design or hope of breaking down the subject under the proof - in other words, of temptation in the ordinary sense. Hence Satan is called ὁ πειράζων, the tempter, Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. See on Matthew 6:13. Archbishop Trench observes that "δοκιμάζειν could not be used of Satan, since he never proves that he may approve, nor tests that he may accept."
Might be found (εὑρεθῇ)
In accord with the preceding expressions, and indicating discovery as the result of scrutiny.
Praise and glory and honor
Such is the order of the best texts, and so Rev. Glory and honor often occur together in the New Testament, as Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10; 1 Timothy 1:17. Only here with praise. Compare spirit of glory, 1 Peter 4:14.
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Full of glory (δεδοξασμένῃ)
Lit., glorified, as Rev., in margin.
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The verb originally means to take care of or provide for; thence to receive hospitably or entertain; to bring home with a view to entertaining or taking care of. Hence, to carry away so as to preserve, to save, rescue, and so to carry away as a prize or booty. Generally, to receive or acquire. Paul uses it of receiving the awards of judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:25). In Hebrews it is used of receiving the promise (Hebrews 10:36; Hebrews 11:39), and of Abraham receiving back Isaac (Hebrews 11:19). Peter uses it thrice, and in each case of receiving the rewards of righteousness or of iniquity. See 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Peter 2:13.
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
Have inquired and searched diligently (ἐξεζήτησαν - ἐξηρεύνησαν)
Rev., properly, renders the aorists sought and searched diligently. The ἐξ in composition has the force of out, searched out, and is rendered by diligently.
Used of Esau's seeking carefully for a place of repentance, in Hebrews 12:17.
Used nowhere else in the New Testament. Compare Septuagint, 1 Samuel 23:23, of Saul's searching out David.
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Did signify (ἐδήλου)
When it testified beforehand (προμαρτυρόμενον)
Only here in New Testament.
Of Christ (εἰς Χριστὸν)
Lit., unto Christ. So Rev., in margin. The sufferings destined for Christ, as in 1 Peter 1:10 he speaks of the grace, εἰς ὑμᾶς, unto you; i.e., destined to come unto you. Peter was especially concerned to show that the sufferings of Christ were in fulfilment of prophecy, because it was a subject of dispute with the Jews whether the Christ was to suffer (Acts 3:18; Acts 26:22, Acts 26:23).
The glory (τὰς δόξας)
Rev., correctly, the glories. The plural is used to indicate the successive steps of his glorification; the glory of his resurrection and ascension, of the last judgment, and of the kingdom of heaven.
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Did minister (διηκόνουν)
The word commonly denotes intense desire. It is used by Christ in expressing his wish to eat the passover (Luke 22:15); of the prodigal's desire to satisfy his hunger with the husks (Luke 15:16); and of the flesh lusting against the spirit (Galatians 5:17).
To look into (παρακύψαι)
A very graphic word, meaning to stoop sideways (παρά). Used by Aristophanes to picture the attitude of a bad harp-player. Here it portrays one stooping and stretching the neck to gaze on some wonderful sight. It occurs in James 1:25, describing him who looks into the perfect law of liberty as into a mirror; and in Luke 24:12; John 20:5, John 20:11, of Peter and John and Mary stooping and looking into the empty tomb. Possibly the memory of this incident unconsciously suggested the word to Peter. The phrase illustrates Peter's habitual emphasis upon the testimony of sight (see Introduction). Bengel acutely notes the hint in παρά, beside, that the angels contemplate the work of salvation from without, as spectators and not as participants. Compare Hebrews 2:16; Ephesians 3:10.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Gird up (ἀναζωσάμενοι)
Lit., having girded up. Used here only. The metaphor is suggested by the girding up of the loose eastern robes preparatory to running or other exertion. Perhaps recalling the words of Christ, Luke 12:35. Christ's call is a call to active service. There is a fitness in the figure as addressed to sojourners and pilgrims (1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 2:11), who must be always ready to move.
See on Mark 12:30.
Be sober (νήφοντες)
Lit., being sober. Primarily, in a physical sense, as opposed to excess in drink, but passing into the general sense of self-control and equanimity.
Hope to the end (τελείως ἐλπίσατε)
Better, as Rev., set your hope perfectly: wholly and unchangeably; without doubt or despondency.
That is to be brought (τὴν φερομένην)
Lit., which is being brought, as Rev., in margin. The object of hope is already on the way.
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
Obedient children (τέκνα ὑπακοῆς)
Literally, and more correctly, as Rev., children of obedience. See on Mark 3:17. The Christian is represented as related to the motive principle of his life as a child to a parent.
Fashioning yourselves (συσχηματιζόμενοι)
See on Matthew 17:2; and compare Romans 12:2, the only other passage where the word occurs. As σχῆμα is the outward, changeable fashion, as contrasted with what is intrinsic, the word really carries a warning against conformity to something changeful, and therefore illusory.
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
As he which hath called you is holy (κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον)
As of the A. V. is according to, or after the pattern of; and holy is to be taken as a personal name; the which hath called being added for definition, and in order to strengthen the exhortation. Render, therefore, after the pattern of the Holy One who called you. So, nearly, Rev., in margin. A similar construction occurs 2 Peter 2:1 : the Lord that bought them.
A favorite word with Peter; used eight times in the two epistles. From ἀνά, up, and στρέφω, to turn. The process of development in the meaning of the word is interesting. 1. A turning upside down. 2. A turning about or wheeling. 3. Turning about in a place, going back and forth there about one's business; and so, 4, one's mode of life or conduct. This is precisely the idea in the word conversation (Lat., conversare, to turn round) which was used when the A. V. was made, as the common term for general deportment or behavior, and was, therefore, a correct rendering of ἀναστροφή. So Latimer ("Sermons"): "We are not bound to follow the conversations or doings of the saints." And Shakspeare, 2 Hen. IV., v., 5:
"But all are banished till their conversation
Appear more wise and modest to the world."
Our later limitation of the meaning to the interchange of talk makes it expedient to change the rendering, as Rev., to manner of living.
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
If ye call on the Father - judgeth
More correctly, Rev., If ye call on him as Father; the point being that God is to be invoked, not only as Father, but as Judge.
Without respect of persons (ἀπροσωπολήμπτως)
Here only. Peter, however, uses προσωπολήμπτης, a respecter of persons, Acts 10:34, which whole passage should be compared with this. Paul and James also use the kindred word προσωπολημψία, respect of persons. See Romans 2:11; James 2:1. James has the verb προσωπολημπτέω, to have respect of persons. The constituents of the compound word, πρόσωπον, the countenance, and λαμβάνω, to receive, are found in Galatians 2:6; and the word is the Old-Testament formula to accept or to raise the face of another; opposed to making the countenance fall (Job 29:24; Genesis 4:5). Hence, to receive kindly, or look favorably upon one (Genesis 19:21; Genesis 32:20, etc.). In the Old Testament it is, as Bishop Lightfoot observes, "a neutral expression involving no subsidiary notion of partiality, and is much oftener found in a good than in a bad sense. When it becomes an independent Greek phrase, however, the bad sense attaches to it, owing to the secondary meaning of πρόσωπον, a mask; so that πρόσωπον λαμβάνειν signifies to regard the external circumstances of a man, his rank, wealth, etc., as opposed to his real, intrinsic character."
Compare sojourners, 1 Peter 1:1.
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
Ye were redeemed (ἐλυτρώθητε)
With silver or gold (ἀργυρίῳ ἢ χρυσίῳ)
Lit., with silver or gold money; the words meaning, respectively, a small coin of silver or of gold.
Rev., manner of life. See on 1 Peter 1:15.
Received by tradition from your fathers (πατροπαραδότου)
A clumsy translation; improved by Rev., handed down from your fathers. The word is peculiar to Peter.
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
But with the precious blood of Christ
The word Χριστοῦ, of Christ, stands at the end of the sentence, and is emphatic. Render, as Rev., with precious blood as of a lamb, etc., even the blood of Christ.
Peculiarly appropriate from Peter. See John 1:35-42. The reference is to a sacrificial lamb.
Without blemish (ἀμώμου)
Without spot (ἀσπίλου)
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
Lit., and better, foreknown, as Rev.
Observe the difference in tense. Foreknown is the perfect participle, has been known from all eternity down to the present "in reference to the place held and continuing to be held by Christ in the divine mind" (Salmond). Manifested is the aorist participle, pointing to a definite act at a given time.
In these last times ( ἐπ' ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων)
Lit., as Rev., at the end of the times.
Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Compare Romans 4:24.
That your faith and hope might be in God
Some render, that your faith should also be hope toward God.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
The Septuagint translation of the Old-Testament technical term for the purification of the people and priests (Joshua 3:5; 1 Chronicles 15:12; 1 Samuel 16:5). Also, of the separation from wine and strong drink by the Nazarite (Numbers 6:2-6). In this ceremonial sense, John 11:55; Acts 21:24, Acts 21:26; Acts 24:18. In the moral sense, as here, James 4:8; 1 John 3:3. Compare καθαρίσας, purifying, Acts 15:9.
Rev., obedience. A peculiarly New Testament term unknown in classical Greek. In the Septuagint only 2 Samuel 22:36; rendered in A. V. gentleness. Rev., condescension, in margin.
Ἀ, not, ὑποκριτής, actor. The latter word is from ὑποκρίνεσθαι, to answer on the stage, and hence to play a part or to act. A hypocrite is, therefore, an actor.
With a pure heart (ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας)
The best texts reject καθαρᾶς, pure. Render, therefore, as Rev., from the heart.
Used by Peter only, and only in this passage. He uses the kindred adjective ἐκτενής without ceasing, in Acts 12:5, where the narrative probably came from him, and also at 1 Peter 4:8; "fervent charity." The words are compounded with the verb τείνω, to stretch, and signify intense strain; feeling on the rack.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Being born again (ἀναγεγεννημένοι)
Rev., having been begotten again. Compare James 1:18.
Of (ἐκ) seed - by (διά) the word
Note the difference in the prepositions; the former denoting the origin or source of life, the latter the medium through which it imparts itself to the nature.
Word of God (λόγου Θεοῦ)
The gospel of Christ. Compare 1 Peter 1:25, and Peter's words, Acts 10:36. Also, Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; James 1:18. Not the personal Word, as the term is employed by John. Nevertheless, the connection and relation of the personal with the revealed word is distinctly recognized. "In the New Testament we trace a gradual ascent from (a) the concrete message as conveyed to man by personal agency through (b) the Word, the revelation of God to man which the message embodies, forming, as it were, its life and soul, to (c) The Word, who, being God, not only reveals but imparts himself to us, and is formed in us thereby" (Scott, on James 1:18, "Speaker's Commentary").
Nowhere else in the New Testament. Primarily, the sowing of seed.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
Following the reading ἀνθρώπου, in the Septuagint, Isaiah 50:6, which Peter quotes here. But the best texts read αὐτῆς, of it, or, as Rev., thereof.
Literally, the writer puts it as in a narrative of some quick and startling event, by the use of the aorist tense: withered was the grass. Similarly, the flower fell (ἐξέπεσεν). Lit., fell off, the force of ἐκ.
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Word of the Lord (ῥῆμα κυρίου)
Compare 1 Peter 1:23, and note that ῥῆμα is used for word, instead of λόγος; and Κύριος, Lord, instead of Θεός, God, which is the reading of the Hebrew, and of most copies of the Septuagint. The substitution indicates that Peter identifies Jesus with God. No very satisfactory reason can be given for the change from λόγος to ῥῆμα. It may be due to the Greek translation, which Peter follows.